|THE NEW REVIEW|
Synopsis of Issue 32 on the Inpress Books website
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Order Henry Shukman’s ‘Sandstorm’
Order Henry Shukman’s ‘In Doctor No’s Garden’
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Order Marilyn Hacker’s ‘Desesperanto: Poems 1999-2002’
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This issue of Magma has a sea theme, in conjunction with SeaBritain 2005, and comes with a blue cover in the magazine’s usual square format. Magma’s strength lies in its mix of poetry, reviews, interviews, and articles. It offers diversity for the reader, and a subscription to Magma alone would be an excellent way of keeping abreast of the contemporary poetry scene.
Issue 32 of the magazine is edited by Mick Delap. There’s so many poems worth picking out. Henry Shukman’s ‘Shanty’: “The world outside this room has evaporated / into cloud, and from the cloud / again and again / comes the chime of the church clock, / the hours on fast forward.” There’s more great lines: “This cabin / is the chamber of the shell you sought as a girl, / with an endless inward spiral. / It whispered in your ear, shell to shell.” There are three poems from Clare Pollard. ‘Mission Beach’ and ‘For my Fiancé’ are particularly good. The latter opens with: “At first, engaged, unused to jewellery, / I turn the ring like a loose tooth - / lying in bed aware of its touch, like the touch / of a finger to thigh.” These are intimate and personal poems.
Not all the poems in the magazine have a sea theme. Hélène Armstrong’s ‘Remember the Tulips’ is reminiscent of Kathleen Jamie’s poem ‘Daisies’ in Jamie's collection, ‘The Tree House’. David Boll’s ‘The Enemy in the Attic’ describes scary childhood encounters with spiders. Brian Turner’s ‘Alhazen of Basra’ looks back to the physicist Abu Ali Hasan Ibn Al-Haitham who lived one thousand years ago and who made important contributions to science. Christopher James gives us a wonderful image in his poem ‘Reward’: “Across their laps, sub-machine guns lie in flagrante / like dogs at the end of the day, grinning in their sleep.” Helen Overell’s ‘Beit Hanoun, Gaza, 19th April 2001’ is both beautiful and disturbing: “men stood bone struck / on trampled tank tracks, women dazed / statues in stone staggered nightmare…”
Moroccan poet, Rachida Madani, is the Showcased author in this issue. Her poems have been translated by Marilyn Hacker.
It’s impossible to name all the memorable works, but ‘Concerning Some Pictures’ by Tony Curtis, ‘The Autopsy’ by James Sutherland-Smith, Sally Festing’s ‘The Banks of the Pamba’, Laura Chalar’s ‘6.15 a.m.’, Vicci Bentley’s ‘Birth’ and Alan Buckley’s ‘Missing the Point’ are just a few.
On the non-fiction side, there’s an article by Mark McGuinness on what the internet has to offer poets; Clare Pollard looks at the Poetry Book Society’s selected or recommended books for this season - Alan Jenkins’ collection ‘A Shorter Life’ seems to be a particular book to look out for. There’s an article on the search for the best sea poem, and plenty of other reading too. Magma is not only a high quality magazine, it’s also accessible, and good value for money.
Reproduced with permission
Kara Kellar Bell is a film and media graduate from the West of Scotland, with a passion for European novels, French films, silent cinema, and Brazilian music (everything from Daniela Mercury and other pop stars through to bossa nova). As a writer, she likes to have room to move around creatively, so she’s not located in one genre. She writes realism and also stories of a more fantastic nature, usually grounded to some extent in the real world. She also takes delight in writing across the sexual spectrum, and as a bisexual, considers it important to remind people that things are not always black and white, either/or, in sexuality or in gender. For a selection of Kara’s writing on the Showcase section of this site, click here
Reviewed by: Kara Kellar Bell
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