Enshrined Inside Me

August 16, 2019

Back in 2012, Bruce Bentzman published a collection of his Snakeskin essays. In those days he called them ‘Suburban Soliloquies’.

Since then he has had many adventures and experiences, and these are chronicled in the successor volume, just published. Enshrined Inside Me takes him away from the suburbs and into urban retirement, and then, rather unexpectedly to Wales, where he now lives.

The presiding spirit of this collection is Bruce’s late wife Barbara (‘my more significant other’, he has always called her). Barbara was British and had family in Wales, so she took Bruce away from his American roots to Cardiff, a city which he has found most congenial. The book’s last essays speak of the months leading up to Barbara’s death, and of Bruce’s grief.

Those who have enjoyed Bruce’s essays over the years will welcome the opportunity to have them collected in book form.

Enshrined Inside Me can be ordered by clicking here.

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‘Environs’ Special issue

July 25, 2019

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September Snakeskin will be a special issue on the theme of ‘Environs’, guest-edited by Tristan Moss. Tristan writes:

Environs will be the theme for the September edition of Snakeskin. Please interpret broadly.

Poems could be about the environs of a town or a city: for example, greenbelts, housing estates, rubbish tips, wastelands, nature reserves or parks. Or could be about the environs of a pub, school, workplace, allotment, shed, farm or space shuttle. Or you might want to write a poem about the virtual environs of a video game or website. Some argue that we now live in a global village, so by this measure the whole world could be seen as our environs.


Poems might show how an area’s environs have changed. Or they might show the effect of change on you (or other people); or the effect you or others have had on an area’s environs.

These poems should have a strong sense of place, with well chosen specific details, but there may be exceptions to this, too.

I welcome all forms of poetry, from traditional ones to experimental ones
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Send your poems to Tristan at tristanmoss@hotmail.co.uk before August 23rd.

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January Snakeskin

December 30, 2018

A happy and prosperous New Year to all our readers!

January Snakeskin will come online on January 3rd.


The Lesser Mortal

November 26, 2018


There ought to be more poems about science. We’re living through a remarkable age of discovery about the universe, and of speculation about its nature and origins. We can see almost to the beginning of time and almost to the very heart of the elementary particles. Shouldn’t poets be explorers of such  great subjects?

Of course, it’s actually useless to dictate what poets ought to write about, since the good poems are those that have to be written, coming from the themes that truly grip the poet. So most poets will continue to write mournfully of love and death and maybe of Mr Trump and Brexit.

Still, it seems a missed opportunity. So I was glad to receive a pamphlet from Happenstance (beautifully produced as all their pamphlets are). It’s The Lesser Mortal by Geoff Lander. Its twenty-one poems are all light-hearted verse reflections on the history of science, neatly expressing some of the big stories of post-Einstein discovery.

Geoff Lander has appeared in Snakeskin. Here’s an  example of his work, a jolly explanation of the periodic table. If you like this, you’ll enjoy The Lesser Mortal.


Potcake chapbooks

November 18, 2018

Snakeskin poets seem to be spreading their wings everywhere these days, and the latest enterprise to feature several of them is the new series of Potcake Chapbooks, published by Samson Low.

These are neat little pocket-sized pamphlets, sixteen pages packed with poems, mostly witty, all featuring the snap and buzz of rhyme.

The first pamphlet, Tourists and Cannibals, is about travel; the second, Rogues and Roses is full of poems about love and sex. More titles are on the way.

Edited by Robin Helweg-Larsen, whose work will be familiar to Snakeskin readers, these modestly priced (£2.60) pamphlets are just the right size for slipping in with a Christmas card to spread seasonal good cheer.



On the subject of Libraries…

October 31, 2018

The special November Snakeskin on the theme of Libraries and Bookshops has been a pleasure to edit. A nice variety of approaches, and plenty of warm feeling for these vital but threatened institutions of our culture. the zine should be going online late this evening.

UK readers who are concerned about the erosion of library services might like to consider signing this petition asking the government to ring-fence library spending. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/228742https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/228742https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/228742


Bookshops and Libraries

October 2, 2018

The November issue of Snakeskin will be one of our theme numbers. The subject is

BOOKSHOPS AND
LIBRARIES

Both of these sometimes look like endangered species these days, but we don’t just want elegies. Tell us about your favourite library, or the bookshop whose owner glared at you. Or the library where you learned the facts of life, or the bookshop where you learned the secret of love. Or whatever. Deadline 27th October.


Barbara Keogh

June 27, 2018

Readers of Bruce Bentzman’s essays in Snakeskin will be saddened to know that Bruce’s wife, Barbara, whom he so often mentioned, died  in Cardiff last week. This notice will appear in the South Wales Echo:

Barbara Anne Keogh: Barbara, aged 65, passed away at UHW on Sunday 17th June 2018, her husband and family by her side.
Barbara was a mid-level practitioner of medicine specializing in the care of women.  She was also an artist and an active supporter of local culture.
She is survived by her husband Bruce Bentzman, her two children Benita and Marcus, and four grandchildren.
She will be interred at the Natural Burial Meadow, St Nicholas CF5 6SF on Friday 6th July at 11 a.m. ¶ No flowers please, but if you wish, donations may be made to www.forgetmenotchorus.com. [This is a Cardiff based charity.  For those of you living in the United States, an alternative charity would be https://www.plannedparenthood.org/.  Those living in other countries, use your imagination.]
Any enquiries to Green Willow Funerals, 31-33 St Isan Road, Cardiff CF14 4LU – Tel :02920 755555 .


Archive

June 26, 2018

I’d let the Snakeskin archive get into a terrible state, but a plea from a poet has finally induced me to clean it up.

It’s working fairly well now, but if you notice any problems or gaps, please do let me know.


June Snakeskin

May 31, 2018

I’ve been putting the June issue together – and it’s a good one.

I’m away from home at the moment, though, so publication will be a little late – maybe on June 5th or 6th.

Watch this space for further news.