Monday, 3 January 2011


ISSN: 1476-9867

Neon Highway 11


Jane Marsh here. I’m here and yes strangely enough I’m not. I had a drink at lunchtime, one of those drinks you regret. A person I hadn’t seen for years…yes you understand? What is it about those meaningless situations when you ‘catch up’ and then say goodbye forever yet again. Thankfully I was just reading a new collection of poems by William Park, called ‘Surfacing’, right in the middle of his poem ‘The Damned’, so I was able to drift off for a while into another world and distract myself from that rather...( unexpected encounter).After that I read ‘Ahasuerus On Mars’ by Steve Sneyd and went beyond into another world. Later on I reflected on that day. I knew that sometime in the future it would no longer bother me and I would be surprised at how angry I had become. Something else would be on my mind by then. Oh the uselessness of it all. Thank god for books such a wonderful form of escapism, ‘Yellow Torchlight and The Blues’ by Emma Lee, and the beautifully written prose poems of Patricia Debney, ‘How to Be a Dragonfly’. Thank you ladies.

And now I’m off to the U.S folks, heading for the stars. Have a friend who has been training me to head into space but first I have to pass my Nassa qualifications. Alice stole the idea from me for her novella ‘Maxine’. Details of Maxine in back of this issue. Do buy it, it’s just the most wacky book I’ve read in a while Oh and wait to you meet Mike Stevens. He’s a real dream. You’ll be astral travelling forever!

We are lucky to have Steve Sneyd interviewed in this issue -Fascinating man. Much more interesting than hanging out in Wigan! I have to be honest, the place was a bit…sleazy. Once had a brief ‘affair’ with a guy there who never stopped clubbing round Wigan. It was like sleeping with George Orwell, an endless journey of down and out nightclub sordid living. I existed by day and night in my evening clothes. I even got to know the people very deeply and personally at the local bars, clubs and social clubs and er…Time to change the subject before I offend, one hears polite coughs and the wine starts to spill…

Goodbye Darlings. Next issue of Neon Highway in the Spring issue 12, where Alice will publish a magazine containing a final batch of beautifully written unsolicited manuscripts. After that she will ask writers to contribute. Why? Because she doesn’t have time to answer all that post. Simple as that.

Till then.

Jane x


Thank you to Ronnie Goodyear for front cover image

5: Daniel Bevan

5-6: Charles Frederickson

7-9: Iain Britton

9-10: Davide Trame

10-11: Michael Internicola

11: Rick Taylor

12: Georgina Milne

13: Paul Amlehn

14: Jason Wilkinson

15: Ben Mason

16-17: Aoife Mannix

17-19: Thomas Lowe Taylor

19: Sheila Murphy

20-22: Adam Kane

22-23: Jim Bennett

23-28: Mark Farrell

28-30: Jon Sweet

31-32: Cory Harding

33-39: Jane Marsh questions the poet Steve Sneyd.

40-42: Poems by Steve Sneyd

43-47: Information

Daniel Bevan


Denaistar Pemair Felesa

Faimen Ponten Dacora

Benta Lofair Tolari

Topan Lesen Bentari

Walking Pemansa

Estoria sleeping

Talking Peneta

Bolaria etching


Charles Frederickson

National Parks

Hundreds of jagged limestone peaks

Natural habitat of rare serows

Horned antelope in goat clothing

Creepy crawlies settling in boots

One-way fresh air steep trails

Eighteen tier gurgling waterfall cascades

Reflective drop-off pool tossing and

Turning over during sleepless nightmares

Secreted tufted exotic rainbow hornbill

Stolen jewel in formidable beak

Preening white herons fluffy mums

Storks balancing on teakwood stilts

Bat caves shuttered in darkness

Enveloped black magic foreboding curse

Sun bears sleeping away season

Ursa Major satisfying hibernation undisturbed

Strident wild boars making tracks

Dense bristles shrub stems brushed

Prickly porcupine needles stitched with

Warp snagging weft thorny brambles

Hordes of monkey teases playful

Swishy long frazzled jump-rope tails

Slender arboreal apes swinging treetops

Gibbons exposing themselves flashing rumps

Mottled fur civets anal scent

Glands secreting pungent musky odor

Shy endangered specie clouded leopard

Pelt brushed with rosette markings

Far outreaches assaulted by dragonflies

Waspish buzz of flighty intrusion

Trumpeting wild elephants tusks erect

Upper incisors carved ivory trophies


Iain Britton

By word of mouth

*to an artist now lying in state*

So good so good are you at

flinging red splotches of paint at the ceiling

then watching how they drip and colour

the floor - so good are you at

demonstrating simulating the art of

puncturing an artery. You’re so bloody good

you’ve moved onto greater today

for instance you went over to the playingfields

in Savage Crescent where state-house kids

play at wars at being war lords

bruising each other with clods of dirt

and you cut the throat of a giant cloud

that looked like a man and it’s been raining

ever since.


In your house you begin to dance the dance

of the seven knives

one knife in the heart of each thought

each emotion each hard-to-give-birth-to idea.

They show up as pictures in your room

as abstracts which contract like muscles

which claim to feel sharp

abdominal pains. You

aren’t afraid to split open and expose

the contents of your brain.


Men in black in hoods of black

are reading to you soft words hard words

words painted red on crisp white paper

words dripping from watering mouths

mouths which deliver ultimatums

which threaten you

with falling blocks of sky. These are

the men who hold your shadow by its neck

who won’t let go until their demands are met.

