‘Arfur’ Gets Meat On His Bones

ArfurI’m not sure whether you can thaw a phoney war, it is probably just me mixing my meta-thingies as usual, but it does feel that over the last few days we have started to see a little movement around here as far as ‘Arfur’ goes.

I think the main reason is that my rather hazy view of what our magazine will be is starting to get a little clearer, and the flurry of letters and emails I’ve sent over the last couple of weeks are starting to get us somewhere.

Because, I really don’t want ‘Arfur’ to just be a collection of poems.

There, I said it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love poems, poems are lovely things, but I have always been interested in reading around a subject and I guess we are betting that I’m not the only one.

So as well as having a glutton’s delight in the poem depot, we are also looking at articles that will make the magazine a right royal read.

To this end then, I’m pleased to say that we shall be talking ‘on-the-record’ to some really quite interesting people.

No names yet, but what I can say is that we will have poets, magazine editors, book publishers and even the odd musician (as I’ve always been interested in the song lyric/poetry crossover and, well, am quite nosey. Plus of course all hedgehogs are friends to the stars, so if you have the contacts you may as well use them.)

If I can find a reviewer or three we will probably have reviews too. Lots of reviews. I like reviews.

There are lots of other ideas too, but more of them later when the mists clear further.

To Clarify and Re-jig

Now that we are a couple of weeks into our odyssey toward wherever it is we end-up, things are starting to emerge from the fog and perhaps we need to shed a little light. Or something.

Either way, there have been some questions, so:

  1. We don’t know where we will get with the Hedgehog Poetry Press, but we’d like to be honest about it.
  2. So, to be clear, whilst we aren’t yet in a position to pay people who have work appear in ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge,’ hopefully we will one day. Until then, the least we can do is make sure that contributors get a comp. copy of the magazine. There may be badges too.
  3. If we produce anthologies (such as the one we are aiming to publish based on the ‘Road To Clevedon Pier’ competition, again, everybody that is in the book will get a copy. You don’t have to buy the book to be in it. That seems to concern many people.
  4. Over the last week, we have realised that in our enthusiasm, we seem to have confused people by having too many options available. So for now, we have withdrawn the Challenges. These will be back in the new year and I’ll be emailing everybody who entered the current one with further details.

And that is about that for now.

Starting a Poetry Magazine #2: Sucking the Egg From A Chicken

Chicken in a Nappy, believe it or not

I’d love to say that things are starting to warm-up here in the land of the spiny ‘hog, but in truth it is all a bit of a struggle at the moment. Not that it is a surprise as we fully expected it to take a while to get going and we are only a fortnight in, but there is a lot going on in the background that may (or may not) pay-off, but we will have to see.

In a lot of ways it is a classic Catch-22. As we start nobody knows who we are, we quite literally (in poetic terms) couldn’t get arrested if we tried and until we have ‘done something’, produced an issue of the magazine or a book, why would anybody take a chance on us?

So nobody knows who we are as we have done little of note, and yet we can’t do anything unless people take a chance on us.  All of which leaves us wondering how to circle the square or suck the egg from the chicken, as it were, to move it all along.

Of course the answer is simple, set your stall out, be professional and make sure that when we do something we make it fabulous.

And celebrate any steps we take forward like it is 1999 and as some wonderful poets have already shared their work with us for ‘Arfur‘ and we’re warm and fizzy in the knowledge that the first issue come February will be something special, we should shout about it, if only a little.

So, enough gazing-of-navels, back to the coalface. And here is our current anthem.

 

When I grow-up, I want to be: Eye Flash Poetry (A Review of Sorts)

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.

Links:

Web site   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

 

Starting a Poetry Magazine #1: Technicolor or Joining The Monochrome Set

It strikes me that starting a poetry magazine is something that, perhaps, a number of people would like to do, and that in doing it, it is a good chance to talk about what is involved. I’m sure we will make plenty many lots of mistakes along the way, but if nothing else making a prat of yourself in public is entertaining for the casual spectator.

Of course we have already decided a few things. The name,  ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge’ actually came really early for some reason, and with it a certain perspective on what a poetry magazine is. Ours will have plenty of poems, but we want it to be a little ‘meta’ too, mainly because I’m one of those annoying people who always ask ‘why?’ when the ‘what’ is really what matters.

