Tag Archives: Magma

Magma 71 – the Film Issue

Magma 71“Poetry and Film make wonderful bedfellows,” proclaims the editorial in the summer issue of Magma. The 62 poems within its pages are testimony to that.

Poets selected for the final wrap of Magma 71 include Patricia Ace, Claire Booker, Matthew Caley, Kristi Carter, Michael Conley, Frank Dullaghan, Pat Edwards, Carrie Etter,  Katie Evans-Bush, Jamie Field, Nick Garrard, Kevin Higgins, Mingpei Li, Roisin Kelly, Andrew McMillan, Kathy Pimlott, Kate Rutter, Rosie Shepperd and Greta Stoddart.

Magma 71 - Cinema MuseumCo-editors Cheryl Moskowitz and Stav Poleg have curated a celebration of the cinematic qualities so often found in good poetry – a rich coupling of word and image. But they were also keen to travel beyond the page and connect poets with filmmakers to allow new creations to emerge. 

Enter the University of Edinburgh, Emma Davie at the Edinburgh College of Art and Lucy Kendra and Jennifer Williams at the Festival of Creative Learning. The collaboration has resulted in a number of powerful film poems. So often poetry is a lone wolf, but Magma have increasingly extended the hand of creative friendship to make fascinating new links.

Magma 71 - launchOne such link is with The Cinema Museum in Kennington, which opened its doors for a stunning launch of Magma 71 last month. I urge you, if you can, to visit this amazing museum, set inside the old workhouse where Charlie Chaplin and family took refuge. Magma 71 (The Cinema Museum)

As a huge Chaplin fan, it was incredibly moving to read my poem in the very place where he must have known despair and hunger, never imagining that his genius would later be celebrated in the self same cavernous building. To learn more or lend your support (there’s talk of closure) visit: The Cinema Museum

Magma 71 - KenningtonAs well as contributor readings, we were treated to an exhilarating range of poetry films from the expressionist, right through to more traditional ‘illustrative’ approaches. You can view these films at the Magma website now.

Back to paper and pages. Inside Magma 71 you’ll find work by highlighted poet Liz Lefroy; winning poems from the Magma 2017/18 competition; reviews by Jade Cuttle, Lisa Kelly and Andrew Neilson; analysis by Professor Peter William Evans of films including The Red Shoes and Il Postino in the light of poetics; Lucy Ingrams’ article on why reading Elizabeth Bishop is like going to the cinema; and a commissioned poem by Caroline Bird inspired by Rebecca E Marshall’s film Fever of the Light.

To echo Cheryl Moskowitz’s own sign off: “Find yourself a seat, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the issue!”

To buy a copy of Magma 71, submit your own work or view the film poems, please visit: Magma

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Magma 70 – The Europe Issue

Europe means Europe (as Teresa May sadly never said) and Europe in all its complexities is the theme for the Spring issue of Magma, which radiates a raft of continental perspectives. Magma 70

Editors Susannah Hart and Paul Stephenson have steered a careful passage around knee jerk Brexit poetry to produce a subtle, playful and thought-provoking issue, packing in a bumper array of  80 poets, who include: Claire Booker, Steve Boorman, Kit Buchan, Rishi Dastidar, Josh Ekroy, Mark Fiddes, Jan Heritage, Paul Jeffcutt, Jane Kirwan, Wendy Klein, Neetha Kunaratnam, Martin Malone, Richie McCaffery, Katrina Naomi, Ian Pindar, Julian Stannard, William Stephenson, Matthew Sweeney and Claudine Toutoungi.

Magma Europe House 2As selected poet, Anna Kisby (who is a Londoner, now residing in Devon) offers three powerful poems which look at what it means to belong to a place. Richard O’Brien writes a fascinating article on Christopher Fry’s 1973 poem ‘Fanfare for Europe’ written to celebrate Britain’s new alignment with the continent.  The Director of StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival, Eleanor Livingstone, shares her extensive experience of poetry festivals across Europe. And Rosalie Challis writes an emotional response to Marcel Proust – starting out as a short letter poem, but developing into something of a memoir on Franco-cultural life in 1960s London. Magma Europe House 4

Will Stone takes a thoughtful look at the visionary poet, Georg Trakl, an extraordinary talent who emerged from the turmoil (personal and national) of turn of the century Austria-Hungary. Rainer Maria Rilke said of Trakl’s poems: “I have discovered much in them: overwhelmed, amazed, wondering and mystified. I imagine that even one who stands close by must experience such spectacles and perceptions as though pressed, an exile, against a pane of glass.”

