I had a great time at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on Saturday, as one of the three Magma editors talking about editing the magazine. Aldeburgh turned out to be a charming seaside town and we found ourselves presenting in the delightful Peter Pears Gallery within a pebble’s-throw of the sea.
Rather than just talk about the magazine, we decided that each of the three editors would pick one poem from their issue of the magazine and talk about what made us choose it. I talked about Stephen Wilson’s marvellous poem ‘Conservation Studio: Hermitage’ from Magma 34, because (a) I’d never heard of him before I received his poems via e-mail and (b) I mentally accepted the poem almost on a first reading, it was so good. Tim Robertson talked about his choice of ‘Seamstress’ by Joanna Preston for Magma 35 and Anne-Marie Fyfe spoke about one of her selections for Magma 36 which is officially launched next month.
Judging by the response we received from the audience during the Q&A and at the sales desk afterwards, our enthusiasm for the poems cam across, and it was very satisfying to meet so many people who obviously enjoy the magazine.
It was also good to meet up with representatives of The Rialto and Smiths Knoll, two more excellent magazines, and to feel a genuinely comradely spirit with others who have occupied the editorial hot seat!
I’m slightly embarrassed to say Aldeburgh was my first poetry festival, but it certainly won’t be the last.