Other than that, making it a quarterly was an easy decision as, basically,  I am ultimately lazy in my default state. And printed over pixels came down to the fact that I tend to have a pile of poetry books on my bedside table, and I’m always concerned that I’ll get electrocuted if I drop a Kindle in the bath. (I know I won’t, but you never know.)

One thing that I am pondering today, is about how the magazine will look. On the outside we obviously have an idea about design already, and I think matte lamination is the way to go too. But it is on the inside I am going around in circles, and I’m trying to decide whether it should be colour or monochrome.

Now to cover the obvious, there is a cost implication to consider. Colour costs more as you need posher papers and more inks, or something.

Technically speaking.

But in reality, for a book or magazine the size of a poetry magazine it may mean a £1 on the cover price, and if my old Economics ‘O’ level taught me anything, it was that sitting with all the other boys was no way to get a girlfriend.

The other thing, of course, was that when it comes to things like books and music, and maybe even poetry magazines, demand is inelastic in that if people really want it they will pay the price and if they don’t, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is, they wouldn’t spit on it if it were on fire.

I failed the exam, clearly.

So in many ways, the colour or monochrome decision is strictly aesthetic, and you may think that it would be easy – colour all the way, as that is how ‘normal’ magazines work, isn’t it?

But in truth, I really think poetry works better in monochrome, there are no distractions from the work and I can’t help but feel that colour poetry books remind me of those piles of cheap hardbacks you get in motorway services and garden centres, the visitor shop books with curling gold-foil rosettes shouting ‘Three for a Tenner,’ all very  ‘Mary Berry Cooks Dallas’ and ‘Steam Engines From Hackney Wick.’

And yes, we could use beautiful photographs, or have an ‘art’ section, which admittedly I’ve thought about, but would it really add anything to the words?

I don’t think so, and ultimately that is the interesting part, the part we wanted to immerse ourselves in from the start and isn’t it better to avoid distractions?

So I think that is what we will do, and if that seems a little old fashioned, well I can only apologise, and perhaps we’ll keep digging out pretty photos of hedgehogs for the web site by way of an apology.

And yes I realise that it has nothing to do with anything at all, but to celebrate the unlikely event of my making a decision, here is a song from the Monochrome Set.

Covering Up

ArfurIt 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.

Road o Clevedon Pier AnthologyBoth 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.

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We Started Something

It is only a week since we silently launched The Hedgehog Poetry Press with vague promises of this and of that, but I have to say it is starting to be ‘something.’

Initially, it struck us that we may as well let people start to submit their work for possible inclusion in our first issue of ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge’, and I have to say we were really surprised when somebody did.

How did they know?

We certainly hadn’t told anybody.

It is even odder still today as we have launched two competitions, ‘The Road To Clevedon Pier’ our first anthology competition, and ‘A Slim Volume Of One’s Own’ our first single poet collection competition.

Somebody has already entered those too.

It isn’t even the same somebody, in fact it is three discrete somebodies.

It is most perplexing.

Although, thank you to the somebodies.

So much better than being nobodies.

‘A Slim Volume Of One’s Own’ Collection Competition – CLOSED

‘A Slim Volume of One’s Own’

Here at The Hedgehog Press, we very much would like to be a publisher of great single poet collections, and after a lot of discussion have decided that the best way to find the poets and evaluate their work is to run a competition. Not a very original decision we agree, but then we can’t hide from the fact that we are often all standing on the shoulders of some quite big chaps and trying to see what is going on.

Regardless of all that, a competition we have and we are inordinately proud to say that our ‘A Slim Volume Of One’s Own’ competition will see at least one poet end-up with exactly that, the very first individual collection of poetry from The Hedgehog Press.

But to the competition and this really is the most open-minded of open poetry competitions, and whatever your topic, form or motivation, we look forward to reading your work in the form of a collection of up to forty poems.


This Competition has Closed

Once you have done that, please complete the form below and upload your poems in a single PDF document.

You may enter up to Three collections of your poetry.

These may each contain up to Forty poems each.


Prizes:

The winning poet will:

a) See a collection of their poetry published in paperback form by The Hedgehog Press.

Beautifully, I might add.

b) Be interviewed for the next issue of our magazine ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge’ where we will also publish a ‘Showcase’ selection of their work.

c) Receive a year’s subscription to our magazine ‘A Restricted View From The Hedge’

d) Receive 100 Copies of their finished book. We are big believers in supporting poets and feel that readings are the best way for a poet to sell books and profit from their art.

e) We will enter the collection to any awards/competitions to which it is applicable/we feel likely to do well.

f) Obviously we will send review copies to a selection of poetry journals and national media.

g) The winners collection of poetry will be published during  2018 or by agreement with the poet. We are easy going chaps but would like to see it in print sooner rather than later.