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Claire Booker reads her poem ‘Galia Melons’ at Europe House

Through good planning and a piece of Magma magic, the editors were able to secure the perfect location to launch Magma 70 last month –  Europe House in Smith Square. More than half the poets in the issue were able to read their work, which made for a fun and very action packed evening, with some memorable renditions (Kit Buchan and Wendy Klein to name but two).  And of course, Magma wouldn’t be Magma without its poetry review pages, this time with reviews by Claire Crowther, Rishi Dastidar, Michael Loveday and Laurie Smith.                                              To  purchase a copy of Magma 70, or to submit your work to the magazine, please click on: Magma

 

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

Poetry Gigs I Know and Love

Performance is a great way to test out a new poem or recharge an old one. Looking back over 2015,  I’ve performed at some great gigs – either as an invited feature or open-mic – and learned so much. Thank you all for having me!

Torriano - Tessa LangSo let’s hear it for The Torriano Meeting House, which invited my Stanza Group, Original Poets, led by Tessa Lang (left) to perform some of our poetry in January. People meet every Sunday evening to share poetry at this unique Kentish Town venue. Don’t miss powerful young American Robert Peake reading there on Jan 17th. www.torrianomeetinghouse.wordpress.com

Original Poets meet every third Monday of the month (7pm) at The Bread & Roses pub, Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6DZ. All are welcome to attend.

Rachael Joseph, Barry Brock, Claire Booker, Frank Mariani, Angela Brodie

Rachael Joseph, Barry Brock, Claire Booker, Frank Mariani, Angela Brodie

In Feb, I was at Keat’s House in Hampstead to read a couple of my poems in the Templar Publication‘s 2015 anthology.  www.templarpoetry.com

Then Camden Poetry Series invited five regulars from Beyond Words to be their March feature. Open mic readers can have their poems included in the Camden/Lumen annual anthology which raises money for cold weather shelters. I was back again in June to read at the anthology launch.   www.camdenlumen.wordpress.com

Check out poetic combo Hilaire and Joolz who are featuring at Beyond Words on Tues 5th Jan. www.beyondwordspoetrylondon.co.uk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe launch of a new issue of Magma is an event to relish. Such a swanky venue (London Review of Books), so many great poets, such generous glasses of wine! What a privilege to read two of my poems at the launch of issue 61 (The Street) alongside poets such as Simon Barraclough, Lisa Kelly and Christine Webb. www.magmapoetry.com

Donnel Dempsey

Donnel Dempsey

In June, I headed to Guildford to give forth at the launch of The Keystone Anthology, then later as a feature at Pop Up Poetry. Both are run by formidable team, Janice Windle and Donnel Dempsey, who can pull sizzling hot poetry evenings out of a hat – any hat! Dempsey&Windle – books, pamphlets and poems

Stanza Bonanza June 15And where would we be without the frisson of a Stanza Bonanza? Original Poets (Mark Fiddes, Nicole Piggott, Steve Hoy, Michael Cosham, Tessa Lang and myself) representing Clapham, took on the might of Brixton’s best under the firm baton of Poetry Society’s Paul McGrane. If you’re serious about poetry, get serious about joining The Poetry Society (for as little as £20 a year). It’s been flying the flag for poets since 1909. www.poetrysociety.org.uk

Interpreter's House Launch, OxfordOxford’s eternal spires welcomed me in July to the launch of The Interpreter’s House (issue 59), where I joined fellow contributors in a fantastic evening of poetry, teapots and bonhomie. The submissions window for the summer issue is February. Email editor Martin Malone at theinterpretershouse@aol.com or visit:  www.interpretershouse.com

Drop in InstructionIn September I was guest poet at Poet In The City‘s Drop in at Waterstone’s in Picadilly, London. The theme was ‘Instruction’. My choice of poems included ‘Instructions for Building Straw Huts’ by Yusef Komunyakaa; ‘Timothy Winters’ by Charles Causley; ‘Sun a-shine, rain a-fall by Valerie Bloom; ‘Song’ by W H Auden and a couple of my own poems. Drop-ins are free, with a new theme each month. Bring your own poems or favourites. www.poetinthecity.co.uk

Stephanie James in 'Alleluiah'

Stephanie James in ‘Alleluiah’

Loose Muse is London’s premier event for women writers of all genres, and is expanding fast, with sister ships in Manchester, Cornwall and Winchester. Agnes Meadows, who IS Loose Muse, invited me to bring my short play ‘Alleluiah’ to the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden earlier this year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoose Muse Winchester, set up and run by poet Sue Wrinch, booked me as their feature in November, alongside poet and novelist Claire Dyer. I can thoroughly recommend both venues as welcoming, well-attended and full of surprises. Women only get to perform, but men are always welcome in the audience. www.loose-muse.com

So here’s hoping that 2016 will be rich in opportunity and inspiration for each and every one of us. A very Happy New Year!