These are the men you’ve painted on every wall.


Hands on the windowsill

you stare out at the neighbours

the Kennedys the Trembaths

the Goughs the chemist who feeds his bloated

face on crimson poppies. Neighbours

ready for the chop. You axe

them one by one and pin

their living parts all over the house. You

show them to be different very different

but belonging to everyone in the town.

You have moved onto greater things. The men

in black are satisfied. The kids playkilling

for pounds of dirt are satisfied. You are so good

at squeezing out the best a body can offer. You

have spread yourself out on a

hanging canvas for all to see.


Davide Trame


In the declining light

things flash on their screens, you click

on horizons your eyes promptly swallow

and wait for clues settling in the blips.

The real landscape outside

is a stretch of grey-mauve spiky stubs,

you think the thin furrows in the field

were blooming mazes once, now buried.

At the end of the day, on the way back

you come across the year's turning

in a sparkle of window panes,

your steps in the rhythm of streetlamps

that hide a buzz of stars;

at home you want to scan their outlines,

their screened twinkles secured in your hand.

Then, the power failure.

And, all of a sudden, nothing is secured.

You too, a splinter of a maze,

are plunged down under,

suspended in a sea, waves

disentangling your web of wires,

plugs hushed in a roar of foam.

Now the light is back,

you are relieved to be still here

in your room, with a renewed

conscience of the other shore

and your screens' busy glitter perched

on the unbounded dark.




when i pass savannah, georgia and the clouds

are there and zz top did what they did i see blue

skies again. mississippi that way. up and down the

other. pearl jam in raleigh, north carolina tonight

and it's all about the freedom now even when i

don't realize it's making me happy. sometimes,

i get so free i forget. i forget i don't know where

my home is. i forget that girl i used to know.

there's bad news before exit 109. terrible crash.

news crews already there. a guy running across

interstate 95. it is the middle of april. the concert

is killer. red necks and preppies though. 37 dollars

to our name. they wouldn't even let me buy beers

without my id. hicks. next day i find myself eating

a turkey sub in a gas station parking lot because it's

so god damn nice out. new york can wait for me there.

i still got dick going but being on the road these last

three months has certainly changed things. my birthday

is in three weeks. thirty two years of age. i'll be lucky

to get a phone call. i don't give a shit. anyway--

heading to richmond to fag off with those punks.

hardly anyone around anymore. wall and his kids.

pauly and matty with the girls. new york city life is so

different. i wonder what sar's up to. i hope she's fine.

junior stole van halen's 1984 outta the sub joint. girl gone

bad is on and we're going about 80 down this stretch. god signs

and semi's everywhere. blown tires and trees forever. junior's

driving and going crazy inside and to think that this all

happen only a couple weeks back. i was walking down the street

and junior said we had three options: vegas, san fran or fla.

i've been or at least passed thru all three. in a matter of a day,

a day after i met a beautiful girl named natalie, i was gone for

three straight weeks. i've written her as best i could. i wrote

about the other one as best i could. take your time, sari. find love.

in virginia nothing looks different. emporia is ten miles away.

wherever the fuck that is.


Rick Taylor


for L. Cohen

The window you suggested a scene

Vancouver the backlit accomplice

I curbed you in stages

It’s the traffic mounting

Your mouth was so frantic

Robson Hotel seventh floor

A purse spills its guts

I spoke for you in the voiceover

Lie with family in the Appendix

Your father has my card

Does Perfection work

Do you dial zero or one

Very well open your thighs


Georgina Milne

New Boots.

A spangled spike of seven inches

Brings a sharp rapport towards its noble torque.

Jelly eyes and butter hands all clam along,

Placating,…plying at the length and taut

Skin wrought from plastic while the

Heavy angled scalene arch

Threats up to

Shatter open all the little, crinkle anklebones,

And twist the sole from recognition.

It’s the detail:

Pristine polished gleam, the seam unseen and

Jointless creaseline where the boot conjoins the heel.

Paul Amlehn


The beginning of the beginning the end of the end an infinite and

solitary kiss. A single petal made for words. I breathe in a book of

love upon my mouth a benediction and a kiss the sound of water

says what I am thinking. Light and dark earth and sky the embrace

of lovers. The most beautiful harmony born of opposites the world

both multiple and one. The imprint of the hand sunk deep in the

mud or that of the foot the bared belly the knees marked with

crosses. Sitting there together in the dark knowing each other

waiting for words. The wind of spring billows silken curtains with

longing we smell like the spices of the trade our ears nostrils navels

toes skewered by pearls. I am waiting in your monastic breath.

Threads that tangle roots sinking into the ground the ebb and

flow of a wandering energy a glorious body fused into unity the

body the vessel becoming a lymph of The Tree of Life unspoken

voices yearning. The joining of two universes internal marriage of

male and female shadow aura void. Out of the open body comes

a colored swarm of light images of flight subtending a birth

separated from the earthly vulval bed the meeting of earth and

ether. Immersion in the chasm of the body the circle the holy

enclosure. The eternal image of woman turning the world inside

out reflections in a body of water. The mystery of endless timeless

celestial reaches wandering lights flesh hued arabesques waves

billowing and crashing. Rhythms of wind and water.

