Long Poem Magazine Launch: Issue 10

It was a privilege to read this week at the Barbican Library last Wednesday, October 23rd, as part of the launch of Long Poem Magazine Issue 10, and I offer me sincerest gratitude to the editors, Linda Black and Lucy Hamilton for agreeing to publish my new long poem ‘Kernel Stone’ in this issue.

Rossetti’s Goblin Market, situated firmly in the long poem canon, is the stating place for my poem ‘Kernel Stone.’ Rossetti’s text, celebrated for its frantic Bacchanalianism, seems to suggest language’s eroticism, its physicality; for example, “streaked her neck which quaked like curd”  is not only suggestive in its reference to a ‘streaked’ and sexualized body, but also presents an acrobatic tension between sibilants (‘s’) and voiceless velars (‘k’). This is a poem to be mouthed.
Goblin Market’s phonemic patterning is the element I have chosen to isolate and develop via a ‘writing-through’ process. Put simply, Rossetti’s text was ripped, placed in a bag, shaken, and ‘copied consciously’ as Tzara might once have done– except that I had every intention of disrupting the wholeness of the word. From this process, I created a formalist sketch of the work, its bare sounds as material to be elaborated, neologism to be found.
This process is also a form of redaction in its removal of grammatical endings, prepositions, and articles from the original; the superfluous. As such, the sections of ‘Kernel Stone’ which directly quote Rossetti are visually redacted thus:


It is remarkable that the process of ripping by chance not only preserved, but emphasised these anaphoric repetitions, and so I have preserved them in my poem.
In choosing this particular iconic text as ‘found material’, I hope to ask the questions: what is a contemporary long poem and what possibilities await its future?

Here is an excerpt from the opening of the poem:

Kernel sample

Long Poem magazine can be ordered of subscribed to from their website. It is published twice a year, in May and October.

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We’re in the final stages of completing our new INDENT website and beginning editorial meetings this month. We are looking forward to a launch in December and I am grateful for your patience in the delay in coming to press this year. We could use a few more submissions in both poetry and fiction, or anything that traverses the two, and so I am pleased to let you know about a new submissions window:

OCT 9th – NOV 9th

Please send up to six poems (in one file, one poem per page) or prose from 500words – 3000 words.
PDF, DOC, DOX, or RTF please. No links to dropboxes, clouds or similar, if you don’t mind.



Please note the new email addresses

Manuscripts must be double spaced, page-numbered and edited to a professional standard.

We are looking for work that is evocative and provocative: bold, original, innovative writing, fresh as an electric shock: short stories, poems, cultural reviews and occasional essays.  The work needs to be wholly contemporary and we want  writing  that is poetic and artistic as opposed to commercially-minded: fiction with an arresting writing style, strength of characterisation, sharp visualisation, unusual settings, storylines and concepts.   For poetry we want to see a rich use of language and innovatory typographical presentation is welcome.

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Wing-Words and Frameways

I am getting ready for an event tonight called ‘Celebrating Staff Success’ to collect a qualification award for myself and to collect the ‘Student-Led Teaching Award’ for best feedback on behalf of my colleague, Paul Houghton.

The qualification I received was a PG certificate in Research Supervision for which I wrote a comparative paper on ‘Poetic Inquiry’ and ‘Doctoral Supervision’. The Article will appear in the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice  in a special edition edited by Alke Groppel-Wegener. I am thankful to her for introducing me to the area of ‘tactile academia’   and for inviting me to the HEA-funded ‘WRITEPAD’ conference  (which I blogged about here) ; this event developed my research question about practice-based inquiry into the discussion surrounding doctoral supervision. The article is called, ‘Wing-Words and Frameways: Materialising the Critical Incident through Poetic Inquiry and Reflective Practice in Doctoral Supervision’.

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End of Term: Looking Back.

Forgive the long absence and expect a snow-flurry of new posts as I, like many other British academics, stir and unfurl now towards the end of term—and what a delicious term it has been, I hope, for all. The texts I have taught this semester have been scintillating, challenging, velvety, and baffling; in ‘Experimental Writing’ I have had the pleasure of revisiting Sterne, Tristram Shandy—Nabokov, Pale Fire—Joyce, Finnegans Wake—Perec, A Void (trans. Adair); for my survey poetry course, it has been a delight to introduce students to Postmodern American Poetry from Black Mountain to Flarf and everything in between (I use the excellent Hoover anthology by Norton and await its new, imminent edition.)  For our editing course (which I teach with colleague and co-editor of Indent, Paul Houghton) it has been an indulgent close read of Burgess, Clockwork Orange, Paul Auster’s translations (from French) and Bernadette Mayer’s acrobatic defiance of genre.  A new ‘Beat Writing’ course has featured  Ginsberg, “Kaddish”—Burroughs, Soft Machine, and the slightly obligatory (but beautifully syncopated) Kerouac, On the Road.  I think all of us who teach literature dread, from time to time, the recurrence of a particular text that has, for whatever reason, sucked away the last drips of your enthusiasm and soul (I still cringe at the now-fading memory of teaching Dickens, Hard Times every year from 2008-2011 on a undergraduate Lit course) but, this year, while I leant mid-term against a damp flank Stoke-on-Trent’s iconic Flaxman building, I ruminated over the ‘gorgeous gorgostiy’ of these books over a similarly damp cigarette. Am I really lecturing on Clockwork Orange, Soft Machine and Finnegans wake this week? I have the best job in the world…


