A couple times over the years I’ve heard the argument that poetry is the most accessible of all art forms. This argument isn’t based on the belief that more people get poetry compared to the likes of music or visual art. Not that it is more easily understood or mastered, rather, and simply, that more people can do it. To write poetry you don’t need the money for studio space or equipment. You don’t need to pay for actors, directors or producers to help bring your vision to life. To compare to prose, one could argue that you don’t need the time (the luxury and cost of it) that a novelist might in order to write their 300-odd pages. I think there are caveats to all of these examples, but the general argument speaks to poetry’s status as the plaything of the romantic: the poor poet surviving off booze and cigarettes who needs only a quill and paper (replace appropriately for more modern vices and writing tools) to create magic.
Such romantic ideals of simplicity feel very out of place as I write this. As the cost of living crisis rumbles on, reaching new peaks, even the most seemingly basic of pastimes become burdened by questions of affordability.
Recently at bath magg we took a little hiatus because we had to ask ourselves questions about how to continue producing a magazine when we are unable to fund ourselves, or when other commitments like a job that pays or people that depend on you require what energy you have to give. And maybe to compare the work we have done across the previous issues of this relatively small, online magazine to the work of living might seem inappropriate but the answers we have found as we introduce our 11th issue suggest otherwise.
I think that what makes poetry special isn’t necessarily the fact that we can do it, but that despite the rarity of remuneration, despite the rejections and the broad *everything else* we continue to do it.
All of this is to say that bath magg is back and we couldn’t be happier. As we return I don’t think that we could have a better feature poet than the incredible Natalie Shapero whose three poems speak so clearly to the everything else of our lives. Shapero ends her first poem with the line: ‘This world it saw me coming It licked its lips’. None of this is easy, too often the world seems to not just refuse to help but to relish in our struggle. But we do it, because out of love or sickness, we have to.
Thank you to the writers and readers who share our loves and sicknesses. We hope you enjoy.
Gboyega Odubanjo, on behalf of the editorial team