Editorial: Issue 3
Welcome to Issue 3 of The Compass. When we launched last June we stated our ambition to be one of the best online poetry magazines around. We’d love to hear how you think we’re doing.
We received double the previous number of submissions for this issue and that, along with the steady increase in readers, makes us feel we’re on the right track. Thank you to everyone who submitted work to us and we are only sorry we couldn’t include more.
We were also really excited by the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem recently opening its doors to nominations from online magazines, recognising the contribution of online publishing, though the ‘first come first served’ approach that they took—limiting submissions to the first twenty publications to respond—resulted in a somewhat scrappy race, with too little time to contact poets and ensure poems were still unpublished in collections or anthologies. Perhaps this hesitancy is natural when taking new and daring steps. Perhaps we have done the same with this magazine’s early issues, although we have tried to be bold without being wild. A final thought about the Forward Prizes—who should be wholeheartedly congratulated for the move they’ve made—is that it may be better for individual publications to be invited to nominate poems, like their print equivalents.
As with previous issues of The Compass new content will appear over the next ten days. We are very proud again to be publishing wonderful poems by poets we hadn’t come across before alongside poets of international stature and terrific poets whose work we feel deserves a wider audience.
When we started The Compass our only provision about the work we accept was that both editors should feel it to be outstanding. With this in mind it’s interesting to look at our final selections and see what they tell us about the kinds of poetry we like.
There are a range of different poetries in The Compass and we are pleased to be international in our outlook, including featuring work in translation. We look for work that is multi-layered and that is fresh and surprising, taking us to places we don’t expect to go. Sometimes poems haunt us, seeming to accumulate power over time, growing between our first, second and third readings. We do find ourselves reading poems that we like but which leave us with the feeling that the poet hasn’t quite pushed it enough.
Underneath all this though, the poems in The Compass are poems which are about something. This seems to have become a very unfashionable phrase in poetry, poets often responding to questions of what a poem is about by reactions ranging from apologetic shrugs to aggressive defences of ‘does it matter’? The way that a poem is about a subject, the form it takes, is of course what makes it a poem.
Over the next ten days you will see work here about love, loss, ageing, our relationship with the past, our relationship with the natural world, and the aftermath of public events, to name just a few. The poets take different approaches to these from personal meditations to anecdotes, to surreal streams of consciousness, but each of these poets, in their own way, tries to answer an old riddle: What is it about? What is most urgent in it?
This Spring Issue comes to you with a similar sense of vibrancy and freshness as we head into the brighter, more colourful months here in the UK.
We hope you enjoy Issue 3 of The Compass.
Andrew Forster & Lindsey Holland