Saturday, 17 February 2018


Dr Bruce Meyer, a significant Canadian poet and writer, will be the final judge for this year's Beverly Prize For International Writing - the impressive super shortlist of 18 international poets and writers is announced below.

Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).


The rules of the prize stipulate that any author chosen for the shortlist agrees to accept publication with Eyewear if judged to be the final winner; and may not be entered into other competitions at this final stage of adjudication.

Bruce Meyer is author of more than 60 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portraiture. He was winner of the Gwendolyn MacEwen Prize for Poetry in 2015 and 2016 for best poem, and received the IP Medal for best book of poems published in North American for the sonnet collection, The Seasons.

His other works include the national bestsellers The Golden Thread (2000) and Portraits of Canadian Writers (2016). He was the inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Barrie. He lives in Barrie, Ontario, and teaches at Georgian College and at Victoria College in the University of Toronto.

The winner will be announced by April 15th or sooner, and will be selected solely by the Final Judge, on the basis of literary merit - this is a publishing prize meant to select a truly extraordinary work that will make a wonderful book.

Hundreds of submissions were received and the three-person judging panel of Dr Todd Swift, Alexandra Payne and Rosanna Hildyard, managed to discover these remarkable works and talents. The winner will receive publication in 2019 with Eyewear Publishing, and have their book launched in London, UK, as well as a £500 advance.

Anatoly Kudryavitsky is a Moscow-born Irish poet and novelist of Polish/Irish descent, the grandson of an Irishman who ended up in Stalin’s Gulag. A holder of a PhD from Moscow Medical Academy, he is the former writer-in-residence for the State Literary Museum of Russia. Having emigrated in 1999, he has since been living in Dublin, Ireland. He is a bilingual author writing in English and Russian, and has published three novels. Kudryavisky edited the anthology of contemporary Russian poetry in English translation entitled A Night in the Nabokov Hotel (Dedalus, 2006), the anthology of contemporary German-language poetry titled Coloured Handprints (Dedalus, 2015), and the anthology of contemporary Ukrainian poetry in English translation, The Frontier, (Glagoslav Publications, London, UK, 2017.) In 2003, he won the Maria Edgeworth Poetry Prize (Ireland), and in 2010 was the recipient of the David Burliuk Award (Russia) for lifelong commitment to experimental poetry. He is nominated for Sky Sailing - Poetry. 


Alan Weadick (Pronounced Weddick) has been publishing poems widely, in print and online, for a number of years, with work most recently in The Irish Times New Irish Writing, Southword, The Honest Ulsterman and Cyphers. He has been shortlisted for competitions including the Strokestown Poetry Festival, Listowel Writer's Week and Red Line Book Festival competitions, Highly Commended in the 2017  iyeats/Hawks Well poetry competition and longlisted for the National Poetry Compettion (UK, 2017). He has also been nominated for a Hennessy Literary Award (Emerging Poetry, 2016) and was a reader at Poetry Ireland's "Introductions" series in the Irish Writer's Centre. He also writes prose fiction and has had short several stories broadcast on RTE Radio 1 (Irish National Broadcaster) and published in The Honest Ulsterman. He lives in Dublin with his wife and two children. He is nominated for Hunger's Mother - Poetry. 

Andrew R. Touhy, a recipient of the San Francisco Browning Society’s Dramatic Monologue Award and Fourteen Hills’ Bambi Holmes Fiction Prize, is also a nominee for inclusion in Best New American Voices. His work appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, New England Review, Conjunctions, New American Writing, The Collagist, New Orleans Review, Colorado Review, Eleven Eleven, and other literary journals. He teaches at The Writing Salon in San Francisco and Berkeley, and lives in Oakland with his wife and child. He is nominated for Secret of Mayo - a Short Story Collection.


