The latest issue of Poetry Review, Our Disappearing World (100:1, Spring 2010) has just been published, and features a broad array of interesting poems, features, and reviews: just received my copy the other day, so haven't had chance to enjoy it in full, but so far Alison Brackenbury's article on the work of John Clare, Jacqueline Gabbitas's round-up of recent pamphlets, and poems by Glyn Maxwell, John Stammers, James Midgley and Liz Berry have all caught and held my attention. In particular, Liz Berry's "In the Steam Room" is impressive: a minutely detailed, gorgeously sensual and descriptive poem that is also, in parts, that touch uncomfortable - great stuff. I'm particularly pleased, then, to see it included in a section of the magazine, "Now and Then", which takes its title from a poem of mine, also in issue, and also includes poems by Alex McRae, Tamar Yoseloff, Tom Gilliver, and Daniel Weissbort. The issue also features the winners of this year's National Poetry Competition: Helen Dunmore's "The Malarkey", Ian Pindar's "Mrs Beltinska In The Bath", and John Stammers's "Mr Punch in Soho".
I'll also add, before I embark on the immensely dull chore of general housework, that it was an unexpected pleasure, on the same day as receiving my copy of Poetry Review, to stumble across this very generous and attentive review of my pamphlet, The Sparks, at Tom Chivers's online literary review, Hand and Star. Always heartening and reassuring to know that someone has come away from reading your stuff with a real sense of what you - often dimly, in my case at least! - feel you're trying to achieve.