8 November 2014

Poetry Magazines - Lighthouse 6

There's nothing like flicking through the pages of a brand-new poetry magazine, fresh from its manilla-enveloped journey through the postal system. Looking for the names of poets you know and like, wondering what exciting new voices might be waiting within. Sniffing the paper, feeling the texture of the cover.

One I've just come across is Lighthouse, published by Gatehouse Press. It's a pleasing, understated, quite retro-looking publication: a monochrome cover with a small lino-cut lighthouse illustration, and off-white matt pages which smell a bit like blank newsprint paper. Inside there are poems, short stories, illustrations and a couple of feature articles. 

The stories are great. I'm quite often disappointed by short stories in magazines - they're either too self-consciously experimental and disappoint by the content not matching the form, or they are simply banal. What I want from a short story is to be left thinking about it afterwards, I want it to lodge in my brain and change something. In Lighthouse, none of the stories disappointed, but I particularly liked KJ Orr's quietly disturbing The Shallows and Margaret Jennings' intriguing My Family.

Of the poetry, I was very taken by Mike Saunders' long poem Triptych, and Michael Rutherglen's Sensitivity to Initial Conditions, a wonderfully language-rich exploration of potentialities framed in terms of mathematics. But that's not to say that these are the only poems I enjoyed - they are just two of many.

One particularly nice touch is that each issue has a cover feature: a poem or piece of flash fiction of up to ten lines printed on the back cover. Issue 6's was a compelling little poem by Ella Frears which was an exploration of its own title, the phrase 'Coming Into Your Own'. 

Having sampled the wares, I shall definitely be subscribing to this one.