GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
138 x 216mm
£8.99+ P&P UK
PUB: 11th December 2017
The social and political world, like its geological foundation, is always in a state of flux; yet few would deny that the twenty-first century has thus far witnessed a greater degree of fragmentation than has been experienced in many years. On a local scale, the division between rich and poor in the UK continues to widen, with a concomitant widening of the gap between the political Left and Right. This is, of course, playing out against Brexit, a fracture in the EU which threatens further aftershocks and fissures within the seemingly precariously ‘United’ Kingdom.
For all its practical divisions, however, Brexit has paradoxically furnished us with a whole vocabulary of words which weld concepts together. Apart from Brexit itself, other portmanteau terms include Brexiteer, Bremainer, Bremoaner, and so on. In the light of this linguistic curiosity, the editors of this collection put out a call for writers to engage with the idea of the portmanteau itself, in order to create, rather than divide. Some chose to focus on the overtly political, while others looked to language, genetics, philosophy, relationships … and, of course, suitcases.
Guided by the twin principles, that language not only describes the world, but also creates it, and that every creative act is inherently political, the editors offer this collection of new poetry and prose as a small drawing together, a community of words – a wormunity, if you like – something to share as the Conselfservative government pulls itself apart.
Ethan Lowe, Oz Hardwick
“Ye think ah cannae see ye? Well, yer wrong. Ah can see ye right enough. Devouring me, laying me bare.
And then, yer off. Playing the room, ay watching me. Ye sidle forth and no wan o’ them sees yer true goal. They’re oblivious to yer sleekit glances. The way yer heart beats its amorous tune as ye’ edge past them aw. Each greeting, each inanity, each pointless interaction, a masquerade.
There’s nae escape fae me. Ah recognise the temptress within, the seductress, the siren, hell, even the whore … shining like a beacon, luring ye into mah snare. Is it mah fault? Och, no, a dinnae think sae. The malaise is yours, no mine.
Yer nearly here noo. Ah’ve nae choice. Yer greedy eyes consume me. Yer feverish mouth quivers at the mere thought o’ mah taste on yer hot lips. And, yer hands shake, as they reach oot, coorse and clumsy in their haste to own me … to uncork me … to breathe in mah heady scent.
Ye pull me to yer chest, wrap me tight beneath yer jerkin and away we sneak to the seafront, so you can have me like a demon possessed. Ye glug your fill. Plunder me. Drain me, and then discard me to the sea. Nae message of love. Nae farewell!
Just, an empty bottle cast aside.”
Liz Mistry writes crime fiction and so far has had two novels published. She studied Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University graduating with an MA in 2016.
You get up in a morning – hazy eyes, bed head, and visible apathy for another day. You have a piss, wrestling to control which way the gushing stream goes. Still half asleep, you reach for the toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s second nature now but, as you begin to brush, topless and swaying, you see the jiggle.
You see us staring you down. We taunt you through our fleshy, hairy guise. We whisper threats: “we’re only going to get bigger, you fat shit … people are going to notice us now … can’t wear baggy clothes to hide us forever.”
You desperately ache for a time when you didn’t have these colossal airbags. You tear at us, frustrated, angry – disappointed in yourself.
“It was no surprise you got fat, you did nothing to prevent it.” We are right, but you can’t help but feel hard done by. You hold us, you turn left, and you turn right. “No matter which angle, you’re still fat.” You can’t ignore our whispers.
You throw the toothbrush down, desperate and panicked. You have to get out. You turn from the bathroom, you feel worthless, you stumble into the bedroom, you see her …
I realise. I. Not them. I see her lying there, cats softly asleep - partner on the bed. I may have moobs but somebody loves me. Somebody loves you: moobs or chiselled deity, flab or flat belly, don’t let your stupid body define you.
Ethan Lowe has been adopted by the Yorkshire people, despite being from the better side of the Pennines. Theoretical motivator, puckish rogue – forever wondering at what point he can say “I'm a writer.”
(homage to Peter Kennard’s anti-nuclear photomontage – a visual portmanteau)
A weaponised haywain stands in the stream,
taking on coolant for the transportation team,
dispersed deep in Constable country, fused
into his landscape of English oaks, these cruise
missiles rise ready for the order to rain
bucolic apocalypse on the German plain.
Tim Leadbeater is delighted to be included in the anthology but knows his poems are very Audenary.
He is a Frenchman
with a portmanteau life,
a girl in each port
and a port in each wife.
A bag in each station,
with passport and clothes:
á double fond,
wherever he goes.
Portant un manteau
fluide et gris,
he comes into Brest, and
goes out like the sea.
Tawny his cloak
in sunny Marseilles,
like the sweet wine of Douro,
le vin Portugais.
A life vivisected,
valise in two parts,
neatly encased in
two leathery hearts.
Rosemary Mitchell is a historian and is fascinated by words, and the ways of other human beings.
We cannot measure how
subatomic particles communicate:
photons bounce off this paper
at the speed of light
directly into your eye;
but electrons, when hit by photons,
are not what they were.
Where are they?
Is the universe
filled with particles of matter?
Or a continuum,
an unbroken whole,
alive with intelligence
out of which consciousness separates?
These thoughts grow – but
is thought creating divisions out of itself?*
God does not play dice says Einstein.
Yet Heisenberg keeps cooking,
everything is uncertain.
* Theory of David Bohm
Clare Wigzell is writing her way into hope in times of darkness.
sometimes I can dream
sit inside a star waiting
for life to explode
all I ask of you
is a long term commitment
to tolerate me