Jason Wilkinson

-thank you for your time


the sun was here

but now

tennis courts are dying

softly beneath our feet/



will soon be smashed up

in dreams; willowy

flesh disappearing in

a sheet of forgotten light



among the brick+piss

giving head

behind tinted windows


what we dream by day-

phantoms become

pictures when we sleep

become meritless when we rise

yawn yawn yawn

ring ring ring

smokestacks and nail

polish hug the sunlit street.

Ben Mason

Family Portrait

Childs Modesty

an irregular reflextion

between open thighs

a former entrance to

life. As naked in

creation as those behind

ornamental primates

abused by life

men of Guantanamo –

Uneasy nakedness

Eyes averted from

a voyeuristic keeper

of the silent moment

pleading to cover

embarrassed flesh.

Aoife Mannix


How can I trust happiness

when I’ve lived my life in a house of cards?

The shifting sands of suitcases

I never learned to unpack.

The floors swept bare,

only the toothpaste graffiti,

a signature of a life I barely knew.

My mother said, ‘it’s as if we were never here’

and I thought it’s safer to be invisible,

to perfect my camouflage, blend myself into the rock,

then cling to champagne dreams of let’s pretend.

They wouldn’t let me read my own language,

and even now I lose myself in the translation,

can never quite believe you’re not leaving me.

Even though you say you love the maps in my eyes,

you can’t follow the roads that race across my skin.

You see once I start, I don’t know how to stop,

I spin out the door into a whole new costume,

Superman was never as schizophrenic as me.

And you say we can give birth to our own country,

but I’m lost and I’m scared,

and I want you to find me and bring me home

to a place that has never existed.

You say have some faith,

this is how it’s meant to be,

but I want some kind of guarantee

that if I close my eyes, you won’t disappear.

That forever is not a foreign word,

and you won’t turn into another stranger

who can’t pronounce my name,

but will always recognize me in a crowd,

always wait for me at the end of a long day,

always kiss me into existence,

always stay right here where I need you.


Thomas Lowe Taylor

(from) the Homages of Eagle

The light. Clear along yr signs, a

firmer welcome, a pattern, bedded

thorough sung as flatters song along

Yr highway’s lines are centered in

the moon’s delivered presences to

the scores, love. Loop alight her

movies playing sharply, left the rest

was sad, a moment drawn aside:

marked door drift solemn slow and

lean aside or drawn throughout, here:

strong to hold, the sentences swaying

made again these colors, flue or

charm, a wooden day and pruning

lakes are said the same and

home is shore and palm, you’d be

an eagle flying danced a dream.

Would call yr signs, review. These

are the colder lines, but gallops.

into seasons drawn astir you

are long the waves of light, onto

armies drawing artifacts throughout

Hold, the bed is broken, eyes apart

and sending outer met her flesh

at sentinel and gong the lines.

Hearts afloat and turning seems to

roam the horses peal these hoes

to foal into term, love the mark and

ship to term again, as left and

tongue would shoal to further dues

the lap of waves, the sliding hue

to the west her arches bending light

love’s arts revive the mind yr eyes.


Sheila Murphy


a minature cymbal

spl ices humdrum

lanky airspace

warm as lotion

on the skin

akin to labor f laws

in kept pace

simple to the iron or


revoking innocense

across fields pressed

in waves day after

morrow’s genteel

overcast as timbre

creases slats

of fabric

parcelling the window light

fine powder in

the grace note of our oxygen

Adam Kane

Who is it?

A magazine in a new foreign language “ Czech“

it takes me time to translate

even the simplest of captions

but yeah under this picture its:

Who is it?

So, a contest

a photograph of someone famous

a woman Czech, I guess

half the face blurred to conceal her identity,

and touched up

to make it sag

and strange, this,

but one of her eyes is wandering

Who could it be?

(And what will I win?)

I scan the text,

see that international word police

in this language: policie

(and then) stupid me I figure it out

her face is that way from


jesus jesus


she’s dead,

(the magazine closed)


(the shame) as

I open it again

and that’s blood sprinkled

down her neck

and blouse


(the magazine closed again)

as our young orange cat

washes herself

under the hot reading-lamp

I grab her to me close and hold her

because it’s so early in the morning and it’s so dark and

because my beautiful girlfriend is still sleeping,

she is so beautiful

when she is sleeping

(Look at all that I’ve won.)


Jim Bennett


Cmoe adn satnd hree nxteto me

yuo cna haer teh smuemr diyng

lesetn to teh tierd snouds of eevnig

as the cloo ari drifts through the gate

teh drkenass is aoslmt sliod

a wlal to kepe us in

or teh wolrd otu

I neevr culod fuirge otu wchih

bwron leeavs caerp asocrs teh pitao

warey ienstcs carek adn cclik

tiehr fainl wkees

adn I satnd hree wtaiing fro yuo

to be hree netx to me

as wrdos fial me

Mark Farrell



letter passed down through the colonies and

delivered to my flailing sanity

splintery cryptic language

falling from my eyes

and onto these pages

from memories,

adjacent verbs

that make me recognise

that a time arrives

when you must

look further within self

to realise that

it is more simple and virtuous

to die young

in a car wreck

than to bleed


from the gut

age 65 or 70

having lived a purple lie.

I remember hard now

when I was 23

and living in a small room

in venice.

living off beans and corn bread

drunk everyday by 11


half mad

I used to receive letters

from females in Australia

(place of birth and childhood)

that I hardly knew

or had met twice,

declaring solidarity to me


my vigour and honest brevity.

