NO THEME XI Editorial

By and | 1 June 2022

A lot happened over the months we spent working on this issue, from November when we published our playful, hyperactive call-out, to now, the beginning of winter, a date that marks a shift in the year’s trajectory. It’s time to take a breath and then what …

Our call-out sought to find poems that would energise us. We wanted some acknowledgement of the time that has passed, that is passing; we asked how you were going. We recognised instinctively that to gather a group of writers and poems together at this post-not-really pandemic juncture was to realise a new flux of tendencies and concerns, to recognise, collectively, the textures of change that have been revealed to us.

Editing this issue was pleasurable and intense. The Cordite Poetry Review selection process is famously anonymous and we surprised ourselves repeatedly in what we accepted and what we turned down. Each of us had our peccadillos, for sure. And as a ‘we’ we were emboldened by the opportunity to cast aside our routine tendencies and scripts. Most of all, we remembered how needy we are, beside a poem. How much we need the work of poetry and its sublime, strange tenterhooks.

We looked for thumbprints, for poems with purchase, a little give. We read each poem affectionately, amid the bluster of our daily lives, the only way possible. The sheer volume of works submitted to us meant we searched imperfectly, yet the selection here, in the final revision, is complete in itself, and we thank each contributor dearly for their effort.

It’s hard for us to bring to mind an individual poem without recalling its echoes and juxtapositions; our brains have thoroughly woven what we’ve gathered. At a certain point, the poems we chose merged together to become the singular long poem NO THEME 11, in all its variety and facets. On this windy morning, this is our offering. A collective poem, born in time.

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