Welcome to Issue 23.
This is an extraordinary issue.
Jane Simmons has dissected the controversy stirred up by Rebecca Watts writing about Hollie McNish et al in PN Review. Jane has given an excellent analysis of the comparison between spoken word versus “academic” poetry, the arguments about status, popularity and the poets’ competence, and asked what we think. It would be good if we could get some reaction pieces in reply. Personally, I think it is like comparing cats with fish; they are different beasts so perhaps it can’t be done. What do you think?
Continuing the controversy, here’s a list¹ in an interesting Sunday Times Magazine article online (there is complimentary access) on Twelve Poets to Read Now. And they give a list of the best poets to see live in a sidebar. Again – what do you think? Interestingly, we have reviewed two of them in the Blue Nib.
Jane Simmons has also written a sensitive review of Helen Dunmore’s posthumous Costa Prize winning book, Inside the Wave. This is an astonishing and courageous book, written while the poet was dying.
Patrick Williamson and Guido Cupani are making a repeat appearance in The Blue Nib. Gifted – Beneficato is a tour de force. Patrick Williamson used Humbolt’s Gift by Saul Bellow as source material for a sequence of found poems, which were then translated into Italian by Guido Cupani. It is unmissable. AND we’ve got more experimental poetry in an exploration of Concrete Poetry by Niamh Clarke, with fine analysis and lots of pictures!
Great poetry too: Dave and I both liked Bev Smith’s lively and energetic poems, with their strong imagery and distinctive syntax. She has her own honest voice, and I am pleased to have her as our featured poet in this issue.
It is good to include Michael Griffith again, I love his rich and precise poetry. I enjoyed Lorna Shaughnessy’s poetry, with her sense of place, the way she captures relationships and their tribulations, and her close observation. Helen Kay also has the ability to create memorable flashes of insight into people’s lives. Mike Hogan has submitted a very special piece, I love the surrealism, the delicate touch and the elegance of the imagery. Bruce McRae’s poetry has real descriptive power, and I like its energy.
Thank you for sending books for review. We are delighted. Please be patient though, as we have now got lots to read, though we always welcome more. I want to create a reviews section within the magazine, so I am working on that at the moment. You will always get a reply, I promise. The same holds true of submissions, I read everything and always respond, but sometimes not as quickly as I would like.
And a fanfare, please. The Blue Nib’s first book has now been published – The Blue Nib Chapbook 1, the chapbook containing the winning entries to our first contest. (The second contest is underway). We have an exciting first collection coming very soon, and, of course, the anthology of the Best of the Nib, June – December 2017. So our publishing wing is going strong.