Saturday 29 January 2011

Magazine Moment (19) : TIPS for Writers 81

'the nimble acrobat'
'How like the nimble acrobat he springs
from branch to branch ...'

from BLUE TIT by Bernard M. Jackson, p.25



2011 marks the 10th anniversary of 'TIPS for Writers', the magazine of Norfolk Poets and Writers, edited by Wendy Webb. I would like to congratulate Wendy on the success of this unique publication. It has gone from strength to strength over the years, reaching out to many new writers with poetic aspirations. Its pages have been graced by the work of more established writers, too - Sophie Hannah and Alison Chisholm, to name but a couple. Bernard M. Jackson and Norman Bissett have been of great assistance: they are the authors of many of the reviews that have appeared in the magazine over the years.

Wendy's competitions have challenged us all. Her new poetry forms, such as the Davidian, the Echotain and the Andropian, have caused us to flex our poetic muscles on numerous occasions. TIPS poets have met with success in national and international competitions: Claire Knight, for example, won the Haiku section in the International Poetry Competition of the New Zealand Poetry Society in 2009. Her Haiku (俳句) have appeared on the prestigious Snapshot Press Haiku calendar.

Many pay to subscribe to Wendy's magazine, which comes out 6x a year and costs £3 an issue. Others prefer to receive the free electronic journal, eTIPS, in their inbox. TIPS, I believe, began as a kind of postal writing circle, appealing particularly to those who - for various reasons - did not find it easy to meet up with other poets. I, for one, have valued this particular ethos, and have made new 'writing friends' as a result. 

The latest edition has a crisp kingfisher-blue cover. It contains details of forthcoming competitions in celebration of the anniversary. The poems in this issue are very varied in style and theme. 'The Cell Phone' by Kay Weeks from Maryland is a Sestina. David Norris-Kay's contribution is a Tanka. The Terza Rima and Haiku put in an appearance alongside other crafted poems that have no formal name.

Not surprisingly for a number that comes out in January, several poems have winter themes. Anne Smith's 'Snow' evokes a compelling winter world in ten short lines. Wendy's sparrows 'twitter on bare twigs' ('Winter'), while Bernard's garden visitor 'sings on trembled stems' ('Blue Tit'). Blue is 'my' colour, so I was naturally drawn to 'Still Vibrating Blue' by Roger Elkin, in which he paints that distinctive Adriatic shade for us, in a disconcerting quivering tone, somewhere 'between aquamarine and turquoise'. The poems range in length from the Sestina down to Diana Mendel's three-word nutshell, '3 Rs' (which is part of a sequence).

Wendy's latest book in her 'Mermaid' series is reviewed by Bernard M. Jackson. Wendy interviews fellow editor, Ronnie Goodyer of Indigo Dreams, about his forthcoming anthology, 'Soul Feathers', in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. You can read more about this project here in a report in The Eastern Evening News.

Happy Birthday, TIPS for Writers - and here's to the next decade!

If you are interested in joining the TIPS community, you might like to find Wendy on Facebook. Do take a look at Wendy's sites:

Tuesday 25 January 2011

International Echoes (12): 2011: ALTĂ ODISEE SPAŢIALĂ

Winter Moon

I had just been enjoying Adam Tilt's wonderful photographs of the moon on his blog, 'My Life Outside', when I moved over to the Contemporary Literary Horizon blog from Bucharest to read Peggy Landsman's 2011 Space Odyssey post ('2011: ANOTHER SPACE ODYSSEY / 2011: ALTĂ ODISEE SPAŢIALĂ'). It is a wonderful cyber-galactic piece - and I felt privileged to have a mention in it. Thank you, Peggy. 
Here's to 2011 and the continued success of 'Orizont Literar Contemporan' magazine (linked to the  Contemporary Literary Horizon blog) as it strives to reach new heights and an even wider international - and perhaps extra-terrestrial - readership!   
You can read more about the magazine here and here - and you can always use the comment facility on the Contemporary Literary Horizon site, if you feel you have a query or would like to make a response of some kind. The editior-in-chief, Daniel Dragomirescu, is keen to widen the ever-increasing orbit of this international and cultural journal. You might care to visit Kristina Kostaki's blog. Kristina, a contributor to the magazine, lives in Greece. She has written a post about the 'Orizont Literar Contemporan' anthology here. You might also like to zoom off to M. Denise C's blog, here.
  • MAGAZINE PRICE: 12 EUROS | 15 DOLLARS PER COPY (SHIPPING INCLUDED). PayPal details to the right of the magazine page if you click here.

