Prole – Wales’ answer to a wet Sunday

Prole issue 25_0001It’s always a pleasure to open a copy of Prole magazine which celebrates its silver anniversary with issue 25. Editors Brett Evans and Phil Robertson have a keen eye for poetry that punches its weight yet remains accessible.

Poets featured in this spring issue include Ndonwie Muma Alain, Juliet Antill, Claire Booker, Richard Hillesley, Jennifer A. McGowan, Laura McKee, Arji Manuelpillai, Robert Nisbet, DA Prince, Charley Reay, Gareth Writer-Davis and Stella Wulf.

You can also read the winning poems from The Prole Laureate Poetry competition 2018, judged by Kate Garrett: “My favourite poems always have three things; musicality, exceptionality, and heart. I love words that chime well together, unforced.”

Louise Warren wins outright with her beautiful and mysterious poem The Marches. I was very lucky to hear her perform this poem recently at More Poetry in the City of London. The poem works just as beautifully orally as it does on the page. The runner-up is Mary Gilonne with her touching poem extra-marital morning on the edge of nowhere. Third prize winner Bruce Marsland offers a witty (and unsettling) post-apocalyptic take, toolbox for the penultimate age.  Prole issue 25_0002

And of course, as always in Prole, there are short stories too, plus cartoonist Sparx is on hand with more tongue in cheek humour. So plenty to occupy you if (when?) the weather takes a turn for the worse.

To buy a copy of Prole (issue 25), to submit your own work, or to consider entering the Prole Pamphlet Competition 2018, please visit: Prole 

 

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Chroma Magazine – the Red Issue

Chroma 1 coverThe first issue of Chróma launched this winter and features an intoxicating fusion of contemporary poets, thinkers, artists and photographers with one uniting factor, the colour red.  Now, editor Emma Phillips is looking for work inspired by orange.

I was lucky enough to be invited to read at Chróma’s launch party in Brighton’s ONCA Gallery where a packed crowd enjoyed a stunning exhibition of photos and printed word material, then listened to poems and specially composed music.  Chroma 1c

Chroma 1dThe sheer quality of this inaugural magazine is a ravishment to eyes and brain alike. It’s a visual wow as well as being elegantly rammed full of intellectual and emotional surprises.  

My fellow contributors to the first issue include: poets Lydia Bowden, Chiyuma Elliott, Katie Munnik and Constantin Preda; stunning artwork by Karl-Joel Larsson, Darby Milbrath and Coco Davez; and mind-altering photography by Tekla Evelina Severin, Keegan Grandbois, Laurence Philomene, Mary Chen and Sophie Harris-Taylor. There are also in-depth feature articles on subjects as diverse (though thematically linked) as the meat industry, menstrual taboo, self-harm; plus interviews with artists such as Cleon Peterson and film-maker Greta Bellamacina. Chroma 1 There’s even room in Chróma’s 124 generous sized pages for short-stories by Gwen Myers and Colette Coen.

“2017 was a year of blood, shooting, wild-fire and extreme politics,” says Emma Phillips. “Despite this, the magazine also explores the beauty of red through its relationship to love, landscape, lipsticks and gender. In the West, red may mean anger, but in the East, it is a sign of vitality and fertility. It is the colour of happiness, worn by brides at their wedding and hung vibrantly across their streets and temples.” Chroma + poem

To order your copy of  the Red issue of Chróma, please visit the following link: Chroma To submit work inspired by the colour orange, email Emma at submission@chromamagazine.com 

Paper Swans Pocket Book of Love

Pocket Book of LoveAs inflation continues to gouge lumps out of our wallets, Paper Swans have come up with a winning formula – a pocket book series of poetry priced £3.50 each.

First off the press is The Pocket Book of Love, which contains 12 short poems by Yvonne Baker, Charlotte Begg, Claire Booker, Carole Bromley, Sami Cox, Olivia Dawson, Olga Dermott-Bond, Maria Isakova-Bennett, Karen Izod, Linda Kurowski, Fokkina McDonnell and Claire Walker.

