Another forthcoming title this August is a fantastic pamphlet from the brilliant Raine Geoghegan, ‘they lit fires – lenti hatch o yog.’
Following on from ‘Apple Water : Povel Panni’ this is a selection of Raine’s Monologues, Haibun and Songs and is one of the coolest things I have read in years. and definitely one of the most beautiful.
This will be available to pre-order soon and again, I would urge you to get it from the source and buy a signed copy direct from Raine, although of course Cult members will find a copy in their Goody Boxes too.
It is a bit of a whirl at the moment after a few months of not-a-lot happening for one reason or another and I’m really pleased to be able to report that Nigel Kent’s rather awesome ‘Saudade’ is going to go to print in the nearest of futures.
The first of many, I should say.
I’ve realised that I don’t mention such things as often as I should, so expect to see more pretty pictures very soon.
Two nights each week, I sit alone for an hour, often in the dark, in a primary school car park.
There are words I never thought I’d share on the interweb and no, please don’t call the Police, I’m harmless. As I sit there in my car, my daughter is inside the school learning martial arts, I just can’t face sitting on the school benches, trying to make conversation with other parents as our little angels beat each other up.
In a lot of ways it is a good thing. A couple of hours a week to just think without distractions. Phone goes off and I either scribble notes as things occur to me or read something. This week it was a little of both as, being preoccupied with dreaming-up ‘Arfur,’ ( our vaporware magazine, ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge’ – you can’t buy it in the shops, or anywhere else, come to that) it was nice to settle down to read somebody else’s debut magazine, as earlier in the day I’d received Issue One of the ‘Eye Flash Poetry Journal.’
But enough of my babble, to the magazine.
From opening the envelope, it is obvious that ‘Eye Flash’ is a beautifully produced, highly controlled poetry journal of the oldest school. Just holding it you instantly recognise the quality of the production.
Produced in pamphlet rather than perfect bound form, it is the simplest of designs throughout, the unlaminated cover feeling beautiful in your hand and the interior pages being of a nice weight and quality too.
Speaking of the cover, the design is classic and the image is of a painting by artist Kitty Cooper which is quite charming, perfectly matching the achingly modern yet classic style of the magazine itself. I’m not sure if Ms. Cooper will be generally supplying the art for the covers, but looking at her work on Artfinder, if it were me she certainly would be.
Other than my swooning at the artist’s feet, the addition of a line from Daniel Bennet, cleverly taken from his poem ‘The Cormorant’, which appears in the magazine, fits the image perfectly and adds to the suspicion that a lot of thought has gone into the smallest of details with this production. This isn’t a line that would have been obvious as a contender to go with the painting, but works perfectly for entirely that reason.
Inside the covers, the spartan style continues. Poems are given lots of space to breathe on the page, fonts are classic serif and there are no kitchen sinks thrown into elongated editorials (must remember that if nothing else) just a short note from editor Charlotte Begg in which you feel every word has been weighed.
And that is the impression I get throughout the magazine. Charlotte knows exactly what she is doing and is doing it beautifully. Each of the nineteen poems would stand out in a lesser magazine, but there is a commonality of quality here where all of the poems have a certain ‘something’, that you can only wonder how many submissions Ms. Begg had to whittle down to find this many that are so very good. It reminds me of talking to a very good and experienced luthier and asking him how he knew when one of his guitars was ‘really good.’ He looked at me a little strange and told me that they are all ‘really good’ as he puts any where the wood doesn’t sing onto his fire.
As for the poetry itself, I am in love with Joanna Nissel’s magazine opener, ‘Perfect Happiness’, which is beautifully quirky and pulls at the threads of forgotten memories. Sometimes a short poem can say so much more than a long one, and that is the case here. Neil Richards’ ‘The Flood’ caught me too with its line about Noah ‘Discreetly sewing souls into ants’, as did Jim Zola’s ‘Dusk’ opening with, ‘You become home to your wife’s sadness…’ which resonates horribly.
In truth I could quote from all of the poems, but that really isn’t the aim of this, and more to the point I wouldn’t want you to be distracted from clicking on the ‘Buy Me’ button, because this really is a magazine that you will want to read and to own. I should also say that it doesn’t just work in sodium-lit car parks outside schools (I know, I’ve just read it again a few times) it is a genuinely beautiful production which will happily see you through to the Winter edition quite nicely.
You can find out more and order a copy at the Eye Flash Poetry Web Site.
It was an interesting day today as we finally got our first look at the covers we are planning to use for the ‘Road To Clevedon Pier’ Anthology, and the first issue of our (rather spiffy looking) magazine ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge.’
These are apparently known as ‘Scamps’ or ‘Mockups’ or ‘Dollies’ (I made one of the three up there as I am a little bored with the buzzwords) but I would imagine that they will be somewhere close to the finished article come next year.
Both photographs were taken by our in-house snapper in Clevedon where we are based, as indeed are all of the landscapes on the web site and we are rather pleased with how they are working so far.
Smug Are We, as the saying goes.
I have to say that despite us not really trying to spread the word just yet we are starting to get a few submissions for the magazine (I’m calling it ‘Arfur’ from here on in to save typing-time) and already they are looking pretty good.
We have humble hopes, but they are rising already.
One thing – if you want to keep up-to-date about all of our goings-on, you can sign-up for our free (like anybody charges for such things) newsletter, using the form below all of this rambling.
We are probably being over-ambitious, trying to launch a poetry press that publishes books at the same time as we try and introduce a poetry journal that publishes people’s poems, but it would be a boring world if we only ever played things safe.
Ask Evel Knievel.
But safe or not, what we really want to do is to try and avoid upsetting anybody by not delivering what we promise or by allowing others to project what they think we should be doing and then failing on somebody else’s measure.
No, I’m confused now, too.
Keeping things clear and open would seem to be the best approach, and so we thought it would be good to say what we think The Hedgehog Poetry Press will be doing, at least for a start.
Things we have planned over the first year:
We see competitions as a good way for us to find poets who we want to publish, so to start with we will be running two competitions, one for single poems that will lead to an anthology and another where we will ask poets to submit a poetry collection for possible publication.
Single Poet Collections:
We don’t want to be the biggest poetry publisher – that sounds like a lot of work – but we would ideally like to publish four single poet poetry collections each year. Maybe not in the first year or even every year, but you never know your luck in a muddy ditch, as we often say.
As to the ‘type’ of poetry, we have no preconceptions; we like e.e cummings as much as Dylan Thomas as much as Wilfred Owen as much as Charles Bukowski as much as lots of other people too, so we can’t imagine you will ever be able to point and say ‘That is a Hedgehog Poet’. For us a collection has to pass the ‘bedside table’ test, and that is where we will be selecting what to publish. Seems rude not to when you have the chance.
As with the Collections, we love reading a good anthology and as editors it is always a treat to put them together. Again, we would like to use our competitions as a way to find new voices, and so plan to run a quarterly competition, each leading to an anthology.
If you are interested in hearing more, why not join our mailing list and receive our not-very-frequent newsletter?