Launched!

January 15, 2021

Yes, Old and Bookish is now well and truly launched.

A big crowd gathered yesterday evening to join in the celebration (which also acted as Snakeskin’s twenty-fifth birthday party). The editor was especially glad to meet Snakeskin contributors whose work he had enjoyed for years, but whose faces had until now been unknown to him.

The editor also thoroughly enjoyed reading his poems. His inner ham actor hasn’t had enough outings lately, and this was fun.

The congregation’s comments were very positive, and there was considerable support for future events, where other Snakeskin poets will read their work.

Something else that was mooted was a Snakeskin anthology, showcasing the best of our twenty-five years. It’ll be hard work putting this together, but with luck it will hit the bookstores before next Christmas.

Keep an eye on this blog for further details of these two projects.

For more information on Old and Bookish, please click here.


A Zooming Booklaunch

January 7, 2021

In this month’s Snakeskin we announce a special event. As part of the celebrations of our twenty-fifth anniversary, we are holding a Zooming online launch for the editor’s new collection, ‘ Old and Bookish’. This will be on Thursday January 14th at 7 p.m. (London time).

For details of the collection, click here.

Over its long history, we’ve never had a get-together for Snakeskin poets and supporters before, so this is a
long-overdue opportunity for us all to put faces to names, as well as a chance to celebrate. If you are interested in joining in, please drop an email to simmersgeorge@yahoo.co.uk, and your name will be added to the Zoom invitation list.


Season’s Greetings

December 24, 2020

This poem from Susan Jarvis Bryant slid into in Snakeskin‘s inbox today. Too late for December’s magazine, of course, and it’ll be out of date by the time January’s arrives – so we’re delighted to say that she has allowed us to share it with you on this blog:

Bah Humbug!

‘Tis the night before Christmas; it pains me to say –
The North Pole’s on lockdown. St. Nick’s sold his sleigh.
The elves have been furloughed; they’re living in dread.
The toy factory’s folded and Rudolph is dead.

The threat Santa poses is now existential.
His starry-night jaunts are declared non-essential.
He’ll sully the chimneys, leave germs on lit trees;
They’ve cancelled his yuletide killing sprees.

Be warned, the “new normal” is gift-less and grim;
Kris Kringle’s gone bust and he’s hitting the gin.
He’s near suicidal with no HO HO HO
In scarlet pajamas with nowhere to go.

‘Tis the night before Christmas and who gives a damn.
The season is missing the bearded main man.
Since Santa’s accused of the worst type of vice,
He’s not fit to judge who is naughty or nice.

The saddest of all is his “stimulus check” –
So meager it won’t buy a present or deck
His bleak, barren hall with one bough of green holly,
Resuscitate Rudolph or bring back our jolly!


Twenty-Five Years

December 1, 2020

Happy Birthday to Snakeskin.

The first issue of the webzine hit the baby Internet back in 1995. We’ve come a long way since then.

The special anniversary issue is now online, including poems by Snakeskin regulars, and by newcomers.

It also contains details of the editor’s new poetry collection, Old and Bookish. Fuller details of that will be coming to this blog very soon.


The Cryptids are Coming!

October 19, 2020

It’ll be here soon – November Snakeskin, full of the strangest creatures you can imagine.

Guest-edited by Jessy Randall, this will be quite unlike any other issue of the webzine. Make sure you check it out on November 1st. Expect the unexpected.


Tim’s Blog

October 12, 2020

Tim Taylor is a fellow member of the Holme Valley Poets, and has a blog at: timwordsblog.wordpress.com .

He sometimes invites others to contribute guest poems, and today he offers a niche for a poem of mine, The Test. I wrote this thinking about the disparity between the huge faceless authority of the exam boards, and the vulnerability of children.

In many ways I approve of examinations – if only because when at school I generally did better in exams than in routine schoolwork. But the exam boards take themselves so seriously these days, and have too much power. Schools are forced to tailor their curricula and teach to the test, in order to get the results that will keep OFSTED at bay.

But whatever you think of exams, do take a look at Tim’s hospitable blog.


Double Dactyls

October 1, 2020

October Snakeskin is full of good things, but its most noticeable feature is a Festival of Double Dactyls, featuring the work of several excellent versifiers. For those of you who don’t know the Double-Dee, this Wikipedia page gives a good summary. But if you go to October Snakeskin and plunge in, you’ll get the idea pretty quickly.

The Double-Dactyl really must be the jolliest of light-verse forms (I much prefer it to the limerick). Here’s one I wrote a very long time ago:

Chungalow Bungalow
Hans Christian Anderson
Wrote of sweet mermaids who
Grace the sea-bed.

When people asked him for
Gynaecological
Details he stammered and
Went very red.

If you’ve any double-dactyls of your own, why not add them to the comments section of this post?

Meanwhile, today (October 1st) is National Poetry Day, an annual occasion which I celebrated in verse a while back. You can read the poem here.


Cryptozoology

September 1, 2020

September Snakeskin is now online, containing not only a bumper crop of new poems, but also news of our next special issue.

November Snakeskin will guest-edited by Jessie Randall, and will contain poems devoted to the subject of Cryptozoology (which is, for the uninitiated, the study of beasts that are mythical or legendary.

Here is Jessie’s call for submissions:


CALL FOR CRYPTOZOOLOGY POEMS

The November, 2020 issue of  Snakeskin will be a theme issue on cryptids such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil, and others. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cryptids for a fairly comprehensive list of cryptids.
Send up to five poems to jessyrandall@yahoo.com. Put your poems in the body of the email, please – no attachments. Simultaneous submissions are fine. The deadline is October 1, and you can expect a response by October 15.

Here is G.F. Watts’s 1885 painting of a Minotaur, staring from his prison and considering the inequalities of life and destiny. Jessie is hoping to receive poems as rich and moving as this painting. (And maybe some clever and witty ones as well.)


A Poem with a Moral

August 13, 2020

Samantha Finch was sweet and nice
And followed government advice.
Her story, in this time of virus,
Should warn us, and perhaps inspire us.
Samantha met a man called Jim;
He fancied her; she fancied him.
He would have asked her out to dine,
And things might then have turned out fine,
But in those days fear of Corona
Forced each pub- and restaurant-owner
To shut their doors to all who might
Have plans for a romantic night.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jane Blanchard’s ‘In and Out of Season’

August 3, 2020

I’m delighted to have received my copy of this new book by Snakeskin poet Jane Blanchard. She’s often observational and witty. Here’s a brief taste of her work:

Breviary

Ten days into
A writers’ conference,
I think that monks
Did right by silence.

Yes, I definitely get the point of that one.