Valve #03: A Literary Journal
Now in its third year, Valve's combination of new and established writers offering poems and stories with an experimental edge is a winning formula. As you take in these mostly brief pieces a thematic flow stretches between a sequence, offering a continuity and wholeness often absent from other literary journals. This can be seen in the opening four stories that pull into focus death and the ocean through fantastical and parochial lenses. Lucy Ribchester's The She-Squid's Embrace is particularly noteworthy in this chain, offering the lonely tale of a mythical beast from the deep, who falls in love with a dead sailor and drags him back to her home.
Other highlights include Afric McGlinchey's poems Out of the Green and Remnants of the Old Century, which work a plethora of intriguing images into beguiling narratives and have something of John Ashbery about them. Elaine Reid's Trees for Africa is one of the longer pieces; an unnerving story about a woman working at a charity call-centre going in search of the customer who verbally abused her. There are several poems from en vogue names like Ryan Van Winkle and Michael Pedersen, which continue in the high standard they have set elsewhere. If you're at all interested in what the current crop of voices in the world of Scottish literature have to offer, Valve is essential. [Ryan Rushton]
Out now, RRP £5http://www.valvejournal.co.uk