Book Review

POETRY MONTH: Dreich #3

Today we’re (I’m) looking at another poetry magazine.

I’m not quite sure if this one is a magazine or if it is a zine – since reading Word Vomit last week I haven’t bothered to look up and confirm the limits and the barriers between the two. I think it’s one of those distinctions that tends to be self-imposed… like “poet”, “bald”, or “sexually competent”.

Dreich is of a higher quality – both in terms of the writing included and its overall presentation than Word Vomit – and that’s why I’m learning towards the [unabbreviated] “magazine” moniker.

We (I (uncertain why there’s so much pluralised first person here – was I (we?) feeling very communal when drafting this???) have some lovely unbleached thick paper (maybe thick enough to count as very thin cardboard), followed by another type of decorative paper (I don’t know how it has been produced), followed by the seven sheets of A4 that make up 42 pages of poetry magazine.

This time, it is all poetry, there are no prose samples here, and there is also no visual art, which is a [surprisingly (or not)] frequent inclusion in poetry publications.

Within the poetry in Dreich #3, there is quite a lot of variety.

VARIETY

I know – I’ve noticed – that I’ve been using that word, “variety” a lot this POETRY MONTH, but I think it’s a word that is underused in analysis of writing. I’ve been using it to refer to both tone and form.

Often in a magazine or an anthology, it’s quite easy to find whatever the implicit editorial interest is, even when there isn’t one directly provided/announced (for example: date and/or “scene” of publication, explicit formal or thematic connections), but one can’t really find that here, which is both refreshing and also quite exciting!

There are poems here written in – I believe and I’m so fucking sorry if I’m wrong- – Scots dialect; there are poems here that explore [possibly fictionalised, possibly genuinely biographical] moments in the lives of famous visual artists; there are allusions to contemporary lives; there are pieces looking towards childhood and cuisine and education from the past; there are references to significant historical events, to animals, to transportation, and throughout there is engaging and potent imagery and metaphor.

I have to be honest and admit that I have three poems included here, and though my typical blunt directness is on show, that isn’t something that recurs elsewhere in this issue of Dreich except in the poem ‘The Duke’ by Ally May, which is a gloriously centred and brief piece about looking out of the window of a pub, and the pain and importance of introspection.

There is poetry in Dreich #3 in translation, there is poetry set all over the world, there are a couple about the workplace, and there are two about immigration and feelings of/reality of displacement, and militarised bureaucracy (in some ways the definition of all state apparatus, no? (FYI I’m basically an anarchist now…)).

The tonal, structural and content shifts throughout this magazine make it a really rewarding, engaging read.

Dreich #3 is super satisfying and I will make sure to read other editions of Dreich, as its pleasingly and impressively varied content makes it a really high quality example of what poetry magazines can be!

Order Dreich #3 (and other issues) via this link

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