Vol 108, No 4, Winter 2018

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In December 1947, this magazine’s then editor Muriel Spark wrote in an editorial, as though responding to her detractors (of which she had many), “Let us distrust the vicious, shrill, almost hysterical denunciation of an ‘obscure’ poem until we are satisfied that it is indeed the poem which is nebulous and not the vision of the accuser, involuntarily withdrawn from a blinding, significant light.” It’s somehow comforting that people are still levelling the same complaints at poetry today. What would be so bad, though, about something being “nebulous”, or its synonyms, ‘hazy’, ‘indistinct’, ‘uncertain’, ‘cloudy’, etc? So much in life is all of those things.

from Emily Berry’s Editorial

Poems

Ruth Wiggins, Daughters, A handful of string
Rainie Oet, I Miss the Slug Ooze of That Summer You Died, Caverns
Duo Yu / Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Rain Born under a Leo Sign, Writing Small Poems Makes One Anxious, Reading Historical Annals
Luís Quintais / Lesley Saunders, A Prince in All Things, A Young Woman Sits Down Opposite Me And She Is Already Language
Sam Riviere, from The Epigrams of Martial
Amy Crutchfield, A Clean House , True in the Senses
Baek Eun-seon / Jae Kim, a hospital a customer a chair a table
Fred Melnyczuk, Añoranza
Pascale Petit, Her Flowers, Her Gypsy Clothes, The Umbrella Stand
Frank Ormsby, Towards an Elegy, Dawn Chorus and Painting by Joan Miró, Convalescence
Fawzia Muradali Kane, Paring, You will observe…
Fleur Adcock, An April Bat, Wood Mice
Jodie Hollander, Corn on the Cob
Vandana Khanna, Interrogation, Brief Apocalypse  Read Vandana’s ‘Behind the poem’ article
Will Harris, from The white jumper Read Will’s ‘Behind the poem’ article
Kinga Fabó / Andrew Fentham, Past Name Days, Ailo and Lajla
Ralf Webb, from Treetops, Dawn Nurseries & Garden Co.
Chris Rice, The Letters

Lecture

Simon Armitage: Winter words in various moods and metres

Reports

Reflections of a poet in school: Dai George
Poems and puddings: Alison Brackenbury

Reviews

Chris Moss on Leonard Cohen’s last words
Dzifa Benson reviews Tracy K. Smith and August Kleinzahler
Sarala Estruch on Eve L. Ewing, Raymond Antrobus and and Fiona Moore
Rio Matchett reviews the early work of Lola Ridge
Still running: Tim Dooley on Mark Ford and Fred D’Aguiar
Karen McCarthy Woolf reviews Ellen Hinsey and J.O. Morgan
Claire Crowther on Beverley Bie Brahic, Kit Fan and Amy Key
Jane Yeh on new collections by Tishani Doshi and Andrew McMillan

Audit

Andrew Spragg responds to J.T. Welsch’s ‘The Promise of Professionalism’