Learning to Read #14


Getting proper post is cool. You know what I’m saying here – proper hand written address, package put together with care, custom sticker sealing it up. Proper physical post. So Strix scores well on first impressions. You open up the envelope and you have an organic brown cover, hand assembled around a 55 page laser printed collection of works. It’s lovely to unwrap and to call your own. It’s tactile, in a pleasing kind of way. So that’s a pretty strong second impression too.

Strix is a Leeds based poetry and short fiction magazine. Well, it feels so hand crafted, in a positive way, that it seems a shame to call it a magazine, and likewise it is too nicely put together for a fanzine. It’s almost a piece of art in itself.

The variety and the quality of the works inside reminds you, though, that good presentation is only the opening skirmish. You have a selection of new faces, and some established writers too. Suzannah Evans features in here with a poem that was featured in the Guardian newspaper (here). Helen Mort is here. Ian Duhig too. There is a good selection of styles and forms. “Tea Break” is a continuous flow of dialogue about 1970’s factory work, and “Battersea Fun Fair” is ten lines of reflection on friendship.  The good thing is that you can dip in, find something worth reading and not worry about stumbling over a duffer or reading half a dozen variations on a theme, simply because that is what the editor happens to prefer.

A few of the poems have links to Leeds, or to Yorkshire, by the way. You’d expect this and in my opinion, it’s a very positive thing. I’m biased. “The Leeds Icarus” name checks a number of my local landmarks, as does “Wartime Headingley” and the prose piece “A remarkable acoustic.” So, yes, I am biased, but it does give a certain sense of place to Strix, and this is a good thing for me.

Their website is here. Go on, it’s a bargain for a well put together and varied collection of poems. You know you want to. Note, also, that they are making regular calls for submissions for future editions 🙂


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