By leaves we live
It’s been well over a year since the last edition of newleaf and there are a myriad of reasons for this, among them being one editor in the traumatising throes of a PhD thesis and another’s successful attempt to throw himself down the outside cellar steps and rupture his quadriceps tendon. (Press reports that this was done in protest against the abominable state of punctuation in contemporary poetry are a complete fabrication.)
Our cover by Oliver Chrystossek this time involves a wonderful full-frontal portrait of a member of the Orchidaceae family, one of the old British regional names for which is bollockwort, from the Middle English, apparently referring back to the origin of the flower’s name from the Ancient Greek for testicle! We trust that you will find the contents of newleaf 28 everything but a load of bollockwort – indeed more like how Wikipedia describes it: ‘diverse and widespread’, ‘colorful and fragrant’, as well as ‘elusive’ If that doesn’t sum up newleaf, we don’t know what does.
All this etymology would have been very familiar to Patrick Geddes (1854–1932), who was a Scottish biologist, sociologist, philanthropist and pioneering town planner; and probably also the first person to whom one could attribute the modern epithet ‘environmentalist’. He put many of his ideas into practice in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It was he who wrote, ‘We live not by the jingling of our coins, but by the fullness of our harvests. By leaves we live.’ This last little sentence is the motto of the Scottish Poetry Library, which opened in 1984 and can be found in Crichton’s Close, off Canongate, in the heart of precisely the Old Town that city seeped in the spirit of writers from Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson (whose Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is set in the closes of the Old Town) to Ian Rankin (even if Detective Inspector John Rebus does prefer to drink in the Oxford Bar in New Town) and J. K. Rowling. Not surprisingly, Edinburgh was chosen as the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004. Go to scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/bohemia-lies-sea, in the SPL’s Reading Room section ‘Classic poems’, to read Julia’s text about Ingeborg Bachmann’s poem ‘Bohemia lies by the sea’: ‘I come from a country by the sea. Docks, ships, seafarers’ tales and songs have shaped my imagination. But it was when I moved to another coastal nation that this poem suddenly hit home …’
The SPL’s page also includes a link to our own website; and we are proud that this wonderful library includes copies of newleaf.
This issue is as full of vegetation as the previous one; we are certainly living up to our name. We do indeed have a ‘flower riot’: petals, leaves, herbs; plants and trees galore; dahlia, petunia, lotus; saal, guava, papaya; lettuce, mango, tomato … Small wonder that ‘Daumenkino’ Chrystossek felt obliged to provide a butterfly flipbook; try and catch one in your net. We also have death, as always, plus some seashore, and an ex-death at the seashore. Lots of night and fire and sky too.
Our classic poem opener this time, itself set among leaves, was chosen by newleaf reader Jessika Köhler, who gets a free copy of the magazine. Do send in your suggestions for newleaf 29.
Julia Boll, Simon Makhali and Ian Watson, June 2012
The road not taken
By leaves we live
The memorey bird
Smithfield horse fair
The third attempt
The shadow owner’s companion
Throwing Anchors at the sky
Happiness is thus lucky
Closet of lemons
This is the night
About the authors
About the authors
Nicholas Beaumont is studying at the University of Lincoln for an MA in Creative Writing. He is a published poet, and an editor of the arts magazine b[liminal].
Peter Branson’s poetry has been published or accepted for publication by journals in Britain, USA, Canada, Eire, Australia and New Zealand, including Acumen, Agenda, Ambit, Envoi, Magma, The London Magazine, Iota, Frogmore Papers, South, The New Writer, Crannog, Raintown Review, The Huston Poetry Review, Barnwood, and Other Poetry. His first collection, The Accidental Tourist, came out in 2008, a second (ebook) last year. More recently a pamphlet has been issued by ‘Silkworms Ink’. A third collection has been accepted for publication by Salmon Press, Eire. He has won prizes and been placed in a number of poetry competitions over recent years, including firsts in the Grace Dieu and the Envoi International.
Patrick Fisher is now The Reader Organisation’s Reader-in-Residence for Glasgow Schools. Reading aloud with over 280 children a week, he shares poetry, plays and prose ranging from Roald Dahl to John Keats with children who have never before read for pleasure. This is his third publication in newleaf and as a playwright he has worked with The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and The National Theatre of Scotland. His two most recent plays Occupy Kitchen: The Aga Saga and Loadsa Funny! were performed for the NTS’ 5 Minute Theatre Festival and are available to watch again online. He enjoys football, tennis and chocolate raisins and is currently older than he’s ever been.
Corinna Gerhards writes to remember and to forget. To remember to look out for every tiny thing that might be worth a poem and to forget that reality can’t always be a fairytale. To remember something that never happened and to forget that the alarm clock goes off in a few hours. To remember that she wants to be a proper author one day and to forget that only two percent of writers can make a living. To remember all the big things happening and to forget about the dishes that need to be done.
Eleanor Hooker began her career as a nurse and midwife and is working towards her first collection of poetry. She has previously published poems in Crannog, The Stinging Fly, The SHOp and other Irish magazines, as well as Agenda in the UK. She is a founding member, vice-chairperson and PRO of the Dromineer Literary Festival and is also helm and Press Officer for the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat.
