FOOD: Magma x Vittles
“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate, you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”
Food is one of the great commonalities. No matter who we are, or where or when we’re from, each of us carries with us memories, recipes, and associations related to our individual food journeys. Whether it’s a family meal or community banquet, a specific off-brand product or a home-grown ingredient, it’s the things we eat that often help build who we become. At the same time, food can be a great divider – one person’s favourite flavour is another’s acquired taste. Food is political – those who have and have not, those who make decisions about what others eat, our ever-increasing need for food banks, radical cooking, the environmental or ethical impact of what we eat. Communities still argue over whose version of a particular dish is the original, or the best. It’s precisely because of all these similarities and differences that food can become a swinging door opening into greater explorations of that very-human question: what are we eating tonight?
“Imagine for a moment
the still life of our meals,
meat followed by yellow cheese,
grapes pale against the blue armor of fish.”
—–From “The Invention of Cuisine” by Carol Muske-Dukes
If a blank page can be described as a canvas then so can a blank plate, or even better, skip the canvas altogether and call the page a plate. Your poetry could lay across it like a Nouvelle cuisine main, the kind of thing you might find described in a Michelin Guide. Or else fill the space like a hearty stew overflowing from a cauldron – an open invitation for readers to gather around it with spoons raised. Poetry can be a ready-meal with pierced lid spinning in a microwave, or a ripped open pack of instant noodles, or a greasy bucket of takeaway chicken. Poetry can taste good and nourish both body and heart.
We’re looking for poems which fit into any and all of the above styles of cooking and eating, as well as poetry that pushes the boundaries of what cuisine means and can be. Whether it’s following a set recipe or a form of your own creation, the most important aspect of these poems will be the ingredients you use and the how and why of your flavour-combinations. We’re looking for ‘authentic’ expressions of what food means to you, as well as expressions of what exactly ‘authentic’ food might mean to your tastebuds. We’ll bring our own cutlery. All we ask is that you send us something that you would happily eat yourself.
We’re thrilled that this issue will be in collaboration with food and culture newsletter Vittles. A selection of poems from the issue will also be featured there, selected by Sharanya Deepak, Rebecca May Johnson and Jonathan Nunn.
We look forward to reading your poems!
Sean Wai Keung & Ella Frears, editors, Magma 86
Wanting to submit to Magma 86? You may submit:
Up to 4 previously unpublished poems in a single Word document.
We are now accepting simultaneous submissions – but please withdraw your submission or contact us if it is accepted for publication somewhere else first.
Go to Submittable for more details.