"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Poetry Bus Magazine Issue 1

I know that TFE is eager for feedback on this brand new baby in the poetical creche. Not sure I'm the best person to provide it - and I don't do reviews!! - but a few first impressions will hopefully placate the bold O'Donoghue.
After a first reading, I admit that I gulped a bit. To be honest, TFE has assembled such a glittering array of poetical talent that my own effort seems somewhat out of place. There are some seriously heavyweight (metaphorically!) poets here and not just the big names. Dominic Rivron (somewhat under-utilised here!) Chris Alba, Padhraig Nolan - to name but three - have not produced books, but God only knows why not!
Anyway 74pp for €5 is terrific value, particularly when you include all the artwork. It really is a fantastic magazine and one I am really proud to be a part of.
However, if everything was praise, praise, praise (blog commenters please note!) nothing would ever improve. There are a few points which might or might not be valid, I'm just throwing them out for discussion -
1) The cover - is that how the picture on the front is supposed to look? To my mind, that object (is it a curling stone?) should be centred. But I'm not very artistic, so I could be wrong.
2) The shiny cover - doesn't really fold particularly well, resulting in no spine. Could the expense of the shiny cover be dispensed with to get a firmer end product?
3) I think there should be a picture of a bus somewhere on the cover, even if only a small one in the corner.
4) Would consider using a much smaller font for the biogs at the back. 13 pages seems an awful lot!
5) Still not quite sure about the ethos of the book - is it primarily for regular poetry bus riders or for good quality poetry? (before I offend anyone, my regular contributions to the bus would scarcely be classed as good quality poetry) Will established non-riding poets be included at the expense of "weaker" regular bus-riders? Or to put it another blunter way, will a writer who isn't very good but rides the bus regularly be included in future anthologies?
6) I will continue to deplore the absence of TFE in the list of contributors. For many of us, he IS the Poetry Bus and therefore there is a feeling the magazine does not truly echo the online version. I feel so strongly about this that I will boycott Issue 2 unless he is included.
7) Will there be more Poetry Busses? Does TFE want the hassle of producing this work of art on a regular basis? I know when I brought out 'Orange' I was exhausted by the end of it, and my wife has said never again. Is there anything we can do to lighten the load? I would love for this magazine to be a regular thing but it really is asking a lot for one person to take it all on.
I think we should all raise a pint, or a glass, of the beverage of our choice to the editor. Bravo sir!


  1. Well done Peter for being the first! I'm going to be sitting under the letterbox with my mouth open all weekend now.
    Complete agreement with points 6 and 7, and I'm just off to make a cup of tea and drink it, entirely on TFE's behalf.
    I think I like the compass-y curling stone off to one side, but I'll have to wait until I see the thing live. Back to the letterbox...

  2. I disagree with you on lots here Peter (in the friendliest way).
    1) Cover looks great. Centring is for wimps.
    2) It's a magazine - doesn't need a spine.
    3) A Bus...maybe...don't want to get too twee though.
    4) Agree....biog bit is a bit long. Could have cut mine done for a start!
    5) I like the variety of styles and experience. There are quite enough poetry mags obsessed with the much fabled 'quality poetry' (really a lot of it does come down to taste you know...) and I'm really pleased that there's one with an alternative take on things. I really hope Peadar stays open-minded and doesn't just join either flock A ('quality') or flock B ('performance') or flock C ('humour') or whatever (let him be flock 'unclassified'!). It can be quality without being 'quality'... And don't put yourself down all the time! At your best you are very good...work to your strengths and don't waste energy on all that self-deprecation (p.s. Peader - only spelling mistake I've found so far linked here...).
    6) If Peadar is going to edit (and I think he should - it's his baby...might keep him off the sauce too) then he shouldn't be a contributor too. That can get very complicated!
    7) See above.


  3. Thanks a million Pete.Delighted to get some feedback!And thanks also for your brilliant poem.I love that you gave what you didn't like as well as the good things.So now I can really appreciate the positives and there were lots of those,while taking onboard the helpful constructive criticisms and suggestions so thanks again Pete, I'm really , really pleased! Phew!

    Ps There definitely will be issue 2. Some poems have already been accepted and PJ Nolan is working away on the pull-out print!

  4. Willing to go along with most of your comments, Rachel. I was just opening things up for discussion, really.
    Don't see how having an editor contributing would make things complicated? Revival does it, Boyne Berries does it, Crannog does it and there doesn't seem to be a problem. To me, the Poetry Bus without TFE is like something that goes with something else but the something else is missing.

  5. Ps I couldn't put my own poems in as they would be so good as to eclipse all others on the planet. :)

    Something missing, like war without death?