Flood Warnings and Steam Baths – the De-Cabbage Yourself experience flies south for summer

This week, Rob‘s in The Bahamas with me, Scavella, aka Nicolette Bethel. He hasn’t picked the best day for it — the birds are singing, they always do, but it’s overcast and going to pour. Still, the nice thing about rain in the sub-tropics (which isn’t like rain in Scotland, which I experienced one chilly day in Edinburgh on my way back from a conference in St. Andrews round the turn of the century) is that it’s drama at its best. And it’s warm. So hold on for flood warnings and steam baths.

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The changing face of literature

Having work accepted to places like qarrtsiluni and Anti- has had the effect of my paying closer attention to the way literary journals work, especially online. The above two make some use of the technology at hand, qarrtsiluni publishing a piece a day, and Anti alternating between issues and featured poet series.

The possibilities are endless, spreading before one like a sea. The lure of the internet as a space for publication sends up the kind of thrill that frontiers must have when they were frontiers.

So here’s the thing. If you were starting up an online literary journal, what features might you include?

Publication in qarrtsiluni

(ai, it’s hard to post in the middle of the day from here … traffic is high and the connection gets very slow, and weird things happen.  Where’s here?  Why, Georgetown, Guyana, at CARIFESTA X, and you can follow the story of my/our experiences here, but anyway, we soldier on)


I wanted to say that in checking one of my email accounts the other day, I realized, belatedly, that two of my pieces had been accepted for publication in the Transformation issue of qarrtsiluni.

The pieces?  

Sevenling:  Life is a drying

The Granddaughter Sings Lily Home (1994)

They’ll even be accompanied by sound files.  Fabulous!

Thanks, guys.  Look for the first one soon.

Acceptance from Anti-

*ahem* Edited to make the actual announcement.

I’ve heard from Steve Schroeder over at Anti- that two of my Lily poems were accepted for publication. Which ones? “The Preacher Man Saves Lily’s Soul (1914)” and “The Carpenter Seals Lily’s Widowhood (1943)”. I can’t begin to explain my elation. Both are favourites of mine. “Preacher Man” has been in progress for years and years (pace Julie), while “Carpenter” came almost complete, and needed only a few tweaks here and there for wording, clarity, and semi-form (it wants to masquerade as a sonnet, which it really isn’t, and so I made some concessions). Woo-hoo!!

Couple of months ago, when Anti- was launched, I posted this on my blog. At that time, I said

Found this interesting:


I agree poetry should improve the bare page — or the bare screen, in most of the cases I’m familiar with these days. (Is there such a thing as a bare screen?) Three problems, though.

  1. Be sure you read contemporary poetry.”
  2. “Posting drafts to an online workshop or blog is not previously published provided they’re removed prior to submission.”
  3. “Anything the editor can Google is previously published.”

Hm. Pretty well everything I consider worth publishing has been workshopped online, and not all workshops purge.

And today, when I thought I’d trawl through my caught spams, I discovered this response to that post:

Hi Scavella:

Sorry I wasn’t aware of this post earlier. I think workshops not purging old posts is a terrible idea, which was one of two key reasons I quit posting at PFFA long ago. I think you’ll find me much more accommodating of online workshopping than a lot of editors.

Steve S
Friday, January 25, 2008

Thanks Steve, thanks Julie, thanks all!

Oh, and I figured out what I was anti- as well.

Avatar Review 10

The issue’s live, and it’s lovely to look at.

It’s exciting to be a part of it.  It’s even more exciting to see what’s in it.  It’s worth a good, long wallow, I think.

People I know/have workshopped with whose work is in it:

Nic Sebastian

Howard Miller

David Anthony

Graham Burchell

and our very own

Julie Carter

is the featured poet.  Yay!

Congratulations to the editorial board, which features even more of the people I’ve met through workshops — and to Paula Grenside in particular, who accepted my poem and edited me — though we both missed one small detail, which I’ll leave you all to figure out.