Monday 24 July 2017

Under the Radar Issue 19

I'm very pleased to report that I have a poem in Issue 19 of Under the Radar, Nine Arches Press' flagship magazine. It's the third time I've featured in this journal (I was even in Issue One!), which continues to go from strength to strength. You can get hold of a copy for yourself here.

Friday 21 July 2017

New Walk, the evolution from magazine to pamphlets

The disappearance of an excellent print-based journal (such as The Next Review a few months ago) is almost always to be lamented. However, New Walk's recent announcement presents us with a very different scenario, as their closure of the magazine is not an ending but an evolution toward pamphlet publishing. Moreover, this shift maintains their subscription model. In other words, instead of getting a copy of each issue of the mag, subscribers will now receive two pamphlets every six months.

New Walk's first batch of chapbooks are by John Mole and Zayneb Allak. If the production and editorial values of the journal are anything to go by, these pamphlets will be terrific to read. You can get hold of them by following this link

Wednesday 12 July 2017

A love for words, Will Harris' All This Is Implied

Will Harris writes beautifully. Every line of his prose (as can be on his excellent blog) and poetry portrays the intense nature of his relationship with language. At times he plays with words, at others he argues with them. Sometimes he savours their touch, sometimes he pokes fun. Deep down, he just loves them.

Many critics will rightly pick up on his mixed-race heritage and knack for a limpid narrative, combined with his ambiguous sense of home and belonging. However, his love for words, running throughout his first pamphlet, All This Is Implied (HappenStance Press, 2017), is what marks Harris out as a poet on the rise who understands profoundly a fundamental aspect of his art.

It’s all very well to make such statements, but evidence is required to back them up. Here’s an example, taken from “Mother’s Country”, one of the pamphlet’s pivotal poems in thematic terms but also a significant display of poetic dexterity, as is shown by the closing lines:

“…After years of her urging
me to go, me holding back,
I have no more excuses.”

Harris’ placement of “me holding back” is exquisite. It means that the sentence’s main verb and clause are also held back, grammar mirroring semantics, while its delicate repetition of the pronoun heightens tension before delivering the poem’s final, explosive line.

Another important quality of this extract is that it it achieves its aims without any obvious fireworks or flashiness. No allusions, no startling images are required. It shows us a poet with a delicate feel for the flow of language.

Of course, there are inevitable missed steps at certain moments in the pamphlet. For instance, when straining for effect, Harris tends towards a linguistic tic of forming clumps of three consecutive stressed syllables, as in:

“…But what
forgotten harms grow spores

In this case, “harms grow spores” makes things unnecessarily awkward for the reader.

Nevertheless, or maybe even as a consequence of these tiny imperfections among such delicious mouthfuls, All This Is Implied remains a joy. Above all, it’s a terrific introduction to a poet who’s sure to build a strong reputation in U.K. poetry over the coming years.  

Friday 7 July 2017

Snippets and Snapshots V

"With a synchronised swivelling of necks
and a coughed silence, they welcome me in,
wincing as I order. Once I've sat down,
a soft hubbub resumes..."

from "Twenty Years Apart", The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear Publishing, 2017)

Thursday 6 July 2017

Snippets and Snapshots IV

"I dozed in his cellar. He pulled me out
at a dinner once, and waited for her
while his taut fingers smudged my dusty neck.
He couldn't bear to keep me after that..."

from "Gran Reserva", The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear Publishing, 2017)

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Snippets and Snapshots III

"The vat of oil must haze the air,
the batter sticky but slick.
He pipes it gently through the nozzle.
Spatulas dance as it ripples
in ring after fizzing golden ring..."

from "Chocolate con churros", The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear Publishing, 2017)

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Snippets and Snapshots II

"Aprils come with garlic,/Junes with peas"

from "From Farnham to Villalejo", The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear Publishing, 2017)

Monday 3 July 2017

Snippets and Snapshots I

"...where hillsides lean on hillsides
and lilac clouds hint at cool dusk..."

from "El Castillo de Villalejo", The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear Publishing, 2017)

Sunday 2 July 2017

Snippets and Snapshots

Throughout the coming week - from Monday to Friday - Rogue Strands will be running a five-part feature, Snippets and Snapshots. Every day there'll be a snippet of a poem from The Knives of Villalejo alongside a snapshot that's connected with it, the imaginary made real and the real made imaginary.