The body was found folded
in a barrel of cement. Dead
when they disposed of him,
they said, and I was grateful.
Four of my poems appear in the latest issue of Lunar Poetry, a relatively young monthly poetry magazine published both in print and online. The issue was launched on Tuesday 31st March at the l’klecktic gallery in London, where there were readings, drinks and general celebrations.
I love Lunar Poetry‘s approach to publishing. Printed issues are almost-ridiculously cheap (£3 for up to eighty pages of poetry) and the digital edition is sold on a pay-what-you-like basis. The website is also home to a fantastic and frequently thought-provoking blog, as well as audio poems and a host of regular features. If you want to support this fantastic new magazine, you can buy a copy of it here.
We’re just doing our job,
they say, as they taser the furious
bereaved. It’s nothing personal.
Don’t hate us while we’re saving you.
My poem “The Provisional Government” appears in The Patchwork Paper, an online magazine which describes itself as a “quilt of truly original poetry, prose and visual culture for everyone to get involved with“. Much of what they publish explores the idea of arts activism and personal or political expression through art.
“The Provisional Government” is one of a series of five poems about a zombie apocalypse. The series as a whole is titled “The Top Five Most Annoying People You Will Meet After The End Of Civilisation”, and was written in the style of any of the numerous list-based articles produced by sites like BuzzFeed or Cracked. This XKCD comic captures the general tone of these articles perfectly, and it was a combination of that and this intriguing New Yorker post (which explores exactly why we find list-based articles so appealing) that inspired the series.
He was knocked unconscious by
his landing. Crippled by it. And so he
didn’t see the plane touch down
into a growing rose of fire and dust.
My poem “When Considering My Father’s Suicide” appears in Volume Two, Issue Two of Meniscus, a free online journal published by Australasian Association of Writing Programs. The entire archives of the journal are available to access for free from the website.
With editors and advisory board members in several different countries, Meniscus publishes poetry, fiction and creative essays as well as translations into English. It is named for the curve that forms at the top surface of a container of liquid. An explanation as to why the name suits the journal can be found here.
God, I wish I could take her skin,
slit it at the back, like a zipper,
unravel the shrink-wrap flesh from muscle,
Two of my poems “Kitten In A Blender” and “As I Watch The Tour Guide Talking” appear in the latest anthology in the Black & BLUE series. The theme of this instalment was “revolution” and it was released – appropriately enough – on bonfire night. You can read more about the project and purchase a copy on Black & BLUE’s website. The issue itself is rather lovely, and features some excellent photography and typographically-innovative poetry.
Black & BLUE are a literary organisation based in Manchester. As well as producing a series of themed anthologies they also put together pamphlets and organise exhibitions and events featuring textual art and poetry. Their work is well worth a look.
Six months after the first bombs fell
the zoo was a tattered banner, shit-stinking, empty.
Famished, we butchered first the exotic birds,
plucking bright feathers to roast tiny bodies
My poem “In Wartime” has been highly commended by judge WN Herbert in the Wigtown Book Festival poetry competition. The competition is run every year as part of ten-day festival situated in the countryside of Dumfries & Galloway in south-west Scotland. You can find out more about the festival, and read the winning and highly-commended poems on the website. Although the festival has finished for the year, you can also subscribe to the mailing list to be alerted when ticket sales open for next year’s event. It looks delightful.
There’s a comfort to this,
like the mouse that learns to live inside the trap,
forever enamoured of that metal arm
My short poem “Live-In” has been published online in the third issue of Misjudge Your Limits. The makers of this online magazine say that their goal is to create an “ultra-cool communal creative scrapbook”. As well as fiction and poetry they publish photography, interviews, articles, recipes and artwork. You can read my poem here.
Also in issue three you can find some photographs by Eleanor Bennett (who once provided a cover photograph for Neon), and an interview with Jen Campbell (who created the excellent book Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops).
At certain noises she stiffens and stares. A slammed door. A backfiring car. Years later – in her head – the bomb is still exploding.
One of my Twitter-length pieces of writing has been published in Seven By Twenty, an online literary magazine that uses Twitter as its publishing platform. My piece is viewable in their feed at twitter.com/7×20.
