Hello poetry people!
2020 has been something, hasn’t it? But in amongst all the trauma and the horror, the world has just kept on turning regardless and here I am, putting out a call for your best poems for the spring edition of The Rialto.
There has been a hell of a lot going on, and I’m sure lots of the events of this past year have been percolating away, finding their way into our subconscious minds. I wonder how much of it will manifest as poems that we’ll keep coming back to over the years? I guess that’s my way of saying, if you want to write about the pandemic, that’s totally fine (after all we may not be through the worst of it yet) but maybe the brilliant WRITE Where We Are NOW project has already got that particular subject covered.
Having said that, I’m not really looking for (or ruling out) any themes in particular. I might be interested to see political poems that challenge my world view rather than have me nodding along in agreement. I might be interested to see poems that help us to question our understanding of who we are as a species on the cusp of catastrophe (or maybe this is a turning point rather than a tipping point?). I might be interested in the idea of nationhood in a world that was carved up by colonisers.
What I am definitely interested in is the intersection between poetry and performance. When I first started out I was as much in thrall to the performance of poetry as I was to the reading and writing of it. I think, no scratch that, I know that the page/stage divide in poetry is a myth and I want to pack this next issue with as many poets who write to perform as possible. I know there are loads of you out there.
If you want an idea of the sort of thing I’m looking for think about the work that Penned in the Margins produces, some of the most amazing poetry being written by some of the best performers of poetry going. I love Bad Betty Press too for similar reasons. When I was young I couldn’t get enough of the Nuyorican Poets it definitely feels like we need that energy right now. Poets who want to connect and change the world one poetry lover at a time. Maybe that’s you.