We are very happy to announce our nominations for this year’s Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. They are:
‘Postcards from the Northwest’ – Caitlin MacKenzie (issue 10, read here)
‘Our Return to Sierra Vista’ – Jeffrey C. Alfier (issue 11, buy here)
‘Lunch in Ars en Ré’ – Lucy Furlong (issue 10, read here)
‘Birdsong in the May-wood’ – Tim Keane (issue 10, read here)
Best of luck to all the nominees! We think they’ll hold their own.
Previous Forward Prize winners include Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Kathleen Jamie. The Best Single Poem prize is open to poems published in the last 12 months in a British or Irish print publication.
After a fun launch party in Oxford, Structo issue 11 is now available to order! It will be available from our stockists on the weekend of February 1st.
Issue 11 is our largest ever, and features 11 short stories, 12 (or 16, depending on how you count) poems, two essay features, and an interview with First Story‘s co-founder Katie Waldegrave.
Several of the poems are in translation, from the Gaelic, Irish, Classical Chinese and Jèrriais.
One of the essays is our regular Incidental column, and the other is a profile of the Surrealist painter and author Leonora Carrington. She had an interesting life.
We’re very proud of this issue. I hope you like it as much as we do.
Solecism cover art © VAC/Rosebud Ben-Oni
One of the greatest shortages in contemporary literature, at least up until the immediate present, is the lack of unique, fresh perspectives. As the world, and especially the United States, becomes more and more integrated, so will the arts. The overwhelming number of single-race novelists and poets coincided with the obvious distinction between races. Luckily, the world has become more and more open, and the barriers between racial integration (literal and metaphorical) have been broken down. Thus, we are starting to see books like Solecism by Rosebud Ben-Oni that offer a refreshingly new perspective on what it was like growing up in the divide between extremely different cultures, and what it is like now.
Ms. Ben-Oni, the daughter of a Mexican mother and Jewish father, can not only speak from the perspective of two races that have their own distinct literary cultures and tropes, but she can also speak as a woman with a foot in each camp. In the poem titled ‘For the Mixed Child with Pale Skin,’ the author takes aim at the assumptions made about her by both outsiders of her cultures as well as the current state of each. She writes,
But now you’ve offended by writing this. You have to be careful
in conferences by ethnicities you half
belong to. Nothing sings how there is never unity for you.
Turn not to your parents: love still blindsides them.
In this poem, the author speaks honestly about her subject, telling the audience that even though some consider race to be a sort of trope that “is no longer taboo,” it is still a part of who she is. In other words, how can the truth of one’s emotions be considered passé?
Like many people, here at Structo Towers, we listen to a lot of our music through the magic of Spotify. It wasn’t until one of the people we follow on Twitter mentioned that they were listening to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land using the service that we even considered that it could be used for anything else.
What follows is the result of an hour or so of searching, and so is by no means complete. If you spot any more good poem collections or stories, please either let us know in the comments, or on Twitter, and I’ll add them in.
The following links are all to Spotify album playlists.
Poetry, individual poets:
Stories, short and otherwise:
There are quite a few other classic works on literature there too, but a great deal of them are read by a computer, so I haven’t included them here.