“Archipelago: def. 1 “Any sea or sheet of water, studded with many isles.” We live, though this is easily forgotten, on an island group of exceptional intricacy. Together, the territories conventionally called England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales comprise over 5,500 islands, studding and separating the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. And between them, the languages of this archipelago muster dozens of words for “island”, depending on size, profile, and water-context (fresh or salt; running or still; marine, estuarine or riverine). Listed, these words form a poem of paraphones: skerrie, skellig, sgeir, eyot, eilean, islet, inis, ynys, inch, isle, ailsa, ellan, oilean.”
Announcing the forthcoming publication of ARCHIPELAGO Issue One, available Summer 2007
ARCHIPELAGO is to be a literary magazine in the ordinary sense, in that it will contain writings in non-fictional prose, and verse. Extraordinary will be its preoccupations with landscape, with documentary and remembrance, with wilderness and wet, with natural and cultural histories, with language and languages, with the littoral and vestigial, the geological, and topographical, with climates, in terms of both meteorology, ecology and environment; and all these things as metaphor, liminal and subliminal, at the margins, in the unnameable constellation of islands on the Eastern Atlantic coast, known variously in other millennia as Britain, Great Britain, Britain and Ireland etc; even, too, too readily, the United Kingdom (including the North of partitioned Ireland), though no such thing ever existed, other than in extremis during wartime, but in the letter. But while the unnameable archipelago is its subject, its vision is by implication global, and its concerns with the state of the planet could not be more of the hour.