Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

March Snakeskin will be USEFUL

February 1, 2021

February Snakeskin is now online, and is the usual cornucopia of various verses. You’ll enjoy it.

The important news is that next month Snakeskin will consist entirely of USEFUL POETRY.

Too often the unimaginative and the semi-literate decry poetry as useless. We shall prove them wrong with an issue of verse with a real-world practical purpose. Expect rhymed recipes, mnemonics, advice to the lovelorn, counselling for the obese, and so forth. Submissions are requested.

Two new collections

January 28, 2021

I’ve recently received two very enjoyable collections by Snakeskin poets.
David Callin is from the Isle of Man, and Always, as its title suggest, a pamphlet full of appreciation of what will endure – though many poems, looking back, communicate vividly a sense of what has not endured, even on his home island, where change comes more slowly than on the mainland. ‘Lost Pubs of Douglas’ for example, is a hymn of nostalgia for boozers past. ‘First Lessons in Wendish’ regrets languages that have disappeared.
David Callin likes old films. There is an affectionate tribute to the great Douglas Fairbanks, and he shares my delight in the great train movies of the 1930s:
I would like to go
On an old-fashioned sleeper,
caught up in some
intrigue of caper,

dodging the
unkind intentions
of chaps with guns
and cops with truncheons.

Perhaps the poems of his that I like best though, are those with a taste of the uncanny. Click here to read ‘Witches’, which appeared in Snakeskin a couple of years back.
Always is published by Dreich Chapbooks, price £5.

Ragpicking Ezekiel’s Bones by Pamela Sumners is a much heftier volume – 190 pages of idiosyncratic and original poems.
It is a book that takes you to unexpected places. Click here for a sample, the remarkable series of poems: The Patient in Room 327 has Too Much and Too Little Time on her Hands .That sequence was her first appearance in Snakeskin. Her poems are for people who want to be challenged. The ones I found most remarkable were those about her mother’s incarceration in an institution, such as ‘Bryce’, and ‘My Mother’s Guest Room.’ Some of these poems can be painful to read. Pamela Sumners does not avoid tough subjects. She deserves to be read.
Ragpicking Ezekiel’s Bones is published by Uncollected Press at $15

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.

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.)

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.

Alack

July 30, 2020

So, scanning this and conscious of a lack,
You scratch your nut and ask why this sad sack
Scrawls in unstylish tortuous convolutions,
Odd phrasings and absurd circumlocutions.
You’ll justly ask why I so shun normality;
Is this just wilful paradoxicality?
I know, stylistic quirks can bring confusion,
But I am battling hard against inclusion
Of various words that must not find admission,
As in that Froggy book, La Disparition.
Adair, translating this for Brits (Hard graft!)
Would call it just A Void. His skilful craft
Astounds, as struggling with his constraint,
With chutzpah, but more stubborn than a saint,
Adair triumphs. I wish I had a part
Of his command of odd Oulipian art.