Tuesday 28 September 2010

New Walk Magazine

New Walk has just arrived on the U.K. poetry magazine scene. Based in Leicester and run by Rory Waterman and Nick Everett, its stated aim is to "publish some of the best poetry in English, by experimentalist poets, formalists, and everything between from all corners of the English-speaking world."

The editors certainly haven't made a bad start, with Issue One featuring Leontia Flynn, Tom Leonard, Andrew Motion, Alison Brackenbury, Mark Ford, David Mason, Christine McNeill, Timothy Murphy, Matt Merritt, Grevel Lindop and Hilary Menos, among others. I'll be reviewing it in the next few weeks on this blog.

I'm delighted to see a ambitious new print-based mag emerging on the U.K. poetry scene, and it'll be worth keeping a close eye on how New Walk develops. I've even got some poems coming up in Issue Two myself!

Saturday 18 September 2010


If translators are traitors and poets are translators, then poets are traitors too. Would I be alone in thinking this is a good thing? In fact, I'm convinced that treason makes a poem authentic. It's the necessary process whereby verse is created.

Friday 17 September 2010

Siân Hughes' The Missing wins the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize

Great news yesterday that Siân Hughes' The Missing has won the Seamus Heaney Prize. I've never understood why this book didn't sweep the board at all the major awards last year, but it's clearly still gaining readers, a slow-burning hit.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Poetic prose

"Poetic" is a term that's often applied to prose, but what does it mean?

Blurb-writers and critics use it as shorthand for the lyrical use of device, for musicality as expressed through sounds and rhythms. However, I feel this interpetation is slack journalese, perpetuating the public's misconceptions of poetry.

In fact, real poetic prose is the pared-down use of language, where each word works overtime for its keep. It's prose where there's a heightened awareness of the slightest nuance belonging to every lexical choice.

The compact, compressed nature of short stories lends itself more to this quality than a novel. Cortázar, Borges and Carver are all examples of writers who began with poetry and then excelled as short-story writers. As for myself, I love telling short stories in my poetry.

Monday 6 September 2010

Poetry for this sutumn

Lots of tasty morsels are coming up this autumn on the poetry reading front. My bank account might complain, but I'm determined to grab as many as possible.

I'm definitely going to be getting hold of a copy of Birdhouse, Anna Woodford's first full collection from Salt, which looks like being a real contender for major awards. Over at Nine Arches Press, meanwhile, November will see the publication of Matt Merritt's second collection, Hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica. It should consolidate his growing reputation. Finally, I'll try to stretch my budget to Allison McVety's Miming Happiness. I'm intrigued to see where she's taken her poetry since her excellent first book, The Night Trotsky Came to Stay. Other collections are sure to come to my attention over the next few weeks, but these have already made the list.

All in all, an autumn of terrific reading awaits!

Saturday 4 September 2010

Jordi Virallonga, Crónicas de Usura

Regular readers of Rogue Strands might recall my post on Jordi Virallonga lsst year. He's the author of several excellent collections, but one stands out for me - Crónicas de Usura, one of the few books of contemporary Spanish poetry that could find a substantial readership in the U.K. if the translation were sensitively handled.

I've been seacrhing for clips of Virallonga reading his work for some time now, especially because his delivery demonstrates just how different he is from many other Iberian poets and their histrionics. Well, I've finally found a superb few minutes on YouTube. What's more, the poems are from the Crónicas de Usura collection, a real treat:

This August has seen the publication of Virallonga's new book, Hace Triste. The sample poems I've read are terrific. I've got a copy on order and will review it here in due course.