Editorial: Issue 2
Welcome to the second issue of The Compass. We have been delighted with the response to the magazine so far, and with the range of submissions for this issue. There is a thrill at reading the work of some of our finest poets at the top of their game, but there is equal excitement at discovering genuinely great work from poets we haven’t encountered before. As the magazine goes live over the next ten days you will hopefully have both of these experiences.
We always envisaged The Compass as a magazine with the quality of a print magazine but which will take advantage of its online nature in terms of design, flexibility and resources. Because of this, we’ve extended our submissions guidelines to include proposals for articles and features. Also in this issue, we present the first of a series of interviews, so do watch out for this.
We’ve been intrigued by the processes involved in collating this issue. When reading submissions we again came across individual poems which were good but which didn’t seem quite enough on their own. There’s something about the action of scrolling down a page, staying with a poet, which enables a context to be developed. This context isn’t always necessary – in Issue 2 there are several poets with single poems, or poems which are very different from one another – but each poem has to demand attention in these cases. There is no room for poems in which little seems to be at stake. Does that mean a poem has to scream for attention? Not at all. We admire subtle poems, but we’d argue that even in these cases there is an insistence, a sense or urgency, of need perhaps, a layer of meaning which is being probed, be it in the form or the content of the poem.
We do want to mark this issue with a small tribute to our first featured poet, Elizabeth Burns, who died in August. The usual form for these things would find us typing something like ‘after a long struggle with cancer’, but those of us lucky enough to know Elizabeth know that it didn’t appear to be a struggle. Knowing she was ill, she carried on as she always did, appearing to many of us to treat her illness as a minor inconvenience. We are all lesser for the loss of her and her poetry, and we are honoured to have showcased her work in our first issue. The first of our two featured poets in this issue, Jane Routh, includes a poem for Elizabeth in her own selection.