Category Archives: Poems

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

The Interpreter’s House unleashes flying furniture!

interpreters-house-64Chairs and sofas are blooming on the spring issue of The Interpreter’s House. No need for daffs and crocuses when you can enjoy poetry and short stories, curled up somewhere warm until the clocks change.

Poets in issue 64 include Miranda Barnes, Claire Booker, Ingrid Casey, Gram Joel Davies, Pamela Job, Wendy Klein, Julie Mellor, Katrina Naomi, Stuart Pickford, James Sutherland Smith and Samuel Tongue.

And if that’s not enough to rev up your day, there’s fiction by Anna Lewis, Eleanor Fordyce and Nicola Ratnett, plus Dawn Gorman reviews Much Possessed (John Foggin, smith/doorstop) and Martin Malone reviews Scarlet Tiger (Ruth Sharman, Templar Poetry).

The Interpreter’s House is edited by Martin Malone from his eerie in Aberdeen and comes out three times a year. If you want your work to appear in the summer issue, hurry, hurry as the submissions window closes on Feb 28th.

To buy a copy of issue 64 or find out more about the magazine, go to: theinterpretershouse.com

It’s Blue Friday for The Emma Press Anthology of The Sea

emma-press-the-sea_0001Who needs Black Friday? Let’s turn it into Blue Friday and fill our friends’ and family’s Christmas stockings with The Emma Press’s gloriously azure Anthology of the Sea?

The charmingly designed, pocket-sized book includes poems by Natalya Anderson, Claire Booker, Geraldine Clarkson, Katherine Gallagher, Rebecca Goss, Sarah Howe, Amy McCauley, Jacqueline Saphra, Claire Trevien and Sophie S. Wright. There’s also the first published poem by Brian Grant – a young Irish writer who is definitely one to watch.

From its elegant deep blue end-pages, to Emma Wright’s atmospheric pen and wash illustrations, The Anthology of the Sea has been beautifully gathered in by editor, Eve Lacey. She divides the book into four sections – Ashore, Adrift, Awash and Avast – and offers readers a rich diversity of subjects, from poems about sea creatures, loved ones lost at sea, the power of weather and waves, and the industrial flotsam of jetties, fish canning and lifeboats.emma-press-the-sea_0002

The anthology made quite a splash when it was launched last month in central London. The evening buzzed with some fantastic readings and a lively and appreciative audience. Readers included Jacqueline Saphra, Brian Grant, Geraldine Clarkson and myself. emma-press-sea-jacqueline-saphra

emma-press-sea-brian-grant    emma-press-sea-geraldine-clarkson                                               emma-sea-anth-launch

To find out more about the book and its poets please visit https://theemmapress.com/anthology-of-the-sea/

Ready to buy? Here’s a link to the webshop: https://theemmapress.com/shop/anthology-of-the-sea-paperback/

Dreamcatcher 33 – for a ride on the wild side

The latest issue of Dreamcatcher travels down baking highways into  small town America with its drive-in diners, car lots and lonely motels. Thumb a lift in this shining Cadillac of a literary mag and discover poetry and short stories that sit on the edge of dangerous. dreamcatcher-33

Poets in issue 33 include Claire Booker, Carol Coiffait, Mark Connors, Simon French, Alice Harrison, Becci Louise, Eva Strittmatter (in translation and original German), Marc Swan, Tom Vaughan and Susan Wallace.

There’s a nice range of short stories too. I particularly enjoyed Roger Harveys’ tale of trespassing lovers, Forbidden Fruit, and the excellent Merryn Williams’ chilling  Next of Kin about a woman on a life support machine.

There are reviews of books by Thelma Laycock, Graham High, Tanya Nightingale, Jackie Biggs, Bill Dodd, Mark Mansfield and TF Griffin.

dreamcatcher-33Featured artist Horace Panter’s brilliantly brash work blows right through the issue and is described by Art Editor Greg McGee as: “a pop art homage to what is a Kerouacian yearning to travel to altered states, to adventure, to expand horizons: to remaster, in a sense, the myth of The American Dream.”

To buy a copy of Dreamcatcher 33, or submit to the next issue, please visit: www.dreamcatchermagazine.co.uk

Prole issue 20 is out and proud!

Winner of Best Magazine at The Saboteur Awards in the year that Wales magicked itself into footballing history, Prole has a lot to be proud about.  Prole issue 20

Issue 20 of the Welsh-based lit mag is packed to the rafters with short stories and poetry from the Anglophone world. Poets published in time for autumn include Claire Booker, Matt Duggan, Mab Jones, Joanne Key,  Lisa Kelly, Tess Kincaid, Sue Pace and Jonny Rodgers.

To lift a quote from one of the many Saboteur Award voters: “Prole takes risks, is innovative and don’t take no bullshit from no-one.”  Yes indeed, Prole editors Brett Evans and Phil Robertson accept only clear-sighted work that isn’t dressed up in literary pretention.

Prole issue 20 Sparx' cartoon_0001One of the highlights for me in this issue is Bill Schillaci’s story The Artist Between Lives which had me hooked from the beginning with its ironic take on sessions with a psychotherapist. Also, Maureen Cullen’s Ring of Fire with its great observations and Glaswegian verbal dexterity. Poems that stand out for me include Tess Kincaid’s surreal poem Totem and Lisa Kelly’s Angelica’s Apology. There’s a guilt-inducing little gem from Robert de Born about slug extermination too. And a cartoon by Sparx rounds off the issue

If you’re a prose writer, there’s still time to enter the 2016 Prolitzer Prize which closes for entries on October 1st. Word limit is 2,500. For more details of the competition, or to submit poetry and/or prose to Prole, or buy a copy of issue 20, please click on: www.prolebooks.co.uk