One of the things I appreciate about this particular poetry magazine – to me this is no small thing – the print is a reasonable size. I can enjoy it without wearing readers … unlike my also much appreciated Poetry Magazine (Poetry Foundation), which necessitates 3.50 readers. Yikes! Having got that off my chest . . .
Opening the cover of Issue 10 of ARTEMIS poetry (Second Light Network) was like unwrapping caramels: one chewy gem after another from the editorial by Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood to the back cover, which featured three poems by Alison Brackenbury, one of the two featured poets. The magazine is a celebration of poetry and women poets and artists and I found myself being introduced to more than the usual number of new-to-me women poets.
“2012-2013 is proving an annus mirabilis for the publication of poetry by women,” write Myra and Dilys in their editorial, “appropriately since we are on the fiftieth anniversary of Sylvia Plath‘s final burst of writing and her death in January 1962.”
Indeed, far more women poets are being published today than in my own youth (50s and early 60s) and a fair share are “celebrity” poets; not that I think that is necessarily the hallmark of the best, but it would seem to indicate a happy breakdown of barriers.
Of special interest was Adele Ward’s short feature on her experience starting and running a publishing company: Ward Wood Publishing. As a poet, writer and former columnist, I have followed the industry for years and find the developments evolving out of the recession and new technologies an odd mix of fascinating, promising and distressing. Adele addresses women’s roles in publishing and the desire to keep traditional outlets open:.
“Initially, It surprised me that I was regularly congratulated on being a woman starting a publishing company because I hadn’t realized this was still an issue. I don’t see any obstacles to women starting and running this kind of business, but it’s certainly the hardest work I have ever had to do and I’ve had tough jobs in publishing, journalism, and distribution throughout my career. It can also be physically demanding work, as I’m often expected to move the furniture around at venues for events and to carry a suitcase fill of books to launches, together with bottles of wine . . .
“There weren’t even a lot of women poets on our school curriculum in the 1970s. Times have changed and there are not only more women poets around, there are also more women wanting to face the challenge of keeping publishing outlets open. If we support each other by sharing our experiences and advice on how we have tackled the most difficult problems, poetry publishing will continue to thrive as we move out of recession?”
The second featured poet in this issue is Pauline Stainer, whose work has been likened to that of Ted Hughes, Frederico García Lorca, and Kathleen Raine. I particularly enjoyed the six poems and this little excerpt from one will give you an inkling why …
“They wear silk
shear as woven wind,
while the bells sewn
into their hems
sound like colours
in rippled water . . . “
The winners of the 2012 Poetry Competition were announced along with a sampling of poems and there was an interview of Mimi Khalvati by Ruth O’Callaghan. This is an organization that goes a long way toward encouraging narrative and long poems in both the content of the publication and in their poetry competitions. I found Myra Schneider’s piece, The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Narrative, worthwhile and I asked for permission to publish the entire piece HERE and extend my thanks once again to Myra for that gift.
With the generous permission of ARTEMISpoetry and poet Wendy Klein, I am able to share her poem with you this evening:
….Installation by Anselm Kiefer
Even if you hate installations
there’s an element of purity
about this mammoth recycling of books
………..its wings tatty notebooks
the pages torn or falling out
their whiff of damp or char
…………like scorched feathers
…………reminding me of the fire sales
she took me to as a child
..my sewing grandma the one
who made things
………..There were shelves and tables
covered with tall bolts of cloth their edges
hideously singed her hands reverent
as she unrolled each unpromising bundle
planning curtains planning
………………….rose covered coats
bursting to escape
…………and in her eyes
the pride of the scavenger
……..Think road-kill red-tailed kites
their wing-span a fraction
the size of this ragged specimen
…but functional earning their right
to the sky the planet
– Wendy Klein
In close, here is a bit more of Myra and Dily’s editorial. They address the concerns that all of us have who love, read and write poetry, regardless of our gender:
“The problem remains of how widely our excitement about women’s poetry – and all poetry – can be spread. The cultural revolution that is contemporary poetry – rich in voices that express all human concerns – has already happened. It needs to be recognised. So much poetry is vivid, accessible, meaningful. But the outreach is too small. We feel it is a great loss that such poetry is not reaching the many devourers of novels and biographies, far less winning its way to the attention of a broad base of young and old readers …
“It seems therefore extremely important that poetry and what it has to offer is promoted by the pressure of smaller initiatives. It can be done by modest acts of courage – who dares to suggest a poetry book to their Book Club? And generosity – when did you last buy a poetry book, two poetry books? And initiative – do you aim to put your poems on internet sites, write and submit a review of a book you admire? … “
On that note: I am proud of all our poet-bloggers and their efforts to educate, support one another, and promote poetry. Thank you! and Bravo!
…. and thus we begin another week …
The work quoted from ARTEMIS poetry is under copyright by the magazine or the author/s and used here with permission.