Magma 44 is a summer basket of poetry and writing about poetry. There are new poems from Alison Brackenbury, Helen Ivory, Sheenagh Pugh, Lawrence Sail and the usual cornucopia of fresh Magma poets. And as for writing about poetry, in addition to our online pieces — Guest Choice featuring Cyril Nri, and Pamela Johnson on Sharon Olds — the print edition has Jackie Kay, Imtiaz Dharker, Michael Rosen and Christopher James, not to mention reviews of eleven new collections. See below for a taste. It’s easy to order a copy from our website.
Jackie Kay: Another life is breathing on your cheek
Tim Kindberg interviews the poet and novelist
“There’s the life you lead and the one you could have led; there’s always the interesting Frostian fork in the road. If I had been brought up by my birth parents, who are both religious fanatics, would I have been a writer, would I have been religious too in the same way? What other person might I have been?”
Imtiaz Dharker: Presiding Spirits
“I write my poems like frames from a film. They can be read separately, but when they are strung together they sometimes make a story told by different voices. In this I am just following a long tradition. The Sangam Poets of Tamil Nadu were making their own version of ‘dialogue’ from 100BC to 250 AD.”
Michael Rosen: Poetry in Practice
The former Children’s Laureate on deciding to write
“Sometimes, I feel miles away from my parents’ intense immersion in poetry, and yet at others, it’s as if they’re right there, deep inside my head.”
Christopher James: Farewell to the Earth
Mark McGuinness interviews the National Poetry Competition winner
“I recognised that the incongruous burial rite (an Ancient Egyptian custom in a rural Suffolk setting) would give the poem a strange and attractive quality.”
Ben Wilkinson reviews Mark Doty’s Theories and Apparitions (Cape £9), John Agard’s Clever Backbone (Bloodaxe £7.95) and Rob A Mackenzie’s The Opposite of Cabbage (Salt £12.99).
Claire Crowther reviews Liane Strauss’s Frankie, Alfredo, (Donut Press £5), Polly Clark’s Farewell My Lovely (Bloodaxe £7.95) and Leontia Flynn’s Drives (Cape £9).
Rosie Shepperd reviews Paula Meehan’s Painting Rain (Carcanet £9.95), Andrew Philip’s The Ambulance Box (Salt £12.99) and River Wolton’s The Purpose of Your Visit (Smith/Doorstop Books £4).
Laurie Smith reviews Lorraine Mariner’s Furniture (Picador £8.99) and Kevin Higgins’ Time Gentlemen, Please (Salmon Publishing €12).