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Issue 36 December 15, 2018

Andrea Potos

Poetry- Andrea Potos

My Uncle and the Undertakers They try so hard, the work that none of us would do–the embalming, casketing, the cossetting; and the person dressed in his satin bed still seems to look like some far-fetched hint of his former self. Yet in the chapel today, the body of my uncle– oldest and last son …

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New Poetry

House Work Since January stole my tongue and tied it into knots, the house has become a blank verse. My hands repeat a cleaning rhyme in every stanza, I pack metaphors into drawers, layer them on shelves in the hot press among folded towels. Sparkling saucepans, spilling stolen poetry, hang from the freshly-painted bracket over …

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Anne Bevan

A Girls and Other Poems

A Girl There was a girl Who lived in a glass mind And carried her emotions From room to room In a brown suitcase. Blackbirds pecked at her Through see-through walls, Hissing like cats at her muddled Thoughts and scratching at her Yellowing temples with steel claws. Each day she packed and unpacked At the …

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Bloodline

Buy it now “Bloodline” Michael A Griffith Michael A Griffith’s poems often start with a simple observation and then take that idea or image for an exploratory walk. His focus often falls on family relationships. Making a packed lunch in “Tetris” prompts musings on parental roles, ”       You’re off to work as …

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Weightless in the Nets

Buy it “Weightless in the Nets” Roy Liran (Blue Nib) The poems in “Weightless in the Nets” are probing observations that explore and ask questions about perceptions and preconceived views of readers. They rely on giving the reader sufficient detail to focus attention and be guided by the poet. A similar approach is taken in …

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Poetry- Bob Beagrie

Chiromancy ‘The great Sage as high as Heaven visited here.’Wu Cheng’en – Journey to the West, 1592 High staggered moorland crossroadstoo few trees, the big wide skyfresh roadkill and opportunist crowsturning turning turning turning,The Roda Cross by the roadsidescattered offerings in the grassHogtenberg’s summit beyond WesterdaleCrouched friars, Rosedale Abbey, Cockayne RidgeRoundhead recruits resting sore shanks,tarmac’s …

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Poetry- Nadia Wolnisty

On “Self-Portrait” by Kay Sage To be a woman is like this now.Scrub it off as if it were a stain—all traces of your face.Use bleach if you must or dish soapif you have time to scrub.You’ll know when to stop. The lattice work where your noseused to be won’t hang vines orgo inside pianos. …

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Poetry- Deborah Harvey

Understorey Your father in his fawn windcheaternames the song of each bird we hearpoints out fox holes and fungi,pulls to one side an elder branchexplains how those dollops of blossombecame this darkening fruit. As he lets go the branch swings backlike the beams of cranes overheadbuilding conference halls, brand new departmentsor the CCTV in these …

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Poetry- Marcy Clarke

SUET, SUNFLOWERS AND HAY Winter is at our gateand a dozen crows, like trespassing bandits,raid our slumbering garden The sun is a hard shadow bleaching bony limbs,casting dull silhouettes on a sea of rustling leaves and corduroy trousers, tucked in boots,scatter crushed memoriesfilling the sky with gray notes whispering snow from the hills Homesteaders, roots …

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Mimi Gladman -on this issue’s fiction

Over the last three months at the fiction desk I have had the opportunity to read a wide variety of new short fiction, much of it of an extremely high standard. The very best of it is contained here, in the 36th edition of The Blue Nib. The longer, darker, colder winter nights always seem …

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Dana St Mary

Poetry- Dana St Mary

the flag keeper he walks slowly to the place with that solemnity that cadavers bring, and leans the heavy ladder on the mast-like pole. a tilted head and gooseflesh show that today is windless, breezeless, grey, and dumb. the climb is short, just twelve foot or so. the turnbuckle holds the night in its iron …

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Review of Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine

A review of the short fiction collection Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine Mimi Gladman Wendy Erskine’s excellent debut collection of short stories was published in September by The Stinging Fly Press, based in Dublin. The British publishing industry weekly The Bookseller reported in October that the international rights to the collection have since been acquired …