It’s a little gem of concision, put together by editor Sarah Miles. If you’re too busy, or too shy, to pop one in the post to a loved one, Paper Swans Press will do this for you. Weighing less than 100g, it goes standard class, and is even more fun than receiving a postcard.

Next in the series is Anger – (careful who you send that one to!) with pocket books of poetry on Women’s Suffrage, Gardening, Cricket and Weddings in the pipeline.

If you’d like to buy a copy of The Pocket Book of Love please visit this link: Pocket Book of Love  Or to find out more about Paper Swans Press click on: Paper Swans Press

It’s not too late to submit your own work for the Gardening, Cricket and Weddings pocket books. Poems should be a maximum of 12 lines and can have been published elsewhere.  Pocket Book of Love  Pocket Book of LovePocket Book of LoveCloses March 31st.

Stand Magazine – a rolling landscape of lines

Stand 15 (4)If page shape, layout and typeset matter in the enjoyment of reading poetry (which I believe they do), then Stand is surely one of the most pleasurable of literary magazines. I simply love the generous, landscape look of it, with space enough for the longest of line lengths.

Of course, content is crucial too. The winter issue offers an eclectic mix of poems from Gary Allen, Claire Booker, Sean O’Brien, Vahni Capildeo, Anne Fitzgerald, John Gohorry, mystic poet Hafez (translated by Mario Petrucci), Matt Howard, Dan MacIsaac, David Redgrave, Anne Stevenson and J. Twm, among others.

There are thought-provoking, cross-genre offerings, including Anne Stevenson’s piece of prose (or is it poetry?) (or both?) which examines the context of her poem Sandi Russell Sings. Another genre-bending piece is David Sheshkin’s intriguing Modern Art which concocts four reviews of an avant-garde artist, so close to the real thing, that I’m still left wondering.

Associate editor, David Latane, reminds us that ‘little magazines’ can often punch above their weight, giving examples of Wyndham Lewis’ Blast and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’s Germ to illustrate his point. Thanks to founding editor, John Silkin’s original premise, Stand has been a significant player in the world of contemporary literature since 1952.

Stand Simon Armitage ArchiveStand is produced by The University of Leeds’ English Department, so it’s no surprise to find an article about their very own Poetry Professor, Simon Armitage, in this issue, including facsimile copies of pages from his red notebook used when walking the Pennine Way.

There are some muscular and entertaining pieces of flash by Michael Cadnum, a short story by John Siberry and reviews by Martin Malone, Rachel Bower and Tony Roberts.

To buy a copy of Issue 15 (4), take out a subscription or find out how to submit your work, please click on the following link: Stand Magazine

Latest from Poetry Salzburg Review

Poetry Salzburg Review 31It’s always a joy when Poetry Salzburg Review drops onto my door mat, with its Austrian postmark,  gloriously surreal cover and meaty, 180 or so pages of new poetry, translations, reviews and interviews.

Issue 31 is a particular treat for me, as it contains two of my poems, alongside work by Jackie Wills, Sean O’Brien, Robert Peake, Hugo Ball (writer of the Dada Manifesto and co-founder of the infamous Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich 1916), Carole Bromley, James Caruth, Jessica Mookherjee, John Lyons, Richard Skinner, Ruth Bidgood, Marjorie Sweetko and Robert Hampson, among many others.

There’s a good selection of international work in this issue, including poets with connections to South Africa, America, Australia, Canada, Trinidad, India, Cuba, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. It’s refreshing to hear voices and styles informed by very different cultural backgrounds.  

Poetry Salzburg Review is ” one of the most stimulating eclectic and certainly international outlets for quality contemporary poetry,” says the poetry magazine’s newest editorial board member, Keith Hutson. He joins Vahni Capildeo, Robert Dassanowsky and editor Wolfgang Görtschacher in selecting what goes into the bi-annual magazine.  Poetry Salzburg Review 31With several thousand submissions a year, this is no easy matter, but Hutson is clear about the task. “It seems to me that the journal’s only aim is to find and publish poetry that feels important – whatever the subject matter – and in the search for these poems, established writers are welcomed and new writers are celebrated.”

