Tuesday Poem: Editorial Statement - Kathleen Jones

If [what] we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, 
what are we reading it for?’ Franz Kafka

I detest polite English poetry – poems you could show
to an elderly evangelical who favours censorship or

the ones you wrote about cute animals
in a workshop on Nature Poetry.

I want it with all its guts and gore
a metaphorical spectacular.

Give me fiction, faction, fireworks, ferocity, –
fierce, feminist, flamboyant – anything, but make it FEISTY.

I want commitment. Nail my brain
to the paper/ipad – or whatever I’m reading it on.

I want blood, I want extra
sensory perception.

Offend me – suspend me,
challenge my preconceived ideas to a cage fight.

I don’t care about good manners
or punctuation.

I want POETRY.

[No more than 40 lines, previously unpublished, 
no simultaneous submissions]

Copyright Kathleen Jones, 2018

I don't know if anyone is following the Eyewear furore [search @eyewearbooks] but it set me thinking about poetry presses and what they're looking for. Todd Swift certainly published some innovative stuff - I either hated it or was knocked out by it - but never bored.  Last week I reviewed Esther Morgan's collection 'Grace', and it made me analyse what it is I'm looking for in a poem or a novel. What would I be asking for if I was editing an anthology?  I'm currently reading Kirsty Gunn's new book 'Caroline's Bikini' and it is a startling piece of fiction that defies every convention by turning them inside out without losing any kind of readability. It's mesmerising.

So I think I'm in the Kafka camp.  I want enjoyment, but I also want that blow on the head - what Katherine Mansfield called the 'knock on the heart', of passion and authenticity, when I read the words.

But it's all very well asking for that as a reader, as a writer it's another struggle altogether!

Poets may be interested in an Australian magazine called 'Not Very Quiet '.  Some interesting stuff and they're currently open for submissions.


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