REVIEW – KATHERINE OSBORNE, DESCANSOS

By Laura Potts

There is an obvious mythical essence to a number of the poems in Descansos, the new collection of poetry from Katherine Osborne, published by Salò Press, coupled with a flowing connection of the surreal which makes its way through each of the works, treading lightly on some and firmly on others. Throughout the poems, there is an unexpectedness of themes and figures, from God to Buffalo. This shift is sudden, like a stream of consciousness or a narrative story. Moreover, the pieces throughout this book seem to have been produced in a more automatic manner: repetition in titles, along with numbers and extended use of brackets. These automatic devices are sporadic and run parallel to themes of loss and nostalgia; both of which lead to a noticeable automatic writing style.

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RED POPPIES VERSUS WHITE POPPIES (AND THE PROBLEM WITH PACIFISM)

By Sarah Edgcumbe

The red poppy/white poppy/no poppy debate has become increasingly emotive in recent years, as certain right wing groups have co-opted it for their own warped ethno-nationalist causes, bringing forth the notion of ‘poppy fascism’: If you’re not wearing a red poppy you must be some kind of terrorist sympathizer, or a communist… if you don’t like this country and what it stands for you can fuck off to another. Nice. Of course most people who wear a red poppy don’t behave like this, but the minority who do, aside from being obnoxious, are loud, determined and represented by sensationalist and divisive British tabloids, resulting in ‘poppy fascism’ spreading exponentially.

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JOAN LEE: THE MARVELOUS MUSE

by Richard Worth

The story goes that Stan Lee was dragging his feet on Marvel’s latest bid to catch up with the Distinguished Competition. He was becoming bored with the monster-matinée mags he made with Kirby and uninspired by the sci-fi parables he produced with Ditko and now his bosses had tasked him with making a book to rival DC’s newest hit, Justice League.

Stan wasn’t one for superheroes. They were too perfect, too unflawed, and too unfit for the hyper-dramatised, purple prose that was Stan’s hallmark. He moped and complained about his artistic integrity, as writers are wont to do, boring all around him until his perpetually patient wife finally told him to get on with it. Continue Reading

THE TREE CLOCK

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Vivian Lamarque (1946-), ‘l’orologio degli alberi’

You were always really
early for any appointment, made
the whole world seem,
late, the world felt bad,Continue Reading

THE SOURCE

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Evelina De Signoribus (1978 – ), ‘La fonte’

The day when you have only one thought
the sea shivers and the wheat moves the field
everything calls for the return
though the roads have never been this many
to choose but one, clearlyContinue Reading

A CHILDHOOD MEMORY

by Alex Valente

Original Italian by Maddalena Lotter (1990-), ‘Un ricordo d’infanzia’

We built a house on the sand
then we stamped on it.
On its ruins our supreme leader
decreed it was time to goContinue Reading

NEOLIBERALISM

by Julian Canlas

neo

drank from lakes
that turned out to be droughts
cut our lids
to see the future
tricked crops
into growing
mined coal with safety pins.
‘It’s time for celebration, not gawking
at deaths crushed by credit,’ you say.

sick dentures pushing teeth back
broke vessels
gold-cracked chinas
rusty hammers made from origami cranes, pinkwashed. never grow
tired of going to the bank, where each need is a static noise
& a gunshot,
where you tell me,

‘you &I are beings in boats.
you&I are
establishments.’

wasting the column. no column. no pronoun to speak.

rather the gusts than a wall
rather understanding than secular missionaries
rather the freedoms of you & me than glass ceilings
rather the prickled rose we will hold firmly than the diamond-sculpted cross
rather the blood &organs than shed skin
rather the body of blood & sinews than war-torn factories

this is stinking of sweet sorrow,
where dystopias are youth’s memoirs, &
where adulthoods are delayed because there is no
money & water.
& until this day, we are sat on swings
that you say will break from our weight.

Featured image via GlobalSocialTheory

A EUROPEAN LIFE

by Kelvin Smith

I was born shortly after the end of the Second World War in a nursing home that overlooked the Mersey, open to the world, “on the stream of trade” as my school song had it.

At primary school we drew Spitfires and Hurricanes in aerial dogfights with Junkers and Messerschmitts. There were bomb-sites in the towns and cities and there were Emergency Water Storage Tanks (marked EWS) everywhere. My first non-English words were Hände hoch and Achtung, closely followed by Frère Jacques. My parents had few foreign friends, although a Dutchman, a fellow chemist, had stayed with them in the early 1940s and he returned home with a broad Lancashire accent. “Reet bloody champion”, he would say.Continue Reading

THE HOURGLASS

by Carmina Masoliver

 

grains of sand pass like biology
my body ticking like a heart
my love straining like teaContinue Reading

THE MEMORY OF THE WORLD IS SHORT

by Ellen Musgrove

Cherokee writer and academic Daniel Heath Justice writes in The Kynship Chronicles that ‘the memory of the world is short, and death rides hard in the forgetting.’ Being indigenous and queer, Justice knows very well the selective amnesia of the nation-state, and the resistance that demands.

Such an introduction may seem obscure, but this perceived obscurity demonstrates the problem I want to discuss. The same nation-state amnesia is imbricated in “western” society’s selective mourning of recent terror attacks, the current refugee crisis, and now renewed military intervention.

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THE COLOUR OF SAYING NO

by Sara Helen Binney

It was November, and the school hall was packed with pupils and teachers freed from lessons. In the festive atmosphere people mingled and chattered and joked. A few nervously practiced their Bible readings; I stood, arms crossed, before a school administrator. She shook her collection box.

‘Poppy?’ she said. It wasn’t a question.
I said, ‘no.’ I doubt I was very polite – I was sixteen, angry and definite.
‘You have to wear a poppy, for the service,’ she said.
‘Why?’ I demanded.
‘Everyone has to wear a poppy.’
‘But I don’t agree with it. Can’t I refuse?’
‘You have to take a poppy – just make a donation.’

Neither of my parents had ever worn a poppy. They brought me up listening to the anti-war songs of the folk revival, and took me to CND marches while I still struggled to pronounce ‘disarmament’. But at school, saying no wasn’t an option. I eventually put a penny in the box.Continue Reading