Magma’s original meaning in Greek is ‘mixture’ and so the theme of ‘the street’ seems a fitting reflection of our magazine’s ambition to represent the widest mix of poetry, from the formal to the informal, the mainstream to the margins. The street, after all, is shared territory: all human life is there. Magma, too, is common ground, and we believe all poetic life should be able to rub shoulders here.
We are seeking poems that celebrate the street as a public thoroughfare, owned by no-one and everyone, where strangers pass and old acquaintance meets, where glances are exchanged or avoided, feet fight for space with wheels, sticks, and paws, where shoppers, commuters, the young, the old, the down, the out, are all following their own paths and purposes, moving towards hidden destinations; the street as a stage where fights, riots and nothing in particular can happen, where transactions, congress and compacts take place, by day or by night, of an innocent or not altogether innocent kind. Where robbery happens in daylight and hiding takes place in plain sight. The street is a theatre in which we are all both actor and audience.
We are looking to revive the art of flânerie – Balzac’s ‘gastronomy of the eye’, and Victor Fornel’s ‘moving photograph’ (‘un daguerréotype mobile et passioné’) ‘of urban experience’ – and to raise the stock of the flâneur: Walter Benjamin’s ‘essential figure of the modern urban spectator, an amateur detective and investigator of the city’. We are hoping for some Frank O’Hara lunch poem type poems, spontaneously and freshly composed, perhaps, on walks through city streets – or country lanes. And we are hoping, too, for some delectable gastronomy of the ear and nose, as well as the eye, to really bring the street to life in our pages.
We are also looking for poems that might recall a particular street and its inhabitants, its children’s games, or that use the rich languages – and slanguages – of the street.
The deadline is 30th September 2014. As always, we will be happy to consider poems on other themes, too. Please see the Contributions page for details of how to submit your poems. We look forward to hearing from you.