Agenda comprises poetry, critical essays and reviews in general anthology issues, special issues which focus on a well-known poet alive or dead, and international issues. A general selection of poems and essays also appear in each issue.
Agenda has put many now famous poets on the map such as: William Carlos Williams, Theodore Roethke, Ted Hughes, Tom Scott, Elizabeth Jennings, Roy Fuller, Ian Hamilton, Peter Dale, C.H. Sisson, Charles Tomlinson, Geoffrey Hill, R.S.Thomas, Michael Hamburger, Jon Silkin, Ken Smith.
It regularly publishes new work by, among many others, Seamus Heaney, John Montague, John Burnside, Brendan Kennelly, John F.Deane, David Harsent, Heather Buck.Indeed, Agenda consistently discovers fresh, talented voices from every English-speaking continent, revives undeservedly neglected poets and offers versions or translations of poetry from specific countries that one would usually have no access to. For example there have been Spanish, Greek, Indian, and Turkish issues.
As well as general anthology issues, Special issues focus on a particular well-established poet, alive or dead (sometimes an undeservedly neglected one). For example there have been special issues on, among others: Thomas Hardy, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Robert Lowell, William Carlos Williams, Hugh MacDiarmid, Kathleen Raine, Geoffrey Hill, David Jones, R.S. Thomas, Thom Gunn, Charles Tomlinson, Peter Dale, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott. As Seamus Heaney said: ‘The Special issues form an indispensable contribution to the contemporary critical record’. Each Special issue includes original work by the particular poet as well as original critical essays on different aspects of his/her work.’
Young Voices (16 – Late 30s) and Young Artists
A new initiative: the online Broadsheets for young poets (aged 16-late thirties) accompanies each issue of the magazine. Broadsheets 1 and 2 were colour posters, with poems and a piece of art work on the front by a young artist. The online Broadsheets in a long scroll-like form, with art work by young artists link inextricably to the magazine. In each issue, there are Notes for Broadsheet poets on the craft, technique and inspiration involved in writing poetry. Also, one or two chosen Broadsheet poets are given a wider spread and highlighted in each magazine. A young essayist and reviewer are also featured in the magazine.