Any day now, the latest print issues of takahē – our 86th – will be arriving in mailboxes across the country. Hurrah!
Those of you who keep a regular eye on this website may have already seen some of our online content – all thirty-one book reviews for example, or the stunning art (cover and other) by Lisa Walker, or the sample fiction and poetry from Rachel Smith, Meagan France, Jenny Powell and Robert McLean. Or maybe you’ve read our Essays Editor’s Editorial piece, and taken a moment with your cup of coffee to wonder about the ins and outs of putting a magazine like takahē together, and keeping it a lively and satisfying read.
Of course, to get the full content of the magazine, you need to subscribe …
All the selections for the poetry component of the next issue have been made, and sent off to the tender ministrations of our layout designer, Peter Fitchett. (Yep, all this stuff happens quite a while in advance of the publication date of the issue.)
Our guest poet for takahē 86 is Robert Sullivan, and we have poems from fifteen contributors, ranging geographically from Otago to Auckland, via Scotland. It’s looking like a very interesting issue, with a real mix of topics. There’s a slightly higher-than-average number of humorous poems, and quite a few examples of formal work (what can I say – I’m a sucker for both, done well).
I’ve been selecting the short fiction for takahe 86, due out in April. There wasn’t a single submission that didn’t have some merit – great style, interesting characters or a gripping plot.
As I went through the pile, making decisions, it struck me yet again how fiendishly difficult it is to write a good short story. The ones that appealed to me were those which read easily, the words flowing gracefully. Effort made so as to appear effortless; no forced metaphors or flowery constructions; no unnecessary extras.
More than this is needed, however. There has to be one or more characters that the reader believes in, a beginning that intrigues, an ending that satisfies. But above all I realised, as I read piece after piece, there must be a substantial reason – other than telling a tale, or showing a slice of life – why the writer has chosen this particular subject. I believe that the stories I finally selected were those whose creator had become immersed, obsessed perhaps, by the fiction they were producing.
I hope you enjoy reading the chosen pieces when takahe 86 appears.