If magazine mainstream poetry steers a path between obscure/academic and accessible, then perhaps it could be said that the mainstream has drifted rather towards the poetry-for-poets end of the spectrum, perhaps due to the increase in the number of knowledgeable poets (Creative Writing graduates). The pieces in "Under the Radar" could represent this New Mainstream (bracketed between Poetry London and Acumen, say, and ever-widening). They follow no agenda. Some are easily enjoyed by non-literature people, others (e.g. "This is just to say") benefit from a grounding in the classics, though they remain accessible. None are extreme. Traditional form is rare though - poems with no line-breaks at all are more common than rhyming poems. A few things struck me -
- Ellie Danak's "Her Story" has 8 lines following the template "When she says ... , we must listen" followed by one line with the pattern "When she says ... , we won't listen". The repetition is about 50% of the text.
- My favourite poem is "Supermarket" by Josh Ekroy.
- Fiona Theokritoff's "Cartographer" ends with "When you left, it was a tsunami/ but I did not drown./ I made another map."
- Joe Caldwell's "Transmigration" includes "Let me ... rise higher until the cities and towns/ are like mazes in puzzle books,// the rivers signatures"
- Giles Goodland's "Commuting" begins with "The sun rinses its fingers through/ the canal's dishwater trance"
- Beth Somerford uses in-line spaces but no punctuation. The spaces aren't always replacements for punctuation, nor are the line-breaks or drop-lines.
- The pieces I'd recategorise as short prose are on p. 10, 34, 36, 38, 43, 46, 49, 58, 65.
There's c.60 pages of poetry, 13 of stories and c.25 of reviews (by an impressive cast of reviewers - Alison Brackenbury, Maria Taylor, D A Prince, John Foggin and Peter Carpenter)