I used to take these letters down to the beach

with a bottle of port wine

and take off my shirt and shoes

and lie flat on my back

in the California sun


drinking that port wine down

and reading those letters aloud

always finding something

mildly humorous or

significantly interesting

in their words

and wondering what I had said

or done to these females

so far away

sending these hot words

down through the colonies

words laced with want and need

like a refugee.

separated by an ocean,

those girls with all the strength for me

so far away,

me drunk on the beach

clutching those letters

being ridiculed by the bums

and madmen.

the tourist,

looking at me like I was a rapist

because I was young and drunk and

reading aloud

and becoming conscious of it all,

the attention

from the bums and the madmen

and the tourists

and the young females in Australia.


becoming sick of the sand,

sick of the blue sky

and sick of the world.

feeling that I wanted out

but knowing I was already finished.

soon after the letters stopped.

I never replied

maybe that was why.

life was taking care of

what was left of me.

I’d return home

and my landlady

would be on all fours

cutting in the turf

for a new location for a Tulip

to die.

I’d walk by without saying a word

and check the mailbox.

“desperately empty”, she’d say.

the corners of her mouth turned up

with lucid mockery

her face playing 35

but her complexion savage with bitterness

fabricating a declaration of 50.

I’d walk on in

closing the door quietly behind

and look at the faded calendar

hanging by a nail.

with that relentless

Californian sun falling all over the place,

and my buttermilk semblance-

I’d laugh.

for all the answers

were passed over to the sane

or fare from the reach

of my simple grip.


Jon Sweet


or you hate your mother

or your father or

maybe both

you slash your wrists at

the age of sixteen

blow your brains out eleven years later

all of these brutal attempts

at self-_expression in a world filled

with battered children and still there is

the flight of birds

the silence of empty highways in the

last purple light of september evenings

and later it's the winter of '56 on fireplace road

where pollock watches his studio

from the back door

waits without hope for his hands

to reinvent the world

and you tell me that

you could never stand his work

and that those who kill others

deserve to die themselves

and you're found swinging in the room

of hanged men in the week before christmas

almost half a world away from your home

and when i'm fourteen

i approach morrison like i would a god

and when i'm twenty-five i can

finally see him as pathetic

and there's a woman in a small town i no longer visit

who will never forgive me for this

there are the men who

fathered her children then left her

and maybe the children hate them

or maybe they just don't care

maybe a two year-old girl in another neighborhood

is locked in a heated room

in the middle of august and left to die

and you ell me that this is what

you expect from welfare mothers and then

you talk about the niggers who live

down the street

about how you're not prejudiced

but you believe in the truth

and it's a song i've been living with

my entire life

it's the man downstairs

teaching his wife to bleed

it's my childhood spent in the watery light

of a dozen anonymous bars surrounded by

false prophets who can no longer

stand what they've become

and you are found on your balcony

dead of an overdose

or you're found in your living room

or maybe you get yourself clean

only to end up shot to death

in front of your home

and your blood is real

and spilling everywhere and

twenty years pass before i wake up in

the middle of the night to the sound

of my son crying

i have nothing to offer him

but the past

Steve Sneyd was born in 1941 in Maidenhead, England. Courtesy of an English father and an American mother, his childhood was spent in both England and the United States. In addition to his own work, he has supported genre poetry in general, compiling numerous lists of SF/F/H poems in publications genre, non-genre, and fannish. Sneyd's Hilltop Press publishes a number of other writers, including science fiction poetry by Lilith Lorraine, Gavin Salisbury, Andrew Darlington, and Peter Layton; and fantasy poetry by Frances Campbell; as well as both types of poems and more by Steve Sneyd himself, including his publications about science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry in the US and UK from 1750 to the present. Write the Huddersfield address, Steve Sneyd, 4 Nowell Place, Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD5 8PB for current information.



I’ve been reading through some of Alice’s past magazines and found that in issue 5 she has written a little about your book, The Pennine Triangle published by Othername Press. I enjoyed it very much. It has also made me want to put on a spacesuit so here I am. The suit is a little old fashioned but you seem the type to be unaffected by such trivialities.

Today I will ask you questions from Planet Penelope a distant cousin of Planet Pennine. The one thing I can say about Planet Penelope, unlike Plane Pennine is that everything is artificial here, nothing natural at all. Even the sky is made of plastic. What a terrifying thought or is it? Would one be happier under a plastic sky or a real sky? Wouldn’t it be strange if we couldn’t actually get through the plastic but we were still able to see space through it? How would it affect you?

Steve: Putting on a plastic sky reminds me of the ancient idea of heavenly spheres, and a crystal one enclosing earth, and also the frequent science fiction idea where the earth has been quarantined by other alien civilisations, a source of plague spot, because humans are so savage and warlike they’re too dangerous to be allowed out. If I knew it was like that, there’d be a kind of claustrophobic feel, though in a way nowadays if you live in a town, what with all the light pollution, street lights and security lights, we see less and less of fewer and fewer stars anyhow. In a way knowing there was no way of escaping from this planet, thanks to your plastic roof, could be a good thing in that it might focus minds on stopping the damage humans are doing to the earth, global warming and the rest of it, because it’d close the escape route that’s probably at the back of the ruling elite’s minds, that if worst comes to worst and this world was getting uninhabitable they could sneak off with everything needed for a luxury lifestyle to a dome on Mars or wherever.


