We’re very pleased to announce that Cork poet Cal Doyle will be poetry editor for our Summer 2019 issue, working alongside our guest editor Danny Denton. Cal Doyle’s work has appeared in Prelude, gorse, The Stinging Fly, Poetry (Chicago) & The Free Press Anthology of Irish Poetry, as well as other magazines & journals. He’s read his work at many events & festivals including Yes, But Are We Enemies, The Lifeboat & Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series. For a number of years he served as poetry editor of The Weary Blues (New Binary Press). He lives in his hometown, Cork.
Here’s what Doyle had to say:
I myself tend toward the cliché & misquote whenever I reach towards something like a definition of poetry, or whenever I’m asked what do you look for in a poem? Short answer – I don’t know. The long answer is a rattle of chestnuts – poetry communicates before it is understood; a poem is an action of the mind captured on a page; poetry doesn’t declaim or explain, it presents; poetry is what gets lost in translation; poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; if I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry; etc. All now clichés in themselves of course; rattled off as if (mis)learned by rote. I don’t know if I’m fully on board with any of them either (& like many I dislike the Wordsworth) – they’re mainly interesting to me when they sit together, run into each other, enter into dialogue together.
But if you were to press me I’d probably suggest that a poem actively engaged in open dialogue with the world outside of it is the mark of a really good poem. As a reader, I tend to put questions to poems as I read them: Does the poem allow outside meaning(s) in? Does it sing? Does it surprise me? Do I want to look at it again? (& again?) Do I need to? Am I changed? Is my perception of anything around me changed? Does the poem do all the things I think it’s doing, or is it also simultaneously doing the opposite? What’s the language like? Is it ever so quietly fucking with everything that’s come before it? Does it use compositional techniques from other fields of art? Is it aware that it’s not alone? Does it do anything at all? Is it any good?
To be honest my energies are infinitely more charged by the poems that engage me in dialogue rather than by those that attempt to guide me by monologue. Writing about Ted Berrigan’s Sonnets, Alice Notley describes the poems as devices of time & circumstance, rather than rhetoric (again, a likely misquote) & I find her to be reaching towards the qualities which the best contemporary poetry attempts to embody – openness, happenstance, action, energy, warmth & engagement. I look forward to reading your work.
Submissions for our Summer 2019 issue are open until January 9th. Full details and guidelines are available on our submissions page.