Issue 4: A few final thoughts
The Summer 2016 issue of The Compass is now complete. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you’ll keep returning to the poems and features at your leisure. This is our second year of running the magazine and it’s a source of great pleasure to us. There is much activity behind the scenes—making sure each page is perfect, deciding on the poems we want to publish, thinking about the order of publication—and it does feel like an event to us, as much as a magazine. We hope you have some sense of that as well.
Issue 4 has unfolded more smoothly for us than has any previous issue. We’ve also been delighted to publish poets who had previously submitted to us unsuccessfully: it goes to show that persistence pays off, as well as paying attention to the type of poetry we publish. Though we don’t look for any particular style of poem, we do look for well-edited, confident pieces in which nothing seems accidentally loose nor the result of an unconscious poetic twitch.
We’d like to remind you about our newsletter. Subscribers tell us they enjoy this for the summaries of poetry, reviews and features when the magazine is live—the newsletter only goes out a handful of times a year—and we also send very occasional news about our submissions or projects. If you sign up now you’ll receive the last newsletter for this Summer Issue, which will be going out early next week. You’ll see the sign-up box a short way down on the right side of this page, and also the home page.
We’d like to thank all the poets and reviewers who’ve been involved in Issue 4. In particular we’d like to congratulate Penny Boxall—whose review ‘Catching Stars’ appeared on Day One of this issue and who is also one of our regular reviewers—for winning the Edwin Morgan Prize (at £20,000, one of the largest in the UK) with her collection Ship of the Line. We also want to thank all of you who submitted poems or supported us on social media. We are always spurred on by the responses to each poem, feature or article, and to the website itself. Your tweets and comments on Facebook are absolutely integral to what we do, so please do keep emailing us with your thoughts—we love hearing which poems you’ve most enjoyed and what you’d like to see more of in the magazine—or get hold of us on Twitter or Facebook.
It is exciting when the decisions we made many weeks ago—in a quiet room or cafe—to accept one poem but not ten or twenty others, are well received. Of course, The Compass is only as good as the material you send us—we would rather publish a shorter magazine than bulk it out with poetry about which we feel ambivalent—so please do keep on submitting your best work. The vast majority of the poems we publish are unsolicited—they just arrived in our inbox one day. We are open to everyone. Remember, too, that we are keen to receive ideas for articles and interviews. Our only stipulation is that the poetic aspects have to be, in our opinion, outstanding in some way.
Lastly, we’d like to refer you back to our Editorial at the beginning of this issue, in which we stated ‘For many of our readers, whether in the UK, Europe, US or elsewhere, these are uncertain times, be it politically, financially, socially or environmentally. Poetry as an art form can embrace this uncertainty—we’re nodding gently here to Keats’ idea of negative capability, a concept that a poet later in this issue also mentions—combining poetic skills with imaginative flights. It is, perhaps, when we are at our least certain that we most realise the potential of poetic forms. … What is a poet, if not the commander of words? Some may argue that the poet is the slave of words. We are uncertain. We’ll leave the problem with you.’
The poet to whom we were referring was of course David Morley, whose poetics you can read within his Feature HERE.
We are, however, still leaving the problem with you. Send us poems that speak to our times, or which are unable to do so. We challenge you.
We’ll see you here for Issue 5, in the winter, so please keep those poems and ideas for articles coming. The next deadline is September 30th and you’ll find all the information about how to submit to us HERE. We love receiving and publishing your work.
Andrew Forster & Lindsey Holland