Magma 63 Eavesdrops on Conversations

Magma 63Literary magazines exist to offer  an exchange between reader and author – ideas and inspiration flowing freely between minds.

So bravo to Magma 63’s editors Susannah Hart and Lisa Kelly for their fascinating cache of poems and articles on the gentle (and not so gentle!) art of conversation. Poets in this issue include Sophie Baker, Claire Booker, Jane Draycott, Jody Porter, Robert Seatter, Martha Sprackland, Eoghan Walls and Jackie Wills.

And as part of Magma’s on-going commissions, Daljit Nagra presents his new poem ‘The Look of Love’ which draws on a couplet by lesser known Elizabethan poet, Thomas Campion – “Fairenesse seene in th’outward shape is but th’inward beauties Ape.”

Plus there are some excellent feature articles in this issue. Christine Webb writes eloquently on the experience of having one of her favourite poems (‘Hurrahing In Harvest’ by Manley Hopkins) recorded for her by an actor at The Poetry Exchange. If you’d like to do the same, or would like to listen to already recorded poems, then visit:

And what about posterity? Is this still a possibility for contemporary poets? Tom Chivers (Penned in the Margins), Amy Wack (Seren), Neil Astley (Bloodaxe) and Parisa Ebrahimi (Chatto & Windus) enter the conversation.

Ambit’s Poetry Editor, Declan Ryan, considers Ian Hamilton’s concept of ‘perfect speech’ and finishes with a poetry exercise: write a poem that says something that should have been said to someone at the time, but who is no longer around.

And of course, there are reviews of some of the latest poetry collections including ‘Citizen’ by Claudia Rankine, ‘Loop of Jade’ by Sarah Howe, and ‘Careful What You Wish For’ by Peter Sansom.

To read some of the poems in issue 63, or to buy a copy, check the Magma website at:

Monologue Slam at St James’ Theatre

Twelve actors, ten playwrights, one great concept!

CSRamQWXIAAjMJu Director’s Cut pulled off an adventurous evening of acting and writing talent on Tuesday, with its ‘Make The Cut’ slam at London’s prestigious St James Theatre.

It’s always a privilege to have a play performed by up and coming young actors. This time, not one, but two, got to interpret the role of Kips in my play ‘Sperm Vampire’ along with nine other monologues, also performed by more than one actor.

The monologues were selected from among hundreds submitted to the company.  Each play was performed twice, by two different actors.  Each actor got to learn three different monologues.  The first round comprised all 12 actors going head to head in pairs, performing six of the shortlisted plays.  The audience then got to vote who went forward. The six winning actors  then went head to head in three groups of pairs, performing a new monologue.  The final round saw three actors performing the final monologue.  CSVVaFBWoAAA7gT

Simon Desborough and Harry Boyd both gave sterling performances as Kips in ‘Sperm Vampire’ by Claire Booker. A big thank you and congratulations to them both for their excellent interpretations.

Congratulations also to all the short-listed writers, the other ten actors and mazeltoff to the ultimate winners, actor Sukh Kaur Ojla and writer Tom Ratcliffe.

If you would like to know more about The Director’s Cut Theatre, including future writing or acting opportunities, please contact Heather Ward (Artistic Director and Producer) at: or on Facebook at:

Popshot gets ‘Curious’ with Fiction, Poetry and Illustration

A man in a blue gabardine and trilby is walking through a yellow wall. Curious?

Popshot (issue 14)_0001Then buy a copy of Popshot (issue 14) and follow the trail of weird and wonderful things within its latest pages. From tales of deep sea mysteries and time-loops to poems on blue hen’s eggs, leeks that rustle and planetary stalkers, Popshot will have your eyes popping.

Poets featured in the ‘Curious Issue’ include Claire Booker, Rosie Garland, Nancy Carol Moody and Catherine Venn. And there are great stories from Danielle Carey, Jane Wright and Dan Coxon among others, including a brilliant imagining by Rob Stuart on what might happen if humans create a super-powerful artificial intelligence. Be surprised. Be very surprised.

And of course, the glorious illustrations (17 in all) make Popshot such a joy to hold in the hand or view on screen.  Colour-rich or monchrome, figurative or pop-art, there’s something for every taste – each one a potential collectors’ item.

Popshot (CdeL best quality)Popshot editor, Jacob Denno, selects short fiction and poetry from thousands of submissions, then hands them over to cutting edge artists to absorb. Once they’re all fired up, it’s down to the drawing board!

It’s a dream come true to know that my poem ‘Clair de Lune’ has inspired an evocative illustration by Mathieu Persan which appears along side it in the magazine. There’s something mesmeric about that moonlit scene that keeps drawing me in.

For more information on Mathieu Persan’s work, please check his website at:

Other illustrators in Popshot’s Curious issue  include Joey Guidone, Alys Hobbs, Kate O’Hara and Carolina Burdon. The cover illustration (top) is by Jörn Kaspuhl at

Popshot continues to grow a community of readers, with copies of the magazine now available in 22 countries. If you want to see why, have a flick through a few spreads here in the Curious Issue.

You can buy a single issue for £6 + p&p or subscribe for £10 a year and get issue 14 as your initial copy, followed by the next two issues over the coming year, plus free access to the digital edition which contains every issue Popshot have ever published.

New Welsh Reader turns search-light on War

The theme of War and its contradictions runs through NWR #109, including an intriguing memoir about a Welsh-American GI by Peter E Murphy, and a searing short story by Daniel Jones about life after Afghanistan.