Prizes and Commendations (2): The T.S. Eliot prize

My thanks to Matt Merritt at Polyolbion for alerting me to the coverage of the prize ceremony on Jane Holland's blog, here. Derek Walcott won the prize with his Faber collection, White Egrets.

In case you have not caught up with the news reports, you can read The Guardian's feature here

Little Egret, Penclawdd, Gower, Wales, UK

 I recall a happy evening at Hay some years ago, when Derek Walcott answered questions and delivered his poetry to a packed auditorium. I was particularly pleased to have bought a copy of his 'Omeros' in the Poetry Bookshop that afternoon.

Above and below: Little Egret, Divari Lagoon, Pylos, Greece

N.B. My photos are not linked to locations or symbolic representations in the book, but it seemed a good opportunity to appreciate these fine birds! The Egretta alba, the Great White Egret, has black feet and a yellow bill, unlike the Little Egret on one leg in the Divari Lagoon photo. 

Calendar Corner (10): Burns' Night

Those with Scottish links all over the globe will be celebrating Burns' Night this evening, so it seemed appropriate to join in. The haggis may only be 'virtual', but click here to enjoy it all the same!

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Anthology Alert (8): Tiger, Tiger (A project to help the WWF)

Do you have a tiger poem waiting to pounce?

Many of us will have had our first encounter with the 'tiger in the wild' rather than with the 'tiger in the cage' through the powerful and mesmerising words of William Blake's poem, 'The Tyger'. This was certainly one of the earliest poems (as opposed to nursery rhymes) to make a lasting impression on me.

Perhaps there is a tiger poem in you, waiting to leap out on to the page. Helen Calcutt, Peter Tinkler and David Calcutt of The Written Image are preparing an illustrated 'Tiger, Tiger' poetry anthology to raise funds for the WWF Save the Tiger appeal.

If you would like to have a submission of tiger poetry or artwork considered for this inspiring project, you will find the submission guidelines here. The final deadline is drawing ever closer!  Everyone is invited to respond to the appeal, whether you are a poet, artist or tiger supporter. 

Perhaps you would like to endorse the project by sending a donation to the World Wildlife Fund's campaign to 'save the tiger'. You will find details here (with excellent video clip), and I know The Written Image has a project target of £500. At present, 3200 tigers remain in the wild.

Key Points:
Happy writing! Unleash the tiger . . .
     P.S. Members of The Written Image may be familiar to you through their recent anthology, 'Bugged'.

    Saturday 15 January 2011

    Anthology Alert (7): Orizont Literar Contemporan

    Laugharne, the Boat House home of Dylan Thomas, Wales, UK

    I am very grateful to M. Denise for featuring my post on the 'Orizont Literar Contemporan' anthology on her blog. You can click the link here.

    The anthology, which includes my poem about Laugharne (in English and also in Romanian, thanks to a translation by Alina-Olimpia Miron), was edited by Daniel Dragomirescu in Bucharest. You can read my original post about it here.
    • MAGAZINE PRICE: 12 EUROS | 15 DOLLARS PER COPY (SHIPPING INCLUDED). PayPal: details to the right of the magazine page if you click here.
    • Antologia Revistei Orizont Literar Contemporan (ed. Daniel Drogmirescu, Bucharest, Romania): PRICE PER COPY: 40 EUROS | 50 DOLLARS PER COPY Via PayPal: details to the right of the magazine page if you click here.  

    Thursday 13 January 2011

    Window on Wildlife (14): Caretta caretta

    My 'turtle' photo

    I was writing one of my 'turtle' cards this afternoon when I came across the term, 'Caretta caretta', in the latest issue of The Dawntreader (Indigo Dreams Publishing).

