Rialto 88 takes a trip ‘Up North’

Rialto 88The compass is set due north in the latest issue of The Rialto, with its dark, moody cover of a Scandinavian maiden linking arms with a wolf-man, plus promises of a ‘northern sampler’ of poems edited by Degna Stone.

Inside, you can find work by poets including Fleur Adcock, Claire Booker, Mary Jean Chan, Ella Frears, Tania Hershman, Sean Hewitt, Matt Howard, Anthony Mair, Jessica Mookherjee, Les Murray and Emma Wills, plus the first published poems of new poet on the block, CB Green (more please!)

The first twelve pages of this issue contain poems gleaned from The Rialto’s first pamphlet competition. “One of the things I enjoy most is finding writers who are new to us, or even new to just about everyone,” says the Editor, Michael Mackmin.  Look out for the competition winner, Sean Wai Keung’s pamphlet, at FREE VERSE (and via The Rialto website) later this month.

And then there’s the northern sampler itself:

“I guess what I wanted to do was to highlight some of the fantastic poets who are writing in my region,” explains Degna Stone. “I chose poems that I felt have a vitality and urgency about the world; whether that’s by looking back and asking us to think about what how much, or how little, things have changed, or centring us firmly in the present and asking us to think about how we can move forward.

“So, get yourself a cuppa or a glass of something, take fifteen minutes out of your day, and have a read.”  With poems by Anne Caldwell, John Challis, Pippa Little and William Stephenson among other northerners to read, I suggest you put aside a little longer to relish the magic of their windswept words. Rialto 88

To buy a copy of The Rialto issue 88 (£8.50), take out an annual subscription (£24/19 for 3 issues) or submit to the magazine, please check out: The Rialto

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Paper Swans Press gets Best of British

Best-of-British-cover[1]Best of British is a daring title for an anthology in these post-Brexit days, but co-editors Sarah Miles and Jill Munro are a safe and experienced pair of hands.

“It’s a wonderful anthology of accessible, varied and memorable poems,” writes Costa poetry prize winner Jonathan Edwards. “These are poems for and about people as much as about place.”

Best of British launchThe anthology includes work by Rebecca Bird, Claire Booker, Michael Brown, Claire Collison, Karen Izod, Sarah James, Angela Readman, Maggie Sawkins, Derek Sellen, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Paul Stephenson, Alison Stone, Alex Toms and Jules Whiting among others.

Subjects are wide and various, ranging from Viking museums, London rivers and stolen pavements, to citizenship tests, motorways and Scottish fish gutters.

Best of British was given a rousing launch at The George, Tunbridge Wells, with readings from Carole Bromley, Claire Collinson, Karen Izod, Ed Broom, Lawrence Wilson, Susan Evans, Claire Booker, Sue Spiers and Maggie Sawkins. PaperSwan's Press British launch

To buy a copy, or find out more about the award-winning Paper Swans Press, please visit: Paper Swans Press

 

 

The High Window lit-zine offers great views

The High Window issue 6If your wish-list includes a beautifully curated, quarterly poetry journal that costs only time to enjoy then look no further than The High Window. Launched last year, its roll-call of contributors is already impressive.

Issue 6 (summer) carries three poems by Claire Booker and work by Carrie Etter, Philip Gross, Anne Irwin, Sean Kelly, Bethany Rivers, Jean Stevens and Simon Williams among others. Age is no bar to publication, as Sophie Reisbord (age 15) and Maurice Rutherford (age 95) can testify. They join such illustrious High Window alumni as Ian Duhig, David Harsent, Abigail Morley, Helen Mort, Mario Petrucci, Fiona Sampson and Matthew Sweeney.

The High Window is anything but parochial. Alongside a lively mix of poetry from the UK and around the world, it packs in intelligent reviews, a selection of poems in translation, profiles on American poets (issue 6 features Richard Hoffman) and essays (issue 6 considers Sam Gardiner). High Window REviews

Reviews in this issue include Ruth Sharman’s Scarlet Tiger reviewed by Claire Dyer, and a thought-provoking analysis of Michael Crowley’s First Fleet by Peter Riley in which he questions whether it’s possible for a contemporary poet to write a truly narrative poem.

dcthw[2]Co-founders David Cooke and Anthony Costello  edit The High Window and also run The High Window Press which publishes chapbooks and anthologies by poets who are up and coming or, in the opinion of the editors, may have been unduly neglected. img_20150504_231611[1]

So why not consider submitting some of your unpublished work to the magazine? According to the submissions blurb, your poem is more likely to excite the editors if it has the authenticity of lived experience or engages imaginatively with an idea. They will expect to see a commitment to the craft of poetry and respect for the sense and sound of language. And who can argue with that?

