A very warm welcome to ISSUE ONE. When we took a deep breath and leapt into this project, after an accidental meeting at the Poetry Café, neither of us quite expected that our first pages would be this stimulating and this dynamic. But here we are, starting as we mean to go on, with a plethora of outrageously talented poets whom we are proud to call colleagues, fellow word-lovers, and friends of The Kindling. A huge ‘thank you’ is due to everyone who has followed, shared, and contributed to our fledgling project and here’s to many more editions to come.
We are incredibly lucky to include in ISSUE ONE both Andrew McMillan and Fiona Sampson, meteor-poets of this decade. Andrew’s Physical stormed its way through a slew of first collection prizes, and Fiona’s poems, translations and essays have been hosted by giants including Faber and Chatto. We urge you to spend some time today with Andrew’s sage words of advice in interview format, as well as Fiona’s two beautiful poems – small miracles in their own right.
Our first twelve Kindling poets hail from universities across the UK and beyond, from Scotland to Singapore. With the impossibility of choosing highlights, we suggest starting with Sandra Tan’s ‘Kindling’, a poem very much after our own heart, which begins – like this first issue – with ‘a stepping out of sorts’. Or: pick up at Mary Anne Clark’s tender ode ‘For Eve’, which marks a birth with the act of naming. The best poems do just that: they give words, breathe life. We hope these ones bring, in Fiona’s memorable phrase, ‘breath after breath’.
Finally, Alexander Shaw and Dominic Leonard size up two recent collections, Letford’s Dirt, and Lee-Houghton’s Sunshine, respectively. If anything, we hope The Kindling becomes a starting-point from which to discover even more fantastic writing – we started this, after all, in the faith that there was so much more out there.
What are you waiting for? Read on!