Press Release: 7 April 2008

The Poetry Review Green Issue looks at what it means to be human in a changing world.

What is poetry's place in an ecological world? The answer, as Fiona Sampson explains in her editorial, “has to do with the very nature of poetry” – since “…even an apparently innocuous poem can be full of social or political resonance".

Australian Poet John Kinsella’s essay in this issue’s Centrefold deals more directly with environmental issues. For anyone who knows Australia, Kinsella's article will evoke a very familiar image of the Western Australian wheatbelt with its standpipes or "rural life-sustainers" that punctuate the landscape.

These standpipes form the basis for a sequence of poems Kinsella is writing. However, he is not trying to evoke a cosy remembrance of these things but rather to present them as symbols of modernity’s colonisation of wilderness.

Meanwhile, Scottish poet John Burnside appeals to the spirit of wilderness which lurks inside every art-form, however “civilised”, when he reinvigorates myths of Pan and Apollo through an essay and poems.

Not all the poems and reviews in the Green Issue are obviously 'ecological'; but read against this background they take on extra relevance. For example, one of the great explorers of human nature, Sharon Olds, explains how our personal environment need not prevent us from exploring unknown experiences or territory: “For me the idea that some human experience had not been written about much excited me as a poet.”

Other highlights of the Green Issue are Stephen Romer’s ‘Letter from the Loire’; the winner of the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize; and poems by Moniza Alvi, Colette Bryce, John Burnside, Polly Clark, Robert Crawford, Marie Etienne, Marilyn Hacker, John Hegley, Jaan Kaplinski, Sinead Morrissey, Sharon Olds, Don Paterson, Christopher Reid and Michael Symmons Roberts.

All this and we also have a free 64-page supplement, an anthology of 10 key contemporary Lithuanian poets featuring Tomas Venclova, Sigitas Parulskis, Kornelijus Platelis and Eugenijus Alisanka.

Poetry Review is a world class publication and Britain’s longest-running and most prestigious poetry magazine. Started in 1911, it continues to be “the magazine of record” (Michael Schmidt in The Guardian) and as well as being the UK’s bestselling poetry magazine, hailed by Andrew Motion as “required reading”. Poetry Review has been at the forefront of many of the key artistic debates and movements in poetry and has an excellent track record in spotting new talent.

Notes to Editors

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