Both magazines appeared in my letterbox last week, which was exciting because both have a poem of mine in, the first time in each case.

The North #43 has “Planting Dorothy’s Garden”, my first published prose-poem. I wrote many prose-poems years ago, but none recently, so this was a bit of a departure for me. I enjoyed writing it very much, and would like to write more. It came from a task set me by fellow poet Lou Wilford, so I’m very grateful to her for pushing me in this direction.

This issue of The North has some great poems in it (besides mine, I mean). Three poems by one of my favourite poets, Mimi Khalvati. (I’m working on my paper about her work today.) Two by Sally Goldsmith, who’s in the Tuesday Poets, the group I belong to, just won in The Poetry Business pamphlet competition, and creates delicate, wiry, superbly crafted and often emotionally taut pieces. I’m keen to read her pamphlet, Uncertain Birds, when it appears.

The other pamphlet winners also featured here, and are well worth a look. Michael McCarthy is the overall winner. I recently reviewed his previous pamphlet, Cold Hill Pond, for Sheffield’s free art mag Now Then. His style is conversational, narrative. Often the sort of poems you feel would be read to you by the poet’s autumn fireside: not sentimental, at all, but subtly charged with real feeling.

Envoi #153  has “Sabretooth”, a runner-up in their last competition. In contrast to “Planting Dorothy’s Garden”, which required many rewrites, this came out of nowhere, almost in its finished form (though I’ve actually changed it a little now for performance). Quite often I wake with the idea of a poem in my head, and, if I’ve freedom to lie there for ten minutes, a draft will appear. Which might explain why, if you ask me what “Sabretooth” is about, I’ve no idea.

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