5 Poets in Chroma Magazine

5 Poets in Chroma Magazine

Chroma, a literary magazine devoted to by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writers and artists published 11 issues between 2004 and July 2010. It enjoyed the support of the Arts Council, England, and three issues have been placed online by the Southbank Poetry Library. The editors when the magazine closed were Shaun Levin and Saradha Soobrayen. The former said, ‘We want each issue to be exciting in its diversity of voices and the wide range of art work we include. If you want to be part of the mainstream, we’re probably not the journal for you. We want writers who take risks in their work, who experiment, and still tell a story beautifully.’
Half the work in the three issues is unavailable online but, to judge by the remainder, the poetry is in free verse form, or more strictly prose, but the best is a fluent prose with believable voices. These qualities are seen in Robert Seatter, who is the winner of a string of prizes: the National Poetry Competition, London Poetry, Forward Poetry Prize, Tabla, and Housman Poetry Prize. His Fellini can be read at: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20515
It starts splendidly with:

Today I’d like to be in one of those over-the-top
1950s Fellini films.

I’d be monstrous, unblushing, with huge melon breasts
that you could rub your face in,
though I know you wouldn’t;

Depicts various scenes, falters a little with:

while you, the only other character left,
would be standing in the circus tent
wondering why you were there.

But then picks up again to end with:

Then maybe the camera would pan round,
find you laughing then crying in spite of yourself –
strangely big-hearted as all the rest.

John McCullough’s The Iceberg Marlene exhibits a similar confidence if less skill, and the writer has appeared in the leading UK small presses and produced to collections of poems. His piece can be read here:http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20520

The opening section is not wholly successful, but the flavour of the poem can be judged by the closing section: neat if not over original:
Or has she fooled you again?
It’s hard to take Marlene seriously
because she’s Hollywood
in its enormity, a glassy puzzle of bit-parts,
all waiting for the applause which says:
You, yes, you dear, are everything.

Aoife Mannix is an Irish writer based in London who has published widely in small magazines. Her An Argument She Won is at http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20511
The poem has the lead in of a short story:

The first proper row we ever had
was about The Unbearable Lightness of Being,

Which serves to make the two interested in each other:

I tried to say maybe
it’s more complicated than that,
maybe it’s a question of finding a balance.
She got really annoyed then,


Calm down, I said,
it’s only a film.
Though we both knew it wasn’t,
and a week later, I left him for her.

Rosemary Harris has performed at Glastonbury, BAC, Soho Writers’ Festival and on Radio 3. It probably comes over better in performance, where the speaker can build to a slow climax from the nondescript lines. Beached is at:http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=19903 and starts:

Your news was thrown up at me
out of a conversation, the way your body
landed, finally, on the beach at Manly.
Without ceremony.

The author missed the funeral but reminiscences:

– a dazzling giggle of a man,
in women’s lime green support-knickers
and sneakers. Girly brave.

You made beauty from the bones out.

A man in a dress in the Sydney night,
holding the light to a touchpaper,
any day of the week.

We are reminded of the death:

Your death is an oxymoron. Impossible
to put into a sentence that makes sense.

And then, more importantly, of the duller world now left.

I just expect to see you at the bus stop.
Kissing me, kissing my brother,
on the lips. Leaving us
to wait for the nightbus,
in a duller darkness.

Andrew Warburton was (2005) studying for an MA in Creative Writing and working on a fantasy novel for children. His Waiter is at:http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=20783
The first section is a close up with a compelling image: the Turkish waiter flutters /like a red admiral. The second adds some emotion:

Pavements hiss. The mist
a skein that fills with liquid
and bursts.
The ferns recall woodlands,
a room of steam;
he dreams of market stalls
and sunburnt mosques,
the patch of shade.


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