Rachel Piercey: Tyger Tyger

Introducing Tyger Tyger Magazine

I am thrilled to introduce Tyger Tyger Magazine, a new online journal of poems for children which will soon be accepting submissions for the first issue. Establishing a magazine of children’s poetry is something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time – and now I’ve finally taken the leap.

© Imogen Foxell

Once a term, Tyger Tyger Magazine will publish twelve poems on a shared theme, by contemporary writers from across the world. Selected poems in each issue will come with free teaching resources, and each poem will be available as a free, downloadable, printable poster. I love how the walls of primary school classrooms are always bright and bustling with creativity, and this will make it easy to add a poem or two into the mix. I want these poems to roar in as many dimensions as possible!

© Imogen Foxell

I really hope this will be welcome news for writers of children’s poetry. Poets who write for adults have a vast number of submission opportunities, and I know myself how helpful it is to have a focus for new writing, and how exciting it is to see your work appear in conversation with other new poems. It’s also exhilaratingly easy, as a reader of poetry, to find magazines full of brand-new poems to be stirred, entertained and astonished by. But if you write poems for children, there are far fewer opportunities. And I believe it’s equally important for children’s poets to have a direction, testing ground and showcase for new work. Jonathan Humble has recently launched a children’s poetry magazine too – the gorgeous Dirigible Balloon, already sailing with lots of lovely poems – so there are at least two new places to submit this year. I hope more and more children’s poetry magazines will open up in time!

© Imogen Foxell

The name Tyger Tyger comes, of course, from the poem by William Blake. As soon as it occurred to me, I knew I’d found my title. The real-life creature stalks inside it: wild and mighty, precious and playful. For those who know Blake’s poem, it conjures awe-filled questions about existence. The archaic spelling gifts a twist of strangeness. And there’s the sense of an echo or an invocation in the repetition, which is one of my favourite poetic devices. Blake’s tyger makes you feel something powerful and so do the poems I love best, and which I want to publish in the magazine.

I am extremely lucky to have a wonderful editorial team around me: Rakhshan Rizwan, Kate Wakeling and Helen Steffens. I have spent countless happy hours talking about poetry and writing for children with these incredible women, and they bring a vast range of expertise to the magazine, as readers and writers and lovers of children’s literature. I am excited and honoured that they will be helping me to choose the poems for each issue.

© Imogen Foxell

The artwork for the magazine is by the hugely talented Imogen Foxell. She was the first artist I thought of – I’d encountered her work via The Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, and her magical, characterful illustrations exactly chimed with my vision for the magazine. I absolutely love the logo and the tygers she has created; they are compelling creatures, full of dreamy majesty and mystery, and they pounce and prowl off the page.

The website will be fully launched soon, with details of the first call for submissions, and the first twelve poems will launch in January 2022. In the meantime, you can sign up to the mailing list to keep up to date with new issues and submission opportunities. You can also follow Tyger Tyger Magazine on our new Twitter account, @tygertygermag. Join in and help us to burn bright!

Rachel Piercey

Rachel Piercey writes for adults and for children. Her poetry picture book, If You Go Down to the Woods Today (Magic Cat, illustrated by Freya Hartas), came out in March 2021 and has been translated into nineteen different languages. Her latest poetry pamphlet is Disappointing Alice (HappenStance Press, 2019). www.rachelpierceypoet.com

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