Tag Archives: Jane Commane

Magma 74 – Poetry Gets Down to Work

Magma 74We may be knee-deep in the holiday season, but Magma’s summer issue gets to the heart of what everyday life so often boils down to – work. The getting of it. The losing of it. The joys. The frustrations. The politics.

It’s a truly memorable issue, put together by editors Benedict Newbery and Pauline Sewards with an eye for wit, as well as grit. The cover image by Joff Winterhart is spot on.

Poets published in issue 74 include:  Anne Berkeley, Claire Booker, Kate Bingham, Alison Brackenbury, Carole Bromley, Fiona Cartwright, Emma Danes, Caroline Davies, Terence Dooley, Duncan Forbes, Owen Gallagher, Anne Hay, Robin Houghton, Angela Howarth, Ewan John, Lorraine Mariner, Fokkina McDonald, Martin Rieser, Anne Ryland, Jayne Stanton, Paul Stephenson and Angela Topping.

Magma (Work) launch 2 (2)From posties, haymakers, turnip-pullers and stone masons, to tea ladies, celebrity-minders, university lecturers, ventriloquists and new mums – so many takes on what makes work, work. How to survive it. Why we do it. What it’s like when it stops.

“Work should be every bit as universal a theme as love” says Jane Commane in her feature article ‘Ideas Above Your Station’. “And yet too often it remains the unspoken, unsung business of our days.”

As part of Magma’s regular slot, Tim Wells responds to Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poem Inglan is a Bitch, with his own specially commissioned poem no escaping it – read with absolute verve and conviction at the Magma 74 London launch at Exmouth Market last month (see below). Magma (Work) launch

It was lovely to be one of the 23 contributors performing on such a glitzy stage. Stand-out readings included the flamboyant Stuart Charlesworth, the sinister tones of Graham Buchan, and a brilliant sestina by Rachel Bower. There was even a surprise guest spot for Hilaire whose joint collection with Joolz Sparkes is reviewed in this issue.

If you entered Magma’s 2018/19 poetry competition, you’ll be interested to read the winning entries – Judge’s Prize: Fuck/Boys by Inua Ellams; Stillborn by Rowena Warwick; Hangover by Ben Strak. Editors’ Prize: A Strange Boulder by Derek Hughes; Entertaining Sammy Davis Jnr in St Ives, 1962 by Kathy Pimlott; Lanterns by Katie Hale.

Magma (74)_0002Tom Sastry is the featured poet in the current issue. His first full collection (A Man’s House Catches Fire) will be published by Nine Arches Press in October. There are fascinating articles relating to poetry, work and class by Louisa Adjoa Parker, Jane Commane and Fran Lock, and the usual meaty, thought-inducing reviews section.

To order a copy of Magma (issue 74) or to find out how to submit to Magma 76 (closing date 31st August, theme Resistencia) check out the website at: Magma

Poems, reviews, short fiction in Under the Radar

The alphabet’s been good to me. I was born with a ‘B’ in my mouth, which means I get to be one of the front runners in alphabetically organised lists through no skill of my own.

Under the Radar (issue 16)Uncommonly for a literary magazine, Under the Radar chooses to present its poetry in alphabetical order. You’d think this would make an awkward flow of poems, kicking randomly against each other. But no; in issue 16, more than fifty poems weave their content, style and layout with panache, offering a truly invigorating read. How did editor Jane Commane manage that?

And  there’s the added advantage that it’s easier to track a poet you know or want to read for a second time if all the work is alphabetically arranged.

Writers in issue 16 include Claire Booker, Natalie Burdett, Andrew Button, Rishi Dastidar, Chris Dodd, Charlotte Gann, James Giddings, Chris Hardy, Jenny Hope, Brian Johnstone, Martin Malone, Joan Michelson, Fiona Moore, Angela Readman, Martin Reed, Marion Tracy and Julia Webb.

There are a couple of short stories, plus thirteen well-argued reviews from Kathleen Bell, Alison Brackenbury, Kim Moore, Pam Thompson, Deborah Tyler-Bennett and Charles Whalley. The clever money appears to be on, among others, Josephine Corcoran’s The Misplaced House; Steve Ely’s Englaland; Kim Moore’s The Art of Falling; Peter Riley’s Due North; and John Tait’s Barearse Boy.

To buy a copy of Under the Radar (Issue 16) or to submit your own work (the current window for short fiction and poetry closes on 30th April) please visit: www.ninearchespress.com