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‘Freedom’ is a word so big, or so close to us, that perhaps we don’t even see it. Certainly the poems that arrived in response to our call for poems on the theme of ‘Freedom’ were so various that often we couldn’t decide if a poem was supposed to address the theme at all. But the best of them enacted, across the gamut of political, personal, geographical and cultural life, the human freedom of the careful and electric word.

The prose pieces consider freedom from a range of viewpoints. Sean O’Brien’s piece, for Magma’s National Conversation project, reminds us that freedom entails responsibility. This year’s Forward Prize winner Kei Miller considers freedom and travel. Gwen Adshead discusses how Larkin was able to express the unsayable. Tishani Doshi, in dialogue with Elizabeth Bishop, has an urge “to engrave the words on cages”. And Matthew Sweeney remembers the great constraining freedom of collaborating with the late John Hartley Williams. We are also pleased to offer work by this year’s Eric Gregory Award winners and a fine batch of poems by Jos Smith for our regular ‘selected’ feature.

Rob A. Mackenzie & Tony Williams
Editors, Magma 60


Tim Cumming Three Eggs
Jos Smith Leaving
Martha Sprackland Lessons
Sophie Fenella Chalk Lines
James Sheard Letters, Light
DA Prince The bell-makers


Inspired: The inspiration behind Tishani Doshi's new poem in Magma 60 'In The Waiting Room' by Elizabeth Bishop A full transcript of In the Waiting Room by Elizabeth Bishop is available to read on
Requested: Gwen Adshead chooses Philip Larkin's Talking in Bed You can read Talking in Bed by Philip Larkin I often think that we take the extraordinary capacities of our minds for granted; and of those capacities, language is the most extraordinary. A collection of letters makes a word, and…
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