Nowadays, I tend to send poetry to places which have a history of accepting my work. There are so many great little mag's around, like Preston's 'Penniless Press' and Swansea's 'The Seventh Quarry'. I like to subscribe to them all, but can only afford some. 'Dream Catcher' from Lincolnshire is a superb production, looking and reading like an anthology rather than magazine and Merryn Williams' 'the Interpreter's House' is always such an exciting, eclectic read.
Last week I actually tried a new one, Scotland's 'Quantam Leap' and was amazed to get such a light s.a.e. in reply. The editor Alan Carter even asked for more poems! This was in stark contrast to the 'New Welsh Review', which I haven't been in for many years, one story under the previous regime I think; though I was a r egular when Robin Reeves was editor. The NWR guarantees infuriating rejections and almost every group of poems are really admired by the editor, but not 'quite right for the magazine'! This suggests there is a house style to the NWR and it is narrow rather than eclectic in approach.
I once gave the worst interview of my life when I applied for the job of editor of that magazine. I was vague and bumbling and I wouldn't have given me the job of cleaning the Academi's stairs, never mind editor. I regret not getting it, but I have been delighted over the years to change and develop 'Red Poets' along with co-editor Marc Jones.
Vic Golightly was temporary editor of the NWR and produced magazines even more leftward-leaning than Reeves had done. It was odds-on he'd never be appointed fulltime. Yet, when I think of the many writers who have read at our monthly Open Mic. sessions in Merthyr the vast majority are not only commited leftists, but bring these ideals into their work in a more than peripheral way : from Mab Jones to Emily Hinshelwood and from Steve Griffiths to David Greenslade these writers are everywhere. Yet the NWR fails to reflect this and in doing so, ignores a substantial amount of Welsh Writing in English. Then again, maybe I'm just pissed off with their
This week saw the launch of Red Poets' website ( www.RedPoets.org) at the Riverside Tavern in Newport. After early competition with the jukebox (the latter was winning), it was a lively evening. A few Newport poets joined in on the Open Mic. and bemoaned the lack of a scene there. It was good to join up with other red poets after a long time and to welcome Jackie Cornwall, who read with us for the first time.
Wales boasts some of the very best little mag's , from 'Roundyhouse' to 'Square', whose editor Nick Fisk was there reading and plugging his mag. At least these are willing to take risks and the NWR, for all its grants, seems stuffy by comparison.
Here's a recent one that would surely have been rejected by 'Bogg' -
POT-HOLES UBER ALLES
In Germany they have the right idea,
personalised pot-holes filled in
and with your name engraved on them,
there's even a song paying homage.
But here, there are so many
they're turning into an infection.
Cavers no longer need to venture
up mountains to pursue their vocation.
We are more likely to turn them
into landfill sites or dig them up
for opencast coal, or to use them
for dumping unwanted furniture in.
Still, drivers dodge in and out
to avoid axles breaking or tyres blowing
and it's great training for downhill slalom
(if only it was done behind a wheel).
Soon pot-holes will be more like black holes :
cyclists, hedgehogs and pedestrians
will disappear , never to return.
Pot-holes uber alles, our new anthem.