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Index: Poetry & Fiction

Half of a Black Moon.

Seth Canner (from ‘Footnotes on Suffering’): ‘Obscure (a) isn’t a word that I’d usually circle back to, but I’m going to do it. In a recherché sort of way, we all know exactly what ‘obscure’ means without having to define it. This is interesting as it suggests we know exactly how to define a thing ‘not expressed or easily understood.’ William Blake writes, “What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.”’

Three prose poems.

Linda Black (from the afterword): The prose poem may stray from the point, cavort around, take in the scenery, but will continue to serve the central focus. Often non-linear, it allows for the discontinuous or compressed narrative, the associative leap, the fragmentary, the tangential. Predicated on the sentence, rather than the poetic line with its considerations of line endings, the prose poem encourages thoughts to be continuous, to twist and turn, hold themselves up short, or open out into a broader perspective, sometimes travelling at great speed.’

A Boat-Shape of Birds.

Daragh Breen: ‘For months after you died
I tried to describe the birds
above the city as I stared out
from within a sheep’s skull,
knowing that the light had gone…’

‘London Rambles’ and a poem from ‘Oracular in Tooting’.

David Hackworth Johnson: ‘The feet of nightmare fugues pursue your own journey those nocturnals in leafy shadowed streets where you have been told she now lives and if only you can find the house she will be at the gate haloed in jasmine.’

Four poems from ‘Solar Cruise’.

Claire Crowther: ‘Your life is hard now, I see, a struggle but you are strong.
All their strength is in you and though he is asleep –
No, that is OK, people sleep in their insights’

‘Listening to Country Music’ and three more poems.

Kelvin Corcoran: ‘You must go there to set the poem aside. / They know everything about Helen there.’

More new translations from ‘The Dice Cup’.

Max Jacob (Ian Seed’s translation): ‘He had come down…but how? Then couples larger than life descended too. They came from the air in cases, inside Easter eggs. They were laughing, and the balcony of my parents’ house was tangled in threads dark as gunpowder. It was terrifying. The couples settled in my childhood home and we watched them through the window. For they were wicked.’

The New Versailles.

Anthony Howell: ‘All they are looking for is chic literature
Suited to an Ormolu bookshelf in the hameau de la Reine:
A dalliance in delightful Kentish Town; the owner
In her Busta shorts, the builder in from Dalston.’

Three place-poems with an introduction.

Antony Rowland: ‘The whole sequence is, in a sense, a response to The Life of Charlotte Brontë, because Gaskell’s book merges acute observations of mid-nineteenth-century Haworth and its environs with questionable accounts of the wild, vicious natives: Gaskell is rightly accused of perpetuating the ‘Brontë myth’ of the parsonage family growing up in the forgotten wastes of outer Yorkshire.’

It was a very good year.

Gabi Reigh: ‘…she was currently at the height of her desirability. She remembered looking at the cards competing with each other for space, overlapping each other in places, and imagined ringing one of the numbers. What would the voice of an eighteen year old girl waiting for that phone call sound like?’

A woman’s best friend.

Michael Buckingham Gray: ‘The wind carries a whine. She cups her ear and follows the sound. Stops. Smiles. And shakes her head at her dog, pacing up and down the opposite side of the river.’

Four prose pieces.

Simon Collings: ‘The doctor turned out to be an ex-lover who I hadn’t seen for some time. She asked me if I was free for dinner, and suggested we continue the consultation at her apartment, to which I readily agreed. The building where she lived was close by. ‘

La petite gloire.

Augustus Young: ‘He requested copies [of his own books] and in less than an hour the library assistant brought three tracts black with dust. The pages were uncut. His joy fell to earth. He remembered their creation: burning the midnight oil, inspired by moments of genius, the rage for expression, the ardor of enthusiasm, oblivious to the outside world. Then the pride of publication, and afterwards the deadly silence, not a word from anyone. And now the one record of their external life confirmed the worst. Nobody had troubled to read them.’

Anne Frank: A polyptych.

Vanessa Waltz: ‘those lucky ones, the ones with special needs
crouched by the slats, lolling tongues already lusting for water
the ride would be over soonest for them…’

Three poems by Karl O’Hanlon.

Karl O’Hanlon: ‘An image leaps out of nature:
a buzzard, its despot bosom
dripping eel guts, vexed by gulls.’