Reshuffling the Deck

Recently, I realized that my Publication History was a mess, so I took some time to revise the layout and make it easier to browse. Now, everything is in reverse chronological order and broken up by year, with my most recent publication announcements at the top. I also put the magazines and online journals that no longer exist down at the bottom in their own section. If you’re interested in what I’ve been up to, please take a minute to check it out.
In the process of doing this little tidy up, I came across a few more publications that have seemingly moved on to the netherworld that awaits knackered lit mags. Orion Headless was an online journal that featured a piece of my photography called New York Scraps. Now that their site has vanished from the web, I thought I’d share that photo here.
The other sad news was regarding This Great Society is Going Smash, which seems to have fallen silent after 2013. Like Orion Headless, it was a digital publication, but it really stood out as being nicely designed and generally well put together. It featured my poem, Opa, at the very beginning of my publication history back in 2011. One of the great things about my interaction with the team behind This Great Society was that they saw the poem’s potential and gave me a chance to rework some of its weaker parts. Not many journals will expend that sort of time and effort on a new writer, but in my case, it was just what the poem needed and they accepted the revised version. They even went so far as to feature it again in their Best of Poetry retrospective. On both of these occasions, Opa appeared alongside a great illustration by Lara Hughes and I thought the two went together nicely. But the piece was intended as a tribute to my grandfather and I’ve always wanted a chance to present the poem with the photo that inspired it, so I’ve included it below.

Opa

Candid photograph, the old man turns his head
too fast for the shutter and he’s transparent.
Chin rests against hands held together.
It’s prophecy, the light’s trick mirrors time.

Ticking like the gold watch around his wrist,
Following the snake, shedding wrinkled skin.
Moon-white hair slicked back, thinned,
and large glasses over dimming eyes.

Following moon-white feathers,
opened wings taking flight, god willing,
undefined, unfettered.

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Between the Sheets…of Paper

Have you ever opened up a second-hand book and found something strange left behind by a previous owner? I certainly have. A black & white photograph, a sheet of newspaper from 1959, a letter written in Chinese on Brigham Young University stationary – these aren’t the only things I’ve stumbled across, but they’re the most striking examples. In fact, I found them all so intriguing, I dedicated poems to each one.

The most recent of these poems was inspired by the aforementioned Chinese letter, but the note itself was only one half of my motivation. The other was the approach of October 6th, the UK’s National Poetry Day. Last year, I carelessly let this special occasion pass me by without even noticing it. How embarrassing! I was determined to do better this time around and then I heard about the theme of this year’s festivities: Messages. “This is perfect!” I thought. “I can finally get that letter translated and write something about it!”

Obtaining a translation was an interesting process in and of itself, but the poem is more or less ready now and I’ll be reading it for the first time in Surbiton (or, as I like to call it, Suburb-i-tron) at The Museum of Futures‘ National Poetry Day Celebrations. You can find more information about this event at the Seethingography blog, so be sure to stop by and reacquaint yourself with the world of poetry. And if you’re wondering about the other two poems I wrote about the photo and the newspaper, they’re currently unpublished and looking for a home, so feel free to contact me if you’re interested.