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Choosing the music of words as our theme, we hoped to receive poems that use the sounds of words in new ways and we’ve been delighted. The poems in Magma 58 teem with rhyme, half-rhyme, internal rhyme, echoic effects, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhythms used in new and exciting as well as traditional ways. Poets have also used musical structures in new ways and the music of other languages – Scots, Gaelic, Norfolk dialect, made-up slang, rap, Caribbean patois (for a limerick about an Ofsted school inspector!). There are poems with musical features we’ve never seen before.

We’re delighted to have a section of Simon Armitage’s new work – a beautiful version of Pearl by the 14th century writer of Sir Gawain and the Green Night which Simon has also translated. And Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, has written brilliantly about the magnificent music of Donne’s Hymn to God My God in my Sickness as his favourite poem.

Talking of favourite poems, we asked some well-known poets, contributors and others to tell us about a poem they love.

Kathleen Jamie, Ian Duhig, Helena Nelson, John Stammers, Clare Pollard and many others have shared their favourites with us in an article on Personal anthologies. Their chosen poems are available here. There’s also an article – Smartpoems – on the promising influence of the new electronic media on poetry; and Amanda Holden, England’s most experienced translator of opera libretti, writes about her work for poets interested in making versions of poems in other languages.


Victoria Grigg Shhhhhh
Paul Stephenson The Apprentice
Jacqueline Saphra Lipsicated
Jonathan Edwards Man Selling Talk Talk in the Arcade
Geraldine Clarkson Homily of Francis
Jon Sayers Con Brio
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