1. Call for Contributions – Magma 66 on the theme of ‘Comedy’

    Written by admin — February 1, 2016 9:47


    “Dying is easy, comedy is hard”, were allegedly the last words of the Shakespearean actor, Edmund Kean, and anyone who has tried to stand on a stage and make people laugh will know what he means. But what about on the page?

    The late James Tate said “I love my funny poems, but I’d rather break your heart. And if I can do both in the same poem, that’s the best.”

    So, here is your challenge. We want poems to make us belly laugh, poems to make us chuckle, witty poems, punny poems, absurd poems. We want poems that are deliciously dark, perverse, shocking, delicately funny, embarrassingly painful, silly and surreal. We want poems of all shapes and styles from a diverse range of poets. Does comedy have boundaries or differences based on culture, gender, class, or is it truly the great universal? Is slapstick possible in a poem? What about visual gags? Are some words inherently funnier than others?

    But we don’t just want to limit you to being funny, like the best comedy routines, we want variety and range. We also invite poems about comedy and comedians, about what makes us laugh and why, about the thin line between comedy and tragedy, and we want poems that, as James Tate says, will make us laugh and also break our hearts.

    Not much to ask, right?

    Ella Frears and John Canfield

    Please send us up to four poems by Submittable from 1st February 2016 to 31st March 2016 or by post with an s.a.e. (if you live in the UK) to Magma Contributions, 23 Pine Walk, Carshalton, SM5 4ES. 


  2. Blog Review 44 – Clare Best Reviews ‘Transparencies’ by Meg Bateman

    Written by Clare Best at January 19, 2016 9:18

    I’ve now been reading Transparencies, on and off, for almost two years. This is a good period of time over which to think about a collection that works across Gaelic and English as well as seeming to span at least one lifetime of experience.

    Bateman made her name as a poet in Gaelic, though not as a native speaker. This is her first largely English collection. In Transparencies, some poems (though only twelve in a collection of sixty-four) are presented bilingually with the Gaelic originals on the verso, the poet’s own translations into English on the recto. The other poems appear in their sole English form. I know not one word of Gaelic and yet the Gaelic poems surprised and delighted me each time I encountered them. I was enchanted by looking at this strange rich language, full of consonantal clusters. I kept trying to lay the English over the Gaelic, or vice versa – one way in which the title of the collection began to work its charm.

  3. What makes for a competition-winning poem?

    Written by Wes Brown at January 16, 2016 14:03


    On a cold January night, we were joined by Dominic Bury, Linda Black, Paul Stephenson and Geraldine Clarkson for a Magma event at The Torriano Meeting House to hear prize winning poems performed and to ask the poets about their approach to competitions and how they decide which poems to enter: whether they think it’s down to luck, persistence, talent, or a combination of all three. Indeed, is there such a thing as a competition-winning poem?

  4. National Conversation Event: Peel & Portion

    Written by admin at January 14, 2016 10:22

    Peel & Portion is a discussion with a varied group of leading poets about their poetic process with particular focus on their drafting process, exploring a poem’s origins, the changes it goes through, and at what point it is considered finished.

    We’re very excited to have SJ Fowler, Kathryn Maris and Rebecca Perry, three exciting and varied poets with very different aesthetics and processes.

  5. Magma Poetry Competition Event

    Written by Wes Brown at January 5, 2016 12:55

    Come along and hear some past Magma Poetry Competition winners, including Geraldine Clarkson, Paul Stephenson, Linda Black and Magma’s very own Dominic Bury at our pre-deadline Poetry Competition Event on Friday 8 January at 7.30. You’ll get a chance to ask the poets about their approach to competitions and how they decide which poems to enter: whether they think it’s down to luck, persistence, talent or a combination of all three. Indeed, is there such a thing as a competition poem? Find out more by joining us at the Torriano Meeting House, 99 Torriano Avenue, London, NW5 2RX. Free refreshments. Click here to book your place.

  • Views expressed on this blog are those of the individual authors -- Magma seeks to present a range of views, not a single Magma view.
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