The poetry selections for the next issue – takahē 88, due out in early December – have all been made, and the issue sent off to layout. It’s looking really good, with a couple of contributors making their first appearance in print, alongside some of the most respected names in New Zealand literature. Just what we like to see.
Interestingly, this is the first time I’ve had more male than female poets in an issue. I don’t attempt to have any sort of gender balance going on – plenty of times I have no idea of the gender of a particular contributor until they send me their author photo! – but the trend over the last few years’ worth of issues has been roughly two-thirds female to one-third male. Which is a reasonably good approximation of the overall ratio of submissions, as it happens, with the trend over the last twelve months being an increase in the number of submissions from male poets. From a geographical perspective, we’re getting a lot more submissions from overseas – lots from the USA, quite a few from Australia and the UK, and then a scattering from other places. It’s great that takahē is known so widely!
There is, however, still one place left in the issue that has yet to be filled: the winner of the 2016 poetry competition. I’m really looking forward to finding out the results, because we’ve had some spectacular poems taking it out in the past. I’ll be combing through the rest of the entries to see if there are some that I’d like to snaffle for the April issue of takahē, so even if you don’t managed to get placed in the competition, you may still hear from me.
A brief note about the reading periods for the poetry section. I read all the submissions during the first two or three weeks of each reading period, and make the selections as I go. Everything that comes in after I start selecting is held over to the next reading period. To minimise the amount of time you’ll need to wait between submitting and getting a response, your best bet is to submit in the week or two before the reading period starts. I know the times seem a bit strange, but due to the time needed in preproduction we actually have to have everything done and ready to be laid out and proofread a good eight or so weeks before the issue is published. Hence the reading period being just after the new issue comes out. But this can actually work in your favour, at least in terms of remembering to send in your submission: as soon as you’ve finished reading current issue, send in a submission for the next one!
2016 Poetry competition is now closed and following on from Joanna’s blog: I’m singing the praises of poets.
What an outstanding effort:
Three hundred and thirty seven (337) poems have been subjected to a rigorous administrative procedure (can’t divulge sensitive details, but a hot soak and a few peeled grapes will go along way to restore my equilibrium). They have been parceled and are now winging their way, via pigeon post, to our judge. When I told him how many poems to expect, he was absolutely delighted and can’t wait to read them all.
As for the results, they will be published on the website in December, when the next issue of the magazine comes out. All poems entered into the competition will be considered for publication, and any selections notified by the end of November. Please note that all poems entered are free to be sent out elsewhere after 1 December 2016.
Thank you all for your entries and I wish each and every one of you the very best for the competition. Take care and keep writing.
How are the poems coming along???
I cleared the P O Box today. Special thanks to all those well organised poets who have posted early. The deluge of entries that arrive close to the deadline date can be overwhelming!
Thought I would share with you some of the things that I like about winter:
No hayfever, cold frosty mornings and clear days, sleeping trees, cinnamon on my latte (that’s trim for me – thanks) and Christmas is still six months away. Ho Ho Ho.
Beware: before you know it Snoopy and the Red Baron will be zooming around the Mall. Get cracking on those poems and don’t be caught short. Remember to leave yourself enough time for a decent edit and don’t forget an inspiring title. Titles matter, trust me, first impressions and all that.
I’m leaving the last word for David Howard, our 2014 judge. He said in his Poetry Competition 2014 Judge’s report Poets are good when they use their linguistic insight to see beyond what is visible. And For me the most precious aspect of poetry is its capacity to capture, perhaps even to create, intimacy.
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).