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Autumn has arrived and with it a perfect opportunity to curl up in your favourite armchair in the fading light and read a copy of Magma 51. We were delighted with the variety of responses to our theme, Profane and Sacred, which range from the wide-eyed and joyful to the challenging and angry: poems from different points on the continuum. But it’s not all serious – you’ll also find some very funny poems waiting for you inside this issue.

Along with our usual reviews section, the prose reflects a variety of viewpoints: Buddhist poet Maitreyabandhu offers Thirteen Ways of Making Poetry a Spiritual Practice, while Sally Read invites us to walk the blurred line between the profane and sacred. Kathryn Simmonds offers some enlightenment on the subject of titling poems and there’s an intriguing poem and interview feature with Pascale Petit, who chose as her Presiding Spirit Maria Sabina, a Mazatec Shaman famous for her curing chants. The Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, pays homage the power of the written word and offers a tribute to one of his favourite poets, WH Auden: ‘In the prison of his days/ Teach the free man how to praise.’


Working Titles Kathryn Simmonds on naming your poem. Finding the right title for a poem can feel like trying to solve a particularly painful crossword clue, but once you’ve hit on the solution, sometimes after dozens of false starts, the answer seems obvious: how could it have taken so long? I find this tantalising, head-scratching phase of…
13 Ways of Making Poetry a Spiritual Practice O thin men of Haddam, Why do you imagine golden birds? Do you not see how the blackbird Walks around the feet Of the women about you? Wallace Stevens – Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird   Spiritual life is primarily concerned with overcoming self-centredness, with committing ourselves to values such as empathy and…
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