Thursday 31 December 2020

A UK poetry submission schedule for Jan-Jun 2021

There's more uncertainty than usual about poetry magazines and pamphlet competitions. "Envoi" has gone and some other magazines are taking a breather. I'll update this list as I find out more.

Monday 28 December 2020

A UK/Eire prose submission schedule for Jan-Jun 2021

As more magazines introduce submission windows, and competitions increase their significance, it's worth planning ahead. Details are more hazy this year - I'm unsure whether those below are correct - I'll update when I can. Some magazines are taking a break. Anyway, I shall try to submit to these (mostly UK) competitions and submission windows -

Friday 18 December 2020

Poetry in 2020

  • More of the magazines that I've subscribed to have disappeared, and I've not renewed subscriptions to some others (e.g Rialto, Stand) because I understand far too few of their poems - I think they've changed more than I have.
  • My successes have been limited in number though I'm glad I got in The High Window and Fenland Journal
  • I've written 6 poems this year. I wish their scarcity meant they were good.
  • I didn't enter any poetry competitions except for the Magma pamphlet competition.
  • I've given up thinking I can ever get in Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry London, etc.
  • I've read quite a few poetry books. As usual I didn't choose just the books I thought I'd like. I understood very little of "Wade in the water" (Tracey K Smith) and "The Prince of Wails" (Stephen Knight). I thought "Fleche" (Mary Jean Chan) was far longer than it needed to be - it would have been better as a single-topic pamphlet. I liked Happenstance pamphlets by Edwards and Buckley.
  • From my (very limited) viewpoint, I feel that the poetry community is expanding in terms of styles and ethnic origins, even if the statistics don't yet show it. There's more fusion and vitality.
  • I didn't replace my attempts at physical networking by virtual networking. I miss the small-press book fairs.

Sunday 13 December 2020

Prose in 2020

  • This was the year of my blitz on story competitions. A complete failure. Few successes in magazines either.
  • I've written more prose than usual. Nothing show-stopping. I like a 3000 word piece and a 250 word piece that I've written. Neither have been accepted yet.
  • Because of covid I've been listening to audio books for the first time - a life-style change. I was unsure whether I could maintain attention intensely enough. I can handle "The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle" (Stuart Turton) without having to make too many notes, so I reckon I'm going to be ok. I listened to several Booker long-listed novels that I wouldn't normally have read, and liked them more than I expected.
  • I attended the Zoom launch of Postbox, issue 4 - the only virtual launch I've attended.
  • I worked my way through my reading list of books old and new - "Asymmetry", "Regeneration", "The Prime of Miss Brodie" etc. My favourite books were the Bath Short Story Award anthologies.
  • I noticed that the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize (worth £10,000 - the only UK based award to recognise excellence in a single authored short story collection) had a longlist of 12 authors, all female. I conclude that I must try harder.
  • I ended the year by reading Zadie Smith's "Grand Union", a story collection which should give hope to budding short story writers. She famously got her first book contract while a Cambridge student, and still is a highly regarded writer. The pieces are in several styles (SF, essay, etc), some rather derivative - Cusk, Le Guin, etc. I guess it's good that she's experimenting. 5 were in New Yorker, 2 in Paris Review and 1 from Granta. The rest are unpublished. To me, Parents' Morning Epiphany is a dud - not even good of its type. Some of the others look dodgy too. Reviewers, even her fans, have doubts -
    • "At least eight of the 19 stories in Grand Union aren’t very good."
    • "an uneven grab bag of picked-up pieces and experiments — some of which, from an unknown or less-celebrated writer, might have stayed in a drawer"
    • "you’d think that this collection would be a banger of a book, but for me, unfortunately, it felt more like a wet squib – and needless to say I was hugely disappointed."