May online

May 4, 2010

I like the May issue. The centrepiece is a romantic fable from Thomas Land, and the trio of poems by Fiona Sinclair are terrific.

We’re a day or two late again, so I ought to make a good resolution to be punctual next month. Well, I’ll do my best.

I’ve not been blogging enough, either. There are two posts I meant to write, but never got round to. One was a tribute to Peter Porter, a poet I’ve admired for years. In fact, I first met him back in 1963, in the Penguin Modern Poets selection (Amis, Moraes, Porter) that was the first modern poetry book I ever bought. He died last week. I wish I’d caught the public lecture he gave in Oxford a couple of years ago.

The other post I should have written was about the last issue of Sphinx, Helena Nelson’s print magazine, which for twelve issues has surveyed Britain’s chapbook publishers, and interviewed the enthusiasts who keep the craft of verse alive. Anyone thinking of going into the poetry business should study the whole run of the magazine with great care. Sphinx was time-consuming and expensive, though, and Helena has wisely stopped before the magazine became a burden. Now she can concentrate on the Happenstance publishing imprint and (most importantly) on her own writing. I’ve reviewed for Sphinx, and a couple of issues back Helena  interviewed me about Snakeskin, in a conversation conducted in heroic couplets. I can’t think of any other magazine that would have done that. I shall miss Sphinx.


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