I have had the enormous privilege to meet and work with two electrifying visiting writers and academics.  Prof. Dick Ellis, from Birmingham U, bestowed us with kindness and virtuosic knowledge in our ‘Beat Writing’ course. Aside from his significant writings on Beats, and American and African-American writing, he was Curator of the Jack Kerouac –Back on the Road exhibition at Birmingham’s Barber Institute back in 2008/9—(and how I met Prof. Ellis for the first time).  You can listen to and watch him speak about Kerouac here (cascade ‘biography’ for media links).

Our second visitor was Reality Street novelist, Sean Pemberton, who has a new novel, White (November, 2012). He generously shared with us his admiration of  the proto-modernist, T.E. Hulme (prior to Sean’s mention of it, I was unaware of Hulme’s Staffordshire connection to Gratton Hall, Endon) in addition to a sincere and passionate account of his process and practice as a writer. White traverses open field sections and more traditional prose-lineation effortlessly as readers of this text are invited to wander the bombardment of language thrust outward from the city without, as Sean puts it, manipulation on the part of the author. This makes for a formally innovative text that is democratic in its involvement of the reader.  Read as sample for yourself here  (or buy a whole copy, which I advise you all to do) and visit (and follow) his blog here (a fellow word-presser).

New Stuff

Opportunity arose to write a new course this year. Naturally, my interest in visual poetry verging on the concrete led to the writing of ‘Visual Poetry/Text-Art’ which adds to my list of sexy literature: Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience, and Tom Phillips, A Humument. (There is a scrumptious app  for this text, for the apple-minded ).  I recalled (nostalgically) too my encounters with Dr. Julia Thomas  when I was a student at Cardiff U and how much her research on the relation between text and image in Blake, Beecher-Stowe, and Dickens inspired me.  Her work on the digitization of Mid-Victorian wood-engraved illustrations  is triumphant and indispensable for those interested in text-image studies. A good dose of semiotics accompanies this new course and I look forward to return once again to Barthes, who perhaps led my foray into critical theory. The new course will open in September 2013 for English Lit, Creative Writing, and (I am ridiculously excited about this…) Comic Arts undergraduates.

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Animated Poem, “Trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”


(Click on the “Trr” above to begin!)

Experimenting with GIMP as an animation composer. This is an animated version of a poem that was first published in ‘ditch’ last year: http://www.ditchpoetry.com/lisamansell.htm

I’m still learning its features, and this is a first stab, of course.  Many thanks to the young  man who posted a video tutorial on Youtube that shows how this works.

GIMP is an open-source free-to-download image manipulation program  (like Photoshop, but free!)

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Indent #2 End of Submission Call

We’ve closed our submission window for the 2013 issue, and we expect to publish in print and e-book at the end of June,  in time to be launched at Staffordshire Fringe Festival (which runs parallel to the Fine Art Degree Show ).

Issues will be available here:  www.staffs.ac.uk/indent . In the meantime, we still have a few copies of Issue 1 left, and limitless e-book copies for sale at a reduced price (as of Monday).

Our first editorial meeting will take place a week Monday (Feb 4th) and if you have submitted, you can expect to hear back from us shortly after then. (We write to everyone who has taken the time to consider us and send us precious writing). Hang in there; we will be in touch soon.

We’re ever thankful of your support, following and readership.

Our next submission will open at the end of 2013.

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Notebook Fragments #1

Fragment #1 (unfinished)

A cowbell in the distance
skulks a long afternoon
on horse-stone suns
green and trunk-black
where pines ravine the bronze-dust
on arid darns of equine-piss

Their necks purge gurgles of rumour

A squat
hawk-like quake
on the sleeve of the most accurate of valleys
volleys …

Fragment #2 (unfinished)

A svelte warble
rutters her kunk in the red-light
where she frills from heel to navel
in the variegated ingots of verve
elbow-laced & Dame-Notre
neckerchief & mohawk
the hector of macaws
metal-drawled & gout-dripped
leaf-green & drab…

she tugs once more on ropes
that quash and gnash the suckerpunch
and flex in vaults of hexaploid spelt

