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Showing posts from August, 2017


Bridget Sprouls! Our 5th Fortnight winner!   Sprouls' poems have appeared in  Field, Map Literary, The New Yorker, The Stinging Fly,  and elsewhere. She lives in New Jersey, USA.   Her winning poem 'Chatter' - she gets £280 as this was a double-fortnight contest - appears below.   The runners up are:   Meg Eden , for her poem 'spirit house'   and   Anders Howerton , for 'An Original Series'   In general, this was a very strong field of poets, and poems - over 350 - one of the strengths of this particular prize is that we receive submissions from across North America, but also the UK, Ireland and beyond.   Howerton's modern sonnet was contemporary, quirky and compelling in its digital age syntax - an original lyricism emerges here.   Eden is clearly a fine poet - her poem - long and discursive, filled with rich questions and surprising imagery, was both clever and profound - not easy to pull off.   Either coul


POETRY IS A KIND OF SUMMER PLAY Here are the 21 shortlisted poems.  The winner will be announced no later than Monday 21st of August, before midnight GMT. The new contest begins tomorrow. 1. ALISON PALMER –‘Days Fallen Into’ 2. AMY SONOUN – ‘The Death of Clive James Has Been Postponed Again’ 3. ANDERS HOWERTON – ‘An Original Series’ 4. ANNA LENA PHILLIPS BELL – ‘Qualifications for one to be Climbed by a Vine’ 5. AUDREY MOLLOY – ‘On the Rocks’ 6. BRIDGET SPROULS – ‘Chatter’ 7. BURNSIDE SOLEIL – ‘Sundays’ 8. COLIN DARDIS – Lost to the Night’ 9. DAVID ADAMS – ‘Dominar’ 10. EMILY OSBORNE –‘Diacritics’ 11. ERIC SIGLER – ‘Celestial Probability’ 12. HALEY KARIN – Cover Girl’ 13. LOU HERON – ‘The Ant Under The Bar Stool’ 14. MAUREEN MILLER – ‘Funeral for my Excuses’ 15. MEG EDEN – ‘spirit houses’ 16. MEGAN COLEMAN – ‘Licorice and the Underworld’ 17. P.C. VANDALL –‘After a Poem by Leonard Cohen’ 18. PAMELA JOHNSON PARKER – ‘Months Later, I Stand Here Ironing’ 19. TOM DOLAN – ‘Surrounded’


THAT HANDSOME MAN  A PERSONAL BRIEF REVIEW BY TODD SWIFT I could lie and claim Larkin, Yeats , or Dylan Thomas most excited me as a young poet, or even Pound or FT Prince - but the truth be told, it was Thom Gunn I first and most loved when I was young. Precisely, I fell in love with his first two collections, written under a formalist, Elizabethan ( Fulke Greville mainly), Yvor Winters triad of influences - uniquely fused with an interest in homerotica, pop culture ( Brando, Elvis , motorcycles). His best poem 'On The Move' is oddly presented here without the quote that began it usually - Man, you gotta go - which I loved. Gunn was - and remains - so thrilling, to me at least, because so odd. His elegance, poise, and intelligence is all about display, about surface - but the surface of a panther, who ripples with strength beneath the skin. With Gunn, you dressed to have sex. Or so I thought.  Because I was queer (I maintain the right to lay claim to that

Charlottesville One Week On - Guest Article by Sarah Burk

DARKNESS VISIBLE: THE RISING TIDE OF HATE IN MY TIME BY SARAH BURK, AMERICAN EDITOR AT EYEWEAR PUBLISHING   This past Saturday, a week ago (it seems longer) the quiet college town of Charlottesville, VA became the site of violence and vitriol as white supremacists and neo-Nazis rallied to “Unite the Right” against the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee , clashing with counter-demonstrators. This scene turned tragic when a man drove a car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing one and injuring 19. He had earlier been seen marching with the symbols of far-right extremist group Vanguard America, though according to the group, he was not an official member. As physical confrontations erupted between protesters, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and law enforcement officers attempted to stop the rally under orders that it was an unlawful assembly. However, the damage had already been done. Indeed, i


SPOILER WARNING: Almost the last line of the play - in a shocking shit-fan whirlwind - gives it away - "what will we do"? Far from being merely a stereotypically Irish problem play in the shadow of the gunman, or the ploughman and the stars, Jez Butterworth's bizarre post-modern masterplay directed by Bond helmer Sam Mendes , is all about stories, and how they are told - often very badly. This is a play of half-remembered poems, dementia-fuelled fairy stories, and lies and demi-lies, all spoken in the name of attempting to find a strand of sense and narrative in the melee of time and history - we are reminded that even Darius interrupted war to let the harvest come in, so potent was the symbolism of that ritual. There is the harvest story, and the boys' stories, and the story of Jesus on the cross, and the stories of love at the GPO... all the stories in the play end badly, or are told badly. Of course, it is also about feast and famine, sowing what you reap


  21ST CENTURY TV ICON Elisabeth Moss - mostly a TV actor so far - is perhaps the televisual equivalent of Kristen Stewart (who she appeared with in On The Road ) at this stage in time - the world's most enthralling and important young female icon in their medium - she is acting's Taylor Sw ift, as it were. Or, this generation's Gillian Anderson , perhaps. Moss has an impeccable TV resume - as a young person she appeared in two major shows - Picket Fences and The West Wing - both considered key to their periods. More recently, she was central to Mad Men , along with The Wire , Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones , the most significant TV series of the past two decades. Meanwhile she is brilliant and again central in two vitally important more recent feminist TV shows - Top of the Lake and The Handmaid's Tale - each superbly-made. Her characters Peggy Olson, Offred and Robin Griffin are as important to this century as any we can think of. That's wh


NOT ONE OF THESE BESPECTACLED MEN WOULD APPROVE OF TRUMP August was once (still is?) called the Silly Season, because less news happened then. Indeed, Malcolm Bradbury's classic novel of the 70s, The History Man , opens with a page on the subject. Ironic, because more than one war has started in August - no month is ahistorical, apolitical. Even the name August refers to an imperial figure. Our editor went away for a fortnight to relax, and like the rest of the world, has witnessed one of the least pleasant August's in living memory, in terms at any rate, of the news. No point in rehearsing the obvious: Donald Trump and his administration are the worst since Nixon' s, and may well be worse. Nixon himself toyed with using nukes in Asia, and harboured hard-hatted rednecks as allies. But the refusal over the weekend to properly condemn extreme-right actions is breathtakingly un-American and unsettling. America has not been as unwelcoming to non-whites since Reagan - p