BrittleStar, 43.jpg
BrittleStar, 43.jpg



Pages (PDF): 189
Publisher: Brittle Star
Purchase includes: PDF




Issue 43/November 2018

Kneeling in a little glade of birch and beech trees, among the rabbit shit and deer shit, I’m listening with headphones to a small black button of a microphone taped with black electrician tape to a birch stump covered in moss. I listen and record. I run my fingers along the very tips of the moss. Have you ever stood near an aeroplane as it took off and heard how it rips the sky with its engines, its velocity, its red shift? My fingers on the moss, heard through this contact microphone, is just this sound. Powerful, ancient, and to the naked ear, inaudible. [...] Or it could be the moss talking to me. My agency on the moss was loud, impressive. I made the sounds by stroking it; tuned the moss in a way. My actions were important, weren’t they? Then, the sound of the moss crackling. [...]

I wonder about agency. About authenticity - this still very fashionable word, especially in poetry. I wonder what the authenticity of this sound is, this crackle, when the agency is imposed. I’d love to know what would happen if I took a contact mic to a poem, to a story? But perhaps I do. Isn’t listening to the poem doing exactly that? Trying to find what it wants to do, how it wants to be written, where it wants to go? Isn’t trying to find the story in the story draft doing the same thing? If I took a contact mic to a story, what would be amplified? The structure I layer it with? The dialogue? My clever little twists and the phrasing I’m so pleased with? Or the semi-, almost sub- conscious, tone of the piece working away at me, trying to talk to me, locked-in, its voice inaudible.

I’m not looking to give answers. In fact, if I think about it, I’m not looking at all. There is such importance given to the visual (we need a strong image, a clear visual metaphor, a symbol) but what of the aural metaphors, the sound symbols? We talk at length about the voice of the writer. We sometimes talk about the voice (or register) of the story, the poem, but how often do we actually listen to the things themselves? … (Editorial extract by Jacqueline Gabbitas)


Issue 43 of Brittle Star includes poems and stories by Ali Pardoe, Brian Docherty, Cecile Hendriks, Christopher Williams, Daniel Bennett, David Harmer, David Lukens, Denise Bennett, Di Slaney, Frank McMahon, Fred Johnston, Gail Harland, Heidi Beck, Howard Wright, James Lewis, Jean Stevens, Joanna Ingham, John Michael Mouskos, John-Paul Burns, Joshua Judson, Kostya Tsolákis, Krishan Coupland, L Kiew, Laura Reinbach, Lauren Garland, Mahdi Ranaee, Mahdi RanaeeTranslation: Simindokht Dehghani, Paula Kaufman, Robin Lindsay Wilson, Sam Reese, Sarah Barnsley, Stephanie J Angelini, Sue Riley, Suzannah V Evans, Terry Trowbridge.

Column by Sarah Passingham – The Benefits of Long Term Memory-Mining

Article by Lucy Hamilton – Festivals & Exchanges: Rich Readings with the Chinese

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