I started working on this magazine at the end of 2013 on what was to be the first issue of the fiftieth volume of Poetry Wales. I was continuing a trail of paper that started in 1964. Now we are at the fifty-fifth volume, summer 2019, and this is my last issue as editor. What is the numerology of 5 I wonder? 5x5x5x5x into infinity.
From a deep cosmic and still-turbulent well of gratitude I want to thank all the poets, writers and supporters who have given their words and spirits to these pages and this editorship. In the five years since Summer 2014, a lot of strange and beautiful and terrible things happened. Poets responded to and made the world. Poetry Wales carries a poeisis still multiplying.
I grew to love sustained wild epic poetics, the vehicle of a poem as urgent thinking about the crisis. So I published a number of long poems, weird, irreconcilable hybrid works, speculative imaginings of the future or the no-future. Poetry as desire or violence. Poetry as performance and ritual. As relation. Poetry as expansions of translation and memoir. Poems as windows and doors and attic skylights. I tried to understand the visual and the sonic through the medium of a chiefly-print magazine. Thoroughly Anglosceptic I tried to reach across borders, new and old and counteract drab xeno-racist imperialism, neoliberalism and anglic sluggishness, as best I could.
Publishing is hard. We know that. Constantly asking why and how a piece of writing should be made public, in our peculiar age, in an age of decimation and breakdown, and for who and for when and how? Constantly asking these questions about how poetry should or could be encountering the world, doubting the ways we do this and publishing anyway. Tripping, jumping, hesitating, I tried to follow a good speed, I rode Poetry Wales’s rolling struggles as the poets themselves struggled and surfed. Wave after wave. The hauls contained fresh feasts served out in the sunshine, here it is, eat it now.
The joy has been in making the work I discovered public and lasting. Discovering in discovering. A juicy thought: that this poem a poet just sent you is a charm or a masterpiece or an anti-maonesterpiece, a rebellion or a trapdoor, this poem shines and I am in love. Here you go.
Despite a pathological leaning towards long poems, there were also short pithy creatures to be found. Some of these especially concise treasures are included in a special one-off pamphlet free with this issue. They are reminders of the days, way back, back before 2017…
Specifically I want to thank Zoë Skoulding and Robert Minhinnick my editorial predecessors for boosting my confidence and making the magazine something I was proud to continue. Thank you to those who leant vital support the difficult but also joyous times: the PW committe, Steven Hitchins, Rhys Trimble, Lyndon Davies, Kieron Smith, Amy McCauley, Nat Raha, Graham Hartill, Cris Paul, Alexandra Büchler, Sioned Puw Rowlands, Tom Cheesman, Eleri Davies, Gwen Davies and many others. Contributing editors Jessica Pujol Duran, Elz˙bieta Wójick-Leese, Eurig Salisbury and Zoë Brigley, Thank you. To Rebecca Parfitt, Jamie Hill, Ffion Wyn Morris and Jannat Ahmed, thank you for your slog on the production. And to many others especially the translators, the reviewers and the readers. You might have just said something once that lifted me immeasurably in this work, or you might have repeatedly written to the hardest fastest remit, or simply sustained your dogged enthusiasm for the wild language. Diolch.
I am sorry about the unanswered emails.
But, in this last attempt here, I present some of my most excitable discoveries yet: an issue of fresh debris, metre and flesh. Mourning and birth. Defod. Talismanic eggs and fetishwear. Donuts become coffee mugs. Poems come from Istanbul, Brazil, Gwynedd, Poland, Brynmill park, Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, Bucharest and Boston, Presteigne or Llanandras, Manchester and many other corners, centres and peripheries including no less than four archipelagos: the islands of Môn or Anglesey, Islas Canarias, Arcaibh or Orkney and the Isle of Wight. There is philosophy in the bath. Abolitions and conceptualisms. Tristan and Esyllt are here as dramatis personae. Images from the edge of poetics. Dewiniaeth. Saesneg through Cymraeg. Secretions and obstructions. Brecht means Brecht. There are names of stones and spells against anxiety. The utterly in common…. Summer 2019 is palpating and unburied. Anfarwol. It is full of itself as cymruddyfodoliaeth or cambrofuturism, in our history and present and future.
Order your copy of 55.1.