Poetry Salzburg Review – flying the flag for English poetry

Poetry Salzburg Review (issue 34)With only weeks before a possible plunge off the Brexit cliff, it’s good to know that English language poetry is still cherished in the heart of Europe. images[7]

The latest issue of Poetry Salzburg Review contains work from 72 English-speaking poets including John Arnold, Claire Booker, Jonathan Catherall, Carole Coates, Andy Croft, Robert Dassanowsky, Terry Doyle, Julie Maclean, Sue Kindon, Fiona Larkin, Owen Lowery, Matthew Paul, Paul Stephenson, Tessa Strickland, Iain Twiddy, Tom Vaughan, Sarah Juliet Walsh and Andrew Wildermuth.

Poetry Salzburg Review (issue 34) (3)Continuing its trend of fabulously surreal covers, the artwork for issue 34 is by Michael Cheval. This is the third issue of PSR that has carried my poems, and each time Cheval has wowed me with his inventiveness and luscious use of colour. You can find out more about his work at Michael Cheval

But of course, a book is more than it’s cover. Look inside this one, and as well as a wide range of poetic styles and themes, you’ll find reviews of European and UK poets by John Challis, Keith Hutson and Robert Peake; and a thought-provoking interview with Scottish poet and translater Alan Riach by PSR editor Wolfgang Gortschacher.

To buy a copy of Poetry Salzburg Review, browse their collections and pamphlets, or submit your own work, please visit Poetry Salzburg

High Window, Ekphrastic Review and Celebrating Change – why publish on-line?

A recent flurry of my poems being carried by The High Window (issue 15), The Ekphrastic Review (August 2019) and Celebrating Change (September 2019) has made me ponder the pros and cons of online publishing.

Ekphrastic Review (25.8.19)You write a poem, you re-write a poem, you workshop it, you work on it again, eventually you submit, sometimes it’s accepted for publication. So far, so normal. Appearing in a magazine or anthology enables us to share our craft, our vision, our voice.  Being published doffs its cap to posterity.

So what can online publication offer that printed books and magazines can’t?  Well, for a start, online magazines are usually free to read. This, together with the fact that content can be shared more easily via social media, means you potentially reach more readers. There can be greater immediacy too when you by-pass the laborious processes of printing and posting out. This is particularly relevant for political poems. Online is so handy for journeys – no more lugging heavy books around. Stuck in a jam? Pull out your mobile and get reading. Online magazines allow you to search for individual poet’s work, often across many issues. At magazines like The Ekphrastic Review, you also get to see the painting or artwork that inspired the poem – a delight that books can usually only dream of. Online creative collaborations such as Celebrating Change can use film, music, written word or spoken word in ways that printed form simply can’t deliver. Not least of all, online poetry saves trees!IMG_20190928_125228151[1]

For many writers (and readers) however, the printed book or magazine simply can’t be beaten. There’s something about the quietness of paper that conduces to contemplation and absorption. Bad habits of dipping and diving on-screen can be left behind and poems given the space (literal and metaphorical) they deserve. Many online magazines can’t take unusual formats because line breaks get easily mangled. Goodbye concrete poetry!  In terms of longevity, a book can be retrieved from your shelves and re-read in years to come, whereas online work tends to plunge into oblivion remarkably quickly (unless it’s a bad review or embarrassing photo!)

There are no right or wrongs, of course. Clearly, online and print both have a place in our reading lives. It’s fun to embrace them both. As far as I’m concerned, thank you for taking my work, and vive la difference!

The Ekphrastic Review, edited in Canada by Lorette C Luzajic, publishes poems on a daily basis and accepts reprints: “We’re an online journal devoted entirely to writing inspired by visual art. Our objective is to promote ekphrastic writing, promote art appreciation, and experience how the two strengthen each other and bring enrichment to every facet of life. We want to inspire more ekphrastic writing and promote the best in ekphrasis far and wide.” Check it out here at: The Ekphrastic Review

The High Window is published quarterly by David Cooke and includes reviews, guest poets, poems in translation, occasional articles, and new poems by established and up and coming poets. He has recently started releasing it in instalments to allow for less pressured reading. By clicking names on the contributors’ list, you get taken straight to that person’s poems. Poets in the autumn 2019 issue include Claire Booker, Rebecca Gethin, Rosie Jackson, Maitreyabandhu, Angela Topping and Gareth Writer Davis. The High Window (issue 15)

Celebrating Change is an ACE funded story-telling project based in Middlesbrough led by Laura Degnan and Kirsten Luckins, which combines film, poetry and writing workshops around social change. It releases a poem every ten days, and accepts reprints. Guest editors have included Amy Kinsman and Jess Green.  Some of the poets published so far are Claire Booker, Rachel Burns, Sarah L Dixon, Catherine Fulkner, Moira Garland, Ye Min and Marka Rifat. Check it out here at: Celebrating Change

 

Magma 74 – Poetry Gets Down to Work

Magma 74We may be knee-deep in the holiday season, but Magma’s summer issue gets to the heart of what everyday life so often boils down to – work. The getting of it. The losing of it. The joys. The frustrations. The politics.

