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INTERVIEWEMILY BERRYAlex Pryce talks to the Faber poet about writing about grieving for her mother and editing the flagship magazine Poetry ReviewBetterton Street, a stone’s throw from Covent Garden in central London, is an address known to poetry lovers as the home of the Poetry Society, the Poetry Café and the Poetry Review. I’ve come here to meet the new Editor of the latter – Britain’s premier poetry magazine – currently hard at work on her first issue.She may be only six weeks in to her new role, but Berry, fresh-faced and wrapped up wellagainst the first real frosts of 2017, is already at home here. As I’m ushered into the Poetry Society’s first-floor studio space, Berry points out that we’re being watched from the other side of the box- strewn room by a bust of the Review’s first Editor, Galloway Kyle, who edited the magazine until his death at 92.On this cold winter day (in a colder office space), Berry seems tiny, swaddled in a largepashmina – and youthful, at 36, compared with Kyle’s statuesque form. As such, she’s definitelya bold statement as figurehead for an agenda- setting publication. When I ask how she finds her new role, she is honest: ‘It’s quite overwhelmingto think that those quiet decisions you are making in your bedroom, or wherever, could have an important impact. On the other hand, it is exciting to think you can take responsibility for redressing the balance for women writers or less well-known writing. I’m up for that challenge.’Some may recall various controversies around the PR editorship in recent years – with talk of feuds and resentments – but Berry shrugs this off. She is happy to have editorial independence within the remit of the magazine, and comments that most people have reacted positively to her appointment ‘to my face...’.As we sip our herbal teas, our discussion turns‘it is exciting to think you can redress the balance for women writers or less well-known writing. I’m up for that challenge’mslexia Mar/Apr/May 2017 47PHOTO: MADELEINE WALLER

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