To read the latest issue (and/or back issues) click on: The High Window (issue 6)

To find out more about the publishing house click on: The High Window Press

 

When Poems Meet a Composer

Out of Place - St PaulsPoetry began life as sung word, often in a religious context. So what a privilege to return to those poetic roots and have one of my poems set to music and performed as part of an evening of new compositions at the Actor’s Church (St Paul’s) in Covent Garden.

Out of Place is the brainchild of musician Nicola Burnett Smith, who sought out poems from contemporary poets and brought them together with a team of composers to create twelve very varied pieces.  The result was a gala evening of new musical work including fun improvisation, classical composition, solo instrumentalists, wonderful readings by Annette Badland, acapella singing and some pretty acrobatic percussion work!Out of Place - composers

The composers (Gemma Storr, Sarah Woolfenden, Marianne Johnson and Nicola Burnett Smith) each chose poems that inspired them, then spent six months creating a great variety of responses. The chosen poets include Claire Booker, Dharmavadana, Alexander James, Anna Kisby and Samantha Pearse.

Out of Place - Nicki Burnet Smith and Anne BadlandsIn front of a packed audience, the evening raised money for The Rory Peck Trust which supports freelance journalists working in hostile environments. For more information about the Trust or to buy an anthology of all the poems, including some not set to music, (all takings donated to the Trust) please email 2017outofplace@gmail.com or p hone 020 3219 7860.

The concert can be viewed by clicking: Out of Place concert (https://youtu.be/l90YRFlpOtU). If you need to fast forward to my poem (you’ll be missing some great music though) you can find it at 16.20 mins into the film.

To hear my poem read by Olivier-nominated actor Annette Badland (aka Hazel in the Archers!) please click:   Audio of ‘Dancing Green’ (https://soundcloud.com/nicolaburnettsmith/sets/out-of-place?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email)

Out of Place - posterA huge thank you to Annette Badland, the musicians and Nicola Burnett Smith for all her hard work and skill in taking my poem ‘Refuge’ and creating from it her piece ‘Dancing Green’ (clarinet-Nicola Burnett Smith, percussion – Gemma Storr, flute – Marianne Johnson, trumpet – Sarah Woolfenden, piano – Sarah Lambie).

Bucharest University Press publishes PoetryArt Exchange

PAE - cred. Chris Leman-RileyAn experiment in UK/Romanian collaborative poetry which began two years ago is now available to read in a FREE e-book at: http://editura.mttlc.ro/ rushton-poetryartexchange- romania-uk.html

The book comprises 36 interlinked poems, correspondence and debate from nine participating poets – Claire Booker, Margento, Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Iulia Militaru, John Riley, Andra Rotaru, Steve Rushton, Aleksandar Stoicovici and Stephen Watts.

PAE CentralaIn life, and virtually, these poets have got together and riffed off each other’s energy and ideas, creating new poems, interactive soundscapes, musical experimentation, exhibitions and live readings of their work at Deptford’s Bird’s Nest Gallery, The Hundred Years Gallery, Hoxton, and Birmingham’s Centrala Gallery.  PAE - 100 years audience

“Experimentalism has gone global,” says Lidia Vianu, Director of The Contemporary Literature Press (University of Bucharest) in her foreword to the book. “The change in the language of poetry, as well as in its obsessions, is so brutal that somebody like me, who has been teaching 20th Century poetry, plus the early years of the 21st Century, can only wonder at the brave new world which is opening as we speak, and say with me, poetryartexchange is a book for the next generation.”

PoetryArtExchange has also won praise from Ukrainian-born Ilya Kaminsky (two of whose poems headline the current Magma magazine). He writes: ” . . . nine poets from two countries coming together to smash the barriers and reach out to each other. In our world so torn by various nationalisms, refugee crises, political darknesses, what respite—what a gift, really—to find humans who create a country all their own (all our own, now) out of words. If I had to pledge allegiance to any nation, it would be this one.”

PAE - John Riley

During PoetryArtExchange performances, poetic phrases have been glued to windows, light-projected onto walls, beaten out to the sound of drums, ball point pens and assorted instruments, blown up large as art-works, whispered into microphones above a palimpsest of previous recordings. Sebastian Sterkowicz on bass clarinet and Costin Dumitrache on piano have added further layers of music-making experimentation alongside the poets.

New poems have been created by each participant in a kind of call and response. Margento brilliantly references work by all nine poets in a colour-coded poem entitled: London (né) – Bookar®est Express (A Nuyorican Language GPS). Connections and debate are made between all the poets in English, Romanian, the languages of academia and even the language of satire. Who, for example, is the art critic Johannes Metzger who attacks an imaginary show ‘I Have a Cock’ with unstoppable pretension? Perhaps only John Riley can know.

