“…among the truly outstanding poetry magazines of the English-speaking world […] as a showcase for major established talent, and a nurturer of promising young poets and critics, this prestigious journal has few equals.”
Dennis O’ Driscoll—
The Dark Horse was founded in 1995 by the Scottish poet Gerry Cambridge. It is an international literary magazine committed to British, Irish and American poetry, and is published from Scotland.
We like to think that the journal is characterised by a clear-sighted scepticism and an eye for the genuine. We understand that hype, in its presumption of consensus, is irrelevant to readers of any individuality. Not that we equate poetry with solemnity. We are, by turns, or sometimes simultaneously, serious, wry, humorous, iconoclastic.
While we are glad to print poetry in metre and rhyme, we remember Randall Jarrell’s “Where poems have hearts, a metronome is beating here.” We believe that we can recognise poems of sound heart. Not being evangelical or overly partisan, we also print compelling free verse.
We publish, too, a mix of stylish and engaged essays, reviews, interviews, polemics and appreciations. At times these are groundbreaking: our interviews with, for example, Philip Hobsbaum and the poet-scientist G. F. Dutton are the most extensive of their kind available. These can be found in the magazine archive.
We have published new work by established poets including Edwin Morgan, Anne Stevenson, Wendy Cope, Anthony Hecht, Douglas Dunn, Robert Nye, Richard Wilbur, Kay Ryan, Vicki Feaver, Matthew Sweeney and many more, but are at least as proud of our discoveries, whether of individual poems or of poets previously unknown to us. We also love to highlight excellent yet neglected or overlooked figures. The contemporary poetry scene, for all its colour, has a short memory which has less to do with quality than with fashion. We attempt to honour literary quality, not literary fashion.
The Dark Horse is in the tradition of the finest poetry magazines: engaged, at times contrarian, and with a commitment to excellence as we perceive it.