Sunday 24 March 2019

Bardonecchia again

Another skiing holiday when I ran out of time to try the half-pipe. But I did read several books (mostly poetry) between ski-runs - (in reverse order of preference) "Call it blue" by Judi Benson, "Are we there yet?" by Sally Goldsmith, "learning to lie together" by Diane Brown, "No Time for Roses" by Michael Tolkien, "Weather Permitting" by Dennis O'Driscoll, "Madame Zero", stories by Sarah Hall and "Conversations with Friends", a novel by Sally Rooney. None of the poetry books had fewer than 80 pages. Brown's had over 120! They should all have been shorter. The prose books often felt denser and deeper than the poetry.

I've been reading beginner's books about post-modernism which on holiday resulted in the writing of a poem and a story - both unfinished, both worth finishing.

The snow was disappearing fast. We managed to do some country walks (saw lizards) and visit some old haunts. On the plane out we met a group of people in their eighties going skiing, so I guess it's not the end of the piste for me just yet.

Friday 15 March 2019

Subscribing to litmags

Years ago, when I posted England's literary magazines, 1985-2012, I subscribed to many magazines. Now I only subscribe to "Under the Radar", "The Dark Horse", "Acumen", "Stand", "Flash" (Chester Univ) and "Orbis" because many of the magazines I used to subscribe to no longer exist. I try to rotate subscriptions nowadays, my choices rather affected by which magazines accept my work, though I've never been in "The Dark Horse" - it's 5 years since I even submitted.

I read occasional issues of many other magazines - "PN Review", "Poetry Review", "Poetry", etc. I'm less good at reading online magazines - I never read them cover to cover, though I regularly browse Antiphon, Spelk, and Jellyfish Review.

How much longer will paper literary magazines last? A couple of years ago MsLexia led with an article by Debbie Taylor which considered the plight of litmags. She wrote that a "combination of passion and (relative, if not outright) poverty is typical of the vast majority of souls working in the litmag sector", that in 2016 about a third of mags were print only, a third were online-only, and the rest were mixes of various proportions, and that the editors' own work often suffers because of time constraints. She pointed out that Granta and The London Magazine had private backing.

The situation's worsened since then, the souls working in the litmag sector getting older each year. On the bright side -

  • The magazines still surviving presumably pick up a few subscribers from demised ones. I suspect the ones that do the best are tied into a press, have launches, run competitions, and have a social media presence.
  • New paper-based magazines continue to appear, often with high production values.

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Moroccan mules

Middle Atlas mountains. Waiting at the entrance to our hostel are the mules who'd carry our luggage.

Marrakech. A mule relaxing in a sunny side-road.

Zerhoun. Like most of the mules we saw, this one was well padded. I don't know what was in the tanks. Cooking oil?

Middle Atlas mountains. When faced with a mule, the rule is to stick to the inner side of the path. This mule was carrying supplies to the village where we stayed.