 Fragment #4

Feather my lute with finials
all leather and grey
in the zeal of subliminal lulls
aloud and Andalusian
— erase the ooze of mambos

amber tilts of colt-skin
ampoule-gut and rotten
underneath the momentary dump of voltas
that dance
that avalanche a tide of murder
and vamp atonal locks

today is nomad
in the nether of adders
that delight in the devil of nines

&the same-shit chant of cantos
can’t rustle in the gnarl
and twirl of sable-blast basalt
of swan-song seep

epochs dioxide and primp
pipetted on the heckle of knots
that creak a punk-pirouette

the harpies
that adorn the doxy
ode and dice so oddly now
that they should shush and thrash
against the double-bloodied stone-wash


(Pre-publication material/drafts © Lisa Mansell 2013)

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Indent 02

It is with ferocious excitement that we (L Mansell and P Houghton) announce the opening of submissions for issue #2 of Indent.

Following an exquisitely dark, velvety first edition, we hope for high quality, international examples ( no, specimens) of volcanic prose & scintillating poetry that push the boundaries of what-is-what. Hybrid pieces: very welcome, as too are personal essays, heteroglossic texts that cannot be pinned down in any way.  WE are looking for NEW literatures that challenge the notion of genre. Hybrid and mash-up, blended & cognitive, alert & alternative. Poetic Inquiries appreciated; best writing celebrated.

Back issues can be bought here:  https://www.staffs.ac.uk/indent/ (in e-book or print)

Main editorial is here: https://deviljazz.wordpress.com/indent/


Indent is a blind-peer reviewed by editorial board and submission panel which includes staff,  undergraduates and postgraduates in Creative Writing at Staffordshire University. We have an ISSN for print and online publication.

We aim (with the grace of funding) to print the volume in June 2013.  It helps us enormously if you purchase even an e-book (£4) from our back catalogue.

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Thanks for collecting this info, as always.


December is a month in which the normal pattern of Spoken Word events is altered. Some regular events don’t meet, some one off specials appear. I have only listed those events positively confirmrd for the month.

Sat 1st She @ The Drum, Aston, 2pm £5 in, ‘She’ is a 50 minute hard-hitting, multi-disciplinary performance piece consisting of drama, verbatim, dance, music, singing, performance poetry, spoken word, and film. It will be performed by a cast of 30 second-year students from the BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education] programme and directed by theatre maker Hannah Phillips, films by We Make Art, featuring Antics Dance Crew, finalists on Sky’s Got to Dance.She explores girls relationships to gangs and the sexual exploitation of young females in our City which is gang related.
Tickets are £5 / £3 (concessions),Public Performances, Saturday 1st Dec at 2pm, Monday 3rd Dec at 7pm, Tuesday 4th Dec…

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Browsing & Imagination

I sometimes browse the shelves, at midnight, in Keele University library.  The current journals are my particular rummage-worthy favourite, despite the recent diminution in their print stock (relegated now to just one wall of clear Perspex shelving) and the abandonment of some of our more interesting publications. Only the pedestrian and the most usual ‘expected’ quarterlies now represent Literature in this section; they have only abbreviations for titles and the shelf resembles a row of scrabble tiles, and ones that make me feel proud to have Wasafiri, Callaloo, Magma, Tears in the Fence in my home institution’s circulation. JSTOR and other potent search engines might have led to the exodus of print from our shelves, but there is something to be said for the act of browsing and the effect of that browsing on the imagination.

Deterred by yet another dry essay on Pope in the Generic Quarterly Review of English Literature*, I wandered towards more unfamiliar publications from other disciplines— Mathematics and Music: Journal of Musicology, The Musical Quarterly, The Quarterly Journal of Mechanics & Applied Mathematics—places where a poet should not really poke. Granted, these titles are every bit as dry as the English Literature equivalents that disenchanted me just moments before, but there is something to be said for stepping outside your discipline once in a while.

What visually orientated poet would not be inspired by the Beneventan Chants presented in the recent issue of Journal of Musicology (summer: 2012), and the quasi-Arabic splashes of dark ink that slash and dance against a regiment of horizontal lines? (“Old Beneventan Melodies in a Breviary at Naples: New Evidence of Old Beneventan Music for the Office.”) Perhaps  the spider-tangles of formulae (entirely alien) that describe elastic media, or non-axisymmertic direction problems, or the sweeping graphs that denote water-wave scattering in The Quarterly Journal of Mechanics and Applied Mathematics only appear so beautiful only when stumbled upon, by an outsider, entirely haphazardly in unsystematic browsing.

My notebook is frenzied with quick-stroked scrawl: titles for poems, words like ‘prolix’ and ‘contrafact’.  I don’t believe in writer’s block. Sometimes all a poet needs is the time to browse, late at night, in the places where they logically ought not to look.

*I made this title up to protect the interminably dull…

[Edit: I always seem to get the ‘l’s mixed around in Callaloo!]

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