Friday, 11 March 2011

Magazine updates

  • The Interpreter's House has a new editor and address - Simon Curtis, 9 Glenhurst Road, Mannamead, Plymouth, PL3 5LT.
  • Ben Wilkinson gives "14" a favourable write-up on his blog, listing some magazines that have disappeared over the years (most recently "Pen Pusher")
  • Litro's deadline for "Street Fiction" is 10th April.
  • For their summer issue Ambit wants poetry and prose and illustration from writers under 35 years old. Deadline Monday 24 April.
  • The latest issue of "The Dark Horse" has arrived. The editorial (like that of the Rialto) mentions gender balance. The final page includes a letter from a poet who feels that their work was mis-reviewed in the previous issue.
  • Rialto 71 has arrived. The poetry as usual ranges from thin (2 words/line) poems to fat prose layouts, from trad sonnets (Neil Powell's has initial Caps, and ends with "For first love never disappears; it sets,/ A pearl one neither loses nor forgets") to multi-indented pieces (though in other ways Rosie Shepperd's piece is fairly mainstream). There are long poems, and one-idea 4-liners. Some pages have 3 poems. There are poems by Cowper and Robert Burns, by poets with many books to their names (Brownjohn, Neil Powell, Peter Bland, etc), and by at least one first-timer. My favourite poems were by Andrew Nightingale, Christina Dunhill, Katrina Naomi and Andrew Bailey ("Glass", though the layout's quirky)
    The type of prose ingredients vary in each issue. In this issue Mackmin's editorial fills an A4 page. Later, 3 poets present 2 drafts of a poem, describing the effect that a workhop had on the re-writes. There are 2 pages of poetry news and 2 letters.
    Most significantly, Nathan Hamilton brings his "poets under 35" selection to a close with an article that includes a couple of brief critiques. He writes: it's my feeling that, unless the primary subject of a poem remains language (directly or indirectly) ... it is likely to appear naive or drift towards unexamined cliché .... If one has a 'subject' to write about ... one might be better off writing in prose. Later he writes: Jacques Lacan, who has filtered into the literary education of all young poets now ....
    I remain unconvinced that one repeatedly needs to shout about linguistic instability in one's poems. Like sound effects or many other linguistic features, it's unavoidable whether or not one foregrounds it, and the amount of foregrounding can vary considerably within and between poems. I think most poets (and many readers) know by now that it's risky to wax lyrical about rainbows or the moon. I don't think we need "touches [that] gesture within the poem text as well as, from without, in, and, from within, out ... at the same time evoking (or ironising) an older style lyric utterance of a gesturing poem". I think Andrew Nightingale's "The Pioneers" manages to be entertaining while providing fans of Lacan or semiotics all the essay material they need.
    I didn't like this issue's selection of U-35 poets as much as previous selections. I didn't get what Miriam Gamble's game was, nor did I understand what Ben Borek's Wordsworth re-write was for (and why does only one line begin with a lower case?). Holly Hopkins' piece was ok but nothing new.

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