Nutshell #2

-Reviewed by Joan Standwick-

The closure of Pen Pusher Magazine has come as a shock to me, and countless others. I have been carrying its back issues for a while now, pondering on the necessity of reviewing them – surely they are doing well enough on their own? Pen Pusher was that rare thing: beautiful, critically approved, whilst remaining accessible. Yet, their closure shows us that no literary magazine is safe, and it is more urgent than ever to support them.

It is in the spirit that I bring to you Nutshell #2. Nutshell is a perfectly packaged literary magazine, aware that it is part of a rare club. It states in its inside page: ‘Every issue is an achievement and the proof that literary magazines have an audience, and a loving one’.

A mixture of poetry, short stories and illustration, Nutshell’s style can be summarized as eclectic, impressive yet irreverent. The writing has a twisted sense of humour, whether it’s in the film-pastiche ‘Oyster Brats’ by Nikesh Shukla, the deadpan delivery of Paul McGrane’s poems, or the desperate madness of an Adam J Maynard. Nutshell is also capable of wild, raw, poetry, that holds a sensory knife to your throat, as is the case with Alexandra Lister in ‘To a Daughter of Roan Inish’:

‘Shelling crabs, you stand in your white

work dress – lovebirds in drawn thread pull

against your chest, the trails of burnt morning honey

set on thewarp and weft’

Refreshingly, Nutshell allows an average of two poems per person and a significant percentage of these, as well as the stories are given tailor-made illustrations. The informed and entertaining interviews of Don Paterson and Simonetta Agnello Hornby are one of the many highlights of this magazine’s issue.

Let us hope Nutshell is sticking around for a while longer, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll survive without you. It won’t. So go and buy it now, it’s only £3.50 and worth every penny.

2 thoughts on “Nutshell #2

  • February 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Pen Pusher was a great magazine and a real inspiration for us, we will miss it. Nutshell, however, is not going anywhere. In fact, we are having a big party on the 27th of February at the Old Queen’s Head in Essex Road. The party will start at 3.30 and carry on until late in the evening, there’ll be bands, a crafters corner, haiku and illustration competitions and the best Sunday roast in town. Entry is free, but part of the money raised with food and drink will go to Nutshell and then straight to our printers, so come hungry!

    For more details see our website: and facebook page!/event.php?eid=128692260529463

    See you there and thank you for your support!


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