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[SUBMISSIONS NOW CLOSED] Call for Submissions: Magma 47 ‘the devil and all his works’

Is the devil you know better than the devil you don’t? Does the devil take you? Do you speak of the devil? Have you been having a devil of a time and was it the devil to pay? Was the devil in the detail? Are you playing devil’s advocate? Is the devil he, she, both, or neither? Are you caught between the devil and Deep Blue Sea? Are you in limbo? Are you in Purgatory? Did you ever make a Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake? Is your hell private or public, and at which station on the Circle Line do you get off? Why does the devil have so many names and why does he have all the best tunes? Are you one of the beautiful and the damned?

Annie Freud, Guest Editor of Magma 47, with Roberta James as assistant editor, invites you to submit poems stimulated by anything connected with the devil and all his works.

The deadline is 28 February 2010. Off-theme poems will also be considered. Please see the Contributions page for details of how to submit your poems.

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[SUBMISSIONS NOW CLOSED] Call for Poetry Submissions: Magma 45 ‘Telling Stories’

I’m thrilled to be editing Magma 45, and have decided to ask for poems on the theme of ‘Telling Stories.’ As a poet who has written plays, as well as a screenplay that never got made (a rom-com about a psychic that I still feel would have been a surefire hit…) I’m currently very interested in the way we tell stories through poems – cuts, flashbacks, unreliable narrators, twists. Many playwrights believe in cutting everything that doesn’t drive the story forward, and, though poetry has always been more tolerant of digression, it is always interesting to think about what we should include (and edit out) of our tales. For example, should poetic scenes obey the screenwriting adage: ‘arrive late, leave early’? The theme also comes out of my own obsessions at the moment. I’m currently deeply into folk music – particularly ballads and the strange, subversive tales they tell. I’ve been listening to Fairport Convention and new-folk songbirds like Laura Marling, digging out my dog-eared Collected Yeats, and discovering the wonderful world of the Child and Border ballads. This has led me to write ‘cover versions’ of old poems such as ‘Twa Corbies’ and ‘Reynardine’, and liberally raid what Larkin rather dismissively called ‘the myth-kitty’ to rediscover stories of Zennor mermaids, malevolent faeries, werefoxes and witchcraft. I’d love to read your own attempts to engage with these ancient, oral traditions. Finally, I’ve also chosen the theme because I feel too much contemporary poetry is self-indulgent – concentrating on self-expression to the point where it forgets it has an audience. I feel strongly that, even if our subject matter is deeply personal, we should always be aware we have responsibilities to our reader – to give them everything they need to understand the poem; to entertain; to tell them something new. Great storytellers know how to keep us engaged, leaving space for the reader to make their own interpretations – as my favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, said: “Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” So the search begins for sparkling anecdotes and tall tales… Only remember the sign pinned above Anne Sexton’s desk: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BE BORING. The deadline for submissions is 15 July. 'Off theme' poems will also be considered. Please see the Contributions page for details of how to submit your poems.
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