Story and Poem of the Month

January's picks courtesy of blackjack-davey:

Impressed by the unhallowed and witchy flavour of January’s poetry and prose, perhaps in part because I’ve been reading Shirley Jackson’s Dark Tales, this month it was clear which story had won.  With the rise of the dictator and bad daddy figure in America, the feeling that the liberal enlightened perspective was actually the dream and we return to reality with a bump and deep tribal xenophobia, readers now need very strong medicine indeed.  Rosalie Kempthorne has the medicine; a little touch of Sylvia Townsend Warner where the fantastic and everyday are  lovingly entangled but in new and interesting ways. I loved both Mrs Needham at Number Fifty Seven and Breeder of Black Cats, and it’s the latter that wins this month because of its menace and understated flavour and all these feline forms rubbing up against municipal trousers.


From the beginning of last month, Noo’s amazing poem about bereavement hasn’t faded.  Bristol Blue Glass left me reeling from the first with its almost casual description of devastation and the line: But I’m glad you managed to miss my birthday - that was thoughtful of you.  Ideas of what makes a thoughtful death, how an ordinarily thoughtless gesture takes on symbolic power keeps returning, and I revisit the poem and each time relations seem to be shifting. Well done to everyone!