December

December 1, 2016

Well, it’s been something of a rush, because I’ve been away on holiday, and have had to do most of the magazine-assembling today – but the December issue is now online.
And a very good issue it is, too.


Bruce

November 3, 2016

Regular readers who have been following the story of Bruce Bentzman’s struggles with the bureaucracy of the UK’s immigration system will be pleased to know that he has now received a visa giving him leave to remain in his beloved Cardiff.


November Snakeskin

November 1, 2016

November Snakeskin is now online.

As the editor I know I’m biased, but I reckon it’s a very good and very varied issue.

Last month in the Politics issue I asked for seriousness rather than satire. This month, to balance that, we’ve got a thoroughly scurrilous and ribald set of poems by Brian Allgar, tracing the career and crimes of a fairly vile politician.
Among the bustle of other excellent poets, please take a look at the work of Annie Fisher, whose pamphlet Infinite in All Perfections is published today by Happenstance.
I’m also very glad to have a new (translated) contribution by K.M. Payne, who was a key presence in the early days of Snakeskin. He did a Rimbaud and gave up poetry for quite a few years, but now seems to be drifting back, which is excellent news. He is, of course, my  co-author of the huge and absurd poetical hypertext project The Maze of Mirrors.
My own contribution this month is a bad-tempered snarl at those who campaign for academic safe places, where they will hear no opinions that contradict their own. Snakeskin believes that universities, like poems, should be intellectually unsafe spaces, where the assumption should be that assumptions are there to be challenged.


A Horror for Hallowe’en

October 31, 2016

The Ghosts of BHS

Thank God this night of Halloween the doors are firmly locked
so trick-and-treaters access to the spirit world is blocked.
For there, within the Centre, from the eastern entrance railing
you can hear the ghostly unemployed of BHS awailing.
Awailing in great choruses and gnashing bloody teeth
“Oh Philip Green, this Halloween, come here to Bexleyheath!”.

From whirling knives above their heads and from their imprecation,
it seems their wish for Philip Green involves evisceration
For there within the darkened mall you hear the spirits railing
against his asset-stripping and his ‘great’ prowess – retailing!
Come hither good Sir Philip we’ve a very special wreath
signed by all your jobless fans: “Good riddance! Bexleyheath.”
Geoff Lander


February Snakeskin: Maths!

October 23, 2016

Once again Jessy Randall will guest-edit the February 2017 issue of Snakeskin. (You can find out more about Jessy at:http://personalwebs.coloradocollege.edu/~jrandall/ )

This year the theme will be NUMBERS / MATHEMATICS. As always, the theme is open to interpretation.

Send up to five poems to jessyrandall@yahoo.com. No attachments, please, except in the case of visual poems (please send jpegs). Simultaneous submissions are fine. The deadline is December 1. Expect a response by December 15.

jessy2015a

Jessy Randall
(Photo by Wendy Lovell)

Down with Poetry!

October 18, 2016

downwith

The proper kind of poetry
has resonance – it’s heavy.

Her verse is light, the critics said
she writes it on the bevvy.

This is part of Helena Nelson’s ‘Self-portrait as an Unsuitable Poem’, in her new collection Down With Poetry, which the postman brought to my door the other day, to my huge delight.
The book brings together her previous ‘unsuitable’ collections, and adds more to them. The term ‘unsuitable’ is inspired by a magazine’s rejection note many years ago: ‘Many thanks for the poems. These aren’t quite suitable…’ Helena has a keen ear for the intricacies of language, and realised that the editor wasn’t saying the poems were no good – just that they were ‘unsuitable’ – they didn’t fit the standard category of poems that get published. Maybe because they don’t make a show of taking themselves too seriously.
Helena’s ‘Unsuitables’ are sometimes rude about poetry and poets: Read the rest of this entry »


The Politics issue

October 1, 2016

I’m currently putting the final touches to October Snakeskin – the politics edition. It will probably go online late on the first or early on the second of October.
When I set the politics challenge a couple of months ago, the EU referendum had just produced a result that showed Britain divided, after a campaign that a fractious and divided nation, whose tribes were hardly able to communicate with one another, and often showed little respect for one another. In America the bullying demotic of Mr. Trump seemed to be overtaking civil discourse. Worse than that, it was producing its mirror-image in the rhetoric of his opponents, whose anger at his success was increasingly expressed in language marked with bitterness, stereotyping and an unattractive intellectual snobbishness. Read the rest of this entry »


October Snakeskin – Politics

September 7, 2016

A reminder:
October Snakeskin will be one of our theme issues, and its topic will be Politics.
I set this challenge because we live in odd political times, when old certainties seem to be shifting and new possibilities can seem very disconcerting.
I ought to tell you that I am not especially fond of some kinds of political poems. I don’t much like the sort that are expressions of resentment and negativity, or attempts to get easy laughs from obvious targets. Wit and satire are welcome, but I’d like to get beyond stock attitudes.
What am I hoping for? Poems that intelligently describe modern life and conflicts, poems that describe the political process, poems that observe where we are today politically, poems of analysis and poems that point positively to a future. It’s a big ask, I know, but some excellent examples are already coming in.

Please send your poems to editor@snakeskin.org.uk, preferably before September 26th.


Thomas Land – review and interview

July 29, 2016

 

Thomas Ország Land

Thomas Ország-Land

Over the past years, Thomas Land’s poetry has made regular appearances in Snakeskin. We have been especially pleased to publish his translations of Hungarian poets who died in or survived the Holocaust.

Admirers of his work will want to read the interview with Thomas recently published on the Penniless Press website, together with a review of his Snakeskin pamphlet Reading for the Rush hour.

The review and interview can be found at: http://www.pennilesspress.co.uk/NRB/reading_for_rush_hour.htm


Pokemon – still going

July 18, 2016

Exegg

All over the news this week (or at least in the spaces left free by horrors) is Pokemon Go, the new interactive game for phones.

Things go, things return. Just a couple of weeks ago I was looking through back numbers of Snakeskin, and thinking that one of my favourite numbers, our Pokemon special in June 2000, would never again be topical, and might be incomprehensible to younger readers.

I had not realised that the world of Pokemon, after its wild craze at the turn of the century as a trading card game, had persisted, at a lower level of fame,  in computer games and elsewhere. Now it’s back in the big-time, apparently, so let me remind you about our poetic tribute to it.

Bulbasaur

This began when K.M.Payne’s son, Spencer, became very interested in the strange creatures of the Pokemon world. Ken wrote some rather brilliant poems for him, and sent them to me at Snakeskin. As a teacher of young teenagers, I had also come across the card game and rather liked it, so I joined in with some parodies, showing how a few major poets might have responded to Pokemon. And Phil Barker sent us a nice poem about Avem Frigidum.

The issue is Snakeskin 55, and can be found here:
http://www.snakeskinpoetry.co.uk/snake55.htm

This is one of the issues now properly restored in the Snakeskin archive. I’ve worked my way through quite a few of the issues now, but there is still plenty more to do. It’s enjoyable work, though. I’m amazed by the range and quality of the work we have published over the years.