Guess what’s turned up in my local library? A copy of Spelt (issue 4) happily ensconced in the community section. Spoiler alert: I donated the copy to Rottingdean’s small but perfectly formed lending library. Like many others in rural areas, it’s only staffed a few days per week, but we have key cards to let ourselves in if the urge for a book becomes all consuming!
Inside this issue are poems by Claire Booker, Lia Brooks, Yvie Holder, Rosie Jackson, Jackie Wills, John Lanyon, Millie Light, Matt Nicholson and many others.
Issue 4 also contains fascinating articles and prose pieces from a number of Spelt columnists, including Suzanne Iuppa (on Welsh sustainable development), Sierra Kaag (on growing up in rural Idaho), and Sara Stegen (on the mega-thunderstorms of the Hondsrug area of Holland). Spelt editor Wendy Pratt gets to interview Polly Atkins, whose collection Much with Body is out with Seren, and is based on her fascination with Dorothy Wordsworth.
Plus, there’s a poetry prompt from James McDermott on how to include facts in your poems, a verbal walk through the Galloway Forest Park, and some truly evocative images to accompany each of the poems. If you’ve never seen a mole above ground, now’s your chance!
Poems or pieces of creative non-fiction inspired by the rural experience can be submitted until May 1st for the next issue of Spelt. Check the details (and of course buy a copy if you can) at http://www.speltmagazine.com
Prole‘s 10th birthday is a cause for celebration among all who prefer their poetry and short stories lively and accessible. So here’s a glass (or two!) raised with a hurrah for editors Brett Evans and Phil Robertson, who have steered this Sabateur award-winning magazine from the word go.
I’ve been chuffed to have poems in seven of those issues, including the current one (Prole 30), which contains short stories by Dan Burns, S. Dean, Sue Pace, and poetry by Sharon Black, Michael Carrino, Kitty Coles, Kevin Hanson, Deborah Harvey, Jennifer A McGowan, Matt Pitt, Emma Purshouse and Rowena Warwick among others.
Until recently, the magazine has come out three times a year, but now it’s going to be biannual. This will take some pressure off the editors but will very likely disappoint readers and submitters alike. C’est la vie. We’ll appreciate it all the more. I love the look of the magazine, with its trade-mark black and white covers, witty cartoons, and clear demarcation between prose and poetry. Great that contributors are offered a profit-share too.
Prole is not just a magazine, however. Every year, it holds a Prole Laureate Competition (plus similar for short stories). You can read the 2020 winning poems by Paul Stephenson, Jinny Fisher and Angela Platt in this current issue.
Is your finished pamphlet looking for a home? If so, there’s still time to enter this year’s Prole Pamphlet Competition, being judged by John McCullough. Your pamphlet needs to be between 20 and 40 pages. Closing date is September 16th. More details at: Prole
It’s always a pleasure to open a copy of Prole magazine which celebrates its silver anniversary with issue 25. Editors Brett Evans and Phil Robertson have a keen eye for poetry that punches its weight yet remains accessible.
Poets featured in this spring issue include Ndonwie Muma Alain, Juliet Antill, Claire Booker, Richard Hillesley, Jennifer A. McGowan, Laura McKee, Arji Manuelpillai, Robert Nisbet, DA Prince, Charley Reay, Gareth Writer-Davis and Stella Wulf.
You can also read the winning poems from The Prole Laureate Poetry competition 2018, judged by Kate Garrett: “My favourite poems always have three things; musicality, exceptionality, and heart. I love words that chime well together, unforced.”
Louise Warren wins outright with her beautiful and mysterious poem The Marches. I was very lucky to hear her perform this poem recently at More Poetry in the City of London. The poem works just as beautifully orally as it does on the page. The runner-up is Mary Gilonne with her touching poem extra-marital morning on the edge of nowhere. Third prize winner Bruce Marsland offers a witty (and unsettling) post-apocalyptic take, toolbox for the penultimate age.
And of course, as always in Prole, there are short stories too, plus cartoonist Sparx is on hand with more tongue in cheek humour. So plenty to occupy you if (when?) the weather takes a turn for the worse.
To buy a copy of Prole (issue 25), to submit your own work, or to consider entering the Prole Pamphlet Competition 2018, please visit: Prole
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.
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.
One 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
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.
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: www.newwelshreview.com//article.php?id=1061
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: www.newwelshreview.com