Welcome to Issue #71 of The Interpreter’s House. This issue marks the first year of our incarnation as an online magazine and also one year for me and Andrew as the House editorial team. We’ve had time to get used to our new literary home and are truly proud to have published the poems and stories that make up issues #69-71. Before I urge you to get on and read #71, there’s a couple of housekeeping issues to tend to first. (And, no, one year has evidently not been long enough for me to get tired of house puns.)
Firstly, and most excitingly, we’re hanging out the bunting to celebrate Annie Rutherford officially taking up the role of Fiction Editor. Annie did a fantastic job as Guest Fiction Editor for issue #70 so asking her to join us in a longer-term capacity was a no brainer. Any magazine is only as good as its team, and both Andrew and Annie have sharp editorial eyes, are knowledgeable about their fields, keep me on my toes and are a joy to work alongside. Thank you both; I’m looking forward to the year ahead.
A brief update for everyone who entered the Open House Competition: we have received and processed over six hundred entries, which are now being judged. We’re aiming to share the results with winners in August and to publish the winning poems in September as part of issue #72. Best of luck to everybody who entered!
Speaking of issue #72, we are accepting submissions of poems and stories from now until midnight on 30 June. Before submitting, we suggest that you a) read #71 because it’s really good, and also it will give you a sense of whether your work might be a snug fit in the House; b) check our submission guidelines regarding format, length, correct email address, etc; and c) read on through this editorial to my mild rant below about what we like to read and publish.
Usually I steer clear of Twitter outrage and proclamations about The State of Poetry, but, in a recent moment of weakness, I picked up on a tweet about *Simon Armitage’s recent appearance at the Bath Literary Festival. Armitage is reported to have said, ‘There’s no such thing as a prose poem. They’re just a sick joke. In which I have participated.’ Admittedly, I come to this quote without wider context: it’s entirely possible that he was joking, being sarcastic, attempting to drum up business for his new book, playing to his Bath audience, or in short, being what my mother – like Armitage, from Yorkshire - would call ‘a cheeky besom’. However, context aside, I admit to a burst of irritation at his comment. If meant, or taken, seriously, the grumbling, reactionary line that prose poetry is not real poetry, is at best outdated and at worst divisive.
As an editorial team we welcome a wide variety of poetic forms here at The Interpreter’s House. Lyrics, free verse, prose poems, experimental pieces, hybrid forms – we strive to showcase the best of these and other forms of poetry, in addition to short fiction. And with this in mind, we’ve got some corkers for you in this issue, purposely diverse in form and theme. So, I’ll stop chuntering about what I don’t like and urge you to read what has seriously impressed us and we’re delighted to publish in issue #71.
*I don’t want to get into the debate about Armitage as the new Poet Laureate. It’s a problematic role in both political and literary terms, and may be defined as much by those who have turned down/ruled themselves out/not been considered as it is by those who have held the post. Don’t @ me.