Be courageous, we say
but no one is courageous
As a sound we do not hear lifts the birds off the water.
from ‘That Map of Bones and Opened Valves’ by Ilya Kaminsky
It is with enormous pleasure that Magma is opening submissions for the d/Deaf Issue, Magma 69 supported using public funding by Arts Council England for which we are very grateful. It is a topic close to my heart – or ear – as I am medically deaf in my left ear through childhood mumps. My co-editor, Raymond Antrobus is deaf/Deaf from birth and a former pupil of a deaf school in North London. We are very excited to be dedicating this issue to poetry which explores how we hear and what we choose to hear within a society which is culturally disposed to listening only by hearing with its ears/or more recently in a Trumpian Twittersphere by shutting them. How do we hear? What do we choose to hear? What are we deaf to?
We are looking for poetry that promotes understanding of how people with varying hearing abilities interpret sound and how D/deafness could be channelled into poetry. As well as voices from people experiencing D/deafness and those from D/deaf communities, we want to hear poetry that approaches this topic in ways that make us rethink our relationship with sound and language, poetry that promotes new understandings; that rocks the cultural status quo of the hearing and d/Deaf world. Poems that break down prejudices. If you are a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adult), or have/had a d/Deaf relative, perhaps you have a story too.
If you are a d/Deaf poet who signs poems in British Sign Language or Sign Assisted English, then please submit with a link to your video as we will be posting poems on the Magma website. If you are deaf, hearing or hard of hearing, please submit your best poems on deafness from any angle. We rule nothing out, except cliché, poor jokes and poor-little-me poems. Invoking sympathy / victimhood / fetishising silence is not the aim; stimulating debate, surprise and the exchange of ideas is what will make the d/Deaf Issue amazing and talked about long after the noise has faded.
Feel free to submit up to four poems on theme for ‘The Deaf Issue’. Off-theme poems can also be submitted.
The deadline is 30 April 2017.
Lisa Kelly and Raymond Antrobus
Editors, Magma 69