If at first you don’t succeed. At last, I have a poem in Mslexia magazine in their showcase section, themed: Eyes. The poem came out of a Poetry Kit prompt using a Jackson Pollock painting. Yes, poetry lurks in the strangest of places.
Mslexia has been a godsend to women writers since it hit the news stands in 1999. With 11,000 subscribers, the quarterly magazine is a financial success and can pay its contributors. It’s packed with short fiction, poetry, advice columns, literary news, photographic work and thought-provoking articles, with regular slots, as well as some left-field surprises (a piece on Jungian Archetypes!). Mslexia‘s competitions can be the stepping stone to an agent or publisher.
This summer’s Eyes showcase is spread across 16 pages and was judged by Helen McClory. Alongside my poem ‘The Colour Police’, she chose stories by Kirsty Cowan, Clare Shaw, Lauren du Plessis, Jenny Tunstall and Asia Haut, and poems by Siobhan Harvey, Katrina Dybzynska, Heleana Bakopoulos and Sophia Rubina Charalambous.
To buy a copy of Mslexia (issue 94), or take out a subscription for four copies a year, click here https://mslexia.co.uk/magazine/ You can also register for their free e-newsletter which sends out writing prompts, literary ‘gossip’ and info on a wide range of events and opportunities.
A lit mag to nurture and love, Stand has been bringing quality poetry and prose to our attention since 1952. I was delighted to have four poems in the Spring issue this year, alongside some wonderful work by Sharon Black, Jo Burns, Graham Clifford, Sally Festing, Chris Hardy, Patricia McCarthy, Sian Thomas and John Vickers, among others.
Stand‘s signature wide & narrow shape, allows for breathing space and all sorts of lineation. Three of my poems really tested the type-setter’s patience! I salute John Whale and his team for giving our words such a fine white paddock to gallop in.
As well as poetry and short stories, Stand also has a short Review section, plus at least one feature article. Elizabeth Cook’s in-depth article on the poet and painter Isaac Rosenberg really hit the spot for me. At Sussex University I studied a course entitled ‘Art and Letters in England (1900-30) and fell in love with Rosenberg’s extraordinary work – another from that gifted generation lost to war.
MMMmmm, luscious cover and when you open it – what an assortment! So many melt-in-your mouth fabulous poems and short stories to choose from.
It’s Loose Muse’s fifth anthology – triple-launched in London, Manchester and Cornwall and celebrating the creative talents of 50 women British and international writers aged between 20 and 91!
Some of my favourites? Balaba Aseka’s ‘The Boda Boda Rider’; Anne Macaulay’s terrifying ‘The Dive’; Sue John’s powerfully damning ‘Instructions for a Summer Wedding’; Nancy Charley’s touching ‘Finding Gold’; the street-wise ‘Dyke Spotting’ by Emma Wootton; the witty ‘Apple’ by SaraMae Tuson; plus some great stories by Hilaire, Isabel White, Fiona Read and Joolz Sparkes.
I’m lucky enough to have had three of my own poems included, together with my short play ‘Enemy’ (set on the Russian Front in 1943) which was performed at The Lost Theatre Company’s 5 Minute Play Festival last December.
Loose Muse is London’s only regular women’s writers night which has been running continuously since 2005 at The Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden, London. It meets at 8pm on the second Wednesday of each month (except August). It offers a friendly and fun atmosphere for women to perform open mic. Men are always welcome to make up the audience!
To buy copies of the latest anthology (or back-copies of the previous four) go to: www.loose-muse.com or contact Agnes Meadows at email@example.com The anthologies are also available to read in the reference section of The Saison Poetry Library in the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London.
The anthology’s front cover artwork is ‘Dismantled’ by Lorraine Clarke, who has also designed all the previous Loose Muse covers.
Claire Booker’s short comedy ‘Last Man in Watford’ is to get a second bite at the cherry, following a successful run earlier this year at The Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington.
Producing company, Little Pieces of Gold, has selected nine state-of-the nation short plays by UK-based playwrights to showcase on Sunday 24th November (7.30pm) at The Southwark Playhouse, near London Bridge. Previous Little Pieces of Gold showcases have been sell-outs, so if you don’t want to risk missing out on a variety-packed evening, then book your tickets at: http://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk
‘Last Man in Watford’ is set in 2084 when women rule the world and men are kept as exhibits in zoos.
Tom Kirkin unleashes Adam on a helpless audience
Utopia or dystopia? You decide! The play was performed as part of Sibling Productions Short Cuts 4 season in Islington in July, alongside three other dark comedies. Tom Kirkin played the role of unreconstituted Adam, Kathryn Perkins was the schoolgirl ingenue, and Lydia Lane played the long-suffering zoo keeper. It was directed by Tessa Hart.
Loose Muse has just launched its third anthology of new writing by women, including work by Ivy Alvarez, Claire Booker, Miriam Halahmy, Sue Johns, Sarah Reilly and Janice Windle.
And only days after a lively launch party at Cotton’s in Clerkenwell, the All Woman Writers’ Night spread its wings and flew north to Manchester for the first of (hopefully) many Loose Muse events organised in that city by local poet and activist Steph Pike. Guest performers invited to Manchester included Agnes Meadows and Claire Booker.
Local poet Aryamati with Agnes Meadows at Manchester’s Loose Muse Night
Thanks to the sheer get-up-and-go savvy of Agnes and her editorial team, the Loose Muse anthology is packed with an eclectic mix of contributions from writers across the UK as well as Greece, Spain, Holland, Finland and Australia.
Celebrating her ninth year as Loose Muse co-ordinator and host, Agnes Meadows is rightly proud of the anthology: “It’s a diverse mix of high quality poetry, short stories and short plays, clearly showing that women can write with strength, passion, humour and imagination.”
Claire Booker performs ‘Last Man in Watford’ at London launch
My own contribution includes a 5 minute comedy called ‘Last Man in Watford’ set in a (dystopian?) future when women rule the world and the few remaining men are exhibited in zoos! To order copies of the anthology (published by Morgan’s Eye Press) or to find out more about Loose Muse events in London or Manchester, please contact Agnes Meadows at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring her on 07789 901 667. You can also check out the latest updates on Loose Muse by clicking the following link: http://www.loose-muse.com
Poet Angela Brodie at London launch
For more information on Lorraine Clarke whose amazing art-work features on all three Loose Muse covers, please click: http://www.clarke-art.co.uk