Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


January 20, 2011

Please don’t expect Snakeskin‘s editor to pay too much attention to poetry in the near future. His mind is fully occupied with an even more deeply involving subject – his new dog.

Bill is a Labrador, aged 19 months, whose previous owner has moved to New Zealand. The photo does not do justice to his colour – which is dark chocolate.

Maybe we should have a special Snakeskin theme issue on the subject of dogs some time…


January 16, 2011

That very talented poet, M.A.Griffiths, died in 2009. I am very pleased to learn that Grasshopper, a collection of her work, has been published by Arrowhead Books.

Here is a poem of hers that appeared in Snakeskin.

Pumpkin Pie

He’d sworn that she was not his type, too thin
with, at the most, three-quarters of a mind
and, Geez, that laugh – a gerbil drowned in gin!
He’d stressed again that he abhorred that kind
of wet-lipped tart with slap fit for a clown,
all tawdry flesh and flash, a laughing stock,
hems hoist like flags and necklines plunging down:
sure signs of too much mileage on the clock.

His wife soon read the tale in Visa’s sums,
his statements contradicted, line by line;
how odd a modern fairytale becomes
when fantasy and fact and lies combine.

That ugly sister was a myth – instead
he’d had a ball in Cinderella’s bed.

Portraits and Self-Portraits – December theme issue

September 10, 2010

December Snakeskin will be a special theme issue,  guest-edited by David Graham.Its theme will be Portraits and Self-Portraits.

That’s pretty self-explanatory, but please note that verse of all forms and styles, and in all moods will be welcomed for consideration. Descriptions could be physical, moral or metaphorical. So please send your word-pictures of your granny, your boss, your favourite film-star, your worst enemy, yourself, or anyone else, to David Graham at:

He is looking forward to hearing from you.

Sorry we’re late

July 5, 2010

July Snakeskin is online at last – and a good one, I think. Look at Levi Wagenmaker’s terrific sequence of ‘stanzons’, and the sequence translated from the Hungarian of György Faludy.

Apologies for the delay, but your editor is knee-deep in A-level papers at the moment, marking the critical efforts of seventeen-year-olds in an attempt to raise a bit of cash. A sometimes enjoyable task, and sometimes a depressing one, but a slow one when you are as easily distracted as I am. A candidate mentions a poem. I look it up to check the reference, and before I know it I’ve read half the anthology, and the paper is still unmarked. But I persevere.

Access problems?

June 8, 2010

A couple of readers in America say that they are having difficulty when trying to connect to

It seems to be working perfectly well at this end?

If you can’t contact the site, could you please let me know, at


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.

Paul Muldoon on the Catholic Church

April 13, 2010

Poet Paul Muldoon speaks cogently and fiercely about the current crisis in the Church:

Car Wash

March 29, 2010

Nothing to do with poetry – yet astonishingly poetic…

The Habit of Art

February 28, 2010

I don’t generally believe in adding footnotes to my poems, but this one might be incomprehensible to some people without an explanation.

For the past few months the National Theatre in London has been very successfully presenting a play by Alan Bennett, called The Habit of Art. This imagines a meeting between W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten towards the end of their careers. Since it is by Bennett, it contains many good jokes, but I feel it does the poet a disservice.

Originally, I gather, the play was to have been a straight confrontation between the two men. Apparently the bosses at the National didn’t think this worked, so changes were made, to show Britten and Auden as characters in a play within the play. This allowed a lot more joking at the expense of Auden, who in his old age became repetitive, forgetful, and, according to Oxford gossip, smelly. Read the rest of this entry »

Maryann Corbett: A new chapbook

January 30, 2010


Snakeskin poet Maryann Corbett has just published Dissonance with Scienter Press
For those who don’t know her work, here’s a poem that was in Snakeskin:

Epistle to the Pumpkin Field

This is the truth:
They knife your face,

drag out your entrails
to feed to the crows,

and set the flame
in what remains.

Ecstatic vision.
One night: you shine.

The book (24 pages including end matter.  $8.50) can be ordered from Scienter Press.


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