The North, edited by Jonathan Davidson and Jackie Wills (Issue 52, £8.00)

North_52_coverI know it’s nearly October, but the spring issue of The North has just come through our letterbox, a voucher copy sent because the mag contains a review of Five Leaves’ Things of Substance by Liz Cashdan. An excellent review at that, by John Killick, who remarks “One always knows where one is with Cashdan, she is a kind of verse journalist, and you can piece together most of her life, places she has been, persons she has known, interests she has pursued, by following through this collection. And she has the journalist’s quality of clarity, concision and curiosity.” Killick concludes by praising Liz’s ‘The Names of Wool’, eleven verses of names of wool, when she “achieved a tour de force which should be in all the anthologies.” That would be nice.

Five Leaves – as a publisher – is only a part-time visitor to the poetry world, but this issue also includes an article by Mahendra Solanki about his life’s reading of British, American and Indian poets. Robert Lowell comes out as most returned to, but Mahendra also introduces the work of AK Ramunujan and Arun Kolatkar, new to me at least and perhaps most Western readers of the journal. His article will be useful in preparing an intro for Mahendra’s reading on October 1st at  the bookshop.

There are quite a few poems in the issue from that loose group of “friends of Five Leaves” – Robert Hamberger, who we used to publish; Maria Taylor, due to read in the shop next year; John Harvey, one of our irregulars; David Cooke, who read at out place recently and shared the launch of Liz Cashdan’s collection in Sheffield; Bill Herbert from our new A Modern Don Juan… as well as quite a few others who we’ve anthologised or with whom we have loose connections.

This issue of The North was guest edited by Jonathan Davidson and Jackie Wills and is well worth buying, not least for the longer, thoughtful articles about the craft and the business. My only criticism is that four of the reviewers – Malika Booker, David Cooke , Wendy Klein and Maria Jastrezbska also have books under review in the same.

The North is normally on sale at  Five Leaves Bookshop or from www.poetrybusiness.co.uk and costs £8.00.

Ross Bradshaw

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