The Reader 63
The weather is turning, the leaves are falling, Autumn is most certainly upon us and with a new season comes a new edition of The Reader Magazine. Introducing Issue 63.
Another bumper issue of The Reader Magazine has landed. There's no shortage of poetry with new works from Bibhu Padhi, Gareth Culshaw, Vincent Parker, Stuart Pickford and regular contributor David Constantine, and a look back on a classic with Brian Nellist as he returns to examine the poetics of an extract from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
In the latest 'Poet on their Work' Jane Bonnyman reflects on her poem Ferns, one of a collection written about the life of Fanny Stevenson, the adventurous wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. Ferns reflects on an incident from Fanny's diary while living on a plantation in Samoa, and demonstrates her strength of character.
"The poems capture vignettes from Mrs Stevenson's life and lay them before the reader like pictures from a heroic journey undertaken by many other 'wives' so often in the shadow of their accomplished husbands." - Jane Bonnyman, The Poet on her Work
In fiction, a new story from Jennie Feldman called Flight examines friendship and the difference between seeing thing at a distance and up close while The Old Story looks at Rudyard Kipling's The Miracle of Purun Bhagat.
Turning the spotlight on our criminal justice sector work, The Reader's Fiona Magee interviews Nick Benefield, a psychotherapist and policy maker who commissioned work to develop the first six PIPEs (Psychologically Informed Planned Environments) PIPEs were designed to improve the quality of staff-offender relationships to achieve the best possible outcome with regards to risk behaviours, to improve psychological well-being and encourage pro-social living. There are now 18 PIPE units in the UK and The Reader runs Shared Reading groups in all of them.
"The men and women we work with, they're real people with real difficulties and we can make a difference in the time we've got where we deprive them of their liberty - we can maximse the opportunity, in PIPE units at least, for supporting the improvement of human relating. We want people to be better related and better relaters. If we can't get on being in the presence of other people, you are more likely to be in trouble." - Nick Benefield
Essays this issue come from film makers, writer and psychoanalyst Conor McCormack who discusses his documentary film In the Real, and Kim Devereaux, author of Rembrandt's Mirror.
Devereaux considers the ever-judging gaze on women's bodies, from Rembrandt's infatuation with larger, more rotund women, to modern society's obsession with size and perfection. Comparing the female form depicted in Rembrandt's paintings with those plastered across sky high advertising boards, Devereaux finds both wanting.
"The Dove 'Real Beauty Campaign' has it's ten-year anniversary this year. The ads depict ordinary women making a case for their 'real beauty'. Except those 'ordinary' women were hand-picked by talent scouts. If you place them next to Rembrandt's seated nude, they look about as ordinary as a Waitrose carrot." - Kim Devereaux
"People came into my group strangely silent, and no one mentioned what had happened the night before until I asked one woman how she was, feeling that it was important somehow to get out of this stalemate ...
...I think sometimes people are worried about disturbing the peace, but it worries me more that we can settle for a quiet in which there is no real peace to rely on. There is a need for places and spaces in which a particular kind of honesty can occur." - Grace Farrington
In our Regulars slots, Ian McMillan also reflects on the events of June 23 while Jane Davis delves into patron Erwin James' latest book Redeemable.
If you're a Reader Magazine subscriber you can expect to find Issue 63 coming through your postbox any day now. Otherwise you can purchase this Issue or back issues on our website.
Issue 63 costs £6.95
1 Year Subscriptions start at £24.00