Have you ever had an out of the ordinary encounter? I remember reading about alien abductions when I lived in New Mexico and you know it was so convincing I was terrified to sleep at night in case the same thing happened to me What do you think of these stories?

Steve: The strongest single instance I’ve ever had of that was walking along a very long straight road called, though with no connection to the Beatles, Penny Lane, northwest of Harrogate, and a long way off in the distance a tractor was coming towards me, and I suddenly had a tremendous irrational conviction that the tractor driver, when it reached me, would leap off and attack me – like that cropduster plane in North-by-Northwest – so I went and hid behind some trees in a plantation till the tractor was well past, even though I felt a real idiot doing so. It was fairly near Menwith Hill, though, even though that big U&S surveillance station’s domes weren’t quite in sight, and they apparently gave out powerful microwave radiation, so just possibly it was some effect of that penetrating my brain.


What was the first piece of writing that inspired you in terms of poetry and why?

Steve: If you mean the first poem that stuck in my mind, I must have been tiny when the magpie rhyme – “one for sorrow, two for joy” etc got in my head and it’s still there every time I see the birds. “Jabberwocky”’d ‘ve been very early on, too, trying to get a meaning out of those amazing words, feeling the sense was just over the mind’s horizon somehow, to describe with hindsight, a little further and I’d be there…Looking back , the first poets I read from what I thought of as personal choice would have been Eliot, Auden, Dylan Thomas, and Tennyson’s ‘The Idylls of the King’, either buying copies with my own money or pestering for copies as presents.


I notice that in your writing ‘Ahasuerus on Mars’ your language takes your character on a journey quite surreal and magical. I enjoyed this and I found the dislocated language added to this affect of movement and change. What are your feelings towards this piece of work? What made you choose the name Ahasuerus?

Steve: Once a piece of writing is, or feels any how, as complete of “right” or whatever you want to call it, as it’s going to be- and that might be almost right now, or, after years of coming back to and tinkering, that old cliché about “never completed, only abandoned” gets applied. Then it seems to have moved away from me, become very distant in a sense, as if someone else wrote it – which in a way I feel generally anyhow that the reptile brain rather than the conscious mammal brain does the writing, the latter then tidies up and tries to explain if asked. So when I then see a poem in print if it gets published, or do it as part of a reading, or look back at it to think about including it in a collection, I still in a way feel as though it’s a stranger’s work, nothing any longer to do with me. So, although I hope ‘Ahasuerus on Mars’ works for at least some readers, obviously, and that it succeeds to whatever extent in doing what it was intended to do, insofar as that was a conscious decision anyhow, now its appeared I don’t really have feelings about it as such – it exists, it’s out in the world to whatever degree it gets around and gets read, and that’s it. As to why the name Ahasuerus, I was wanting to write about how an immortal would relate to, or co-exist with, or whatever, with “short lives” ie ordinary time-limited people people –responding I suppose to the fact there’s a lot of talk about drugs and techniques that may soon make immensely extended life spans possible, at least for the very rich, and huge questions arise about how society would then change in its functioning, have to change, its something almost on the fringe of ceasing to be science fiction and becoming a reality.


Can you describe a day in your life briefly?

Steve: A real-life typical day is a non-stop whingeathon, spent, in Yorkshire poet Dave Wright’s wonderful phrase, “at the superglue crossroads”. Basically, it consists of me endlessly muttering and cursing inwardly or even aloud, trying to kickstart and motivate myself. It starts off with stalling, dragging out looking at the post, listening to the radio, making endless cups of tea etc, putting off starting overdue things, like the ox in the fable that starves because he can’t decide which of two equidistant piles of hay to eat first – “when everything is urgent nothing is urgent” – then, having finally made a start on something, ending up frantically scrabbling through disordered heaps of paper looking for the vital missing bits needed to finish it, and finally, with luck, just catching the post collection with it, after a mad dash and coming back to slump, full of the conviction the day’s ending with me being further behind with things than when I’d started, like those funfair duck shoots where there’s always another coming up, whether or not you hit the first one, which I never did anyhow. And if it’s nice weather, that’s worse still, as keep being tempted to fugue off out – probably afterhang of cognitive dissonance between the two things you get told as a kid, or did then, “get out in the sun, it’ll do you good”, and “do your homework” – since, of course, being a writer, as the old saying has it, means never having finished your homework!


Inside Fantasy Commentator with you conversation with H. R. Felgenhauer, he mentions your press, Hilltop and the co-operative Ludds Mill magazine. Could you tell me a little about these presses and their main focus?

Steve: Hilltop Press – which has a not very imaginative name, chosen because at the time it started I lived on top of a small hill, and now I live near the top of a slightly higher one – has been since the late 80s very specialised, publishing science fiction and dark fantasy poetry, some contemporary, some revivals of neglected things out of the past, like for example an amazing cosmic voyage section from an epic tale called ‘the Star-Seer’,written in 1813 by William Dearden, who nowadays is remembered if at all, only because he was a drinking companion of Branwell Bronte. Hilltop also has published my series of slim histories of different

Aspects of SF poetry, and, for the last 14 years, Data Dump, which is a newsletter about what’s happening in the field of SF, fantasy, dark fantasy and horror poetry, and also about music using those themes, of which there’s an amazing amount, from opera to rock. Ludd’s Mill was – it closed down around the mid 80s. I suppose you could call it counterculture, magazine of poetry and fiction and articles and interviews, plus a lot of graphics – visually sort of a poor man’s Oz, perhaps. It grew out of life poetry events in Huddersfield, initially as a sort of cooperative, and I was co-editor for about 6 years, then Andrew Darlington was sole editor till it closed down because he was doing a lot of rock journalism and didn’t have time for it.


