Call it Latinx, Latin American, Hispanic – the ‘Resistencia’ issue of Magma is a red hot fiesta of South America’s many vibrant cultures and their diaspora.
Poets featured include Juana Adcock, Gioconda Belli, Claire Booker, Olivia Dawson, Caleb Femi, Russel Karrick, Sharon Larkin, Katherine Lockton, Maria Negroni, Stephen Payne, Bianca Perez, Amilcar Sanatan, Adrianna Smith, Yome Sode, Claudine Toutoungi and Hilary Watson.
The poems include ghazals, sonnets and sestinas, as well as prose poetry, translations and other forms. They range from powerful acts of witness to whimsical musing and sensual meditative explorations. At a time when the UK is becoming increasingly multilingual, the richness of living in the creative tensions between languages is a fertile and critical area to explore.
Last month’s launch should have been at Tate Modern’s Terrace bookshop with resplendent views of the River Thames. Instead it was at my house, your house, houses across the globe, curtesy of Zoom. No lovely photos of the launch, therefore, (your know what a Zoom line-up looks like by now!) but a good hundred people turned up, many of whom would not have been able to make it to London.
With its nose for the cross-cultural, the collaboration, the unpredictable, Magma has pulled off a tour de force. Ignore this one at your peril.
“This is probably the first poetry journal in the world to include Latin American poets from that region, British Latinx poets and North American Latinx poets, illustrating the way in which Latin American culture exists in diaspora,” write Leo Boix and Nathalie Teitler in their Editorial.
Coming from a mix of cultures myself (French, English), I love the fluidity of this issue – how it moves between languages, translations, some poems coming from a place of dual heritage, others from outsiders looking in. And I’m especially thrilled that my poem ‘The Bone That Sang’ has been included (literally the last poem in the issue), because it’s the title poem of my next pamphlet, due out later this year from Indigo Dreams (here endeth the plug!)
There’s an astounding piece of writing by Pascale Petit, entitled Rio Tambopata, about her experiences in the Amazon. We’re in full-on Petit territory here, with its unmistakable magical realism and emotional impact: “I have to pass through the gates of the jaguar’s sparkling fangs, to imagine my birth. . . . I lie on my leaf-cradle next to a baby caiman, and see the cockroaches scuttle into my mother’s flowering face.” A Thomson Holidays tour this ain’t!
Also in this issue, Francisco Aragon responds to work by Carmen Gimenez Smith and creates the found poem ‘With Carmen’: “The piece couldn’t exist without Carmen’s exquisite language. My contribution is the deliberate curation of and, no less crucial, ordering of that language.” This raises the interesting point of why poets borrow from each other’s work, and how collaboration can yield exciting adventures with exactly the same words, but not necessarily – to quote Eric Morecombe – in the same order!
Plus there’s a fascinating evaluation of the Manifesto for a Latino-British Poetry by Dr Nathalie Teitler, as well as the usual in-depth reviews of newly released poetry collections.
To buy a copy of Magma (issue 76), take out a subscription or check on the next submissions window, visit: Magma