Timeless quotations chosen and written by William Cookson, the founding editor who died January 2003, refer to the still current aims of Agenda:

Lasting poetry remains timeless and is therefore always contemporary – it does not date, like the ephemera – often the most popular in whatever era. ‘There is really no modern poetry and ancient poetry – only good poetry and bad’ (Auden).

One of the aims of Agenda should be to take a stand against the trivia, cleverness, dull predictability – emotion without intellect, fancy without imagination – that pervades much widely-praised, and award-winning, current poetry, both here and in the U.S.A. Perhaps a new Dunciad is needed!

‘However often philosophers and linguisticians may have declared it an impossibility, poetry’s business is with telling the truth; and the truth in question is not restricted to the truth about its own workings and its own production. It seems incredible that this should need to be said; and that professors of literature should earn their salaries by denying it’ (Donald Davie).

Poetry ought to be the most subtle and living forms of language. That it really matters, and is somehow vital to human communication and to our perception of the universe, needs to be remembered.

The above remain the aims of Agenda as it goes into the future, valuing well-crafted poetry that is written out of necessity and, as such, comes from the heart. Agenda will never concur with fashionable tastes but will make a stand for a poetry that matters as both communication, sustenance, celebration and consolation: a poetry vital for survival when depths of the personal and communal psyche are tapped, contravening the rule, in our day, of Mammon.

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