Seven By Twenty is one of a number of micro-blog-based magazines which regularly feature very short fiction. Other projects include Nanoism (which has also published one of my very short stories) and Steve Subrizi’s Twitter-based chapbook Fields Of Teeth.
most on the mornings when she
wakes him before she leaves for
work and she is bright and clean
in blue scrubs, soap-smelling,
My poem “The Detective Contemplates Marriage” appears in issue #92 of the Australian literary magazine Voiceworks, alongside work by a number of other young writers and artists. The theme of this issue of the magazine is “Thing”, and it’s available from the Voiceworks website at www.voiceworksmag.com.au in print or eBook form.
Voiceworks is published by Express Media, and run by a group of interns and a volunteer editorial committee, all of whom are under twenty-five. It is produced entirely by young people and relies totally on contributions from the readers to make up the content.
When it cuts water it
makes a sound like paper
tearing, high and clear.
My poem “The Sharpest Knife In The World” has been published in the twentieth and final issue of The Delinquent. You can purchase a PDF or printed copy of the magazine from thedelinquent.co.uk.
In later years you wonder
at what precise moment
sterility descended like
the blade of a mousetrap,
a million potential futures.
My short poem “3:46 PM” has placed second in the inaugural Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Competition. Another of my poems “Emergency Exit” was highly commended by the judge, George Szirtes. You can read both of the poems, and George’s comments on them on the PBS website: www.poetrybooks.co.uk.
Student membership of the PBS is free to anyone currently in higher education. The prize was a subscription to the Society, and so far I’ve enjoyed reading several of their books, including The Dark Film by Paul Farley, and Bad Machine by George Szirtes.
When I cough,
hard, lungs rattling,
cogs and tiny springs
burst out, plip like spittle
in the foam-scummed sink.
Two of my poems “Tick” and “Housemate” appear in the online magazine Strong Verse. They can be read online on the website strongverse.org, along with many other poems from both new and dead poets.
Strong Verse was founded by Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game (among other books), in order to “provide a forum for poetry that is meaningful and accessible”.
Please let this bullet inside of you. Open yourself for it. It is cold and wants to be in flesh. You know how bad it is to be cold. It wants to explode inside of you and send its pieces mushrooming…
My short prose poem “Please, Let This Bullet” appears in issue four of the magazine 1110. 1110 publishes one photograph, one essay and ten poems per issue. It’s a slim, yet beautifully-made print magazine that publishes twice a year. More information can be found on the 1110 website.
How she looks through your memory box–with such reverence, like a student on her first day at school–makes you wish you really loved her.
One of my (very) short pieces of writing appears on Nanoism. It is, in fact, only one sentence long. Nanoism publishes tiny stories on Twitter and on their website. My story is viewable at nanoism.net/stories/505.
Some of my recent favourites by other writers include #492 by Katherine La Mantia (nanoism.net/stories/492); #499 by Tom Byers (nanoism.net/stories/499); #483 by Eric Boyd (nanoism.net/stories/483); and #482 by R Gatwood (nanoism.net/stories/482).
Watching the smoke that spills from the compound windows
Darken to a sightless black, and billow up like a swelling belly
One can almost hear the held-breath of onlookers,
My poems “Siege”, “Glass Eye” and “Dogs Die In Hot Cars” appear in the online Broadsheets supplement to Agenda. They can be read online in Broadsheet #18 at www.agendapoetry.co.uk.
“It’s a snuff film, he says, holding out the box,
the slim black box, innocuous as bad rice.
You don’t know how you ended up
at this house party, this night,”
My poem “Movie Night” appears in Issue #2 of Dirtflask. In recent times this magazine has ceased publication, but you can still find the three issues which were produced during its brief lifespan online. On what remains of the website you can also see a picture of the first published issue, which took the form of a glass bottle filled with dirt and several small scrolls of paper, each bearing a poem. It’s an oddly-appealing object, and I’m disappointed that this magazine is no longer alive.
“Movie Night” is a poem about a watching a snuff film at a party. I wrote it after hearing an ex-policeman speak about some of the material he dealt with during the course of his job.
This is how the world reduces
to a single point around
which you feel your life
My poem “Before We Met” appeared in issue #6 of the poetry and illustration magazine Popshot. This was the first poem I ever had published, and I was very pleased to be able to be able to find a home it in a magazine like Popshot. As well as publishing some excellent poetry, they also illustrate every poem they publish. “Before We Met” appeared in their “Love” themed issue.