Concentrating mainly on contributed poetry, with a couple of well written book reviews and some interesting visual art thrown in, The Nail provides a nice variety of work by approximately twenty contributers to interest and stimulate the reader. From Haiku through to 50+ line writing, there is something for everyone here. My particular favourites cover the range.
Rapunzel Wizard is an environmental activist and performance poet and his 'Why I Had To Leave Brighton' had me roaring with laughter at the tale of a poet who liberally sprinkles his work with profanity (much to the delight of kids!). It all goes wrong for him, however, when faced by an over-zealous organiser with a swear box and a bunch of Guardian-reading dads whipped up into a frenzied lynch mob. The ultimate irony is that the performance he chronicles took place at Brighton Peace Fair: priceless.
There is a strong autumnal theme to this issue, and Linda Fisher’s haiku, below, catches the sense of this season perfectly:
Along the bypass
autumn trees drip leaves, like blood
from an open wound.
Similarly, Peter Wyton shows the rawness of autumn in Take A Leaf:
When wind blows, shed clothes.
Settle into the British winter
What is most pleasing about much of the work here is the use of poetry as a voice for protest and raising issues. Ellen McAteer (aka Elf) slaps our male dominated society hard with Patronised. Her righteous anger is all the more effective for the injection of humour and a willingness to play with words and perceptions:
You calling a novel chick-lit
Cos it’s got a woman in it
And then canonising tales
Of men who get drunk and go hunt whales
IF you’re gonna keep patronising
Then I’m gonna start MATRONISING!
A big cheer to Nina Davies for name-checking Superman and Monty Panesar in Encounters, Briefly (set in a railway station, naturally). Similar applause to Lizzy McHale for 'I like the word CUNT', handling the C word with deft good humour:
It kicks off country
and county and kin
it’s the soil we stand on
the place we begin
There is much more to read and enjoy, and the art work is well worth a look too – respect to Sophia Blackwell for referencing Banksy in her drawing. So buy it and immerse yourself in other people’s creativity. Go to a slam. Enter the Daily Info Autumn Poetry Competition before it’s too late! The Nail has a lot to offer.