When Paul first approached me to be guest curator for this submission period, I felt hugely honoured. Then I forgot about it for a while, then I remembered again and panicked, then Paul set my mind at rest and the poems began to come in and it was wonderful. 

 Seeing them pop into my inbox felt something like being marooned on an island (I am a bit isolated, but haven’t we all been lately?) and receiving messages in a bottle. These were messages I’d actively solicited, messages I’d even asked for around a specific theme- Hiding Places*,and it was interesting to see how many pieces of work reflected my own thoughts when choosing that theme, and how many were at zingy tangents to it- all were welcome. 

 I read each piece a few times. I wanted to make sure that what didn’t automatically gel with grumpy-early-morning-me, felt the same to mellow-couple-of-glasses-of-wine-me, and I’m glad I gave them that chance. There were a couple that instantly lodged in my head though and stayed with me throughout. 

 I had no preconceived ideas around what I was looking for, and there is, I think, a wide range of takes on the theme and variety of styles in the finished group of pieces, and that’s pretty indicative of the inside of my head, which is also a hiding place. 

Thank you for sending me your work, I feel it’s an act of extreme courage to submit things, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to read every single one of them.  

Rachel

*if you’re at all interested: chosen because I feel the need to hide fairly frequently, I’d legit love to be a hermit with the odd visit from friends with booze, also I’d just begun the annual careful visual scan of the garden and shed for potential wasps nest sites before the wasps did, and also because I’ve been having a lot of tooth trouble lately and imagine my mouth as a craggy landscape filled with secret niches and crannies for bacteria to colonise (mmm, how delightful!)