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Poetry- Lucy Mackarel

In Memorial  I have never been to a funeral,I have, however mourned a body.In a room with brown walls and a window to the road.It was his bedroom and the body was my own. Knees on carpet as though I were praying.This act though, was anything but holy.A position of submission, how fitting.I felt like …

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Poetry- Maxine Rose Munro

About the writer Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. After spending the first eighteen years of her life exclusively on the islands, without even a small break for the holidays, the culture shock experienced on eventually seeing the wider world rocked her to her core and is still rocking …

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Poetry- by Mike Griffith

Your funeral is on Friday. Today is the heart attack. Yesterday was the two meetings, dinnerwith Tony and Kat, then bed withthe wife (while thinking of Kat). Day before was that argument overspending too much time at the office, thenthat round of 9 holes snuck in before getting home.(Tony still has your golf bag, by …

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Poetry- Caron Freeborn

Red plums I bit into the unnoted plum, expecting sharpdisappointment or at best, tolerablenear-sweetness.  My thumbleft an indent which gave me some hope –bruised fruit isn’t a violentassault on the tongue.  But that bite –I’ll never forget that bite – flesh slidingagainst gum, the fruit neither resistingnor clinging – and the surprise, oh that,of a …

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New Surrealism:  The new revolution?

‘We must not hesitate to bewilder sensation’. Andre Breton If we say, ‘how does one write surrealist poetry,’ we are asking the wrong question?   Insofar as it’s possible – if we exclude the necessary resort to aids from the practical world, pens, paper and computers – Surrealist poetry, in the words of Andre Breton, …

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Poetry- Melissa Mulvihill

Fata Morgana I am lost on the Lake deliberately at sea tossing about in moody waves raging in storms of fictive selves struggling for a critical angle ebbing in the middle of my life suffering from erratic life sources changes in speed and direction not steadfast vanishing occasionally absconding on the horizon haze a fata …

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Poetry- Mark Tarren

In Memoriam Here lies his naked body, like a baroque Christ. Long pale arms at his side, it is not Shakespeare’s Adonis. Nor is it the carved strength of Achilles that sleeps in the papyrus of the Iliad. He wanted to have his life marked upon his body. To have Homer scar him somehow with …

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Poetry- Anne McMaster

Lost and Foundinspired by Robert MacFarlane’s The Lost Words You might think we lose these wordsas one may, casually, lose a small cool coinbehind the sofa – or as a sweet that meltsinto a sticky mass in the corner of that pocketof our favourite winter coat. But this is so much more. We first forget …

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The Senses in Literature

In creative writing, the author caters to the appeal of the targeted readers. As every audience is as diverse and complex as the people that make it, there are very few factors that can apply to everyone. One factor we can – almost – always take for granted is the ability to connect through basic, …

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Consciousness and Control – Room Little Darker by June Caldwell reviewed by Brian Kirk

Consciousness and Control Room Little Darker by June Caldwell 978-1788542906 Apollo (11 Jan. 2018) When Room Little Darker was published last year it immediately grabbed public attention because of the dark subject matter of some of the stories. Some reviews hailed it as a book which pushed the boundaries of the form, seeing it as …

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David Butler Reviews Maurice Devitt’s, Growing Up in Colour

MAURICE DEVITT completed the MA in Poetry Studies at Mater Dei, won the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition and was placed or shortlisted in many other competitions including The Patrick Kavanagh Award, The Listowel Collection Competition and Cúirt New Writing Award. Selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions in 2016, he was a featured poet at the Poets in Transylvania …

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Jane Simmons reviews Anne Bevan’s first collection of poems

TESTAMENT ANNE ELIZABETH BEVAN ISBN 978-1-910855-82-9 £10.00 Lapwing Publications, Belfast. Testament, Cork based poet Anne Bevan’s first collection of poems, has already received praise from reviewers:Anne’s poetry gets straight to the heart of the matter – whatever subject matter she alights upon. Her words transport you on an inner journey of the mind and soul; …