Cassandra Passarelli has published a couple of dozen stories, most recently in The Carolina Quarterly, Ambit, Chicago Quarterly Review and MIR. She won the Traverse Theater’s Debut Author Prize and has been short-listed for Cinnamon, Wells Festival, Cadenza, R Rofihe and Aesthetica prizes. Her novella Greybill won the Books for Borges Competition. She ran a bakery, managed a charity, was a sub-editor and set up a library foundation for children in Guatemala. She studies in ten-year cycles. A degree in literature at Birkbeck, University of London, was followed by a creative writing masters at the University of Edinburgh. She lives in Devon, England with her daughter. She is nominated for Bone Metre - Short Story collection. 

Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, IthacaLit, The American Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. New poetry is forthcoming in The Pinch, Kestrel, and Sequestrum. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut. He is nominated for Cell of Lit Glass - Poetry.


Daryl Muranaka spent three years in Fukui, Japan in the JET Program.  He lives in Boston with his family. In his spare time, he enjoys aikido and tai chi chuan and exploring his children’s dual heritages. His first book, Hanami, was published by Aldrich Press and his first chapbook, The Minstrel of Belmont, was published Finishing Line Press in 2015. He is nominated for Ohana - Poetry.

Born in Scotland, David Hale currently lives in Gloucestershire, where he passes the time by teaching, setting type, looking after horses and making things. He has two pamphlets out, one from Happenstance and another from Templar. He is nominated for Dancing Under Bloodless Moon - Poetry.

Emily Stern has been writing, teaching, consulting and performing since the early 1990's. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction with a critical emphasis on women and AIDS in literature from Goddard College, and has been published in magazines and anthologies, including Entropy Magazine and The Santa Fe Literary Review. She’s the principle consultant and founder of Intersectional Consulting, which consults nationally on the design and implementation of equity, interdisciplinary and Title IX programming and curriculum, and original educational tools, including the El Corozón Deck, a bilingual tool designed to inspire critical thinking about social justice. More at She is nominated for This Is What It Sounds Like - Life Writing.


Gwen Goodkin's writing has been published by The Dublin Review, Fiction, Witness, The Carolina Quarterly, Atticus Review, jmww, Exposition Review, The Rumpus, Reed Magazine and others. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won the Black Fox Literary Magazine Contest as well as the John Steinbeck Award for Fiction. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She also writes for the screen and stage. Her website is: 

Jose Varghese is a bilingual writer/editor/translator from India. He is the founder and chief editor of Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts and Strands Publishers. He is the author of Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems (2008). He is a contributing writer for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel and is on the advisory board of Mascara Literary Review. He was the winner of The River Muse 2013 Spring Poetry Contest, a runner up in the Salt Flash Fiction Prize 2013, and a second prize winner in the Wordweavers Flash Fiction Prize 2012. He was  commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2014. He is nominated for In/Sane - a Short Story collection.


KC Trommer is the author of the chapbook The Hasp Tongue (dancing girl press, 2014). A graduate of the MFA program at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, KC has won an Academy of American Poets Prize and the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize. She has collaborated with ​the Grammy Award-winning composer ​Herschel Garfein​ on a song cycle of ​her poems, "Three Rides". Her recent work appears in the anthologies Resist Much, Obey Little and the forthcoming Who Will Speak for America?  She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her son.

Lucas Jacob's poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in over 50 journals, including Southwest Review, Hopkins Review, Barrow Street, Chautauqua, Western Humanities Review, and The Eyewear Review. He has won the Gival Press Tri-Language Poetry Contest and Gemini Ink's contest for the tricentennial of the city of San Antonio, Texas. His first chapbook, A Hole in the Light, came out in 2015 from Anchor & Plume Press. In a 22-year teaching career, he has worked in four of the United States, and in Budapest, Hungary, where he was a Fulbright teaching fellow. He is currently based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is nominated for The Machinery of Someone Else's Dream - Poetry.

Mac Gay has published three collections: Dearests from Federal Poets Press, Physical Science, from Poems and Plays, and winner of the Tennessee Poetry Prize, and Pluto's Despair, out this past November from Kattywompus Press. His Poems have appeared in numerous reviews, including Atlanta Review, Loose Change, Poems and Plays, Ironwood, Cutbank, Open City, and Snake Nation ReviewHis work has been anthologized in the Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia from Texas Review Press. He teaches English and lit at Perimeter College of Georgia State University. He is nominated for Ghost Hunt - Poetry. 


Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York. His recent work appears or is forthcoming in publications including Nine Mile, Burning House Press, Occulum, and the Bennington Review. His chapbook Hygiene in Reading (Publishing Genius, 2016) was awarded the 2015 Chris Toll Memorial Prize. He earned an MS and a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He edits Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics, and is the hands behind, a basement micropress.


Roy Richins grew up in Las Vegas and has won the Las Vegas Review-Journal prize. Then he moved to Colorado, got married, got an MBA, had two children. This would be his first published novel. Nominated for Expecting Applause and Nobody Claps - a Novel.

Shane Neilson is a poet, physician, and critic from New Brunswick, Canada. He is currently completing his PhD in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster where he researches the representations of pain in Canadian literature as a Vanier Scholar. He recently published Dysphoria (PQL, 2017), the final volume in his affect trilogy. Also last year, he won the Walrus Poetry Prize and a major Mitchell Prize. He is nominated for Saving - Poetry.

Tamara Tracz was born in London in 1970. She started working in theatre when 16, on Kenneth Branagh’s production of Romeo and Juliet at the Lyric Hammersmith. She continued working with Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company, directing a production for Renaissance Nights, their 1987 festival of new work  at the Riverside Studios. She went on to work for Theatre de Complicite and Hanoch Levin in Tel Aviv, before studying at L’Ecole International de Theatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Her work in film began when she started making promotional videos for the theatre companies she knew, and between 1994 and 1998 she worked as a camera assistant while making her own short films. She studied film at The California Institute of the Arts between 1998-2002. Her films have won prizes and shown in cinemas, festivals and galleries around the world. Her work on cinema is published in Senses of Cinema and in 2012, after four years of work, she published a text/art project Three Books
Yusuf DeLorenzo worked and studied abroad for 25 years in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. On returning to Fez, Morocco, the last functional medieval city in the world, he began thinking of North Africa as the ideal setting for a sleuth in the midst of the Barbary Pirates. He is presently at work on the seventh book in the series, the first of which placed second in the Royal Palms Literary Awards of the Florida Writers Association. He is nominated for A Graveyard in Algiers - a Novel. 


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived, creative, exploratory, dressed flamboyantly.

In this quest they were successful and by the early 80s had a handful of synth-pop albums the equal of Depeche Mode, OMD, and Ultravox. Unlike U2, often seen as rivals for Celtic stadium rock champions, they were not rock-oriented at this time. They were however pre-Brexit Europhiles ('I Travel' - "Europe has a language problem", indeed), and suspicious of global imperialism - see 'Boys from Brazil' and 'The American'.

Their great early radio hit, the squalling, eerie and ultimately exciting 'Love Song', combined politics, religion, and eros, with synth and a harder sound, to become a template and breakthrough. "America's the boyfriend" is a great line. There is no better new wave song from the UK from this period.

Around this time, they followed that up with a shimmering, sublime masterwork, New Gold Dream, from 1982, a plaintive, haunting, and deeply religious and poetic album - New Romantic in every possible way - filled with shadows, flames, burning gold memories, and so on. It remains possibly the most deeply theological pop album of the 1980s ("belief is a beauty thing") and arguably the least-appreciated of great new wave LPs.

What happened next is called John Hughes' The Breakfast Club - one of the most popular 80s films and now seen as seminal. Someone wrote a song for the band, and they were convinced to take the money, and perform 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' - an apolitical, ludicrously swaggering, teen pop tune, which blended with Jim Kerr's exhortations on vocals, and Charlie Burchill's always stupendous sense of musicality, to establish, astonishingly, an American number one hit - now a staple of nostalgia radio, but still genuinely loved. 

