Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A Galaxy Of Starfish

The publication, "A Galaxy Of Starfish: An Anthology Of Modern Surrealism", is now available through my partner's publishing company, Salò Press. I had a role in assisting with submissions and typesetting the book, so I thought I'd blog a few words on how the publication came into existence.

For a few years my partner, Sophie, has run an experimental poetry/prose magazine, Fur-Lined Ghettos. It's been a relatively successful publication, usually around 60pp in length, and through this process she has come into contact with several poets who she thought she would like to work with in greater depth. The idea began to bubble that she could start publishing poetry collections and around the same time the possibility of a surrealism anthology began to take shape. Both of us have a strong interest in surrealism - in the beauty that connects seemingly unconnected words and images - and we had found that some of the work we had published in the magazine by young poets certainly brushed those parameters. Sophie had also been reading work by writers such as Tristan Tzara and Robert Desnos, and via this had watched a 1928 short film by Man Ray based on a script by Desnos, titled "L'Étoile de mer". From these beginnings our surrealist anthology, "A Galaxy Of Starfish", germinated.

We announced a call for submissions in January 2015 and began to receive a mixed bag of material, some of which had no bearing to surrealism at all. Of course, the term 'surreal' is now widely used (and abused). In particular, we found short story submissions often relied on a 'surrealist' twist rather than being surrealist throughout. That wasn't what we were looking for. Of course, since the original Surrealist movement, 'surrealism' has permeated every strata of the media and what might have been startlingly original in the 1920s can now be commonplace. Neither of us claim that we can definitively pin down the term, but we knew what we liked when we saw it. Over the course of a year the anthology gradually began to fill. The submissions were worldwide: we accepted work from the UK, USA, Canada, Greece and Israel (where work was originally written in a foreign language we decided to print it in both the original and in translation). We found ourselves 'called out' by one surrealist organisation and asked to justify our position with a manifesto or artistic statement (which we declined). Several times we wondered whether we would get the material we needed: it came in fits and starts. In the meantime we had published two poetry collections, "Actual Cloud" by Dalton Day and "Father, Husband" by Scherezade Siobhan. Finally, at the beginning of this year, we realised the anthology was complete and began the process of typesetting and making it perfect.

It's been an interesting process. Whilst I've previously edited anthologies (the award-winning "The Alsiso Project" and "punkPunk!"), Sophie's experience had rested solely with the magazine. She's found it an often frustrating but ultimately satisfying process to edit something under a theme. Perhaps we'll do it again.

(extract from David Nadeau)

"A Galaxy Of Starfish: An Anthology Of Modern Surrealism" contains work by Joel Allegretti - Gary Budgen - Zachary Cosby - Dalton Day  Logan Ellis - Zachary Scott Hamilton - Chris Holdaway - Jake Hostetter - Travis Macdonald - Socrates Martinis - Esther Greenleaf Murer - David Nadeau - Katherine Osborne - Bob Schofield - Scherezade Siobhan - David Spicer - Douglas Thompson - T.D. Typaldos - Owen Vince - Yariv Zerbib. 160pp. £8.99 UK orders / £12.99 NON-UK.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


My short story, "Sömntuta", has recently been published in issue eleven of Lighthouse Magazine, and as usual I'm blogging a few comments as to how the story was written. There will be spoilers for those who have yet to read it.

My inspiration for this story came from the title and a quote. Sömntuta is a Swedish word meaning sleepyhead and also the poppy flower. I discovered the word in a roundabout way via a friend's Swedish girlfriend and it seemed intriguing enough for a story. The quote was from Albert Camus: "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." The quote felt relevant to a story set in Sweden. Unfortunately, when Lighthouse published the story they made an error in not including the quote (for which they graciously apologised). Understanding the ending of the story is pivotal to having read the quote at the beginning, so it will be interesting to see how the piece is received.

In "Sömntuta", Isobel is an English girl holidaying reluctantly in Stockholm following the break-up of a long-term relationship. She meets the enigmatic Isak, but just exactly who is he and what is his role? As usual in my stories, there are no straightforward answers. Isobel becomes transformed - or wakes up - but how long will it last?

Here's a bit of it:

Isak's smile resembled a sinkhole on a pine forest floor. "Once they taught us about suicide and now they speak of quantum suicide."
     "I'm sorry?"
     He spoke into the elements. "Quantum suicide is a paradox, a thought experiment. You know of Schrödinger's cat?"
     "I know it needs feeding."
     Her joke failed to gain a laugh.

"Lighthouse #11" is available here and contains fiction and poetry from a large number of contributors.

I wrote the story whilst listening to "Vespertine" by Bjork on repeat. A special mention should be given to my partner, Sophie, who assisted in line-editing this piece and turned it around from a mediocre first draft into something publishable.