1. 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.

    Jon Sayers
    Nick Sunderland

  2. 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.

  3. ‘fine black thread still crimped from the strain and snap when it broke and he got away.’ – from The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

    Magma 59 is being edited by Roberta James with Alex Pryce and we are inviting poems on the theme of ‘breaks’.   We want to explore how one word that can be understood in so many ways can set free your creative ideas and inspire a diverse range of the best poetry.

  4. Call for submissions for Magma 58: The Music of Words

    Written by Laurie Smith at 5:48 pm

    We want to explore the music of poetry – not necessarily poetry about music as in Magma 53, but music within poetry. We would like to receive poems where the meaning is expressed or strengthened by the sound of the words – perhaps going beyond sound effects like alliteration and onomatopoeia to the wider organisation of a series of sounds and thus their flow : features such as rhythm, pulse, pitch, tonality, articulation, dynamics and mood, all of which can express meaning. And we’re very much aware that poetry, like music, can be harmonious, dissonant or both!

    A recent example of music within poetry is Paul Stephenson’s The Pull which won Magma’s short poem competition last year:

  5. Poetry is a shaping of words and that shape can often be seen on the page. At the most basic level, lines that turn before they reach the margin are an early cue for us to treat text as poem. In Magma 57 we are particularly interested in poems that possess shapeliness; poems that look interesting on the page; poems whose appearance is integrated with their form and content; shape as key to timing, meaning and music.

    Seamus Heaney has spoken of the sonnet form as a body, with a waist and a need for the right number of limbs in order to function. That kind of shapeliness is not obvious in the layout of text (although perhaps readers can register a block of fourteen lines as a single gestalt, just as we recognise 🙂 as a face). So we certainly do not insist on unconventional layouts, unconventional layouts, in fact

  6. Come and join us for the launch reading of the new issue of Magma on Monday 19th November at The Troubadour, Earl’s Court, London, as part of the Coffee House Series. The event will be full of contributors who’ll be coming to read, and we’re also thrilled to have as our guest readers Sean Borodale and Maurice Riordan who have both contributed poems to this issue. The evening will start at 8pm sharp, at The Troubadour Coffee House, 265 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 (near Earl’s Court Tube). Tickets are £7/£6 concessions; doors open at 7.30pm. Come early for the best seats, to get yourself a drink, buy a copy of the magazine or chat to a member of the Magma team. This issue, edited by Judy Brown and Cherry Smyth, is now available to buy from the Magma and in bookshops. Hope you can make it. We’d love to see you there.

  7. Call for submissions – Magma 56: Clothes

    Written by Julia Bird at 8:30 am

    In the introduction to her anthology of clothes poems Out of Fashion (Faber, 2004), Carol Ann Duffy wrote ‘[these poems] examine, in their different ways, how we dress or undress, how we cover up or reveal, and how clothes, fashion and jewellery are both a necessary and luxurious, a practical and sensual, a liberating and repressing part of our lives. I hope that the anthology forms an entertaining dialogue between the two arts of poetry and fashion’.This push and pull between cover up and revelation, necessity and luxury is what we’d like to see in your clothes poems for Magma 56, whether you’re writing about dress uniforms or haute couture, morning suits or suits of armour. Tell us about your little black dresses and your lucky pants, your wedding dresses and your weeding gloves and we’ll send the best of your poems down the catwalk of Magma 56.

    Give us a twirl. Non-clothes poems also welcome.

  8. ‘Here is a verbal contraption. How does it work?’ – W.H.Auden

    ‘A poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words.’ – William Carlos Williams

  9. Come and join us for the launch reading of the new issue of Magma on Monday 5th March at The Troubadour, Earl’s Court, London, as part of the Coffee House Series.

    The event will be full of contributors who’ll be coming to read, and we’re also thrilled to have as our guest readers Greta Stoddart and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch who have both contributed poems to this issue.

  10. Magma 51 is now available to buy from the Magma website and in bookshops. The issue is edited by Jacqueline Saphra with Ian McEwen with the theme ‘Profane and Sacred’.

    Don’t miss the Magma 51 launch reading on Monday 14th November at The Troubadour, Earl’s Court, London.