I have read that you studied Chemistry to degree level. In what way did it influence your writing?

Steve: I suppose the great thing, even though I’ve forgotten just about all the detail –doubt I’d even pass a GCSE Chemistry now – is that it cured any fear of technical subjects, certainly that helped a lot when I worked as a copywriter in feeling at home talking technical stuff, and in science fiction too it means being able to be open to scientific ideas and speculations without that almost fear block you can get with some arts people, as if anything scientific is a dark impenetrable forest, “snear but don’t go near” syndrome setting in for them.

I suspect also the way shapes and patterns can be found underlying what appears a disparate surface clutter, valency theory in chemistry for example, works within my poetry, that within a mass of apparently unrelated immediate phenomena links can be teased out, perhaps like how the Strange Attractor, to use a term from Chaos Theory, works, where disparate things come into a relationship, bit like the line in alchemy from Hermes Trismegistus’ Emerald Tablets of “As above, so below”. And the way formulae, in chemistry and other sciences, are at the same time metaphors for reality, and summations of essences in it, and tools for working on it – metaphors of metaphors if you like – can suggest interesting parallels, I think, with what poetry tries to do, ways, as it were, of seeing its possible functioning, how it at once observes outer, visible reality, and tries to get inside it to essences, and, like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle at work, recognises that it cannot observe with full accuracy because the process of observation in itself changes what it observes.


Have you travelled much and has it influenced your work?

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and maybe at some level I reacted against that, and became a stay-where-I’m put adult,living in the same house in the same town since forever and so on (though my brother reacted very differently,being a tremendous traveller), much more of an armchair tourist really. It’s a paradox I suppose, when so much of my writing is about travelling the universe. Most of my travelling is very local, walking on the moors of the South Pennines, and that comes into my writing a lot, particularly the feeling you get up there, with all the traces of the past, from Mesolitihic flintknappers sites on, right to modern communications towers, that you are in touch with all the time at once, and that it’s such out of the way place aliens supposedly land undetected, so in a sense you’re between worlds of time and space up there.


If you had to land on a planet where would you most like to be? What kind of landscape would it be? Who would you most like to be stranded with honestly?

Steve: If I had my druthers it’d have rings a la Saturn, and multiple suns so that colours would change constantly, and perhaps lower gravity so there’d be that feeling of ease of movement, floating rather than walking. Puzzling ruins of a lost civilisation, with luck with food and cleaning and clothes-making machines and such that still worked, so all the faff of chores could be forgotten, and with inscriptions, including graphics, so you could try to translate them as poems. As to who I’d want to be stranded with, the fantasy’d be of the perfect Platonic “other half”, although in practice even if such a person existed I imagine it’d soon drive you mad being too well understood and too perfectly in harmony, although with

A whole planet to go at least it’d be easy to give each other getaway space when that happened!


Who is you favourite science fiction character?

Steve: The first one who comes to mind is the dark-haired girl who turns up over and over in Philip K. Dick’s stories, even though (perhaps because) she remains so mysterious, more a catalyst the reader knows nothing about than a fully-formed entity. Bunny Jinglejangelow in Brian Aldiss’ ‘Greybeard’ also comes to mind, mainly because I envied him his coat made of rabbit heads – the nearest I ever got to owning one is having,successively, a white then, when that went missing, a dark rabbit’s foot, which I still have, neither ever conspicuously bringing luck!


You sent Alice an interesting essay you wrote on text and image. Could you say a little what motivated you to write this?

Steve: It’s seemed to me for a long time that visual images can act as another “field” for the poet, one more toll in the toolkit, to use or not use as suits the material, alongside different kinds of rhyme and metre and syllabics and spacings and so on – after all, words and pictures began in the same “place”, as communications tools. A visual within, or around, a poem, can disrupt linearity, it can give a different, even contradictory, meaning, and since one of the greatest things I think a poet can do is offer the possibility of multiple interpretation, then there’s a strong motive to consider, rather than neglect or ignore or oppose, another way of adding to that potential richness.


Can you list 4 poetry books you have written with their press details that you would like to share with us.

Can you list 4 stories you have written also?

Steve: ‘Ahasuerus on Mars’has already been mentioned- that long narrative poem is in Atlantean Publishing’s Bards series, at a £1. That’s this year, and so is a palmtop-size (ie ideal to read undetected during dull work meetings) one of mainly science fiction theme haikuform syllabics called ‘Three Star Chamber’, from KRAX/Rump Press, which is 33p including postage. A couple of book-length ones are ‘What Time Has Use For’, from K T Publications, which is Arthurian poems – the third edition is still in print, that one’s £5.50. ‘Gestaltmacher, Gestaltmacher, Make Me A Gestalt’ (Four Quarters Press) is a cross section of work, science fiction, dark fantasy, sense – of – place, “mainstream”, you name it, for £6.50.


And now for my little game.

You have to tick off all the objects you possess below .

