Our special Sheffield Poetry Festival issue is now live! Come and read an excellent mixture of well-known and up-and-coming poets in our extra-large issue. It’s crept up to 47 poems in total, covering nearly all the headline act and a goodly proportion of the other events. The range of styles is wider than we usually encompass – see what you think, and let us know if you enjoy it!
We’re just putting together the special festival issue of Antiphon – 45 poems, so nearly twice as big as usual! It reminds me of those special summer editions of comics I sometimes bought when I was a child – excellent value for money, and of course Antiphon is always excellent value!
Be assured, though, that we are still reading through all the submissions for our usual issue (which will be number 8, to appear late August/early September), so please keep them coming. Please read some of our previous issues first, though, to get a feel for what we publish – and remember that if you’re going to send poems of teenage (or post-teenage) angst and torrid first love and betrayal, you need to tell it in a pretty special way if you want it published.
Well, planning for the Festival is nearly done. The website is up and running, here, thanks to Brian Lewis of Longbarrow Press, who has done a really excellent job. And the Programme is finalised. It’s at the printers now, but you can find all the info on the website here, where you can also download a full pdf of the Programme.
You’ll see there’s roughly fifty poets taking part, and Antiphon’s special issue (issue #7) has poems lined up from almost all of them. We’ve mentioned some before, but poets we’ve not mentioned before are: Geroid Mac Lochlainn, Cliff Yates, Paula Cunningham, Jonathan Davidson, Alistair Noon, Liz Cashdan, David Cooke, Harriet Tarlo, Agnes Lehoczky, Catherine Benson, Nell Farrell, Rich Goodson, Jane Monson, Sarah Tomasin, Seni Seneviratne, LindaLee Welch, Angelina Ayers , Elizabeth Barrett, Bryony Doran, Shelley Roche- Jacques, Rosemary Badcoe, Kate Rutter, Suzannah Evans, Suzanne McArdle, Margaret Lewis, Jan Caborn, David Devany, Stan Skinny, John Sewell, Martin Dimery, David Harmer, Fay Musselwhite, Bill Cooper, Donna Stonecipher, Alan Halsey, Geraldine Monk, Rob Hindle.
It’s a wider range of work than we usually include, as it represents the full range of the Festival. It’s also bigger than we usually aim for. Also, as the festival features local poets alongisde the national and international headliners, the poets of our region (Sheffield and Yorkshire) get more of an airing than usual. It’ll be interesting to hear what readers think of these three diversions from our normal practice.
Issue #8, however, will be more or less back to normal.
The Festival Programme is now pretty much in a complete state, with just a few things to close down. There’s a Facebook page, here and the list of poets taking part seems now to be fixed. There’s quite a variety on offer, from workshops on writing from history, prose poems and newsreels, through a discussion on Queer Poetry and a session of “after the watershed” poetry, to a Poetry Slam and Shakespeare’s sonnets set to modern music.
Poets who are now committed to read include the following, all of whom should feature in the Antiphon special issue: Bernard O’Donaghue, Julia Copus, Sinead Morrissey, Jean Sprackland, Paul Batchelor, Conor O’Callaghan, AB Jackson, Matt Clegg, River Wolton, Jim Caruth, Helen Mort, Peter Manson, Robert Crawford, Chris Jones, Gillian Clarke, Michael Symmons Roberts, Katharine Towers, Ian Duhig.
And that’s not the whole programme by any means. We don’t want to give it all away yet. There are over fifty national, international and local poets featured in the Festival. When the full programme is released, we’ll let you know.
Sheffield’s second poetry Festival takes place June 1st to 8th. Antiphon is part of it, as our next issue will be a special one featuring poets from the Festival as part of its promotion. There are some big names planned, so this is an exciting prospect for us, though there is a downside, as it will mean we’ll have to keep some submissions waiting a little longer than usual for publication when we accept them.
Poets so far who are expected to read at the Festival include Bernard O’Donaghue, Sinead Morrissey, Jean Sprackland, Conor O’Callaghan, Helen Mort, Katharine Towers, Ian Duhig and Julia Copus, plus around another forty poets, some local, some from further afield, and the programme as a whole looks to be quite a varied one, with workshops, panels, performance and reading.
