Welcome to Issue #70, our first issue of 2019, and it’s a grand ‘un.* This makes me especially happy because, so far this year, it has proved increasingly difficult to tear myself away from the 24hour global news coverage of the desperate situation in Yemen, unsettled lives and politics in South America, the ongoing drama of Trump’s administration, and the omnishambles that is Brexit. Yet, reading the submissions that have found their way into Issue #70 have been a very real source of distraction, relief and joy. Here are poems that shine with playfulness, poems that sing their memories, their loves and hopes. Here are poems that have been made from words that stick with you as you move through your day. Go on, read and find respite from the news.
Plus, we have stories selected for you by our Guest Fiction Editor, Annie Rutherford, who is a writer, editor, translator and the programme coordinator for StAnza Poetry Festival, as talented as she is busy. Thank you, Annie, for finding the time to read and edit stories for this issue. You’ve found some crackers!
Shout-outs and thanks are also due to Alison Graham and Adam Warne who have written our first reviews of 2019. Posted online in January, their reviews are thoughtful and thought-provoking considerations of An Ocean of Static by J.R. Carpenter and Sarah Crewe’s floss. If you can’t decide what to spend those Christmas book tokens on, here is a good place to start browsing.
And when all this reading whets your appetite to write, and I believe it will, do enter our 2019 Open House Poetry Competition. Judged by writer, performer, editor and House contributor, Khairani Barokka, the competition is currently open for entries. Increasingly, poetry contests are prohibitively expensive for many would-be entrants and, here at the House, we wanted to buck this trend, so we’ve embarked on an experiment. We’ve reduced the price of a single poem entry from £5 to a much more palatable, less-than-most-takeaway-coffees-sized £1.75. Of course, if you’re feeling flush and prolific, we have options for you to enter three poems (£5) or six poems (£10). The winning prize is still £500. Bargainous and well worth a punt, I’m sure you’ll agree.
For those poets that are prolific, whether or not they’re solvent, submissions for Issue #71 are open throughout February. Go on – keep Andrew and me busy by sending us the cream of your work. In return we pledge to publish the very best of what we receive.
*I acknowledge that I’m a tad biased and encourage you to test my claims by cracking on and reading issue #70!