Poetry Magazine

A publication that I intend to start subscribing to in the new year is Poetry Magazine, arguably the poetry journal of the English-speaking world. Published out of Chicago's Poetry Foundation, it's a monthly magazine with a wide, international subscription, and features poetry from a similarly broad selection of poets from across the world. As I understand it, the magazine was founded by Harriet Munro in 1912, and has featured some of the century's greatest poems (I think the poet Conor O'Callaghan told me it was the first place to publish Eliot's Prufrock).

It mainly interests me as an useful introduction to the broad spectrum of contemporary American poetry for a complete novice like myself, but also given that its features always seem lively and interesting, its reviews are often long and rewarding (a year or so back, there was an excellent ten page review of Louis MacNeice's Collected Poems) and it has a yearly translation issue, which is an area I'm growing more interested in of late.

You can also get a feel for the publication before you decide to subscribe (which, at the current deal of buy one gift subscription, get one free is a steal) as a good deal of the stuff in each issue is also featured online. The very recently published December issue, for instance, features new poems by Fred D'Aguiar, an excellent American poet by the name of Todd Boss (among many others), and new work from Roddy Lumsden. There's also an interview with Seamus Heaney by Dennis O'Driscoll which looks interesting.


Carrie Etter said...

Hi, Ben. As an American poet, I thought I should say that one of the things about American poetry's diversity is that no one magazine is regarded as capable of representing it; I'm sure I could quickly find a hundred American poets who find Poetry's scope painfully narrow. There are literally hundreds of worthwhile journals, as virtually every English department has one. Some others you might look into include Denver Quarterly, American Poetry Review, and Ploughshares, for a start.

roddy said...

Ha! And those hundred poets would all be ones who had had poems rejected, right?

For every one who says the scope is 'painfully narrow', there is another who says it is frustratingly esoteric. Most UK readers find most of the poetry in Poetry imposingly difficult.

Carrie Etter said...

No, Roddy, the people who don't like Poetry aren't people who've been rejected; it's not all about sour grapes. I don't find the magazine difficult, and I usually enjoy reading some of the poems in it, but it's rather hit and miss for me. That's my experience of most magazines, though; I just prefer to read the ones with more hits!