Editorial Issue 34

Well, as you will see from Dave’s article, this is the last e-zine for the magazine, which will become a quarterly print magazine instead. It will be a large one as it will hold the same amount of content as the e-zines but obviously collected together into one print issue. In his article Dave has explained what is happening in the future and has also included an article on the history of the magazine to date.

I am very excited about this – I think a physical printed magazine will be a pleasure to hold and to flip through. I am continuing as before as Poetry Editor and Editor in Chief, but it will also mark our venture into literary fiction, in the capable hands of Managing Editor, Dave Kavanagh, who is acting as Fiction Editor for the time being. I have written a personal piece about my understanding of literary fiction to go with this launch  – I hope this is of interest as I know it is a divisive area.  I have illustrated it with quotations about literary fiction and I have featured some of my favourite books.

There is also a call for help! Dave and I have created what we feel is a marvellous thing, but it takes more and more time. It is fascinating and engrossing work and I feel hugely privileged to be the Editor in Chief of The Blue Nib, and that I will also be selecting the poetry now and into the future as Poetry Editor, and also working alongside Managing Editor, Dave Kavanagh. However, we want the magazine to be the absolutely best it can possibly be, and to achieve this we need volunteers on board to fill a range of really exciting roles, so please get in touch if you can help at  https://thebluenib.com/recruiting/

Further information: Submissions for Issue 35 are open from now until September, but please try to send by the end of August, as I will be compiling the magazine in early September. Please get submitting now as I will be choosing new material for Issue 35 straight away.

Now to Issue 34.

Chapbook 2 has arrived!

This showcases the prize-winning entries to our second Chapbook Contest, The Winter/Spring Chapbook Contest, 2017/18, judged by Kevin Higgins.  Again we have three debutantes, Anne Walsh Donnelly, Akshaya Pawaskar and Bobbie Sparrow and we are very proud to be the first publisher to introduce these new poets into print.

Each poet has her own distinctive voice and each expresses herself with a combination of power and sensitivity. Many congratulations to all three of them!

See the shop for ordering information.

In further news:-

In this issue I have reviewed The Last Time We Saw Strangers, the second chapbook by Christopher Hopkins. I have had an interest in Christopher’s work since he first appeared in the magazine, and I then went on to review his first chapbook. He is a growing and evolving poet.

Jane Simmons introduces her first collection, ‘From Darkness Into Light’.  She is inspired by the Book of Kells exhibited in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, and with a sensitive and thoughtful touch she explores 1000 years of history, through illuminated manuscripts and the stories of the first saints on Iona. She uses  Anglo-Saxon rhythms and alliterative verse to underpin her vision in a sensitive and effective manner. I feel this is a fine and inspiring collection.

I have got another interesting batch of poetry.

I was very interested in the collaborative poetry of Jayant Kashyap and Lisa Stice, which is seamless despite them being almost 13,000 kilometres apart. Jayant Kashyap has written about their method for me, and the results are these fine, integrated poems, full of interest.

I have chosen Clifton Redmond as the featured poet in this issue. I love the naming which is such a wonderful tool to create immediacy. (I feel this is so important as it makes such a difference – not ‘a flower’ but a hellebore, a daisy, a rose, a deadly nightshade. Not a bird but a thrush, a gull, a peregrine falcon. And the thing that is named rises up from the page). His poems range from the lofty fates to the personal in succinct sketches that conjure up the individual.

I also enjoyed Ann Howells precise, carefully delineated poems and Will Reger’s work which is energetic, witty and full of interest, both in the subject matter and the meticulous imagery. Bev Smith has sent such a strong set, with poignancy and great observation looking at ageing,  relationships, the details of the horses which rise from the page –  and all soaked in Texan sunshine. Joan Colby’s poems stand out for their subtle imagery, pin-point language and their strong endings.

I am launching my new book in this issue, The Still Room, under The Blue Nib’s banner. Dave has chosen poems from my earlier work, starting in the 1980s, and a selection of new poetry. I hope you like it.

See you on the other side for Issue 35.

Shirley Bell, Editor.

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