Clare Pollard, Alan Buckley and myself journeyed up to Manchester one cold clear Wednesday morning in October to do a reading and a Q&A about Magma. The train journey passed in the wink of an eye, involving among other things a long and fevered debate about Don Paterson’s interpretation of the sonnets, whether there’s anything you can’t write about in poetry and our relative capacities for caffeine.
At The Cornerhouse, Manchester’s warm and welcoming international arts centre, we met up with Sarah Jackson who had come from Nottingham to read for us. The event took place in a beautiful room with exposed beams in the roof and light flooding in from both sides. The acoustics were great too, so no need for a sound system. Our calm and thoroughly well-organised hosts at the Festival had sold out the event, and the three of us: Alan, Sarah and myself very much enjoyed reading for the attentive and enthusiastic audience. It was interesting to hear three poets all published in Magma reading one after the other – we’re all very different and that difference reflected the ‘Magma-ness’ of the event. Rotating editorship of the magazine for each issue means that we publish a wide range of poems.
Fellow Magma editor Clare Pollard who MC’d the event led the Q&A along with me. It’s always a worry that nobody will have anything to ask in these sessions, but our audience were full of interesting questions, ranging from ‘My poems all rhyme and it’s hard to get them published; why do you think that is?’ to ‘What is a poem?’ to ‘It’s so great to hear the poets reading their own work: why don’t you podcast your readings?’ This last question was a good one, as plans are afoot to record and podcast the launch of Magma 48 on the 15th November at The Troubadour.
It was, as always, a real pleasure to meet some existing readers and find some new ones: the sales table was very busy after the event. Big thanks are due to the terrific organisers of the Manchester Literature Festival and also to our lovely audience, who made us feel so welcome.
EDIT: There’s a very nice review of the Magma Roadshow over at the Manchester Literature Festival blog.
Photos copyright Manchester Literature Festival, reproduced by kind permission.