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We chose ‘visibility and invisibility’ as our theme for Magma 54, and this pair of opposites sparked off a fascinating range of writing stretching from revelation to disappearance, via the organs of sight and the visible arts. The issue contains 70 new poems including new work from Maurice Riordan and Sean Borodale, recently shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, as well as a new poem by Vicki Feaver written specially for Magma, taking inspiration from Edward Thomas’s Old Man. In the accompanying interview, Vicki talks about how her love for Thomas’s poetry has nourished her own work. There is also a poem from each of this year’s Gregory Award winners.

Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent, shares her memories of a Russian poet, Linda Black explains how she surprised herself into writing prose poems and Katrina Naomi wonders how violence feeds into the creative process, taking soundings from Sharon Olds and Robin Robertson among others. And Vasilis Papageorgiou investigates the “buzzing” of John Ashbery’s poetry. We hope you will enjoy what our contributors have found in plain sight – and out of it.

Cover image by Joan Grubin

Verse: reflected color from acrylic on paper flaps : 15″ x 17″ x 2″: 2011

Page 35, column 2 : the sentence above Malachite should read “Stein takes words off their leash, makes them do something different, making us question how we experience language, rather like the experience of looking at a Picasso painting.” Magma apologises to Linda Black for this error.


Mark Waldron North by Northwest
Simon McCormack The Butcher and the Haruspex
Audrey Henderson How the Blue Nude met the Demoiselles
Jo Hemmant The Donation
Andrew Deloss Eaton Recollections and Ideas from Book of Wind and Brass
Josh Ekroy Tourist Bus Halt
Maria Apichella Jar


Presiding Spirits: Vicki Feaver talks to Judy Brown In Presiding Spirits we ask a contemporary poet to write a poem which draws on writing from the past. In this issue Vicki Feaver responds to Edward Thomas’s Old Man.   Old Man Old Man, or Lads-Love, – in the name there’s nothing To one that knows not Lads-Love, or Old Man, The hoar green…
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