History and Mission

«Le jardin reste ouvert pour ceux qui l’ont aimé » —Prévert

The title of our review suggests several elements that in one way or another find kinship in our little adventure: Aside from the fact of its French definition — and not forgetting l’homme de plume – these include

    • in English, the feather with which one adorns oneself or bestows on another, whose topmost barbicels when trailed across a bare forearm or unguarded nape make its owner’s skin crawl and leap with delight;
    • the name of Henri Michaux’s ephemeral and paradoxical prose poem figure;
    • and the glancing blow of surrealism in Breton’s famous reaction upon finding himself in the presence of beauty: “a plume of wind at the temples.”

In brief, Plume is a magazine dedicated to publishing the very best of contemporary poetry. To that end, we will be highly selective, offering twelve poems per monthly issue. A provisional indication of our tastes – “what we are looking for” — may be inferred from the quoted passages (which will change often): a sense of the uncanny, foremost, and of the fineness of language, the huge absences to which it points and partakes of, and the urgency and permanence of its state of departure — the coattails forever –just now—disappearing around the corner. But also a certain reserve, or humility, even when addressing the most humorous or trying circumstances. Whether this demands twenty words or two hundred is up to you. All work will be presented in English, although we very much encourage international contributions, and bilingual editions are on the agenda.

Here, too, we should confess a fondness, not to say a bias, for the prose poem –the fortuity of the Michaux reference. Since that form’s history is now well-known, and discussions regarding its exact nature grown stale, we will not bore you with their rehearsal here, except to urge that, among the canonical names, you do not forget to include that of Jean Follain. Read the work of this sometimes overlooked master, together with the quite different Nicanor Parra’s, a prose poet at heart, as well as Kimiko Hahn, Dobyns’ Balthus poems, Lydia Davis, passages from Cioran, Canetti, and Jean-Christophe Valtat, and the beautifully deadpan Helga Novak’s detailing of the finer points of herring packing, to get a sense of what we are after.

So. If all this does not deter you, as we hope it will some and not others, let’s face it — submit. We will publish your work in a digital environment that presents your poetry in the best possible light. We’d like to see no more than three poems per submission.

To report technical problems with the site, please email: plumepoetry@gmail.com