A film of the PoetryArtExchange performance at The Hundred Years Gallery is available here: poetryartexchange(Romania/UK) at Hundred Years Gallery London

“What a show! Nine writers from two cultures, Romania and the UK, working their brand-new, poly-vocal invention. As one of the poets says, “It’s an attempt at establishing.” It establishes, and powerfully invigorates, so many aesthetics and colors, so many flavors and voices—cases, fonts, songs, diatribes, tracts, interiors and pluralities. This book is dynamic—as in drop-the-mike—as in dynamite.”  David Baker

 Check out the PAE blogsite at: poetryartexchange.wordpress. com

A podcast of three of the poets discussing PoetryArtExchange is available here: Podcast + playlist: Hello GoodBye – 27.05.17 – Sebastian Melmoth, Steve Rushton, Margento + Simon Waldram | hellogoodbyeshow

Topmost photo credit: Christine Leman-Riley.

 

Donald Trump has read Magma 67

Magma 67In a parallel universe, Donald Trump has read Magma’s Bones & Breath issue and is discovering that poetry can bite back!

In their introduction to the issue, co-editors Rob A Mackenzie and A.B. Jackson ask “how can poetry bring fresh perspective in the face of socio-political crisis?” Five poets attempt an answer in a though-provoking feature that’s a must-read in the aftermath of Brexit and Trump.

Making something happen within its ice-cool pages are voices from across the globe including Caroline Bird, Claire Booker, Alison Brackenbury, Vahni Capildeo, Martyn Crucefix, Isobel Dixon, John Greening, Anja Konig, Stav Poleg, Richard Price and David Wheatley.

Ilya Kaminsky’s searing poems ‘The Map of Bone and Opened Valves’ and ‘Our Boys Drag a Soldier into a Sunlit Piazza’ bring the banal horror of contemporary war into subtle and devastating perspective. Asif Khan, Dzifa Benson, Alistair Noon, Theodoros Chiotis, Eleanor Livingstone and Juana Adcock share their thoughts on Brexit and Poetry and there is explosive wordplay from selected poet Holly Corfield Carr including her ‘Z’ – a highly inventive riff on letters of the alphabet.

Magma 67 launchA Magma launch is always a gold star event in the calendar, so I was thrilled to be one of the contributors invited to read in front of a buzzing audience packing the L -shaped London Review Bookshop in central London.

Performing page poetry can be something of a challenge, but we were lucky to enjoy a range of voices, including the poised and incisive Martin Crucefix, a delightfully bubbly Alison Brackenbury and bucket loads of wit from Nicki Heinen and  Holly Corfield Carr.

Issue 67 continues Magma’s series of inviting poets to create a new poem in response to work by their favourite poet. In this issue, it’s Guggenheim Award winner Cate Marvin who was inspired by Charlotte Mew’s ‘The Quiet House’ to create her own homage in the shape of ‘My Father’s Liquor Cabinet’.

Magma 67 launch“The Quiet House contains one of my all-time favorite poetic statements: ‘A rose can stab you from across the street/ deeper than any knife’.” says Cate Marvin. “I wanted to chose a poet that not everyone might be familiar with because this is one of the pleasures we can provide for one another as readers.

“It’s times like these [Trump’s election] that we truly need poetry. Not just to read it, but to write it, and write a lot of it. . . . My sense of the impact of the election is that Americans (half of us anyway) now know what it feels like to be an exile in one’s own country.”

Claire Crowther, Katy Evans Bush, Lisa Kelly and Jon Sayers review some of the latest poetry fare, including ‘Float’ by Anne Carson, ‘Sunshine’ by Melissa Lee-Houghton, ‘The Further Adventures of the Lives of the Saints’ by Patrick Mackie, and ‘Noir’ by Charlotte Gann.

To buy a one off copy of Magma 67, order a subscription to the magazine, or check on submission windows, please visit: www.magmapoetry.com

Cover : Bahar Yurukoglu.

Frogmore Papers issue 89

The Wax Paper with seal close up_0001Folkestone is fast becoming a hotbed of artistic innovation to rival Hastings and Brighton. But the seeds were already sown in 1983 when Andre Evans and Jeremy Page launched The Frogmore Press from the town’s Frogmore tea-rooms.

The magazine has since moved left a bit and up a bit. It’s now published bi-annually from the East Sussex county town of Lewes.  The latest issue lives up to its reputation for engaging cover designs with an arresting rendition of ‘twae corbies’ by Eva Bodinet.

Poets published in issue 89 include Claire Booker, Maggie Butt, Julia Deakin, James Flynn, Desmond Graham, Chris Hardy, D A Prince, John Short, Pam Zinneman-Hope and John Whitehouse.  There are short stories by Caroline Price, Mary O’Donnell, Simon Howells, Kevin Tosca and Rachael McGill, plus a generous number of reviews including Peter Ebsworth’s Krapp’s Last Tape:The Musical which I for one have thoroughly enjoyed reading.

The Wax Paper with seal close up_0002Copies of issue 89 are available for sale at £5, or you can take out a one year subscription (£10) or two year subscription (£15).  The Frogmore Papers now operates submissions windows in April and October. For more details on how to submit or take out a subscription, please visit: www.frogmorepress.co.uk