Simon Howells was born in Wales in 1971 and has had stories published in The London Magazine, Planet, New Welsh Review, and The Bitter Oleander, an American journal.
Noel King was born and lives in Tralee, Ireland, where he runs Doghouse Press. His poems – including haiku – short stories, reviews and articles have been published in over thirty countries. His debut collection, Prophesying the Past, is published by Salmon Poetry.
Anne Kirkham is a seventh-generation Californian and expat living with her family in Bremen, Germany. A graduate of the University of California and the New School for Social Research, she now teaches English at the University of Bremen. Although she writes a lot of prose and prose poems, this is her first publication. Her interests include bike riding, early medieval history, reading, music, and cooking.
Fran Konitzer was born in Bavaria and escaped to England as soon as she possibly could, obtaining a degree in professional geekery (also known as Physics with Astrophysics) at the University of York. Now based in Munich, she is studying for yet another degree (Psychology) and dreams of earning money with journalism some day.
A.K. Kulshreshth has also published stories in Silverfish 4 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Bear Fruit (Singapore), Muse India (Hyderabad, India) and Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong). ‘Innocence’ was earlier published online by Mascara Literary Review (Newcastle, Australia).
Freesia McKee is a page poet, slammer, and native of a small Midwestern city in the US. She recently graduated from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a minor in Creative Writing. Freesia’s poetry has been published in Drey, Vapid Kitten, The Boiler Journal and elsewhere. This fall, she will enrol in an MFA in Poetry program at Mills College in California. When she’s not writing, Freesia enjoys dancing, exploring new places, and discussing intersectional feminism.
Theresa Muñoz’s debut pamphlet Close was published by HappenStance Press in March 2012. Recent work has also appeared in Poetry Review, New Linear Perspectives and Causeway/Cahbsair. She is an Overseas Research Scholar in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow, having traded one chilly country for another when she moved from Canada to Scotland in 2006.
Sara Norja was born in England and grew up in London and Helsinki, Finland. She has an unabashed love for words, whether in terms of linguistics or fiction, and has been writing since she could form letters. Her first poem (at age 7) consisted of the following couplet: ‘Fishes do live under the sea, / don’t you ever beleave in me?’ She will shortly graduate with an MA in English Philology from the University of Helsinki. This is her first publication.
Jeremy Page has edited The Frogmore Papers for nearly thirty years. He lives close to the South Downs in East Sussex with his German partner and their bilingual daughter, and teaches at the University of Sussex. He has published four collections of poems, most recently In and Out of The Dark Wood (HappenStance 2010), and his translations of Catullus’s Lesbia poems were published by the Ashley Press last year as The Cost of All Desire.
Andrew Pidoux lives in Harlesden, west London. His first collection of poems, Year of the Lion, was published by Salt in 2010. He has also had work in such magazines as Acumen, Iota, Poetry Salzburg, Poetry Wales and Stand and in the anthologies First Pressings (Faber and Faber) and New Writing 10 (Picador). He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1999 and Salt Publishing’s Crashaw Prize in 2009. He has published poems and stories in two Doctor Who collections for Big Finish.
Kenneth Pobo won the 2011 qarrtsiluni poetry chapbook contest for Ice And Gaywings, published in November 2011. Also published in 2011 from Deadly Chaps was a collection of his micro-fiction called Tiny Torn Maps. He is currently working on a new book of ekphrastic poems.
Hollie Richards has previously had work published in Sixty-Six Six Sentence Stories. She is a psychologist and works in health research for the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England. She spent most of her childhood living on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, which has a strong but conflicting influence on her writing. She lives in Bristol, UK, where she juggles scientific research with writing poetry and vaguely metaphysical prose with LGBTQ themes.
Bettina Snyder, after seeing her first poem for newleaf published twenty years ago, ventured out to live and work in the USA, Ireland and India and has accumulated an anthology of a hundred poems in English and German, all thus far being appreciated exclusively by the dust mites in her desk drawer.
Cathy Villevoye-Silk is a New Zealander currently living and working in the Netherlands. She has had work published in Northern Light 10/11, e-lit magazine Short, Fast and Deadly and the New Zealand school journal. ‘End’ is one of the products of an experimental phase in brevity, which she finds an irresistible challenge.
Elke Weiss is busy filling pages. As Elke Marion Weiss, she published her first novel Triangel (Gmeiner Verlag) earlier this year, and her second – Die ungewisse Reise nach Samarkand – is forthcoming in July (also from Gmeiner), just in time for your summer holiday reading. Now, in her still-untitled third, she is tracking down a headless male corpse found in the Bremen Bürgerpark which nobody seems to be missing. Perhaps cocker spaniel Julchen will be able to help.
Nicholas YB Wong comes from Hong Kong and is the author of Cities of Sameness (New York, Barnes & Noble 2012) and the winner of several awards, including the Sentinel Quarterly Poetry Competition, nominations for the Best of the Net and Web Anthologies in 2010. He is currently a poetry editor for THIS Literary Magazine and a poetry reader for Drunken Boat.