Rules:

We don’t really like rules, so we will aim to keep it simple:

a) Make sure all of the work is your own.

b) We don’t mind if poems have been published in magazines before, but poems that have previously appeared in book form in earlier collections are sadly excluded.

c) Poems entered below are classed as ‘Pending’ until the appropriate entrance fee has been paid. Until then they will not be included in the judging process.

d) We only accept poems electronically (due to the geographical locations of the judges.) If you would prefer to email your entry or pay via Bank Transfer, please get in touch using the ‘Tell The Hog‘ page.

e) No postal entries or payments by cheque or postal order are possible at the moment, unfortunately.

f) The decision of the judges is final.

g) Deadline for entries is 15th March 2018 at 11:59pm


To enter please complete the form below and upload your poems using the ‘Add File’ button in PDF format:

Please Note: We ask for poems to be provided as a PDF file as this is the best way for us to see the layout as you intended. We don’t wish this to become a problem for you though, so if you need help please do contact us Here and we will see what we can do (although please don’t leave it until 11:58pm on the deadline day to ask!)

‘The Road To Clevedon Pier’ Anthology Competition – CLOSED

‘The Road To Clevedon Pier’

Road o Clevedon Pier Anthology** THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED **

As our first anthology, we wanted to make it as accessible as possible, so in terms of the poetry itself, there really are no preconceptions.

This really is the most open-minded of open poetry competitions, and whatever your topic, form or motivation, we look forward to reading your work.

To enter our first poetry anthology competition, please visit the payment page HERE and pay the appropriate entrance fee.

Once you have done that, please complete the form below and upload your poems in a single PDF document.


Prizes:

The winning poem/poet will:

a) Receive A Prize of £150. There will additionally be two Runners-up prizes of £25 each

b) See their poem appear as the lead poem in the ‘Road To Clevedon Pier’ Anthology and obviously receive a copy of the anthology.

c) Be interviewed for the next issue of our magazine ‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge’ where we will also publish their winning entry alongside a ‘Showcase’ of a selection of their poetry (if they so wish.)

d) Receive a year’s subscription to our magazine ‘A Restricted View From The Hedge’

All shortlisted poems will also appear in the ‘Road To Clevedon Pier’ Anthology

All shortlisted poets will of course receive a complimentary copy of the anthology.


Rules:

We don’t really like rules, so we will aim to keep it simple:

a) Make sure all of the work is your own.

b) We don’t mind if poems have been published in magazines before, but poems that have previously appeared in book form (in collections or anthologies) are sadly excluded. There is nothing worse than buying an anthology and finding that you have read all of the poems before, so give some of your other work a chance!

c) Poems entered below are classed as ‘Pending’ until the appropriate entrance fee has been paid. Until then they will not be included in the judging process.

d) We only accept poems electronically (due to the geographical locations of the judges.) If you would prefer to email your entry or pay via Bank Transfer, please get in touch using the ‘Tell The Hog‘ page.

e) No postal entries or payments by cheque or postal order are possible at the moment, unfortunately.

f) The decision of the judges is final.

g) Deadline for entries is 15th January 2018 at 11:59pm


‘The Road To Clevedon Pier’ will be published in March 2018, and will contain work from the shortlisted poets from our competition.

To enter please complete the form below and upload your poems using the ‘Add File’ button, uploading a single PDF file.

Please Note: We ask for poems to be provided as a PDF file as this is the best way for us to see the layout as you intended. We don’t wish this to become a problem for you though, so if you need help please do contact us Here and we will see what we can do (although please don’t leave it until 11:58pm on the deadline day to ask!)

** THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED ***

Submissions are Open

I have to admit that we are all a little over-excited today as it suddenly dawned on us that there really was no good reason for us to delay submissions for Arfur (‘A Restricted View From Under The Hedge,’ our soon-to-be-real poetry magazine, keep up) any longer and so with some glitter and tickering of tape, we are pleased to cut the ribbon and declare submissions open.

So if you would like to be among the first to get their poems in front of our editor-types, just Click Here or on the handily named ‘Submissions’ link in the menu. It is all the same to me.

As we have said elsewhere, we are happy to take poetry on any topic and of any flavour.