anything anymore anywhere issue 4

Anymore Anything Anywhere is an excellent literary magazine from Edinburgh. It is edited by Colin Herd and Reuben Sutton and they have just reached issue number 4. The new issue (winter 2010-11) features an excellent range of words from Francis Crot, nick-e melville, Justin Katko, Posie Rider, Jacq Kelly, Iain Morrison, jim ferguson, Tony Leuzzi, Michael Farrell, Richard Barrett, J L Williams, S J Fowler, RODNEY RELAX, Rosa van Hensbergen, Pete McConville, Richie McCaffery and Greg Thomas, and I’m totally thrilled and honoured that three of my own poems have been slotted in amongst such a fascinating mix of writers. Rather than wax endlessly about why you should buy the new copy (and previous issues) of Anything Anymore Anywhere (which I could and which you should), I asked Colin Herd a few questions about the magazine.

When and why did AAA begin?

Thanks for this Thomas! The magazine was set up in the final year of my undergraduate degree, so four years ago now. We’ve put out four issues so far, though three have been in the last two years. The first issue was basically a selection of work by my writer and artist friends, stuffed into a brown envelope, with a big black-marker X on the front cover. In one sense I think I set it up purely and simply as a tool to connect with writers whose work I admire. I also felt a gap in the U.K. scene (though I think it’s probably been better filled by other journals since than it has by a-a-a) for a magazine that would put out exciting and formally challenging poetry, that would publish bold and experimental stuff alongside more lyric or narrative stuff. I don’t feel that division (between formally innovative work and conventional work or whatever) very strongly in my reading habits or the kinds of poetry I enjoy and I don’t think an exclusive or divisive attitude does much good, nor do I have any literary agenda per se, so I wanted the magazine to be as varied as possible, presenting interesting work of all stripes (and spots, and stars). I am also keen to include fiction in every issue, because I read a lot of fiction and in some ways fiction informs my own poetry as much as poetry does.

Were there any other literary journals from the past or present that were of inspiration during the inception of AAA?

That’s such an interesting question, and I hadn’t really thought about it before now. I’m a bit of a collecting-nut for old poetry magazines. I’m not sure which ones influenced “aaa” but here’s a list of some of my favourites: the endlessly inventive and experimental Poor.Old.Tired.Horse, which Ian Hamilton Finlay edited and which explored concrete poetry, visual poetry and minimalist poetry in its gloriously eccentric and whimsically ascetic pages. This, which Robert Grenier and Barrett Watten edited in the 70s and which has these amazing cover-drawings by Grenier’s young at the time daughter Amy. One of the things I love about the print poetry journal as a form, and a principal reason why I collect old ones, is that they contain forgotten poets, unheard-of figures who maybe only published a few poems then moved on to other things. Looking back through This 1 this evening, I’m struck particularly by the work of two poets I don’t know anything about: Marcia Lawther and Laura Knecht. Here’s a bit of Knecht’s poem:

the field
throws itself
yellow into the air
and is this season’s
yellow panic

And I can’t find a mention of her in any other publication- such a sweet kind of frustration! Another favourite of mine is the stupendously-titled “ZZZZ”, edited by Kenward Elmslie. I’m not sure how many issues there were, but the one I have from 1975 is full to bursting with fabulous things like comic letters from Bill Berkson and Frank O’Hara, prose extracts from “What’s for Dinner?” by James Schuyler, and great poems by Tony Towle, Harry Matthews, Laura Chester, Ray Johnson, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Kathleen Fraser, John Koethe, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Pat Nolan, Clark Coolidge, Nikos Stangos and Thomas Meyer. What a line-up(!), plus, the cover’s by Joe Brainard and there’s additional doodles by Ray Johnson. It’s really a great magazine. Soup edited by Steve Abbott and Little Caesar by Dennis Cooper are two other legendary journals that totally deserve that status. I’m still working out a-a-a’s form, and I hope I’m sort of allowing it to develop and change, hopefully influenced in one way or another by these fantastic journals. I imagine myself still putting out (sporadic, invariably delayed issues) in my 80s- I hope so.

You’ve also put on some events and readings to celebrate the magazine – have you got anymore planned or coming up soon?

Thanks for asking about these Thomas. They have been really fun events, two so far, the first in December and the second in January. The idea behind the events was to have visiting writers read alongside Edinburgh-based or roughly Edinburgh-based poets. The first event was scheduled to feature Tom Raworth reading with visual/found poet nick-e melville, Joseph Walton and Posie Rider. Unfortunately it was at the height of the bad weather and Raworth couldn’t make it, but on the plus side, the Cambridge-based writer Justin Katko was up in Edinburgh and he stepped in. The second event featured a host of Edinburgh-based writers (too many perhaps… a bit of over-zealous programming on my part) reading alongside the wonderful poet Andrea Brady. I do hope to reignite the series soon, possibly moving to a new venue. Details will be posted on the website and the blog: http://www.anythinganymoreanywhere.co.uk & http://anything-anymore-anywhere.blogspot.com

And for extra information about Colin’s stunning new book too ok click here.

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