Acumen is among the longest-running literary magazines today. Patricia Oxley started Acumen in 1985 armed with only an electric typewriter, and without subscribers or contributions. Since then it has grown to one of the country’s leading literary journals.
Its name ACUMEN came out of nowhere during an evening discussion. It seemed appropriate as the dictionary definition states ‘sharpness of mind, penetration of judgement’: just what an editor needs when trying to judge poems, prose and articles!
It began as a biannual, (what else when typing all the contents by hand?) but in 1994 changed to three times a year, in January, May and September, a frequency it has kept since.
Subsequently, others joined the editorial board: Glyn Pursglove (Reader in English at Swansea University) in 1988 became Reviews Editor; then Danielle Hope in 1998 as Advisory editor. William Oxley organised the Interviews, came up with ideas and generally supported the magazine in other important ways until his death in 2020. Patricia and William had planned to pass on the editing of Acumen after issue 100.
From issue 101, Danielle Hope became the new editor (email – email@example.com). Patricia Oxley is advisory editor as well as founder editor. Andrew Geary (email – firstname.lastname@example.org) becomes the new reviews editor. David Perman takes on organising the interviews.
Acumen’s aim is to be wide-ranging, publishing contemporary poets both known and unknown, relying on the strength of the poetry rather than the name behind it. We have introduced new poets to the poetry world, introduced well-known poets to new audiences and published many poems which have become favourites with our readers. Illustrious poets from the past are not forgotten, with readable essays and critiques on the work of well-loved and well-known poets from other centuries. The magazine has kept to these aims since its start, enlarging them with other stimulating ideas.
Selected poems from each issue are posted on the website as guest poems for the week. We add photographs and very short biographies – a thing we don’t do in the magazine, preferring at that stage to let the poems speak for themselves.
We are a not-for-profit organisation. All of our team are volunteers who give their time selflessly for the love of poetry and the written word.
Our activities are funded by:
Many thanks to everyone who contributes in whatever way.
Danielle Hope was born in Lancashire and now lives in London. She previously edited Zenos, a magazine of British and international poetry. She has had four books of poetry published and has given many readings both in the UK and abroad.
A prize-winning poet, she was a founder member of the Tempest Poetry Group and a trustee of Survivors Poetry to which she still acts as an advisor. Danielle was Festival Poet for the 2nd Torbay Weekend Festival of Poetry and took over as main editor of Acumen from issue 101.
Andrew Geary is Acumen’s new reviews editor from issue 101. He is an accomplished poet, supporter and enthusiast of poetry. He is treasurer of the Ware Poets in Hertfordshire, with whom he has a long association.
His first collection entitled ‘A Shoal of Powan’ was published by Rockingham Press in 2018. Andrew is a chartered accountant by profession and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He has lived in the UK, Spain and Africa
Young Poets Editor
Martyn Crucefix is a British poet and translator. He is the author of seven original collections of poetry, most recently Cargo of Limbs (Hercules Editions, 2019) and Between a Drowning Man (Salt, 2023). He has received an Eric Gregory award, a Hawthornden Fellowship, and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translations of the poems of Peter Huchel. His Duino Elegies (Enitharmon, 2006) was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize for Poetry Translation. Recently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at The British Library. Blog: http://www.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Patricia Oxley founded Acumen in 1985 and is proud to have showcased the work of many well known poets such as Dannie Abse, Sebastian Barker, John Burnside, Andrew Motion, U.A.Fanthorpe, and R.S.Thomas, as well as providing space for the emergence of new talent. Patricia also ran the much-loved Torbay Poetry Festival, while organising a host of other poetry events in both Devon and London. She resigned from being editor of Acumen with issue 100 but remains advisory editor, and founder editor, to Danielle Hope who took over the running of the magazine in May 2021.
Glyn Pursglove was reviews editor for issues 8 to 100 of Acumen. He recently retired from his position as Reader in English Literature at Swansea University. He has published widely on many aspects of English literature. While many of these publications have been on English poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, he has always had a lively interest in contemporary poetry. He was formerly editor of The Swansea Review. Since his retirement, much of Glyn’s time and energy has gone into the reviewing of concerts and CDs for the website MusicWeb International, and the teaching of the occasional class at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
William Oxley was interviews’ editor of Acumen. He was poet-in-residence for Torbay during the Year of the Artist and has given readings and lectures throughout Britain and abroad. He believed he was the only British poet to have given a reading in Shangri-la, Nepal. Winner of the 2008 Torbay ArtsBase Award for Literature. A study of his poetry, The Romantic Imagination, came out in 2005 from Poetry Salzburg. His New and Collected Poems was published in 2014 by Rockingham Press, a pamphlet Walking Sequence & Other Poems was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015, and in 2017 Rockingham Press published his prose anecdotes On and Off Parnassus. William was reviews editor for Acumen from issues 1 to 7. He contributed to much more. An interview with William Oxley was published in the Poetry Kit and a tribute to William is published in the Guardian.