    I was delighted when I found this poem, 'The Lost Egg of Caretta caretta', on the web. The ecological forum belongs to the Katelios Group, which concerns itself with sea turtles, the environment and volunteers in Kefalonia (of 'Mandolin' fame). 

    I thought you might like to take a look at my turtle photo, which graced the card I was writing earlier. The picture was taken a little way round the Peloponnesian coast from Pylos (of Homeric fame). The strange thing is that I was pretty convinced that the Caretta caretta sea turtle had eluded us on our week-long Greek Odyssey. . . until I uploaded the photo above on our return to Wales.

    Do YOU see a turtle there? Sometimes I wonder if there are two . . .

    Fiesta Time (2): International Poetry Festival in Swansea, June 2011

    Blue Plaque: Dylan Thomas House, Number 5, Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea

     ~ ~ ~


    A three-day festival of poetry, drama, workshops, and music 
    will take place from 16th to 18th June, 
    featuring writers and performers 
    from the U.K., America, Canada, Argentina, Israel, Europe, Eastern Europe, and India.

    Hosted by Peter Thabit Jones and Stanley H. Barkan 
    at the Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea. 
    Extra festival events at The Boathouse, Laugharne; 
    Dylan Thomas House, Swansea; 
    and the Nick Holly Art Studio, Swansea.

    A commemorative chapbook will be produced 
    and several awards will be announced. 
    Further details and a brochure forthcoming.

    ~ ~ ~ 

    Monday 10 January 2011

    Anthology Alert (7): ANTOLOGIA REVISTEI 'Orizont Literar Contemporan'

    ~ "Writers from all over the world, let's come together!" ~ 
    Daniel Dragomirescu,
     'Orizont Literar Contemporan'

