Sunday, 29 March 2015

Clear Poetry

A new kind of online magazine has arrived - Clear Poetry's tagline is:

ACCESSIBLE. APPROACHABLE. ASTONISHING.


I caught up with Editor Ben Banyard, who like many was inspired by Jo Bell's 52 (https://about.me/jobell) and this is what he told me.

Yes, I'm very fortunate in that being part of the whole Jo Bell/52 thing meant that I felt comfortable stepping straight into the middle of the poetry scene. It's also the secret behind attracting some really good work early on because I was able to ask poets I already knew if they had material they could lend me!
The ethos comes from feeling like an outsider who's happy to point out when I feel that the emperor's clothes are missing. It was a reaction to a lot of writing which I didn't personally enjoy but which a lot of others feel obliged to praise and which seemed to be cropping up in a lot of lit mags. I also felt that trying to show people who perhaps have no real interest in poetry a small selection of a poet's work which can be read in 10 minutes or so somewhere in their hectic day would give it real value and resonance.
Clear Poetry is very personal - it's entirely my choice. Having resolved to only publish work that I enjoy makes the business of being an editor much less daunting, if that makes sense. Hopefully people like it, and the quality of submissions that I'm getting shows that people writing great work want to be featured - that makes me very proud.
Thankfully the volume of submissions is still manageable, and I can work through them wherever I am thanks to the wonders of a Smartphone! I read everything several times, at different times of the day and in various locations. I often find something I didn't enjoy at first which I read while at work suddenly jumps up at me while I'm standing in the kitchen at home waiting for the kettle to boil!
I generally respond to all submissions within ten days or so, although that will inevitably increase if more people send work in. Being a poet who's always submitting work, I know how frustrating it is when it takes months to receive a generic response so as well as trying to giving people a rapid yes or no I try to make even the straight no emails as friendly and personal as possible.

p&g also works on the personal response; our magazine is what we like so I enjoyed hearing about Ben's approach and his reading tips - now perhaps it is up to poets to write stuff that holds up robustly in a world where our work could be read anywhere and any time. So the reading aloud in different places might help as part of the editing process too...

You can read Clear Poetry here https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com/ and find out how to submit here and there is another rather interesting article about Jo Bell's 52 here http://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=43306.

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