Skip to main content

Recent Issues

Well, here are a few recent issues of magazines that I thought I'd flag up, and no, not just because I've something of my own included in them, which in several cases I don't, but because I've subscriptions to many poetry mags and journals for the simple reason that, in many ways, they're the lifeblood and engine rooms of new writing and, on this slightly gloomy looking Wednesday morning, I'd like to encourage you, dear Wasteland reader, to consider subscribing to a new publication today.

First off, the latest issue of New Welsh Review dropped with a satisfying thud through my letterbox the other week, and aside being excellently produced (nothing superficial about enjoying the look and feel of a stylish book or magazine with high production values, and to be honest, NWR holds its own against most books, never mind journals), it also contains plenty of engaging new writing, including two new poems from Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, fiction from Nii Ayikwei Parkes, plus reviews of Philip Gross's T.S. Eliot prize-winning collection The Water Table, and a new collection of short stories inspired by the work of Jane Austen.

I'd also recommend the latest issue of The Rialto, celebrating 25 years of this major publication's appearances, and including - among new work from Carol Ann Duffy, Andrew Motion, Lorraine Mariner and Rachel Curzon - 'Look Out', the first part of a special feature on new poets under 35 edited by Nathan Hamilton, with poems from Andrew Jamison, Luke Kennard, Chris McCabe, Heather Phillipson, Keston Sutherland and Jack Underwood. Well worth a look.

The latest issue of Orbis, #150, is also packed with poems and reviews of recent books, and its usual 'Lines on Lines' section of candid reader comments on the previous issue. Where the poems in #150 are concerned, highlights for me came in the shape of Rupert Loydell's 'Paper Children', Eoghan Walls's 'Terminal One', and Todd Swift's 'The Port Daniel House'. Reviews include a round-up of recent pamphlets from the indefatigable Smith/Doorstop (the publishing house of the, now Sheffield-based, Poetry Business), including Sally Goldsmith's Singer, a short little book that packs an emotional yet unsentimental punch, and one which I'd recommend getting hold of.

Lastly, the latest issue of the Times Literary Supplement (No 5590, May 21 2010) contains the usual array of incisive, decisive, highly readable and thought-provoking literary reviews, not least a piece on Merrill Chleier's study of architecture and gender in American film, Skyscraper Cinema, and Michael Hofmann's translation of Gottfried Benn's poem, 'Englisches Café'. But I'd like to point you in particular towards the poetry reviews, not only because of pieces on new collections from Selima Hill and Antony Dunn, among others, but because there's a review of my own included of Sian Hughes's excellent debut, The Missing. It's a real shame that this book didn't come away with a prize or two, having been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and chosen as a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. As I say in the review, the collection is a short one of, often, short poems: something that perhaps belies its exactitude, hard-won emotional truths, and long road to completion. At any rate, it really is a great debut collection, and one which I've returned to on several occasions recently. So I'll end by saying that, as well as subscribing to a poetry magazine today, you should really push the boat out and go and order The Missing, which you can pick up from Salt's website, here. And if you need any more convincing, you should first read this powerful and emotive elegy, 'The Send-Off', which won Hughes the Arvon International Poetry Competition a few years back. Moving isn't the word.


Caroline Gill said…
I have been enjoying the eclectic selection in the special issue of The Rialto. I always enjoy the news round-up section, too.

Do you read The Literary Review; and if so, do you find it tricky to track down? It's most elusive here in my South Wales neck of the woods...
Ben Wilkinson said…
Can't say I do, Coastcard, though I gather it has quite an established reputation. That is, if we're thinking of the same publication - the one that bestows the annual Bad Sex in Fiction award?

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry in Motion

POETRY IN MOTION Why one Reds supporter is committing his love for Liverpool FC to verse Liverpool FC and poetry have a lot of previous – from John Toshack’s Gosh It’s Tosh collection in the late 70s, to the verse of Dave Kirby and Peter Etherington in the fanzine Red All Over the Land , to the lines written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a University of Liverpool graduate, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hillsborough findings. Now there’s Ben Wilkinson, Reds fan and book critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement , who’s compiling a series of poems commemorating the club’s legends. “Football is part of the fabric of life, and anything that’s important to people finds its way into poetry,” he says. “Wilfred Owen’s poem 'Disabled' describes a soldier who loses the use of his legs, meaning he can never play football again. Philip Larkin’s 'MCMXIV' compares boys queuing to join the army to fans outside Villa Park. These poems have stood th

Michael Hofmann - Changes

Changes Birds singing in the rain, in the dawn chorus, on power lines. Birds knocking on the lawn, and poor mistaken worms answering them ... They take no thought for the morrow, not like you in your new job. - It paid for my flowers, now already stricken in years. The stiff cornflowers bleach, their blue rinse grows out. The marigolds develop a stoop and go bald, orange clowns, straw polls, their petals coming out in fistfuls ... Hard to take you in your new professional pride - a salary, place of work, colleagues, corporate spirit - your new femme d'affaires haircut, hard as nails. Say I must be repressive, afraid of castration, loving the quest better than its fulfilment. - What became of you, bright sparrow, featherhead? poem by Michael Hofmann republished with permission of the author first published in The New Yorker from Acrimony (Faber, 1986) I've loved Hofmann's poetry since I first came across an old copy of what I still think hi

Louis MacNeice

‘World is crazier and more of it than we think, incorrigibly plural’. Even if you’re not that well-versed in modern British and Irish poetry, chances are you’ll still know ‘Snow’, or a line or two from the poem will seem naggingly familiar. While still in his twenties, Louis MacNeice wrote it in 1935, and since then, it’s been a favourite with readers, writers and editors, cropping up in every kind of poetry anthology. Weird, then, that MacNeice’s work has often been seen as a footnote to that of his illustrious pal W.H. Auden, when he’s so clearly a hugely original poet in his own right. And when, among more recent generations, the likes of Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Don Paterson and Conor O’Callaghan have all cited him as a major influence in their own writing. It’s not like ‘Snow’ was a one hit wonder, either. Despite some of the less exciting – and often lengthy – stuff he wrote in the early 50s, MacNeice only got better, perfecting his moving, atmospheric an