Volume 107, No 4, Winter 2017

What kind of sense can be made of a poem? Veronica Forrest-Thomson has argued that “poetry must progress by deliberately trying to defeat the expectations of its readers or hearers, especially the expectation that they will be able to extract meaning from a poem”, while Wallace Stevens wondered, “If the poem had a meaning and if its explanation destroyed the illusion, should we have gained or lost?” But there are kinds of meanings that register somewhere beyond our ability to understand or explain them; there can be a pleasure (and hence a kind of meaning), as Adam Phillips has remarked, in “listening to voices without understanding what they are saying”.

from Emily Berry’s Editorial


Richard Georges, On Remembering, or Dreams of Remembering, Too Full of Vermouth and Cigarette Smoke
Jen Hadfield, Mortis and Tenon, Quarff
Kayo Chingonyi, The Frequency of Longing, The last night of my 20s, Blues for Albert ‘Prodigy’ Johnson and Carl ‘Haystee’ Samuel
Billy Ramsell, Two Boys
Holly Pester, International Workers’ Day
O. Flote, Salisbury Prison, 31 December 1966, Nyanga
Lee Young-Ju / Jae Kim, Brewery
  Read Jae Kim’s ‘Behind the poem’ article on translating Lee Young-Ju
Jang Su-Jin / Jae Kim, Tofu Synecdoche
Penelope Shuttle, Gardens where there’s no need for a garden Read Penelope Shuttle’s ‘Behind the poem’ article
Dave Margoshes, Pears
Julia Copus, Some questions for later
Hisham Bustani / Thoraya El-Rayyes, The Maestro, Night
Lucia Dove, Distraction in conversation
Juan Nicolás Padrón / Louis Bourne, I Have Hopes of Being a Skeptic, The Wait
Mark Waldron, WW1 Marcie, Angry with Trees
Katharine Towers, Nonchalant
Linda France, Morralee Wood
Carrie Etter, And On that Morning I Awoke Whiter than the Night Before, Heroin Song 3
Ian Humphreys, touch-me-not, Bare Branch
Vishvantara, My Middle Tongue
Paul Birtill, Quick Exit, Grand National Day
Joanna Guthrie, Fort Lauderdale Bus Station
Will Harris, SAY
Melissa Lee-Houghton, Heroin II


from Sophie Herxheimer’s Your Candle Accompanies the Sun


Jack Underwood on poetry and uncertain subjects
Never to be extinguished flame: Dzifa Benson on Lorna Goodison
The house of pain and mending: Kate Potts on prison poetry


Bidisha reviews Ten: Poets of the New Generation
Kit Fan on Thom Gunn’s Selected Poems, edited by Clive Wilmer
Alice Hiller on Pascale Petit and Anne Michaels
Dai George reviews Harmony Holiday and Tyehimba Jess
Ellen Cranitch on Sinéad Morrissey, Michael Symmons Roberts and JL Williams
Emily Hasler reviews Ágnes Lehóczky and Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Mary Jean Chan on Amaan Hyder, Rachel McCrum and Claudine Toutoungi
Edward Doegar on Shane McCrae and Ishaq Imruh Bakari
Jennifer Wong considers five new pamphlets
Rory Waterman on neglected modernist Terence Tiller

Coda: in tribute to the many magnificent poets who left us in 2017… a selection of portraits by Chris Riddell

Cover image: Sophy Hollington