This issue has a fascinating interview with novelist and poet Elaine Feinstein, whose many impressive credits include translating the brilliant Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, thus helping to secure her a place in the cannon of great women poets writing in a language other than English. I for one am hugely grateful to her.

Issue 31 also offers readers fourteen late sonnets (most of them previously unpublished) by the poet Peter Russell, who was a protégé of TS Elliott and long-term correspondent with Ezra Pound. Plus a chance to read a generous selection of work by the recently deceased Frances Galleymore.

Poetry Salzburg Review is published twice yearly. To submit your own work, or buy a copy of Autumn 2017 (issue 31) or take out a subscription, click on the following link: Poetry Salzburg Review

 

14 Great Poetry Gigs to Celebrate

Postcards (Collage 3)Writing poetry is one thing. Marketing it, quite another. This is where poetry gigs can come into their own. Over the last year, I’ve taken my poetry pamphlet, Later There Will Be Postcards, on a whistle stop tour of some great venues.

Green Bottle Press launched the pamphlet last October at SLAM Kings Cross – a delightful venue with an ornate horseshoe balcony and music hall feel.  So far so great – a nice turn out of friends and poetry well-wishers, plus stablemates Tracey Rhys and Yvonne Piper launching their own books too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGBP Postc (Joolz pic)My editor, Jennifer Gregg, had arranged a pre-launch at The Torriano Meeting House – a little piece of literary history tucked away in Kentish Town, which is also home to the imprint Hearing Eye.  I featured there with fellow Green Bottle Press poet Sarah Sibley, reading from her PBS acclaimed pamphlet The Withering Room.  I was there again two weeks later to feature with poets Alan Price and Louise Warren, and enjoy the usual high quality open-mic readers.

In February I was invited to read two of my poems at Palewell Press‘s launch of a powerful book about refugees – Three Days in Damascus, a memoir by Kim Schultz. The venue was The Hive in Dalston, a really wacky, welcoming space full of contemporary art, great coffee and a happening feel to it.  Handy for the Jeffrey Museum too.

Magma 67 launchMagma being one of my top three favourite literary mags (no, I’m not telling!) I was thrilled to be asked to read two of my poems at the launch of its 67th issue (Bones & Breath) at The London Review Bookshop – handy for the British museum. The distinctive L-shaped room is surprisingly good acoustically, and there’s a real buzz sitting in such close proximity to so many books. Perhaps most inspiring is the quality of listening you get at a Magma launch.

Best-of-British-cover[1] And now let’s hear it for Royal Tunbridge Wells, and in particularly that adventurous publisher Paper Swans Press, who launched their Best of British Anthology at The George, not so far from the pantiles where Jane Austin may have sipped a Bacardi Breezer or two (or the Regency equivalent). My fellow contributors gathered from all corners of the UK to share offerings on the topic of British Life.

PAE Centrala 2April saw me in Birmingham’s Centrala Gallery, a great space which specialises in Eastern European art, and overlooks the Grand Union Canal. It was all part of the Birmingham Literature Festival. With Arts Council funding, our UK/Romanian collective PoetryArtExchange could afford to pay for three British poets and two Romanian poets plus a Polish saxophonist to perform poetry to an avant-garde sound track of words and musical sounds. I really let my hair down on castanets, tambourine and ball point pen! PAE - John Riley

Written in Water Constable event 6 May posterBrighton Museum, inside the Prince Regent’s fantasy palace with its minarets and flamboyant painted dragons, is a unique venue. For this year’s Brighton Festival, The Frogmore Press invited a contingent of Brighton-based poets to read their work inspired by clouds and sea. What a delight to share words in front of a magnificent collection of John Constable paintings and sketches.  There was an excellent turn out from the public, some of whom didn’t expect this added extra but stopped to listen to such poets as Clare Best, Maria Jastrzebska, Mandy Pannett, Jeremy Page, Lyn Thomas and Marek Urbanowicz. Thank you to Alexandra Loske for inviting us.

