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Listen to My Issue of Magma on the Poetry Library Website

I’m thrilled to say that the issue of Magma Poetry which I edited is now available online at the UK Poetry Library website – including audio recordings of many of the featured poets.

Magma 34

Magma is one of the UK’s leading poetry magazines – its unique feature is its rotating editorship, which means every issue of the magazine offers a fresh and different perspective on contemporary poetry. I’m one of the magazine’s directors and edited issue 34 in 2005.

The UK Poetry Library is a distinguished institution that houses an unrivalled collection of modern poetry published in the UK. Its Poetry Magazines website is an online archive of back issues of leading poetry magazines, including Magma. Audio editions of selected issues form a new feature of the site, and I’m delighted that Magma is one of the first magazines to have its contributors recorded.

The audio edition of Magma 34 includes the text of most of the poems and articles in the issue, as well as MP3 recordings of many poets, including Mimi Khalvati, David Harsent, Susan Wicks, Lorraine Mariner and Alison Brackenbury, as well as Quentin S. Crisp reading the first UK translations of Machi Tawara, who is a huge star in Japan.

The issue also includes my article Poetry in Practice: Creative Flow, for which I interviewed several well-known poets about their creative process. Alastair Campbell is featured in the Guest Choice article, for which he wrote about his favourite poem.

Thanks to the staff at the Poetry Library for doing such an excellent job of the online edition. More details on my poetry blog.

Magma issues 29-33 have also been added to the Poetry Library archive – they include my poem Babel and my reviews of Roddy Lumsden and Tim Cumming, and of the Poetry Book Society’s Quarterly Selections.


  1. I just clicked through to your Magma article on flow. Thanks for putting that out into the open.

    As I read this, I was particularly struck by the observation by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that, in a state of flow, a ‘distorted’ sense of time is often experienced.

    I am curious about this notion of ‘distortion’. Against what is the creator’s experience of time being evaluated? What is the official and ‘correct’ experience of time?

    Into the discussion, I would put forward the notion that the most ACCURATE experience of time is when a human being is in the act of creation for it is then that often all else falls away and time is experienced moment, by moment, by moment…

  2. Thanks Emily, glad you liked the article.

    Re distortion, I wouldn’t read anything sinister into the word, and I don’t get any sense that Csikszentmihalyi is evaluating or making a judgement about ‘correctness’. It’s simply that time is experienced differently to our sense of the ‘normal’ passage of time – i.e. several hours can ‘fly by’ and seem to be only a few minutes, or vice versa. The phrase ‘time distortion’ is also used by hypnotists to describe the altered sense of time many people experience in trance.

    Re the ‘most ACCURATE experience of time’ – I’m not sure there’s any such thing, as ‘experience’ implies subjectivity, whereas ‘accuracy’ suggests an objective standard. However, I would definitely agree with you that it’s the most BEAUTIFUL experience of time…

  3. I’m very happy to see Magma be available online as it makes it much more accessible to people like me with disabilities.