It won’t take a Sherlock for even recent subscribers to realise that this edition of the magazine is thinner than normal: by twenty four pages to be exact. This is because at the moment it is the third issue we have published without any Arts Council grant. I am not blaming the Arts Council; after all they have supported the magazine for much of its long life. If there is any blame it is myself who has, after many years, still not perfected the way through the labyrinth of grant application forms! So apologies for the size of the issue and hopefully by September, we shall be back to normal.
But enough about money, a thing I don’t normally talk about in the editorial. I want to talk about submissions. I receive many submissions from all over the world, and not just from native English speakers. Increasingly poets from India and the subcontinent are sending me their poems, often full of beautiful and exotic images which deepen the meaning of what they have to say. Poets from China are emailing offerings which sometimes appear to have a subtext about affairs in their own country. Poets from Africa and eastern Europe are joining in the worldwide poems I receive. I have hard decisions to make (as the politicians are always saying) as I read through the short-list. A criterion I do have though, is that any poem on the shortlist has to be written in fairly correct English. We are an English language magazine, after all. But I try to incorporate translations in each, or at least every other issue, and increasingly the poets translated are modern poets, This can give us a flavour of what is being written about in China, Africa, India.
Another point about submissions. When I go away, even if only for a couple of days to poetry events in London, I come back to a full in-box, and find it takes time to clear them. So when I am home, I try to make a point of reading all the submissions from the previous day and making decisions. This is my way of not letting things build up. So if you don’t get a response within twenty-four hours, the poems have been read. Honestly.