We are delighted to be editing Magma 60, for which the theme is ‘freedom’. It is very much a theme for our times. Many of the freedoms we enjoy today have not been easily won and we might feel some are under serious threat.
We want poems that touch in some way on personal or political freedom or how those interact. We’d also like to see poems that walk the tightrope between freedom and form.
One person’s freedom can be another person’s constraint. My freedom to make a racket ends your freedom to enjoy peace and quiet. A Government’s freedom to make laws or impose surveillance on its citizens could curtail your freedom to speak or live as you please. The Government will claim it’s for your own good or for the good of society. The Velvet Underground’s melancholy song, ‘I’m Set Free’, envisaged freedom only for finding a “new illusion”. What are the limits of freedom?
This issue has a submissions period before the Scottish referendum on independence and publication afterwards (in November 2014). What did Mel Gibson mean when he shouted, somewhat ambiguously, to his men before battle, “They may take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom!”? What is freedom without the ability to live it?
We talk about having artistic freedom, which may or may not be possible in poetry or in any other art form. Is free verse actually free? Do the constraints of form free the imagination by pulling it in unexpected directions?
In February 2014, a group of writers (in The Guardian) reflected on what freedom meant to them. Novelist, Ian McEwan, wrote, “Every freedom we possess or are struggling to possess has had to be thought and talked and written into existence.” Here is a chance to think and write freedoms and we hope it’s an issue that will be much talked about too.
The deadline is 31 May 2014. Off-theme poems will also be considered. Please see the Contributions page for details of how to submit your poems.
Rob A. Mackenzie and Tony Williams, editors Magma 60.