Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

"The North", Ann Sansom and Peter Sansom (eds), No.51, 2013

This likeable poetry magazine, which started in 1986, comes out twice a year. The format's nearly square. It has roughly 30 pages of reviews, 40 pages of features and 60 pages of poetry (by Sean O'Brien, Susan Wicks, Blake Morrison, Moniza Alvi, Graham Mort, Vona Groake, etc). Reviewers and feature-writers get bios; poets don't. The poems are rarely obscure.

There are some regular columns amongst the features (e.g. "Blind Criticism" where 2 poets comment on an unseen text). The features (all well written) focus more on being a poet than on dry technique - personal reactions, favourites, interviews, etc. Jackie Wills wrote "I always have a break when I've finished a manuscript - I reckon on six months at least without writing a poem", which made me feel better.

Reviews are complementary, a write-up's brevity and lack of an opinion perhaps indicating doubts. In the 30 pages the only adverse comments were Edmund Prestwich being twice disappointed, Alison Prince writing "The words used are delicious, and perhaps that is enough", and Paul Stephenson who "questioned some of the line breaks". Reviewers try to show what's good about a book.

For details see the Poetry Business site.

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