The next decade became a commercial pile-driver, as hard-driving rock-style hit followed hit, with Gospel-tinged grandeur - 'Alive and Kicking' best representing this period's style. Basically, they adopted the 'Don't You' manner, but inserted their own theological and political bias into the lyrics, establishing a very big sound, and feel.

Had wealth, fame, and presumably other temptations, not intervened, we might not have lost the band to decades of increasingly poorly-received albums - seemingly half a dozen, each less heard. By the new century, they seemed destined to be forgotten - were, to most, forgotten. But not quite. Oddly, Simple Minds, perhaps because so many of their songs - arguably ALL their songs - are soaring and optimistic, even joyous, and inspiring - had a fan base that would not forget them.

Their tours did well enough, their albums were in fact bought in sufficient numbers by ageing people. Not U2, but not Wang-Chung, either. They were, by this decade, into their 32nd year and more, and viable. They were becoming re-evaluated. Re-energized.

Their last few albums have been critically respected - especially Big Music. It was nice to see. But nothing prepared anyone for Walk Between Worlds. It is, simply put, their best album since 1985, and well within the range of being one of their top 5 best ever. That's a come back 33 years in the making, and unprecedented. U2 will never make another Joshua Tree. The Stones don't seem to make new albums. What other artists from 50-40 years ago still do what they did, superbly well? Not Blondie, not OMD - not even Depeche Mode, though they tried last year.

I mentioned taste earlier, because if you don't get the Simple Minds styles, you won't appreciate the delightful fusion of all of them on this new work. All I can say is they are ecstatic, irrational, grandiose, flamboyant, upbeat, spiritual, and vaguely camp, with a flair for drama and transcendent gestures - all the time. They are the most "Christian" band imaginable, insofar as their sound best makes sense as something you might feel if you were a rock star and had just discovered Heaven really existed, and would let you in. You'd probably shimmer, shimmy and swing too.

"Here comes summer, here comes rain" - the second song begins... indeed. The song titles and themes are emblematic: Magic, Summer, Utopia, In Dreams - the album, underpinned by icy jabs of German synths from 1978, and overlaid with those glistening guitars and strong drums of the 1982-85 period, is all about wonder, joy, a belief in an afterlife, energies, forces, and spectral emanations Mulder would love. And yes, a looking back, back in time, to Glasgow... like their best records, this one is only 8 tracks long - each "side" would be a tight-four song cycle - and these two sides, as it were, together form a grand retrospective on one of the singular achievements in popular music of the past half-century. However, unlike past attempts, this is not merely retro or belated. It is also, simply, masterful - it does what they did and do best, with profound and professional skill, and zeal.

I think what makes Simple Minds so fascinating is this marriage of skill and zeal. Their words sound naïve, and their music pompously popular, but their mission has always been deeply at cross-purposes to mainstream views. They never actually really sold out. They always made grand gestures to thrill and inspire. And they are consummate professionals, great in concert, great in studio.

Why this matters so much to me, besides being great fun as a music fan since the early 80s, is that their work proves my theory, argued for in my PhD thesis, that a high modern lyric style is viable - indeed the 1940s poets I admire were experimental moderns and new romantics for their age - the best exemplar of this style may be Hart Crane, both innovative, of his time, and richly baroque in his verbosity. Such work is a template for any writer, poet, artist, who wants to be sincere, big, exciting, dramatic, unabashed - but note, also artifice-aware. That is, there is a form of authenticity that is all dressed up and ready to dance. It may well be religious in temperament, and sees no reason not to wear one's Sunday best down the middle of the street on the way to the drunken wake. The good news is out there!

Thursday, 8 February 2018


I, as editor, have been away too long from this little blog that could... apologies.

Why? The limit to our patience reached its peak for a while... in terms of Trump and other real-world/ fake news outrages.... it became exhausting to express more dismay.

Also, the residency at Pembroke, Cambridge, and Eyewear Publishing work, has been joyously busy.

Anyway, time to return, albeit briefly, with more news, soon.

On the value of reading during a global pandemic

On the value of reading during a global pandemic Though it save no life passes time that could be wasted w ith Money Heist or Tiger Ki...