To 'edit' – e + dere – is to 'give out' or 'put forth', and so comes the editor's task of selecting poems to place in the spotlight. But where to start?
The magazine initially offered the poetry of young students "from one not very large University", as Gilbert Murray acknowledged in the Introduction. For our first issue as editors, we too have decided to 'strip back' to a selection of verse, narrowing focus on the poems themselves. Yet thankfully, OP now accepts work by poets of all ages and backgrounds. One of our contributors is an Oxford undergraduate, but we welcome many more: students from elsewhere, professors, editors, bloggers, international writers, the well-established and neophytes.
Murray admitted to holding "classic" preferences: "I do believe that a rose has as a rule more beauty than a cabbage, and a sunset lagoon than Baker Street in a fog." We meanwhile appreciate a "blackish rose" in a corsage and "dirty dishes"; what a sun "dipping" on holiday and a "Dunkin' Donuts parking lot" can portray.
We hope you agree, and enjoy what has been 'put forth' below – the illuminated, given space to illuminate.
I don't have a great deal to add to Lavinia's words, nor much to say generally — though the fact I'm saying anything at all (and prolonging this editorial) betrays the odd strength (we hope) of this latest OP, which exists as it does because of its editors' occasional and profound disagreements.
When a magazine is approximately 75 years older than its caretakers, it seems both ridiculous to impose change and impossible not to (although I can't help but think that the notion of us 'imposing' anything at all is miguided). That said, with the next issue we hope to carry reviews once more, while the following one (or perhaps the one after that) will celebrate 100 years of Oxford Poetry in its current form. Each edition will be covered by a different designer and so next time's 'inner leaf' artwork should look quite different to this one. When we seem the latest put-up-with pets of a strange tradition, perhaps the best we can hope for is enjoyable incoherence.