It’s a truly memorable issue, put together by editors Benedict Newbery and Pauline Sewards with an eye for wit, as well as grit. The cover image by Joff Winterhart is spot on.

Poets published in issue 74 include:  Anne Berkeley, Claire Booker, Kate Bingham, Alison Brackenbury, Carole Bromley, Fiona Cartwright, Emma Danes, Caroline Davies, Terence Dooley, Duncan Forbes, Owen Gallagher, Anne Hay, Robin Houghton, Angela Howarth, Ewan John, Lorraine Mariner, Fokkina McDonald, Martin Rieser, Anne Ryland, Jayne Stanton, Paul Stephenson and Angela Topping.

Magma (Work) launch 2 (2)From posties, haymakers, turnip-pullers and stone masons, to tea ladies, celebrity-minders, university lecturers, ventriloquists and new mums – so many takes on what makes work, work. How to survive it. Why we do it. What it’s like when it stops.

“Work should be every bit as universal a theme as love” says Jane Commane in her feature article ‘Ideas Above Your Station’. “And yet too often it remains the unspoken, unsung business of our days.”

As part of Magma’s regular slot, Tim Wells responds to Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poem Inglan is a Bitch, with his own specially commissioned poem no escaping it – read with absolute verve and conviction at the Magma 74 London launch at Exmouth Market last month (see below). Magma (Work) launch

It was lovely to be one of the 23 contributors performing on such a glitzy stage. Stand-out readings included the flamboyant Stuart Charlesworth, the sinister tones of Graham Buchan, and a brilliant sestina by Rachel Bower. There was even a surprise guest spot for Hilaire whose joint collection with Joolz Sparkes is reviewed in this issue.

If you entered Magma’s 2018/19 poetry competition, you’ll be interested to read the winning entries – Judge’s Prize: Fuck/Boys by Inua Ellams; Stillborn by Rowena Warwick; Hangover by Ben Strak. Editors’ Prize: A Strange Boulder by Derek Hughes; Entertaining Sammy Davis Jnr in St Ives, 1962 by Kathy Pimlott; Lanterns by Katie Hale.

Magma (74)_0002Tom Sastry is the featured poet in the current issue. His first full collection (A Man’s House Catches Fire) will be published by Nine Arches Press in October. There are fascinating articles relating to poetry, work and class by Louisa Adjoa Parker, Jane Commane and Fran Lock, and the usual meaty, thought-inducing reviews section.

To order a copy of Magma (issue 74) or to find out how to submit to Magma 76 (closing date 31st August, theme Resistencia) check out the website at: Magma

Celebrating Change – When Poetry Packs a Punch

A project underway in Middlesbrough is working with local people and the wider literary community to harness the power of poetry for creating social and political change.

It’s a year-long digital storytelling project, funded by Arts Council England and led by film-maker Laura Degnan and poet Kirsten Luckins.

images59ORYF4GLast month, guest editor Amy Kinsman selected my poem about a refugee seeking asylum via the Channel Tunnel and published it on the Celebrating Change website. You can find it under their recent posts (June 14th), or read it here: Abdul Haroun Almost Medals at Dover 

If you’ve written a poem that tackles injustice, inspired perhaps by people striving to create a better world, you might be interested to know that Celebrating Change are looking for poems on a rolling basis. canva-females-gathering-on-road-for-demonstrations-MADOYVgN2Gw[1]

Here’s the gen:

“Please send poems (no longer than 40 lines) and stories (no longer than 750 words) as attachments to celebratingchange2017@gmail.com. We are happy to accept previously published work, just tell us where and when it first appeared so we can acknowledge.

csd-2735009__340[2]Please also include a short biog (50 words) and links to your blog, website or audio/video channel. A good photo of you, or a photo taken by you that we can use to illustrate the poem would be super for the Insta feed.

Our overarching theme is ‘change’ – guest editors will be more specific. Because this is a digital storytelling project, we like poems that tell a story in some way.”