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Poetry- Pauline Flynn

About the writer Pauline Flynn is a Visual Artist/Poet. She lives in a small village in West Wicklow. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UCD, was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2010 and is published in various literary journals in Ireland, US and UK, including Light, a journal of poetry …

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Emma Lee reviews “Afternoon Drinking in the Jolly Butchers” by Rachel Coventry

Afternoon drinking in The Jolly Butchers feels like being invited to join in a casual conversation with a group you found yourself sitting near to in a pub or café because the conversation sounded interesting and the participants noticed your curiosity. That’s not to say that the conversation doesn’t tackle darker or intricate topics but the …

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The Contemporary Short Story by Fiction Editor Mimi Gladman

A Pick of the Best Contemporary English-language Short Story Collections Short stories appear widely in literary magazines, as well as in the relatively small number of mainstream publications that publish literary short stories, notably The New Yorker. There are also plenty of anthologies and single-author collections of short fiction published, and the form seems to …

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Poetry- Cathy Bryant

Unasked, He Teaches Me Photography Keep your horizons level, he says.And not in the middle. Upper thirdor lower.But I don’t want a postcard, nor art.I just – that is – I mean – to catchthat moment when I looked upfrom the sleeping sand, warmon my back, and saw, and saw,and saw, angles dancing in waterand …

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Poetry- Susan Castillo Street

TEST MATCH We watch the cricket.Clueless American, British man.Tomay-to Tomah-to doesn’t even come close.I blink at the screen, hesitatebut think, what the heck, asksorry, but, er, what is a wicket?He smiles back, tells me gently,explains the meaning ofleg in front, googly.  I remind myself that after all,he has passed the Elvis Test,cunningly designed to root …

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Poetry- Harold Ackerman

Three Poems Starting with ‘W’ Written on a Torn Package for Eric and Chris That time I stepped to the blackboardto draw a shape with chalk as I spoke,trying to illustrate some notion of unityamong a race of humans who were no moreto raise up children that their words might holdagainst the spatter not of …

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Poetry- Jean Taylor

About the writer Jean Taylor belongs to Words on Canvas – a group of writers who work in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland. Her poetry has been published in a range of publications including Orbis, Northwords Now, Eildon Tree, and Envoi as well as online on Snakeskin, Amaryllis and Ink, Sweat and Tears. …

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Poetry- Kieran Egan

About the writer Kieran Egan lives in Vancouver. He was shortlisted for the Times Literary Supplement (UK) Mick Imlah prize in 2017, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Canadian magazines Quills, Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review, Qwerty, Antigonish Review, Canadian Quarterly, and, in the US in Tenth Muse, Foxglove Journal, …

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Emma Lee Reviews Bind by Christine Murray SB

Bind Christine Murray Turas Press https://turaspress.ie/shop/bind-by-christine-murray/ ISBN: 978-0-9957916-4-0, 72pp, €12 Christine Murray uses minimal, impressionistic language to convey images from the natural world.  bind is split into sections,  bind ,  a hierarchy of halls ,  babel,  wintering and Dawn, the name of the last section rocks convention by having an initial capital. The lack of capitals signals to the reader …

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The Goldsmiths Prize by Fiction Editor Mimi Gladman

The Man Booker Prize was won in October by Anna Burns, with her Northern Ireland-based novel of sexual coercion Milkman. There’s always a lot of media attention on the novels listed for the Man Booker, but I’m often equally or even more intrigued by the lesser-known Goldsmiths prize list. This is a British award launched …

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Poetry- Megan Stratford

buriedshe’s just where you said i’d find herhalf-way buriedunderneath the pendulous trapezeto hang off of on afternoons that couldn’t move days likethis one when i smelled these collapsed parts before befuddlingonto sleep which was kept tidy &in the shape of comfort without cushionblessing misplaced in evenings umbra my name is christened in a far off …

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Poetry – John Short

AQUARIUM I dreamed of an aquarium fixed into my back a miniature box with tetras and an angel fish, its glass sunk deep instead of memories, I had to ask each day if they were still alive framed there in that wall of flesh. It was necessary to watch out for these delicate creatures, cradle …

