Monday 31 July 2017

Some recent online pieces of mine

All prose -

Tuesday 18 July 2017


Did you see Nadal's loss at Wimbledon 2017? He was 2 sets down, managed heroically to catch up, then lost 13-15 in the final set. Soul destroying. Similarly, some of my literary rejections hit harder than others.

Since my pamphlet publication I've been on 3 short/long lists for publication of another poetry book or leaflet. In chronological order, I've been on a short-list of 2, a short-list of 5, and a long-list of 40, which doesn't look like a good trend. The most painful of these was when the short-list was announced before the judge had chosen the winner - getting into the short-list was the hard bit surely. But I lost the final set. So close and yet so far.

This week the short/long lists of the Bath and the Bristol short story competitions were announced. I entered both and got into neither list. Depressing. I was hoping I might get into one of the competitions' anthologies.

The other rejections that depress me are when, to recover confidence, I send some of my better poems to a minor magazine and I can't even get into that. I've had these this month too.

It's not all bad news. Pieces accepted months ago are coming out in next few weeks. Also I've changed my submission recording process, making it easier to produce some statistics. I now know that about 1 in 6 of times I submit (each submission might contain 3 poems, or one story) I get an acceptance. By the law of averages I'm due for an acceptance any moment now.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Next Review ceased publication

The UK magazine "Next Review" (poetry and the odd story) has ceased publication.

And I suspect that the "Journal of Microliterature" has disappeared too.

Sunday 9 July 2017


I'm just back from 3 nights in Prague. Last time I was there, about 30 years ago, it was communist. Now convoys of open-top cars carry orientals around, the happy wedding couples posing dramatically against the background of the castle whenever they have a spare moment.

I recall few details of my first trip. I'm sure that Tesco wasn't around. Craft beers and street food have arrived. So have chimney-cakes. This week we drank in a Monastery brewery that has re-opened after the onslaught of the multi-nationals. I had blueberry beer, IPA, and beer ice-cream there.

Years after my first trip I wrote Prague '86 which appeared in my book. I fear I messed up some of the details. Mala Strana appears in my story. I managed to come up with some new story ideas while I was over there this time, inspired more by the Best British Short Stories anthology I read than by the setting.

We visited the Jewish zone. This Kafkaesque statue is outside a Synagogue. We went to the Kafka museum and passed the literature museum. I was surprised that Kafka wasn't more exploited around the city. I saw a Kafka cafe, and a Metamorphosis cafe, but that's all. We did the tour of the old town hall - behind the clock on the hour, then down into the catacombs (which used to be the city's ground level). They plan to rebuild the column that was in the square. We climbed the tower of the new town hall as well. In several places around the city we saw marks showing where the 2002 floods reached.

The UK influence goes beyond Tesco - we saw a bust of Churchill down a side-street, and a memorial for the Czechs who died while in the RAF. Lennon and Sherlock Holmes are remembered too. And all the receptionists and ticket sellers spoke good English.

We spent quite a time in the parks - Petrin Park with its Hunger wall, maze, and Eiffel tower, and then Letna Park with its metronome built since my last visit. In the hotel I treated myself to Czech porridge, semolina and polenta. I liked the lard pate too.