At the beginning of this year I was appointed assistant editor of The Ghastling: a literary magazine dedicated to 'the macabre, ghosts and the oh-so strange'. I've been a big fan of the magazine since The Ghastling crypt first cracked open in 2014, so it was really exciting to be asked to join the team by editor Rebecca Parfitt.
My first Ghastling submission window – for a themed edition in celebration of the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – was a baptism of fire, with sixty stories to choose from. I often ended up sat alone in my living room, reading long into the night. The shortlist of stories that I presented to Rebecca at the end of the process were the ones that had got under my skin – the ones that made me question if that really was the radiator rattling in the hallway. Eventually our combined shortlists were whittled down to ten stories, which were then sent off to Art Director Nathaniel Winter-Hébert so he could work his magic. The issue is now available to buy, and it’s so good to see this monster in print!
We had a table at the inaugural Swansea Zine Fest last Saturday. There was a really interesting and diverse selection of publications on show at Volcano Theatre, and it was great to be involved. If you didn't manage to pick up a copy at the festival, you can head over to theghastling.com to order this issue or (even better) purchase a subscription.
I'm really happy to have a haiku published in the first ever issue of Wales Haiku Journal. Edited by Paul Chambers, the journal is free to read online and they've just launched their inaugural edition.
Paul has outlined his exciting vision for this much-needed addition to the Welsh literary landscape in this article, published today by Wales Arts Review. That's well worth a read too.
My poem 'The Walk to Work' has been included in the latest Cheval anthology, published by Parthian. Cheval is the anthology of the Terry Hetherington Award, which has become known as one of the most significant awards for young writers in Wales. Now in its 10th year, the award was set up in memory of the Welsh poet Terry Hetherington, who died in 2007.
It was lovely to read at the launch of the anthology in Swansea last Friday, where I met many of the wonderful people associated with the award. I was also pleased to be reading alongside my fellow Hay Festival Writers at Work Rhian Elizabeth and Philip Jones. Perhaps the highlight of the night, though, was being drawn by the supremely talented Siôn Tomos Owen. Thanks Siôn!
You can order a copy of Cheval #10 from Parthian's website: parthianbooks.com
Edit: A review of the Cheval launch has since been published by Wales Arts Review. Read that here: walesartsreview.org/cheval-10-spoken-word-night
I've been a Popshot reader since their first issue, so I'm really happy to have a poem published in their latest. Thanks to editor Jacob Denno for choosing it, and to the talented Zach Meyer for the accompanying illustration.
Originally focused on poetry alone, Popshot relaunched in 2012 with the strapline 'The Illustrated Magazine of New Writing' to include short stories and flash fiction. Each issue is centred on a theme, with illustrations accompanying each piece of writing. The theme of Issue #17 is 'Future'.
Pick up a copy of the Future Issue at popshotpopshot.com
I have three poems in the latest issue of The Gull magazine. One of the poems is, perhaps confusingly, called 'Gull'. The other two are, less confusingly, called 'Drowned' and 'Victoria Park, 5 a.m.'
You can read the whole issue for free here: thegullmagazine.wordpress.com
First published in 2016, The Gull calls itself "the greatest literary and cultural magazine ever to be edited by a seagull." I don't think you'll find many people who would dispute that. However, despite being only two issues old, The Gull has already featured some exceptional writing. Take a look at Gillian Clarke's poem 'Storwm Awst', published in Issue #1, to see what I mean.
Thanks to editor Christopher Cornwell for first encouraging me to submit to The Gull and then publishing my poems.
The very first thing I saw this morning was a notification on my phone for a rejection email that had arrived overnight. I've been trying to take a more positive approach to rejection emails recently (after reading this article by Kim Liao), but it was still a boost to come home from work and see this envelope from Windsor, CT on the doormat.
I've got a haiku published in this forthcoming issue of bottle rockets, available to pre-order now from bottlerocketspress.com (though this issue is on a limited print run, so get in quick if you want one). Thanks to bottle rockets editor Stanford M. Forrester for accepting it!
In April last year, I revealed that one of my haiku would be included in The Haiku Calendar 2016, published by Snapshot Press. Since 1999, Snapshot – an independent publisher specialising in English-language haiku, tanka and other short poetry – have run an annual competition to find 52 haiku to publish in their Haiku Calendar. Of course, by now the 2016 version has been printed and sent out.
Edited by John Barlow, each calendar features haiku poets from around the world, and intends to explore and celebrate the relevance of kigo (a word or phrase associated with a particular season) in English-language haiku. As far as I'm aware there are no readily-available photographs of the actual calendar on the internet, so I thought I'd take some and share them with you.
In my experience, there are very few opportunities for haiku poets to see their work in print (most magazines dedicated to form seem to be completely digital, with a few notable exceptions). The 2016 calendar is the 17th published by Snapshot Press, and for that – along with their consistent output of high-quality collections and anthologies (Lynne Rees's Forgiving the Rain is my favourite) – they should be commended and celebrated.
Copies of the 2016 calendar are still available, priced £7.99 (UK), €14.00 (Europe) or £12.00/US$20 (Rest of the World). To order one, go here: snapshotpress.co.uk/calendars/the_haiku_calendar/2016.htm
The Lonely Crowd is an exciting new magazine that celebrates the short story, and they've just been kind enough to publish one of mine – 'Give a Dog a Bone' – on their website.
I wanted the sun to come out, to dry up all the rain so I could go out and play on the hillside, instead of being stuck indoors. That side of the hill was always green and welcoming. Familiar. This side is cold and black, burnt by a forest fire that marched its way to the top before the firefighters smothered it. The sun is disappearing behind it now, turning late afternoon into evening. The drizzle has turned heavy.
Read the rest of the story here:
Image © Jo Mazelis 2016
Usually, if I'm writing a blog post about having something published in a magazine, I would open with a sentence along the lines of "a poem of mine was recently featured in...". But, even though my name appears above it on the back cover of the latest issue of Lighthouse, 'Magnetic' isn't my poem – at least not in the traditional sense.
Found poetry is a form where poets take existing text and repurpose or reframe it as a new piece of writing. The existing text might come from a newspaper article, a political speech, a piece of graffiti or even another poem, with the resulting found poem being defined as either 'treated' or 'untreated'. As an art form, there are obvious comparisons with the controversial objets trouvés of the visual arts – and, as you might expect, found poets are sometimes also accused of hiding behind the ready-made. Though I disagree that found poetry is intellectual theft on the same level as the recent Laventille fiasco, it is hard to argue against the fact that it occasionally enters the grey area that exists between appropriation and plagiarism.
When I first submitted this poem to Lighthouse for their 'writing with constraints' issue, it came with a disclaimer: Five poems found on my fridge, created by friends and friends of friends using magnetic words. Written in size 10 font just below the title, this was my attempt to give a source (and, I suppose, to distance myself from accusations of stealing), but it was sliced away – along with a small number of other flabby words and phrases – following some welcome suggestions from Lighthouse editors Julia Webb and Anna de Vaul.
For me, the joy of this particular form is finding poetry in unlikely places. Elsewhere in this issue of Lighthouse, for example, is a found poem formed from a medieval act of parliament. Like 'Magnetic', this poem – 'An Acte for the Preservation of Grayne, 1566' by Matt Howard – is untreated (as far as I can tell), but it’s also taken from an existing text that was never intended to be a poem. This is where the two poems differ, and where mine enters that aforementioned grey area.