If you possess less than 12 items then you have to write a short piece of sci fi , about one paragraph, about a person who lands on this planet and influences George Bush to change his mind beyond doubt about leaving the American troops in Iraque. (or if you wish you are welcome to write it anyway.) Feel free to make comments next to items.

A Spacesuit

A model of Star Trek’s Enterprise

Neon light


Movies: Barbarella, The Fly

Space Instruction Manual

A piece of conceptual art: 

Star map

Blow up alien: 

Music by David Bowie: 

major tom

The book ‘Communion’

Any plastic figurines: 

Klingon dictionary

Periodic table of the elements: 



Globe: 

Snow boots

So am short of the twelve needed to not write the paragraph: So here goes.

“Hello, I’m Jesus, and you gotta get all your boys outta Iraq?” “How come, Lord, they’re doin your work.” “Because Rapture starts soon and I only got enough lift capability to uptake the salvationed to Heaven from one location, and that’s right here in your good ole U S of A, so unless you want your brave doughboys left behind to Satan’s hands, get ‘em back here right pronto.”


Finally, What are you working on presently and have you any work being published forthcoming. If so please do provide details for the readers.

Steve: SF writer John Brunner said one of the truest things ever, that “the sort term projects turn out to be long.” For twenty years I’ve been writing poems about a conflict between a species called the Nixil, who combat us by playing with our minds and fantasies. (Last year, my longest poem ever, where the Nixil manipulate our Grail myth, appeared in Atlantean P’s Grails anthology, but most of the poems are short), I’m determined to get them all into some sort of coherent shape, with the incentive that a U S publisher was positive about the idea recently. N other things are in various stages, including trying to get back to an intended epic-length sequence of poems of a modern self-styled reincarnation of the Childe Roland of Browning’s Dark Tower, now that the two already written, as the creative writing part of my Poetry MA dissertation back in ’99, have finally both been published, in Fire magazine, but I always feel as though it’s a bit of a chicken-countingly unlucky talking about future possibilities too much. That also applies to the biggest forthcoming thing, a book about pioneering American science fiction poet Lilith Lorraine, which, with a reprinting of a selection of her work, was commissioned by Cosmos books in the States, and the text accepted by them a couple of years back plus, and proofs seen and checked 18 months or so back, but still, at time of writing, it continues, according to their website, obstinately in “forthcoming” limbo (aka development hell?) so I just hope mentioning it at all here doesn’t push it to the bottom of their priority list!

Thank you for your time, Steve!

Steve Sneyd

The Myth of Open Skies

ok you all know someone who knows someone

saw it happen some whatsisface stood up

in dock and the wig asks anything to say

before passes sentence and out comes cig

packet holds it up and says “Beam me up

Scotty” only think on a bit big universe

big big numbers someone has to beat odds

stands to reason and was me it worked for

one minute facing time for twooking next

other side of time in this glittersmooth

control room just like’d seen so often on

telly screen except see the real thing see

a little tatty as anywhere’d be too many

folk been in too long like everywhere i’ve

been for real not on the screen and i stand

there thinking trouble coming will get boot

dead quick back to where I came from but is

funny as funny no one even seems to notice

me is like i’m a ghost out of well think

about it i am i must be dead by now is so

far into tomorrow’s tomorrow the hell they

can’t see me i can do just what i like set

controls for heart of sun like that old

hit once i get knobs dials all that sussed

finish off whole lot or really surprise Uhura

like that joke about Lois Lane and Invisible

Man and Superman diving down to give her a

surprise and all seems wonderful except is

horrible food doesn’t exist yet goes right

through leaves me thinner and thinner no

reply when i speak just all these uniforms

worse’n copshot shooting round ignoring me

not even bothered to pay enough mind to

scum they think i am to listen write down

what I confess over and over i ask Scotty

beam me down no sign of life i might’s well

not exist i hit them poke them pinch them

kick em up and down should be blue black no

twitch alright if i don’t exist i’ll make

sure they don’t still got that cig packet

take it out say beam whole lot down back

Scotty into court shouldn’t work it does

squnches all whole lot by god I needed that


dreaming joy power to annoy

safely at some genteel-gentle

lit-type do claiming proof to

hand will soon reveal of just

you wait interBronte incest in

as many possible combinations

as moor-edge hidden pathways

woke to thuds bangs to windows

whathehell next door’s garden

gone to Pennine abandoned all

heather-grown humps full bloom

now though not bright under

grey sky quarry and rust-piled it

bristled as hedgehog back with in

sort of wedged crown dead rocket

ships end of space age or USSR

stuff and how the hell got there

and to hell would worry when time

to get up too early yet to think

and thought’d teach him mock in

dream even Brontes sure after all

a coven and what powers there to

change world even dead could

even out of all stars bring all

spacemen back to visit crash

their ships in tribute to them

there and anyway good this no

longer feel obliged to go each

year see heather out in colour

here come to him his doorstep and

with that huge mess there who cd

ever even notice how his own plot

just mess setaside ca/rbon sink he

preferred name for jungle and next

time spoke to that gathering he

thought will prove how Branwell’s

biggest failure unsuccess as Fenian

spy bomber railway saboteur in

next dream side by side all battled

dinosaurs before the Flood no crazier

than blackbird gobbles hung as tight-

-rope artist till near falls off with

fatness rowan berries soon’s red

ripe will curse all winter none are

left to tasty up ice times and through

such sleep reluctant to get up restart

day’s do is sure hears in new quarry

new there so old abandoned in its

look hammer and chisel sounds of who

inscribing on those fallen dreamers’

