At a recent Identity Parade event at Paris’ Shakespeare & Co, the four invited readers, A.B. Jackson, Annie Freud, Sally Read, Ahren Warner, as well as editor Roddy Lumsden were all asked about their opinion on blogging. I was surprised to hear that none of them were particularly active on the internet, preferring the spoken word. Annie Freud said she had great admiration for those who do it with ‘application’ but couldn’t stand word ‘vomiting’.
In that spirit, I would like to share a few blogs who do ‘do it’ with application. Having said that, in compiling this list, I found myself rather torn as several of these blogs are also, to varying degrees, magazines (or blogzines if you will). Blogzines are those fluid entities that give us the same material as a literary magazine would (without the unity of purpose of singular issues) peppered with more personal subject matter. Their effect is very different from, say, thumbing a copy of Poetry Review, or even a specific internet magazine like Diagram, but I am not implying that in a negative sense. The atmosphere is different, less stilted, more inviting, you can dip into them on Tuesday, check back a week later and find new exciting things to take your fancy. These blog-zines manage that seductive blend of uniting quality with accessibility and candidness. They are forces to be reckoned with.
(in alphabetical order)
Katy Evans-Bush’s blog is an incontournable feature of the blogosphere. Here you will find, jostling comfortably together, politics and poetry, presented in a wry, informed and entertaining manner. Katy is not afraid to dive into incendiary subjects head on and emerge victorious, she might almost convince me to use an Oxford Comma.
The blog of the excellent magazine Fuselit edited by Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone. Much more than a promotional tool for the magazine, the blog wittily reviews and promotes other presses and authors, provides insights into the Fuselit machine, and, much like the rest of the website, makes you hope they achieve everything they set out to do.
Todd Swift’s personal blog, also happens to be a rather impressive magazine (so impressive that the British Library are archiving it for posterity). It combines insightful reviews of poetry, features poets and also discusses politics and pop culture. Also, on a shallow note, I love the different images used for the header.
There is something eminently refreshing about Caroline Crew’s blog, whether it’s feeling the same excitement when discovering the new poet she decides to share or eagerly nodding as she summarizes a current trend in the poetic world. She is also a fine reviewer, y’a know.
Although I enjoy the ‘New Writing’ section of this webzine, I have to confess to preferring its blog even more for reviewing live literary events which is something not done enough, IMHO.
Michelle McGrane’s blog of contemporary poetry puts most blogs to shame for the regularity of its qualitative output. Here you will find reviews, find out about events and discover new poets in the process.
Jane Holland’s blog is not just a recording of her trials and tribulations as a writer (though there is some of that), she also posts plenty of sound advice for writers. Both are written with this sort of gusty bravado that make you want to roar, if you want to taste some of that medicine, you could do worse than start here.
This list is far from exhaustive (and doesn’t pretend to be) these are just a few of my favourite blog(zine)s. You are very welcome to add your own favourites in the comment.