As the spin doctors of Los Alamos might have said, ‘If you're going to make a mistake, at least make sure it's a big one.’ And so we would like to apologise most profusely to all concerned, not just for a simple run-of-the-mill printing error in newleaf 4, but for the highly embarrassing boob of actually putting the wrong writer's name to four poems. All the texts printed under the name of Tim Giesler were in fact written by Tim Ingold. This arose from the fact that both Tims — and indeed a third — had taken part in Creative Writing classes and written texts which made our 'Pipeline' shortlist. We will draw a veil over how the mistake actually occurred. Suffice it to say that we grovelled humbly before the correct Tim and were able to make things up to some extent when Tim Ingold — who is obviously set to become a
Since then, we have done two other readings: one in the bar of the Bremen English Club, in front of an audience appreciative both of our texts and the selection of excellent English and Scottish beers on offer; and the other over a public address system in one of the city's main shopping malls in the middle of the Christmas shopping rush, to support the students' strike week in December 1997. People stopped to listen to us and — occasionally — actually took a strike leaflet too.
By the time you have this new issue of the magazine in your hands, newleaf 5 will have been grandly launched in an even more enhanced ambience at the re-opening of one of Bremen's best literary reading venues, the aptly named Ambiente, now splendidly renovated, on 29 January 1998.
The success of Uche Nduka's The Bremen Poems, which we published as the first of a series of pamphlets under the newleaf Press label in 1995, is already bearing fruit. That edition sold out a long time ago, and a second edition — this time in a bi-lingual format — is being planned. We have handed over the rights to the Yeti Press, a young up-and-coming Bremen publishing house which specialises in writing on international topics and is willing to take risks with bi-lingual texts. They published Nduka's latest collection Chiaroscuro to very positive critical praise earlier this year (ISBN 3-9805640-0-2), and just before we went to press we heard that the book had won the 1997 National Poetry Prize of the Association of Nigerian Authors. Congratulations, Uche — and to Christoph Spehr, the publisher.
Building on the success of the Nduka volume, we have decided to give some of our own young writers the opportunity for such a publishing springboard, and will be starting with a collection from Shawn Huelle, a project which will kindly be financially supported by his alma mater, Doane College, in Crete, Nebraska. Other writers already earmarked are two newleaf regulars, Martina Meyer and Kirsten Steppat. Watch this space.
Be warned: newleaf 5 is all poetry. In contrast, newleaf 6 will be all prose — both fiction and non-fiction.
Finally, if you've received this issue as a complimentary copy through the post, you'll have noticed that there is no chatty covering letter, as in the past. The reason for this is that without the letter we can send the magazines — almost a hundred go out to English Departments and libraries all over the country — as a Büchersendung, which will save our faculty over DM 200 a year. So please hand on newleaf to the creative writing person in your department. Thanks, and ...
Ian Watson and Simon Makhali, January 1998
On my grandfather's farm
A night offf manor street
On being told you like my socks
Desire develops an edge
Dressed to kill
It's not about me
Holes of Conviction
Saw the light
For a change
White man's fire