When we first decided on the theme of Europe for this issue, we sent out a wide-ranging 12-point call for submissions. We knew, just a year after the divisive Referendum vote, that we would of course get Brexit poems, but we wanted to invite a much broader exploration of what Europe means to each of you.
We were inundated with poems that undertook exactly that exploration, from the personal to the political, from the contemporary experience to the nostalgic recollection. Of course you sent us holiday poems and historical poems, but you also submitted poems about the way your language defines you and the ways you’ve been changed by the journeys you’ve taken.
The most exciting poems took us on a journey too and after reading them we felt we had arrived in a new place. We’ve been able to publish poems in translation, poems about immigration, poems about geography and poems about interrogation. We were pleased to see some interesting experimentation with form, sometimes playful, frequently demanding. And naturally you sent us some fine and inventive Brexit poems too.
We were excited to be able to commission a wide range of articles as well. We hope Will Stone’s thoughtful exploration of a lesser-known First World War voice, the Austrian poet, Georg Trakl, will introduce new readers to his work, and that Eleanor Livingstone’s piece on different European poetry festivals will encourage some of you to travel further afield in your quest to hear great poets. We hope too that you’ll enjoy the story of Richard O’Brien’s discovery of a poem by Christopher Fry written on the occasion of Britain’s joining the EEC. Rosalie Challis has written a letter to Proust about the lifelong inspiration she has found in his work and, in the process, made her own discovery too; we’re sure you’ll find it informative, engaging and heartfelt. As always, we have a range of insightful reviews of new poetry collections and pamphlets.
We wanted to include as many voices as possible in this issue in order to do justice to the breadth of the theme and we’re delighted to be able to publish so many poets, both established and new voices. We hope that you will enjoy this poetic exploration of Europe.
Susannah Hart and Paul Stephenson
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