    'A very happy new year' to you all - or perhaps that should be 'La mulţi ani', since my first anthology to arrive in 2011 has come from Bucharest in Romania.
    Those of you who read my blog will know that I have followed the rise of the international and multicultural magazine, 'Orizont Literar Contemporan', since 2009. The editor-in-chief, Daniel Dragomirescu, has once again collaborated with the students at the University of Bucharest, under the direction of Professor Lidia Vianu, to bring us articles, poems and features in Romanian and English. The Spanish language features prominently, too, so perhaps at this juncture I should add in a third greeting: '¡feliz año nuevo'.
    The anthology has an arresting and attractive colour cover. It is A4 in size and contains 82 pages (plus the covers) of work from contributors representing the following countries:
    • Romania
    • Spain
    • Wales
    • England
    • USA
    • Mexico
    • India
    • Japan
    • Canada
    • France
    • Uruguay
    • USA 
    • Bratislava (Slovakia)
    • Israel 
    • Nigeria
    • Greece
    • Germany
    • Belgium
    • Nepal
     The volume brings together a plethora of literary and artistic contributions from previous issues of the magazine. I shall list a few examples:
    • Multicultural Dialogue: a detailed feature about 'Orizont Literar Contemporan' as a multicultural project. Editor-in-chief, Daniel Dragomirescu answers questions put to him by Maria Eugenia Mendoza Arrubarrena, 'a writer, journalist and cultural activist from Mexico'. In response to a question about the distribution of the magazine, Daniel Dragomirescu replies that while the publication was initially read in Romania, it currently has '7.500 readers all over the world ... and the number is constantly increasing.' The editor goes on to consider a question about other similar enterprises, and whether these exist. He cites 'The Seventh Quarry' magazine from Swansea, home town of Dylan Thomas, a 'magazine led by the remarkable Welsh poet Peter Thabit Jones' and 'an old Romanian magazine - "Secolul XX" - that publishes writers from all over the world in a high quality editorial and cultural layout.'  
    • Fictional Universe / Universul Prozei: a detailed and finely observed perspective, 'In the Army', by the magazine's esteemed Director, Mihai Cantuniari. The narrative opens in Spring 1968. Cantuniari writes, 'Little by little I got to the bottom of the big mystery . . .' If you would like to follow this through, you might consider buying a copy of the anthology, which is available via PayPal (details below). 
    • International Literary Criticism / Universul Criticii Literare: I was delighted to have the opportunity to refresh my memory on the subject of 'The Meaning of MTTLC'. Professor Lidia Vianu, is Professor of Contemporary English Literature at the University of Bucharest and an honorary member of the magazine's Editorial Team. Her students contribute to the translation work involved in presenting a multicultural and multilingual magazine. Alina-Olimpia Miron has played a large role in the translation side of things as General Secretary.  
    • Report on the Official Launch, 9 April 201, of 'Orizont Literar Contemporan' by Ion Lazu, Romania. His report begins with these words, 'On 9th April 2010 issue no. 15 of Contemporary & Literary Horizon' journal was launched; it is run by novelist Daniel Dragomirescu under the aegis of poet, translator and memorialist Mihai Cantuniari, one of the coryphaei of contempoary literature.' Lazu remarked on the fact that the issue in the spotlight contained 8 written contributions from Romania and one artistic contribution. It contained 18 contributions from those representing other countries. Lazu described the launch in 'la Muzeul Literarturii Romane' in Bucharest as a 'spring morning hailing faith in the talent-forged word.' 
    • Excerpt from a Novel: 'Meshes of Smoke' by Nazia Mallick from India, which has been accepted for publication by Drnequill Publishers in Bangalore.
    • World Poetry (my personal particular interest!): e.g. a selection by the Canadian-British poet, Paul Sutherland. His deeply personal yet universal poem, 'Grandma's Night', struck a particular chord with me. I enjoyed the combination of pathos and wit in 'Suflet Ciobet' / 'Broken Soul' by Roxana Drăguşin Romanian poet (and also Publishing Assistant and Translations Coordinator' for the magazine). It was good to have the opportunity to re-read Swansea poet, Byron Beynon's poem in memory of John Keats, 'The Spanish Steps, Rome'. It evoked a place I know well from my year in Italy (1985-86), namely no.26 Piazza di Spagna, home of the poet who died so young. Poetry from England is represented by Anne Stewart, whose first collection, 'The Janus Hour' was published by Oversteps Books in 2010. USA poet, Peggy Landsman, writes on 'Still Life with Onions', contrasting her chopping technique with Van Gogh's handling of paint. My thanks to Daniel for including examples of my work on p.42: 'A Stone Romance', 'Boat House Cat, Laugharne', 'Preseli Blue' [previously read on BBC radio] and 'Show me the Colour of Pain'.   
    • Self-Portrait of an Artist, with examples of her Work: while I am a great believer in the old saying of American origin that 'a picture is worth a thousand words', I always enjoy marrying an artwork with its creator. For this reason I was delighted to find an autobiographical sketch by French painter, Hélène Glehen, whose fine floral art graces the magazine. Glehen explains that her muse is fired by her 'garden, the flowers, literature and English poetry of the Victorian and Regency periods.' 
    Speaking personally, I have gained so much in terms of international awareness, the discovery of new voices in the field of world literature - and perhaps above all, the forging of new friendships with members of this inspiring muticultural and artistic community. A big 'thank you' to Daniel and 'The Team'.

    Here's to 2011 and the continued success of 'Orizont Literar Contemporan' as it strives to reach new heights and an even wider international readership.   
    You can read more about the magazine here and here - and you can always leave a comment on the Contemporary Horizon site, if you feel you have a comment or query or would like to make a response of some kind. You might also like to visit Kristina Kostaki's blog. Kristina, a contributor to the magazine, lives in Greece. She has written a post about the Anthology here. You might also like to visit M. Denise C's blog, here.
    • MAGAZINE PRICE: 12 EUROS | 15 DOLLARS PER COPY (SHIPPING INCLUDED). PayPal details to the right of the magazine page if you click here.
    • Antologia Revistei Orizont Literar Contemporan (ed. Daniel Drogmirescu, Bucharest, Romania): PRICE PER COPY: 40 EUROS | 50 DOLLARS PER COPY Via PayPal: details to the right of the magazine page if you click here.