ships messages just right to keep them

returned rightly down to earth old

Tyke way of cutting what sticks up

above parapet down to size Town

Rules etc or more likely just like

Haworth now guidance information done

in Japanese soon as Berlin Wall in

bits most even genuine as Bronte bobbins

off dead mills be time to turn starfaring

remnants into souvenirs wonder what

percent his neighbour’d share could

market slogan how really truly all

those loving Brontes found alive Out There



Maxine by Alice Lenkiewicz

ISBN: 1-904781-72-1



This is my first novella. It started as a book of poems but then developed into a story. It seems to have been placed into a science fiction category although I’m not sure if that is the correct genre for it. Maxine does astral travel and go into space (in a kind of metaphorical way) but whether it is considered sci-fi, I’m not too sure. For me it was just fiction but interesting all the same to see it categorised as sci-fi, although I am sure some would disagree. This book was my final thesis for my MA in writing studies at Edge Hill College. The book contains prose and poetry.


From: Rupert Loydell

New Stride books, autumn 2005


ISBN 1-905024-02-9 £10.00 147pp pbck October 2005


ISBN 1-905024-03-7 £5.00 20pp pamphlet October 2005

edition of 100 copies

THE SOLEX BROTHERS and other prose poems Luke Kennard

ISBN 1-905024-04-5 £6.95 47pp pbck October 2005



(In the spring of 2006, Stride will publish The Peter Redgrove Archive: new editions of his seven novels* [two co-written with Penelope Shuttle] and a new book of selected essays & interviews edited by Professor Neil Roberts.)

The Poetry of Saying: British Poetry and its Discontents 1950-2000

Robert Sheppard:

Published now by Liverpool University Press at £50 hardback.

Liverpool University Press

4 Cambridge Street


L69 7ZU

ISBN: 0853238197


The Poetry of Saying presents the history and social development of alternative forms of British poetry, still little examined or dismissed, set against the context of the development of the Movement Orthodoxy, those writers who followed and attenuated the tradition of Philip Larkin, even as Larkin’s cultural capital fell. Ranging from the quiet work of Lee Harwood to the avant-gardism of Bob Cobbing, from the major works of Roy Fisher to the still developing sonic and semantic experiments of Maggie O’Sullivan, and covering a number of other writers in their historical context, this work is theorised in terms of a poetry of saying, which aims to keep interpretations maximally open. This theoretical perspective, which is balanced against the historicising element, uses Bakhtin and Levinas as its touchstones, and reaches its highest pitch with relation to the work of Tom Raworth, which it argues is ethically open through its textual strategies.

See further details available at:


SURFACING (Spike, 2005)

William Park,

ISBN: 0 9518978 7 X


Spike Press: c/o Liver House, 96, Bold Street,Liverpool L1 4HY


The Hutton Enquiry

Chris McCabe,

Salt Publishing: ISBN: 1-84471-074-2


WRITING SHORT STORIES (Routledge) now available. for further details.



Steve Sneyd

Atlantean Publishing

38, Pierrot Steps, 71 Kursaal Way

Southend-On-Sea, Essex, SS1 2UY, UK

Price £1.00

Cheques made payable to DJ Tyrer.

Fractured Muse

By AC Evans

Atlantean Publishing

38, Pierrot Steps, 71 Kursaal Way

Southend-On-Sea, Essex, SS1 2UY, UK

Price £1.00

Cheques made payable to DJ Tyrer.


The Pennine Triangle

Poems by

Steve Sneyd

J C Hartly

J F Haines

Othername Press

ISBN: 0 9521806 2 6

14, Rosebank, Rawtenstall,Rossendale,BB4 7RD



Twelve Writers on Writing

Anthology of poems from the members of the first Poetry Business Writing School, (based in Huddersfield) written while on the course.

ISBN: 1-902382-69-2

Contact Janet Fisher, The Poetry Business, Distribution Central Books, 99 Wallis Road, London E9 5LN


Cathedral Poems

by Andrew Taylor

Paula Brown Publishing

ISBN: 0 9543621 9 5


Yellow Torchlight and The Blues

By Emma Lee


Price £7.00

‘original plus’, Flat 3,18 Oxford Grove,Ilfracombe,Devon, EX34 9HQ


How to Be a Dragonfly

By Patricia Debney

ISBN: 1-902382-71-4

42 prose poems

Smith/Doorstop Books,The Poetry Business, The Studio, Byram Arcade,Wesgate,Huddersfield,HD1 1ND


Open Wide magazine

issue 17 now available



Editor: David White




Dee Rimbaud/ AA Independent Press Guide -


Citizen 32


Interlude Magazine

Editor: Francesca Ricci



D.P. Ryan

Founder and Publisher of the highblue community


Neon Highway Poetry/Art Magazine


Current and forthcoming Issues numbers 11 to 12

£2 per issue.

U.S: 1 issue $6, Europe 4 euros.

Cheques made out to Alice Lenkiewicz


37, Grinshill Close, Liverpool, L8 8LD

‘Neon Highway’ no longer accepts unsolicited work.

The magazine will operate on a commission basis later in 06. Details will be updated on website regarding forthcoming issues