Issue Fifteen of South Bank Poetry magazine is a bit of a cracker. The strapline is ‘London and Urban Poetry’, and the current issue features many Scottish themed poems alongside the London contingent. A fitting blue and white cover, and just under 40 pages of fine poems, given room to breathe and interact with each other. I bought my copy over a month ago, direct from affable co-editor Peter Ebsworth, during the break at a previous Loose Muse evening. It’s a perfect little magazine for tube journeys, to read and digest two or three poems at a time. Some impressive names appear in this issue, with impressive poems to match: Kona Macphee, John Burnside, Patrick Deeley and John Glenday. And what a delight it was to attend the official launch last Thursday, at the Poetry Café (where else?), and hear afresh so many of the poems I’d enjoyed. Peter and co-editor Katherine Lockton read for those who couldn’t make it, but many of the contributors were there and read one or two poems in addition to their published piece. Special mentions for Peter Raynard‘s declamatory High Rise Living, Sonia Jarema‘s witty Kebab Story, the poignant Driving up to Renfrew by Sarah Lawson, me old mucker and confirmed London obsessive Joolz Sparkes performing We Live Here, and Melanie Mauthner’s beautiful – and beautifully read – First Words.
Poetry still needs great little mags like South Bank Poetry, so seek out a copy from your local independent bookshop. There’s no website (not yet a criminal offence, as far as I’m aware), but contact details can be found on the Poetry Library listing.