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:  www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk

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: www.magmapoetry.com

Magma 61 hits the Street running

I’ve cracked and finally bought myself a two year subscription to Magma. It’s just too good a read to miss (use it or lose it!)

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So what does issue 61 have in store for the eager reader? Well, some strong poetry for starters, including work by Simon Barraclough, Claire Booker, Lisa Kelly, Ian McEwan, Amali Rodrigo, Kathryn Simmonds, Paul Stephenson, Christine Webb, Kate White and David Wheatley among a host of other talents. Particular stand-outs for me include an extraordinary paeon to the ordinary – ‘World Away’ by Gram Joel Davies, and the precocious talent of teenager Daniella Cugini whose ‘mrs dalloway’s last white poppies’ is a mind-blower.

Magma 61Co-editors Jon Sayers and Nick Sunderland serve up more delicacies with a test drive of Tamar Yoseloff’s ‘Walking London: An Audio Tour’ which takes you on a psychogeographical tour of the hidden parts of the capital and is available for £5.00 from The Poetry School website.

If that doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, then read the rib-tickling article on wit by Finuala Dowling. She’s embedded writing prompts throughout her piece. So how about writing a poem in which the title is longer than the poem itself, or listing ways of breaking up a marriage (careful!), or ending a poem with the line: ‘This is just a poem’?

Half-time and the wine flows

Magma 61 launch – half-time and the wine flows

Plus Magma brings young voices into the mix with a fine crop of Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award winners (aged 11-17); the results of an online survey of what poetry means to the person in the street; and the usual quality reviews of poetry collections and pamphlets.

And should the summer turn out to be a damp squib – don’t complain. Read Simon Barraclough’s response to Byron’s poem ‘Darkness’ (published in full) and discover the dystopic nightmare of a never setting sun. I’ll take a few drops of rain any day.

Magma (issue 61 – The Street) is available at £8.60 for a single issue or as a one year subscription (3 issues) at £18.95.  If you’d like to buy a copy or submit your poetry (deadline for Magma 62 on the theme of ‘Conversation’ is May 31st) please visit:

Magma’s out! 69 fresh poems for summer

Magma 59Totally thrilled to have another poem in Magma, which meant I got to read my work at the launch last Friday alongside guest poets Lorraine Mariner and Colette Bryce and some delightful fellow contributors, including Alison Brackenbury, Katie Byford, Rowena Knight, Abigail Morley, Ruth O’Callaghan and Mathew Paul.

More than 100 people squeezed into The London Review Bookshop to celebrate Magma 59‘s fresh new take on the theme of ‘Breaks’ by a wide range of poets including Mimi Khalvati and Penelope Shuttle.  The issue crackles with originality. Titles alone make your mouth water, including: ‘Apartment Hunting With the Lady Who Lives in A Shoe’, ‘The Half-Litre Messiah’, ‘The Doll With a Hole in its Hand’ and ‘Mal de Cou-Cou’.

“After poems of great delicacy and eggshells come others of metal and grind,” Giaccometti - Walking Woman 2write editors Roberta James and Alex Pryce. “Already familiar with powerful lines like Sylvia Plath’s “Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs” and Tennyson’s rending elegy Break, Break, Break, we were all the same surprised by the extraordinary range of tone and far-reaching subject matter [in this issue].”

My own poem ‘Model in Love’ was written during a workshop at Tate Modern, inspiringly led by Pascale Petit. We were allowed to handle (with cotton gloves!) a number of sculptures, including a beautiful work by Alberto Giacometti entitled Walking Woman.

Magma 59 launch at London Review of BooksMagma 59 is available from www.magmapoetry.com  or from selected book stores. Indulge yourself in poetry heaven and enjoy features such as John Humphrys on Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est, Colette Bryce interviewed about her poem The Brits, and Andrew Neilson’s view of poetry on e-readers. Plus reviews by Laurie Smith, George Szirtes and Jennifer Wong.  A steal at £8.60 including p&p!