Coordinating a larger number of poems than we’ve ever published before will be quite a task, and already time is slipping away, as we want the issue to appear in the middle of May. But this could be one of the best Antiphons yet, and we’re keen to help make the Festival a success, so keep your eyes peeled for the announcement.
We’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
We’re very pleased to have two more of Seth Crook’s poems featured in our Exhibition Space. http://www.antiphon.org.uk/index.php/exhibition-space Seth’s been a great supporter of Antiphon, though we notice he’s getting published all over the place!
Thanks to all who gave us feedback on issue 6 of Antiphon. Several poets came in for a number of favourable comments, including John Nash’s Black Stag, Gill McEvoy’s Paper Crane and the work of Christine Whittemore and Annette Volfing. Many other poems had their own particular champions. It was interesting to see the number of different poems that delighted people, and I think that’s a good sign – we’re able to include a range of poetic styles and subject matter and yet the quality remains at an even high, rather than a few poems standing out as more successful. However, there was one poem that just pipped the others to the post in receiving the most votes, and that was Seth Crook’s Lighthouse, 1904. It’s a simple but unusual narrative with a great twist at the end, and made me laugh with surprise when I first read it. Do have a look if you missed it. We will be featuring some more of Seth’s work in our Exhibition Space shortly.
Issue six is up and running here.
We’ve poems by poets who are new to us, and a few we’ve published before, with reviews of work by Dana Littlepage Smith, Marion Tracy and Frank Wood.
We’re trying something new with Issue 6. We’re asking you to let us know the poems you like best and then we’ll give a special feature in Antiphon’s Exhibition space to the poet who receives the most feedback. Feedback is really useful (and motivating) to us and to the poets, too.
If we receive much feedback, then we’ll perhaps post some of what people tell us, either here on the blog or as part of Issue #7 of the magazine.
And, of course, once you’ve read Issue #6, let us have your contributions for the next issue. Antiphon always needs the best poems you’ve got.
We’ve pulled it all together, and issue six is now live. We’re very pleased with the selection of poems – a little more quirky, some of them, but we enjoy work that we can’t immediately understand, that repays re-reading. I read the poems many times when I’m setting up the website, and I always know it’s a good poem when I don’t get tired of it. And I haven’t got tired of any yet.
We’ve published 22 poets this time: 9 male and 13 female. Is this unusual? I’ve seen magazines asking for more submissions from females to even out their ratios. It’s not something we think about at all when choosing poems, but it’s interesting to see after the fact.
Don’t forget we’re looking for your opinions on the poems you’ve most enjoyed in this issue so that we can do a special feature in our Exhibition Space. Contact us via the website, or leave a comment here.
Issue Six of Antiphon is almost there. It’s nearly ready.
Yesterday Rosemary and I made our final decisions (we hope!) on the content of Antiphon’s coming issue. The poems have been chosen and the structure planned, though we’ve still formally to accept the last few so I suppose there might be some last minute tinkering. In the next few days I’m editing the reviews and an article for the Interlude section and Rosemary’s working on the editorial and the design. Then, with any luck, in just over a week’s time our brand new Antiphon issue six will be open for your reading pleasure.
We’re trying something new in this issue, too. We’re asking readers to let us know the poems they like best. The poet who receives most reader votes will then be offered a special featured space on the Antiphon website. There’s more on this in the editorial for the magazine and we’ll be blogging about it once it’s in place. As we’ve posted before, we’d like to increase feedback on the mag. We’re hoping that this will help, and that our poets will get some reader feedback, too. One thing poets definitely enjoy is knowing their work has had a positive impact on their readers.
We think Issue 6 is one of the best sets of poems we’ve so far published. I suppose we’re bound to say things like that, aren’t we? Nevertheless, by keeping each issue at around 24 poems or so, yet selecting each time from a wider range of submissions as more poets send us work, it seems we’re able to make sure the general quality of Antiphon gets better with each issue. We hope you’ll agree with us when you read it.
But we do still want more, and better, submissions every time. Antiphon’s appetite for good poetry is insatiable.