A Literary Coalface (Issue 85)

Pennine Platform

What are poetry magazines for? ‘It’s hard to see how a little poetry
magazine can make anything happen except satisfy the reclusive vanity
of the editor and the poets,’ says Nicholas Bielby in Issue 81 – not perhaps
without a tinge of editorial Weltschmerz. He is right, but provocative,
as he then goes on to say that poetry widens human empathy, which in
turn makes the world safer. I commend the full article to you, but his 400
words didn’t leave him space to say that there is more to it than that.

The small poetry magazine – a meme roughly contemporaneous with
modernity – is a literary coalface bringing new poets to engaged readers,
ahead of the more risk-averse big publishers. Almost every nineteenthand
twentieth-century poet, whose articulations of humanity’s deepest
existential concerns are now part of our linguistic bedrock, was first
welcomed by small magazines. We unpaid…

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