First issue

Issue 1, May 2015, 96 pages

Tributes to Anne Cluysenaar, with some of her poems. Poems by Philip Gross, Alyson Hallett, 

Julie-ann Rowell, Jenny Lewis, Adnan Al-Sayegh, Gabriel Bradford Millar, Graham Hartill. 

Jenny Lewis on reading in Morocco. Matthew Barton on Edward Thomas. 

Thomas Hardy on William Barnes. Philip Lyons on Philip Larkin.

Reviews of David Harsent, Collette Bryce and Lynne Wycherley. A conversation with Crafthole.


We chose the name Raceme after long deliberations (noticing too late that it could also be pronounced RaceMe, the name in fact of a motor-racing journal). Something far less frenetic was intended: a magazine that makes space for strings or sequences of poems with contextual thread or preface from the authors. But as we put this first issue together we found something equally apt and interesting: connections began to sprout between pieces by diverse writers, a crackle of igniting responses. One thing often seemed to elicit another. Happening naturally, or even inadvertently, this seemed to us to be all to the good, and we welcomed it. A raceme flower is a kind of botanical community, after all, and we hope to see a loose community burgeoning in these pages. This community of poets also of course encompasses the dead, both the more and the less recent, with whom we go on conversing. Without of course forcing the issue, it would be delightful if both explicit and implicit conversations between poets and about poetry could co-exist and fertilise each other in Raceme, and allow each voice to be heard all the more distinctly.

It is for good reason therefore that we want to avoid any artificially unifying mission statement, instead inviting a diverse range of both poetry and prose. Every writer, in some respects inevitably working alone, is in others just one of the many makers of the language through which we find out, together, who we are and what we mean. Philip Larkin (of whom more in this issue) once wrote: ‘It is fatal to decide, intellectually, what good poetry is because you are then in honour bound to try to write it, instead of the poems that only you can write.’[1] That seems about right. His prime responsibility, he said, was to the originating experience and ‘freshly created universe’ of each poem, ‘which I am trying to keep from oblivion for its own sake’.[2] A small dose of such commitment to the art might go a long way, we think, and we hope to nurture it a little in these pages.

[1] Philip Larkin, Required Writing, Faber 1983, p. 79

[2] Ibid