I’ve been meaning for a while to give a mention to a new magazine of poetry, criticism and visual art, whose name – Kaffeeklatsch – was the first thing that attracted me to it. (The fact that they accepted some of my poems was the next thing.) You can find out more at the magazine’s website, www.manualpoetry.co.uk. Work by well known poets (George Szirtes, John McAuliffe, Vona Groarke) nestles alongside work by lesser knowns, or even unknown unknowns; there are reviews that are long enough to be meaty, and there’s a particular interest in the overlaps of writing and visual art. I especially enjoyed, in issue 2, George Szirtes’ poem ‘Working Towards the Edge’, with its unnerving twists on repetition and equally unnerving imagery of skulls, pins and boxes; and a sequence of poems by Mark Waldron featuring a diabolically shape-shifting character by the name of Manning. (I defy anyone not to like a poem that begins with the lines ‘Fact is, I can’t say if Colonel Manning / has an actual moustache’.)
Kaffeeklatsch gives every impression of being a magazine put together by people who are on the one hand thoroughly enjoying themselves, while being on the other hand completely serious about high quality poetry, writing and art. It’s a good combination.