Poetry London is an arts charity and leading international poetry magazine where acclaimed contemporary poets share pages with exciting new names. Published three times a year in March, June and October, each issue contains new poetry, incisive reviews and features. Poetry London holds an annual poetry competition and launches each issue with readings from distinguished poet contributors to the magazine.

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Poetry London Summer 2021 cover

The Summer 2021 issue of Poetry London, André Naffis-Sahely’s first issue as the magazine’s new editor, features poems by Anne Waldman, Claudia Rankine, Najwan Darwish, Iman Mersal, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Momtaza Mehri, Roseanne Watt and Seán Hewitt, as well as a previously uncollected poem by John Ashbery (1927–2017). Other highlights include translations from Amharic, Arabic, French, Persian and Portuguese and two fascinating interviews. The first is a companion piece to John Ashbery’s ‘The Quitter’, an excerpt from a posthumous book of longer, late-period poems from the Ashbery oeuvre, published for the first time this summer by Carcanet. To accompany this exclusive, our reviews editor Dai George talks to Emily Skillings, the editor of the volume, about Ashbery’s unique writing process and the bittersweet task of preparing the book. The issue’s second interview is a nourishing, celebratory conversation between Theresa Lola and Major Jackson, focused on Jackson’s recent volume The Absurd Man but panning out to the wider question of how to find joy through poetry in troubled times.

The issue’s featured essays are an excerpt from Fred D’Aguiar’s forthcoming Year of Plagues: A 2020 Memoir (HarperCollins, 2021) which discusses his Caribbean upbringing and his American life amidst his battle against cancer, the pandemic and the fight for racial justice in the United States, and an excerpt from Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2021), translated by Sasha Dugdale, which was just shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. This issue reaffirms Poetry London’s long-standing commitment to internationalism and marks the beginning of a new editorial vision, which will prioritise work that deals with issues of migration, economic injustice and freedom of speech, introducing our audiences to poetry of the highest level that also addresses the most pressing issues of our times. At the head of the issue’s reviews is Degna Stone’s deep, reflective analysis of a landmark new work, Claudia Rankine’s Just Us. Stone unpacks how Rankine interrogates the dynamics of race and power in America while modelling the type of ‘honest and vulnerable’ conversation that might begin the work of justice. Elsewhere in the reviews section are articles covering new work by poets including Rachel Long, Safiya Sinclair, Robert Selby and Rory Waterman.

A selection of poems and articles are available to read online here.

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