New Welsh Review (issue 109)

There’s also a hard-hitting essay by John Barnie – ‘The Sentimental Poppy’ – which argues that the War To End All Wars has been hi-jacked by tasteless nostalgia and is simply the last hurrah of British imperialism. One to ponder, at a time when the new leader of the Labour Party has promised to wear a white poppy this November at the Cenotaph.

New Welsh Review offers it’s usual high standard of poetry this issue with work by Polly Atkin, Sara Backer, Claire Booker, Philip Burton, James Davey, David Foster-Morgan and Stav Poleg. For a taster of each of the poems, click on:

Love him or hate him, Caradoc Evan’s highly controvertial short-story collection ‘My People’ still divides a nation, one hundred years after its first publication. Huw Lawrence’s essay dispassionately dissects these gripping stories – vitriolic parody of Welsh villagers by one of their own, or dark moral fables on universal themes? How complex the creative mind can be.

And on a lighter note, there’s a hilarious short story – ‘My Bukowski’ by Crystal Jeans – which really does take the stuffing out of sexual fantasy!

To buy of copy of New Welsh Reader (issue 109) or to find out how to submit your work to the magazine, click:

New Welsh Reader (issue 109) blurb

New York has a new Literary Magazine

Beechwood Review Summer 2015_0001There’s a new lit mag on the block and it’s scouting for poetry, short fiction and art work for its second issue.
The Beechwood Review is available in digital and print format. While many of its writers are American, New York-based editor Richard Heby is open to contributions from across the globe – including two of my poems which appear in issue 1.
He’s on a mission to share quality work that is concise but packs a punch. Haiku and Tanka are welcome (issue 1 contains  some lovely work by Bukusai Ashagawa and Corey D. Cook) but longer poems (free verse or form) are also welcome so long as they are tight and expressive.
The short fiction is quirky and full of surprises, from Chella Coutington’s 12 line The Pond Heron to Zain Saeed’s enigmatic Madeleine Moment Via Found Phone.
And there’s artwork too – eclectic and delightful, from photography and pop art to work in oils such as W. Jack Savage’s I Followed The GPS and Look Where We Are.
Beechwood Review Summer 2015_0002The front cover image is Organic Art #8 by Brandon Glazier, and the back cover (right) is Flores de Granada by Ilsa E Garcia Gonzalez.
To order your collector’s copy of the first edition, please visit:

To submit work for the next issue, send it in the body of an email to Richard Heby at:

Ambit 221 – a fruit bowl of art, poetry and short fiction

Ambit 221Ambit is looking absolutely luscious this summer – a splash of fruit and veg on ethereal blue and inside some wonderful reading.

Poems in this issue include work by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, Sarah Howe, Richard Scott, Declan Ryan, Claire Booker, Malene Engelund, Sally Festing and Robert Selby.

Artwork is on top form, with cover and a palate of work by South Korean artist Hyounsang Yoo, who gives insights into her journey as an artist and her working process. The Summer Salon of images is refreshingly diverse, including ‘Cherries’ by Kes Richardson and ‘Fatal Flower Garden’ by Melanie Bonajo. And as an added extra, Jenny Dunseath’s ‘An image, I’m pleased, I am sad’ is available to download from Ambit’s website as an animated .gif.

Plus short fiction lovers can enjoy stories by Dave Wakely, Marcella O’Connor, Tania Hershman and Jonny Keyworth – from insights into scientific nuns and gay parenthood to the melting pot of cultures that is New York.

To buy your copy of Ambit 221, or subscribe to the magazine, visit:

Home – Ambit magazine

Poetry on a stick – The Interpreter’s House is so suckable!

Interpreter's House (issue 59)It doesn’t come cooler than Albion Beatnik Press as a boutique venue for one of Britain’s best loved literary mags. Throw in a balmy Oxford evening, mouth-watering books packed from floor to ceiling, teapots in all sizes and some cracking poetry and you’ve got yourself a launch.

People came from as far away as Aberdeen, Wiltshire, Manchester and London to celebrate the work of 56 poets and short fiction writers, including Tammy Adams, Claire Booker, Nancy Campbell, Anas Hassan, Gram Joel Davis, Rachel Mann, John McAuliffe,  Rosemary Norman and Judith Taylor.

Interpreter's House Launch, Oxford

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA TIH 59 is a bumper issue which includes the winning poems from the 2015 Open House Poetry Competition – Roz Goddard’s ‘The Baroness and the Nun’; Dan O’Brien’s ‘ The War Reporter Paul Watson on the Devourer of Hearts’; andTerry Jones’ ‘The Naked Blessed Childhood of Maire O’Hanlon’. 


Liz Berry was the competition judge responsible for whittling an avalanche of entries down to three winners and seven highly commended poets. “I was looking for something magical or surprising, something well crafted and affecting too. There’s a strange indescribable electricity I feel when reading or hearing a brilliant poem and so I let that feeling be my first guide.”

Her choices don’t disappoint. Nor does the main body of poetry selected by Editor, Martin Malone. And for those who enjoy short fiction, there are stories by Jacob Ross and Alison Hitchcock too.

Now that the magazine has up sticks and left for Aberdeen, it remains to be seen whether TIH’s popular shindigs will come south of the border again.  Aberdeen’s gain is Oxford’s loss. Or could dual launches be the answer (any excuse for a party!).


Copies of The Interpreter’s House (issue 59) are available for a very reasonable £5.00 from the website at: INTERPRETER’S HOUSE

If you come to Oxford, you’ll love Albion Beatnik Press as a place to brouse, drink tea, buy poetry. The cafe is close to Worcester College, only 10 mins walk from the main train station, at 34 Walton Street, OX2 6AA.