Friday, June 5, 2015

The Poetry Bus Interview

The Poetry Bus is print magazine of international contemporary poetry with full colour illustrations, reviews, articles, graphic stories, flash fiction and very short stories. Each issue comes with an audio CD of poets reading plus two music tracks and its edited by Collette and Peadar O'Donoghue. I was interested in finding out what they, as editors are looking for... 

What are you looking for as editors? What are you definitely not looking for?
Can we start by answering the second question first?  It has a slightly more concrete answer! There is nothing that we are not looking for. Peadar is the president of PAH (poets against haiku) yet PB$ had 13 Haiku in it, because they were interesting, they were good, they had something to say and said it well. So we can never say never. If we don’t like rhyming poems, long poems, form poems, young love poems, then prove us wrong, send us things we cannot deny. 

Which kind of brings us to the first question, we are looking for everything and anything. Anything that hits us, moves us, changes us. We are looking for poems that have something to say, and say it well, poems of the heart as much as the head, visceral poems of anger, of  hurt,  of love, of  joy, of  hate. We dream of a piece that we start reading as one person and are so affected by the words that we are no longer the same person by the end because now you have something new in your head, in your heart, a poem/story/flash fiction that you will never forget. We are hoping to add opinion pieces (about poetry) in future issues and we want those to speak up and speak out!

 What do you enjoy most about driving the Poetry Bus?
Physically, we love addressing the envelopes and stamping them with our logos, we get a buzz from all the exotic and not so exotic addresses, but the smile is soon wiped from our faces by the post office bill!  Spiritually, Peadar loves finding a great poem by an unpublished poet, we both do, and I love the excitement of  finding an amazing image that fits. Which brings us on to the next question!

How important is the visual aspect of the magazine ?
The visual aspect, the visual appeal, is on equal footing with the words, it is an integral component and a very important part of the DNA of the mag. We are looking (well Collette looks, finds, then we discuss) for strong images, visual poems if you like. The front cover image is vital and we try to use striking images that reflect the contents and style of the issue, an image that would compel browsers to pick up the magazine.

What are the most common mistakes writers make when submitting to magazines?  
I used to get tired of editors banging on about buying a copy of their mag before submitting, but now as a co-editor I see exactly what they mean. If you get a copy of a mag not only will you see if your poetry suits and if the mag is the kind of mag you’d be happy for your work to appear in, you will also be reading other peoples poetry and supporting the often precarious finances of the publisher. Which is a round-about way of saying that a mistake writers make is not doing their homework on where and why they’d like to be published. Some editors can be very pedantic about correspondence and correct forms address, manners, etiquette, and multifarious little personal gripes, for us, all we want is your work, your best work. We are not school teachers or the grammar police.

Any more Grimoires in the pipeline?
We are just about (well soon!) to publish ‘This Is What Happened’ by Melissa Diem which started out as a chapbook but rather excitingly has turned into a first collection with DVD (Melissa makes great short films about her poems). This will be followed by a chapbook by S
éamas Carraher called DUB(H)LIN(N) 20 Poems of the City. We’ve shelved the Grimoire name for now as it was chosen for and really suited Fiona Bolger’s book, The Geometry of  Love Between the Elements, if another chapbook comes along that fits the Grimoire mould, we might resurrect it. 

Anything exciting coming up?
We had a very successful and enjoyable PB showcase reading at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival put on by our sponsors The Munster Literature Centre, a more friendly and open festival you will not find. We can’t recommend it highly enough. We had the time of our lives, and we’d love to be asked back.

Peadar is doing a solo reading from his next Salmon collection. The Death of Poetry’ in September at The Gladstone Sessions run by Peter O’Neill. There was mad talk of getting a real bus and hitting the road, but short of winning the lottery or finding a lunatic sponsor that will remain a dream for now. PB6 is the next issue which will probably be out late this winter, look out for a submission call… soon. Take a look at PB$ and see what we like and if your stuff might suit, buy one for all your friends and family, they’ll love you for it!

1 comment:

The Poetry Bus said...

Thank you so much for inviting us on to your lovely blog, Niamh, and for taking the time to ask us these questions!
Peadar and Collette.