Beyond WordsIf you live within reach of south London, count yourself lucky. Beyond Words at the Gipsy Hill Tavern, is one of the most consistently enjoyable spoken word events and punches well above its weight. Hosts Angela Brodie and Caroline Vero invited me to feature in the summer, alongside Jim Alderson. What could be more convenient than a 2 minute walk to the train station and then up to Victoria in an eye-wink? I got home to Brighton in time for a nightcap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoose Muse Covent Garden, run by the inimitable Agnes Meadows, welcomed me as feature poet in June, alongside novelist SV Berlin and blogger Naomi Woddis. Later in Ocober I had the pleasure of featuring at the Winchester’s Loose Muse, alongside Jessica Mookherjee. I had time to visit some Winchester’s wonderfully preserved heritage (including King Arthur’s round table) before heading for The Discovery Centre, which was buzzing with interested poets thanks to organiser Sue Wrinch’s warm and efficient hospitality. I even managed to sell ten copies of Later There Will Be Postcards which is (and will probably remain) a personal best. We were the closing act of the UK-India Festival of Words set up by Sue, which included a flash fiction workshop, a free Bollywood film, poetry workshops and performances by Mona Arshi, Rishi Dastidar and Martyn Crucefix. Aminur

The Indian subcontinent continued to exert its effects, this time through the Bangla poet, Aminur Rahman, who was over in the UK to promote his latest collection, Perpetual Diary. Agnes Meadows organised an evening at The Sun Covent Garden, where Aminur charmed us with his readings in English and Bengali, and Isabel White, Racheal Joseph and myself were the supporting acts.

Petersfield Write Angle 2017Petersfield in Hampshire is a delightful  town with a market-place, herb garden and lovely winding river that runs through its Tudor and Georgian houses. It’s also home to a wonderfully eclectic poetry night – Petersfield Write Angle – run by Leah and Jake Cohen. Petersfield - Claire Dyer They invited myself and novelist/poet Claire Dyer to fill the feature slot for August (always the third Tuesday of the month). The venue is intimate and quirky, and the open mic drew some extraordinary performances, including a wonderful harpist.

Ver poets poster 17I travelled up to St Albans, burial place of Harold (arrow-in-the eye) Godwinson to feature at a Ver Poets Reading, alongside John Mole and Caroline Vero. St Albans public library was a joy – warm, bright and inviting, with an attentive mix of Ver poets and members of the public making up the audience.  John was reading from his Shoestring Press collection Gestures & Counterpoints, and Caroline shared some of her most up-to-the-minute poems.   Chroma 1d

Chroma 1And the final event I featured in this year, was the launch of the brand new lit mag Chroma at Brighton’s bijou ONCA Gallery.  Chroma will focus on a different colour each issue. Issue one is red and heart-stoppingly gorgeous to look at. The launch was awash with talented young artists, musicians and writers, and there was a beautifully curated exhibition of some of photographs and poems  (including my own I’m proud to say).  So thank you to Emma Phillips for fashioning such a sumptuous read!

Copies of Later There Will Be Postcards are still available at £6.20 plus p&p from: GREEN BOTTLE PRESS

Picaroon Poetry goes ‘Deranged’

DerangedWith Halloween just round the corner, why not treat yourself to some seriously unsettling poetry, curtesy of Picaroon’s ‘Deranged’ anthology, edited by Kate Garrett and Rachel Nix? The book is “for seriously ‘deranged poetesses’, in practice or in spirit, everywhere,” states its dedication.

Always happy to walk the edge, I’m delighted to have a poem in the anthology, alongside poets such as Rishika Aggarwal, Carole Bromley, Rebecca Gethin, Lizzie Holden, Amy Kinsman, Laurie Kolp, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Sarah Pritchard, Angela Readman and Sade Andria Zabala.  There’s a strong contingent from across The Pond, which is perhaps not surprising, given the move towards madness shown recently by the American electorate!

The anthology features poems about rule-breaking, gender nonconformity and women in the arts. It is “for those who openly refuse to be chained to the status quo; those who rebel quietly, biding their time; and everyone in between. ”  I’ll drink to that!

For more information on Picaroon Poetry please click the following link: Picaroon anthology

To order a copy of ‘Deranged’ direct, please click: Deranged