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Be Still: Poems for Kay Sage by Nadia Wolnisty

To touch someone well is difficult. Saying, Here, take my hand requires courage I simply do not have. I am a coward. Physical touch terrifies me. Part of this is trauma, part is mental illness, and part of it is just my personality. I am uncomfortable nearly one hundred per cent of the time. Having …

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Dick Edelstein reviews: Fealty by Ricky Ray 

Fealty by Ricky Ray. Hardcover £16.99, 146 pp. Eyewear Publishing, 8 June 2018. ISBN: 978-1912477227 While many new writers have seized on expanding opportunities for publishing poetry collections, New York poet Ricky Ray, still in his thirties, has been biding his time, waiting nearly two decades to publish Fealty. His debut collection reveals an evolved writing …

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Sarah Leavesley

Photo-poems: visual art and poetry combinations for a high-tech age by Sarah Leavesley

Although my working and creative life has mostly been as a writer, I’ve always loved photography. As a poet, the initial appeal for me in combining photos and poetry on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram was to try and reach new audiences – people who wouldn’t normally read poetry but did respond to …

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Kate Ennals

Jerusalem – fiction by Kate Ennals

Propped up against goose down pillows, her face is ravaged and pallid,  strung together with skeletal  bone. In one hand is a lit cigarette. With her other, she picks at dry skin on her lip, gazing into the grey ether at the end of the bed. Her eyes glitter the gloom of the room. The …

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True Places – fiction by Frances Browner

Veronica watched the snowflakes drift onto the grass, in a thin white gauze. April was always a tease; just when you thought winter was over, there’s that final fall of snow. She could hear Frank shuffling about in the garage. “Wouldn’t ya think the bloomin’ realtor would’ve told us this was a snow zone?” he’d …

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The Sighting – fiction by Yong Takahashi

The Sighting by Yong Takahashi I see you again – walking towards me – with your confident stride. I notice your closely-shaven beard, white, button-down shirt, and neatly-pressed slacks. You always took so much pride in your appearance. I wipe my palms on the dress you bought for me. The blue silk soaks up the …

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Flyer – New Short Fiction

We approached the door. It didn’t hurt to have me be the one they saw first. I was with my uncle, Walker, who claimed to be a natural born salesman. Could sell a Buick to a blind man, he’d said. I wasn’t sure yet about Chicago. I wasn’t sure about this uncle. But after Dad …

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Shoot It – fiction by Alisdair L R I Hodgson

Shoot It by Alisdair L R I Hodgson Everyone is constrained by the little things. I imagine walking down this street – not just any street, but the city centre high street – with a plastic carrier bag swinging by my side. Nobody looks twice. I mean, not unless I start spinning the bag around …

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The Realisation – fiction by Jude Alexzander

No one single thing had caused the Realisation.  Like the rest of his life, no dramatic events led up to it; rather it was as the dripping of a tap. Soft. Unnoticed. Mundane.  Barely audible amid the monotonous clamour of everyday routine. Drip.  It was just a smile, a laugh. A cheeky comment here and …

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Poetry- Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Sailing North We left with cherry trees blossoming,people arranging polished hornsin a window.Opposite to southVegetation grew rusty,gold, scarlet redsilver grey, brown.Inhaling thro,branches torn barefrozen. North:thorn, torn, hornton, not. What the world throws at me she loses the world in her bellyher thighs are fractions of petalsher face is a riotrain and smoke smile in a …

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Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon

Poetry- Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

The Skater at the local rinkher skates cut trailsfingernails scratch wooden handrailsshe clings on for dear life.out in the woodsa lakemute swans skitter on floesmis-footed and beautifuliced crust watersurface strength deceptivehair cracks creepbeneath her weighticicles dangleDamocles bladespierce down from rocksfrozen airswells her lungsstretches themshapesblue-veined balloonspainedher breath freezes to death Backtrack Our afternoon hangs, heavy with …

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