To enjoy poems already live on the site, including work by Ian Badcoe, Claire Booker, Jane Burn, Sara Hirsch and Marylin Longstaff, check out: Celebrating Change

 

Frogmore Press celebrates Moon Landings

Pale Fire front cover (1)Fifty years ago this month, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon and uttered his now infamous phrase: “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

As poets, we continue to be awed, fascinated and drawn into the orbit of our nearest planet.

To celebrate all things lunar, The Frogmore Press have published an anthology of contemporary poetry entitled Pale Fire and packed it with work by more than sixty poets,  including Clare Best, Sharon Black, Robin Bolam, Claire Booker, Maggie Butt, Maggie Harris, Seema Kapila, Jane Lovell, Martin Malone, Jessica Mookherjee, Fiona Moore, Grace Nichols, Zel Norwood, Jeremy Page, Cheryl Pearson,  John Rice, Myra Schneider, Peter Stewart, Janet Sutherland, Kay Syrad, George Szirtes and Mark Urbanowicz.

Pale MoonThe anthology fascinates with its wide-ranging styles and content. Star of the show (no pun intended) is the moon, which sails through the many stories and emotions contained within these poems. Sometimes it’s a “pale orange egg”, or a “ferrier of calm”, or “an astonished semibreve”, or “a factory light burning on the top floor”. Sometimes it’s benign, sometimes threatening, sometimes plain funny. Never is it boring!

Pale Fire is the brainchild of editor Alexandra Loske and includes a series of exquisite illustrations of the moon by Sussex-based painter Fergus Hare (www.fergushare.net). 

Moon anthology 4The book was launched last month at Fitzroy House – a gem of a gothic-revival building in Lewes, East Sussex. Not only did the audience get a chance to enjoy (I hope!) hearing a bunch of us read our poems, but they were also treated to an exhibition of drawings, etchings, paintings and sculpture inspired by the moon which had been curated around this amazing circular room. Moon Anthology 2

“Seeing the moon’s desolate landscape up-close may to some initially have felt like a visual disappointment,” writes Alexandra Loske. “But the magnitude of this human achievement and its impact on our culture and psyche cannot be underestimated.”

Pale Fire is testimony to the poetic impact of the moon. The anthology is available from The Frogmore Press price £10.

For more information go to: Frogmore Press

Orbis #187 – ooh, la, la, it’s Sylvia Plath!

Orbis (issue 187)It’s a real treat to be in Orbis again. I love how editor Carole Baldock creates a sense of community through opportunities for feedback (a Readers’ Award – with cash prizes and a Reader’s Response on a topic of choice). Whether you’re a poet or a subscriber (or both) you’re instantly part of the conversation.

This latest issue contains poetry by Faye Boland, Claire Booker, Patricia Brody, Laura Chalar, Philip Dunkerley, Victoria Gatehouse, David Lukens, Jenna Plewes, Sue Spiers, Paul Stephenson, Jules Whiting and Rodney Wood among many others, together with a generous feature spot of work by Denise McSheeny.

There’s also a fascinating article by Paul Stephenson on comedic effect in the poetry of Sylvia Plath. Mission impossible, surely? Yet he offers a robust set of arguments, starting with a quote from South African poet Finuala Dowling: “It’s not a fashionable thing to say in an age of gravitas, but I believe that wit is the quintessential poetic craft. The truly witty poet . . . feels life’s pain, but anaesthetises it temporarily with irony, absurdity or sheer bravado.”

Paul highlights specific poems to show that “Plath’s humour comes precisely from the tragi-comic. That is to say, the tragi-comedy of the individual in her self-absorbed and confessional plight – for love and life.

“Plath is a satirical chronicler of her adopted country. We watch [her] deal the blows, the sharp-tongued wit in the verbal bullying and lexical assaults on those who inflict pain on her: father; husband; community; society at large. Comedy lies in the futility of her painful posturing.”

This issue also contains book reviews, competition alerts, prose by Charlotte Gringrass, Denise McSheehy and Jenna Plewes, and a Reader’s Response on gender equality in literature.

To buy a copy of Oribis (issue 187) or to submit your own work, check out the website at this link: Orbis

400 years of women’s lives in poetry thanks to London Undercurrents

DwjEU33XcAALU3F[1]My review of Hilaire and Joolz Sparkes’ fascinating debut collection ‘London Undercurrents’ is now live on Ink, Sweat and Tears‘ review pages.

Congratulations to both poets for their lively handling of the subject and to Holland Park Press for creating such a lovely looking book.

It delves with great energy and dexterity into the lives of London’s unsung heroines of the past four hundred years. Quite unputtable down!

If you’d like to read my review then please visit the following link: Ink Sweat and Tears

Go buy the book at: Holland Park Press