Friday, 20 November 2009

The penultimate Sphinx

My fave lit mag has just arrived, Sphinx, edited by the Scottish poet and publisher Helena Nelson. This is Sphinx 11, and after 12 the mag will go completely on line, as part of the site. The mag's review already appear there. I presume that Sphinx loses more money in a print form than being put on-line for free access. But it is a nice print form, handy A5 with coloured endpapers, in keeping with its stated aim of promoting chapbooks. This edition though covers a range of small presses - primarily through interviews with the editors of Shearsman, Red Squirrel, Oystercatcher, tall-lighthouse, The Poetry Business, Gray Hen and a feature with an ex-worker from the letterpress printer Barbarian Books.

Essential reading for other nosy small press editors of course, but those who write for small presses, or wish to, should read this edition particularly. £3.50 well spent. You can buy all the back issues on the Happenstance site, though the current one is not on their shop yet so you may have to resort to good old fashioned cheques.

I would email Helena Nelson to plead with her to keep the mag in a print format, other than I did that when the decision to go on-line was first announced. She did not weaken.

1 comment:

HelenB said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Ross. It is much appreciated. The magazine isn't exactly going online. That is to say, the magazine in its present incarnation is really ceasing with issue 12 (which will be Special).

After that, the service of running the reviews on the web (three reviewers for each pamphlet publication) will continue. It is terribly time-consuming. Can't do that and whole mag and other poetry publications.

However, from time to time, I will post features and/or interviews as appropriate on the website.

For the moment I've done all I can (or very nearly) to map small press and especially poetry pamphlet activity at this point in the UK literary story. It's been an education -- hopefully not just for me.