30 December 2008

Harold Pinter (1930-2008)

"In 1958 I wrote the following: 'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.' I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?"

harold pinter (London, 1930-2008), an excerpt from Art, Truth & Politics, his Nobel Lecture, shown on video on December 7, 2005, in Börssalen at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm

Further reading:


Pinter at The Guardian, BBC News, The New York Times, The Poetry Archive

26 November 2008

too short, too late, too close to nowhere

is it ever possible to unfold a letter
with broken teeth?
will it matter?
nothing comes across

shame on you storyteller
crippled and thirsty
nothing comes across
i am numb

after being mugged, ditched, raped
scolded by parents, making waves
reaching out to the outskirts
will it matter?

put my teeth to paper and utter
hopeless words when i read aloud
too short, coming too late
standing close to nowhere

julia hoggard (Manchester, 1979)

28 October 2008

what we look for

Poetry is a game with no rules. And reviewing of poetic materials is not a scientific matter. However, here at Young British Poets we have come up with a few guidelines that serve our editorial team as common ground for submissions assessment.

This is what we look for:

A distinct voice. It does not matter whether poetry is about eggplants, elevators, turnips or monster trucks. It does not matter if it is yet another poem about love lost, loneliness or despair. But we do care about finding distinct voices that tell us about what we already know in a new, different way.

An eye catching title. The title of a poem is like a movie poster. It may make you curious about what it is "promoting". So we love well crafted, smart, witty or plain silly and playful titles.

A great beginning, an even greater ending. If a poem grabs you from the neck right from the start you will probably keep reading it until the very final verse, where we love to find a bold, elegant, significant ending, something that reads like "Thanks for traveling with us", or maybe even "Rot in hell".

Flow, rhythm. Was the travel soft and easy, was it rocky and rough, was it fast, slow paced... we enjoy all types of rides, as long as it is a real, compelling ride.

Emotional impact. We read poems to ourselves, we read them aloud, we look for snippets that we like within the poem, we dissect and reassemble, we read poetry upside down... but in the end all we are looking for is emotion, in the widest and wildest of senses.

Kevin Bacon
Editor, YBP

19 September 2008

the ear is the best reader

"When Frost said 'the ear is the best reader' he didn't mean to say that he preferred the fleeting voice to the substantial page, but to give them both equal value, and to remind us how they depended on one another. The point can be proved very easily. A poem creates its effects not simply by sharing an explicable meaning with its reader, but by dramatising that meaning and making it intimate - by the musicality (or not) of the words, by rhythm, by rhyme, by recurring patterns of sound, by disruptions, and by the movement and evolution of tone through a whole piece of work. It is a demonstration of harmonies, in all sorts of ways. More than that, even, the sound of a poem can actually become its meaning"

Andrew Motion (London, 1952), an excerpt from the article Listening to Poetry, published at The Poetry Archive, a comprehensive and expanding archive of recordings of poets reading their own work, available online for free

Further reading:

Classic poets' voices go online (BBC)

Motion cheers online poem archive (BBC)

Andrew Motion celebrates the rise and rise of the Poetry Archive (The Times)

Poetry Archive unveils lost voices (The Guardian)

5 September 2008

poetry submission guidelines

Updated: October 2011

Young British Poets is a new weblog devoted to poetry and short stories. We are the sister site of Young American Poets.

we welcome submissions by poets born on or after july 20, 1972, from all countries in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth of Nations. we do not accept poetry from underaged writers, sorry.

currently, we only accept e-mail submissions, which should be sent to this e-mail address: youngpoetsblog@gmail.com

please send two to six unpublished poems written in English. translations are not acceptable.

contributions are accepted in an ad honorem basis. poetry may include dedication and should be accompanied by full name of the poet, plus birthplace information, year of birth and brief biographical statement.

we ask our contributors to allow three to four weeks for review and a decision.

The Young British Poets Team

by submitting your poetry you acknowledge that the materials offered are your own original work, and agree that they can be posted and archived in this site. you also acknowledge and agree that you grant Young British Poets a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free right and license to reproduce and distribute the submitted materials for usage in any publication, be it electronic, print or otherwise.