Dangerous potatoes? Not at …
which is where you'll find us in cyberspace. Those looking for us with the help of a search engine will have been as amazed as we were to find out just how many other people in the world have been attracted by the name ‘new leaf’ and have hit on the idea of writing it as one word; from a German print software company whose product NEWLEAF (all capitals) represents a ‘technological quantum leap’, to the US agribusiness that exported genetically engineered potatoes with the brand name NewLeaf (one word, two capitals: très online) to Georgia (as in ‘former USSR’: not as in ‘Rainy Night in‘), thus sparking off an international controversy that filled columns from taz to Times. While the Irish potato famine may indeed have had the delayed-action effect of one of our editors emigrating to Germany and the other returning to Bremen after only a year in Dublin, we claim no other link between us and potatoes – except perhaps Seamus Heaney's ‘Digging’, of course.
We are now into doublefigures. and this ‘crisp’ issue really is a ‘chip’ (sorry) off the old block. It is the mixture as before: three guests – from Ireland, Scotland and the US – and eleven locals, one of them new. Light and dark, morning and night take turns; colours and paint, cars and animals alternate as leitmotifs. We make a second venture into the bi-lingual and bring back the comic to our pages.
Number 10 includes pen drawings by Bremen artist Martin Kakies which form part of the illustrations he did for Uche Nduka's new book Belltime Letters which we published in July.
For the first time, newleaf carries a sponsor's logo in the inside cover. The Schreiber Reederei is a Bremen landmark, their funnel and flag permanent features of the Weser riverscape. They are also a company prepared to support the arts locally – and no strings attached. Thanks once again, too, to the Bremer Literaturkontor for stepping in again to help pay off our debts with the faculty.
We are slowly forming a corpus of support. Out of the much larger Producing an English Magazine group of helpers, willing to fill the breach when needed, has emerged a hardcore of PEM enthusiasts who might just be re-forming into a board of management. Some are authors; some are not. Kirsten Steppat has always been active behind the scenes, nursing the newleaf display and organising the readings; Melanie Ebenhoch is in charge of the website; Oliver Chrystossek has started reviewing the layout; Julia Boll has taken over copy editing; and on the sales and sponsorship side we have Cora Buhlert, Anke Hagedorn, Jens Hirschberg, Manuela Hoerenz and Irina Schmitt.
Last but not least, thanks to Cecile Sandten, Bremen colleague and newleaf author, who is now the world-record newleaf salesperson. She not only browbeats students into buying the magazine – we only wish others would follow her lead – but takes copies out on the Literarischer Spaziergang she regularly does in the city for the Stadtbibliothek library, taking locals and Bremen tourists to points of interest linked to writers from Heinrich Heine and Joachim Ringelnatz to Peter Weiss and Sujata Bhatt. This August, on a Spaziergang with sixty punters, she managed to sell 14 magazines and a couple of copies of Kirsten Steppat’s The Guinea Pig Speaks. Thank goodness it’s still easier to sell poetry in the Bremen streets than propagate the benefits of genetically manipulated potatoes. The Spaziergang, which will be back on the road in 2001 after the winter break, is advertised at www.stadtbibliothek-bremen.de. Watch out for it.
Now read on, couch potato.
Simon ‘Mash’ Makhali and Ian ‘The Wedge’ Watson, November 2000
A Man Planting
Making the Hayrope
prayer for the tooth fairy
The Gift of Light
more cups for your tea
Paint my World
Wandering thru the Wilderness
The Wood Chopper's Lament