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Friday, 27 July 2007

The Wolf Is Five!

The Wolf's subtitle is "The Magazine For New Poetry" - and, in Britain - it is.

I moved to London about four years ago. Poetry and English establishments being what they are, with all those competing class circles and cliques, the welcome was rough and cold at times - still is, in many ways. The Wolf, from my first months in the UK, was open to reading, and eventually publishing, my work.

If this was just about me, it'd be rather limited as an appreciation. But The Wolf has become, since founded in April 2002, by poets Nicolas Cobic and James Byrne, a truly indispensable small press publication for British letters and many writers - because it is marked by integrity, fierce independence, and a willingness to pretty much question every quietly held opinion and suggest new ways forward.

It provides a platform for many emerging, younger poets, who often have few alternative outlets in a publishing landscape that is cramped, conservative and too often pettily divisive for no good reason. Along the way, The Wolf has also published, reviewed, and interviewed, many major and established figures, too, and improved, year by year, its design, look, and feel, to the point where this, its 15th issue (Summer 2007), is distinctively indie in spirit, but stylish in appearance. Among the highlights of this 15th, special issue, are Niall McDevitt on Harry Fainlight (a wonderful meeting of two seriously brilliant, off-beam maverick poets), an interview with Saadi Youssef, and an unsigned, polemical and well-argued essay on the "in-clubs of poetry criticism". The Wolf is right to call for more informed, objective, and critical reviewery in Britain - too often all is puffery signifying nothing. Where is our Poetry and the Age?

I also have a poem in this issue - typically, for me in this magazine, a sonnet about the infamous good-time girl, Ms. Keeler.

Do support this most vital, young and honest of the UK's poetry magazines. Once bitten by The Wolf, one can no longer go back to being a sheep.
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