This week, Joseph Robert had a couple of contributor copies arrive in the post – one poem in The Journal and a spread of three in Mistress Quickly’s Bed. These literary magazines are also stocked at the Southbank Poetry Library. Sometimes I have a good old moment of reflection on writing/ poetry/ art: what’s it all about, what’s the purpose etc and most importantly, why do I do it? As all you poets out there know, if you get into the poetry scene it’s most likely for the love of verse, rather than for money as very few poets make a living from it. My opinion on how to make a living from it? Get your work onto a secondary school, college or university reading list! Not very likely for the majority of us poetic voices crying out to be heard from somewhere in the mists of England, of course, so what next? The wave of the future. Spoken word events, poetry magazines in print and online. Find your voice, find your feet then launch yourself down the runway. Where does the runway go? Into the skies of the internet… ezines = your work finding an audience. Would I write anyway, even if I didn’t have an audience or make dribbles of money at it? Yes. I’m my own audience, first and foremost.

The Journal Issue 39 and Mistress Quickly's Bed Issue 3

The Journal Issue 39 and Mistress Quickly’s Bed Issue 3

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And back to the topic, from which I have strayed most sucessfully with my poetic ramblings! My favourite of Joseph’s from Mistress Quickly’s Bed? Yesterday, when I read them, I thought ‘Sand Dollar, Holler’ on page 29. But actually, now on the re-read, I’m thinking ‘Baby Needs’ on the next page. What are the tribulations of the human condition? We’re born (not of our own accord!), we grow up, we consume resources… we want, we want, we want. Are adults any different than toddlers, when you get right down to the nitty-gritty? Sometimes. Read my poem, ‘Bell Curve’ for a bit more on this, lest I digress even more. I also like ‘Sunspots’ by Martin Domleo and ‘Small town news’ by Lesley Clucas.

Joseph’s poem in The Journal, ‘Look, keep looking, leave’ is open to interpretation. Okay, you got me on that one – poetry is subjective, therefore, it’s always open to interpretation. But when I read this the first time, I thought it was about mental illness before realising I’d hit the nail far from the mark. This one has many layers. However, as Joseph Robert, after all, IS the man behind the curtain (and camera, when we go to literary events), what’s your perception of his poem? You’re on your own! My other favourites in The Journal are ‘Do not open this door! Dangerous dog on the other side!’ by David Grubb and ‘Waiting for warmth’ by Emily Strauss.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their rambunctious toddler, a voracious reader of dinosaur board books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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