Geoff Sawers reviews my newest short collection The Silence Teacher in Magma Poetry.
He notes its “consistently even, deeply muted tones” that betray “very little of either self-pity or self-absorption” and declares it an “uneasy, affecting and unforgettable collection”.
Magma has become one of my favourite UK literary journals, in part for its tremendous variety; its poetry editors rotate with every issue. I am delighted by the mention, and pleased to be reviewed alongside the up-and-comer Rachel Piercey and well-known poet Martin Figura.
Read the full review here.
“Many of us became writers because we were silenced in some way, and the written self on the page speaks more authentically than we do as individuals”
-Polly Clark, “Speaking the Poem’s Voice” from Magma Poetry 52
The Troubadour is a small cafe in Earls Court with a basement stage that played host to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in their day. Last night, I squirmed my way through the crowd and took to the glossy black stage to read a poem as part of the launch of Magma Poetry 52. The standard of poetry, and audience — both quality of attention and sheer numbers — was remarkable. Unlike readings I have attended in America, where often the audience is composed mostly of poets and their friends, the crowd that assembles fortnightly in this cultural dungeon seems deeply committed to taking in poetry as a way of life.
Perhaps in a culture where one often does not say quite what one means in polite company, poetry serves an even more necessary function, propelled forward by two equally intense desires: to express authentically, but resist sentimentality. Poetry, then, speaks for those who gathered last night from all walks of life and crowded around tables like a rush-hour train, hoping to be taken somewhere wonderful. I was. And I am grateful to those who planned it, those who read, and those who listened for making last night something special.
I was delighted to receive my contributor’s copy of Magma 52 today, brimming with good poems and interesting articles. I was also pleased to discover that my poem, “The Argument” is available as part of the online sample of the current issue.
I will also be reading this poem as part of the official launch on Monday, March 5th at 8PM at the Troubadour in London. If you happen to be in the area, it would be great to see you there!
Single issues and subscriptions are also available on the Magma Poetry website.