Jack Little from Newcastle tells us about his experiences setting up a poetry press in Mexico and invites submissions from UK and Mexican poets aged 16-25.
Mexico City is a chaotic yet beautiful city, ripe with the weird and wonderful: sad clowns on buses after a hard day at work, couples walking in the park dressed as skeletons, an old man who shares his sandwich on a bench in the hot sun. Nothing would surprise me here, no wonder it’s the home of magical realism! One way in which I have tried to share this has been through The Ofi Press, an international online magazine showcasing work from both here in Mexico and abroad, a project aimed at promoting a love of quality global literature.
It has been a learning experience to run an online magazine, which has very quickly become a passion, perhaps even an obsession. Although the site began just as a few pages on the internet, the whole project has grown, bringing together writers from all over the Americas for our monthly poetry nights in Mexico City, new translation projects and the production of a book for The Clipperton Project. We’ve published brand new writers from several countries and world renowned poets such as George Szirtes, Jack Mapanje and Luljeta Lleshanaku. We have created new collaborations bringing together Latin and West African poets, as well as our latest project of bringing together Geordie and Mexican poets in conversation, creating new dialogues and discussions across borders. We have taken on a new intern from the UK who will be helping to promote the site and source works of fiction from around the world. It’s a way for me to reconnect with back home from so far away.
As a young poet, I have been following YPN a lot, entering several competitions and using many of the writing challenges to improve my own writing. When I read this year’s anthology of Foyle Young Poets I was so impressed that I had an idea for a new collaboration, for young British poets and Mexican poets to work together to create something exciting and fresh for The Ofi Press. There is a wealth of emerging talent in poetry in both of these countries, so why not open up new lines of exploration with translations of work to English and Spanish, and promote the pool of talented poets bridging the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to Mexico? I am very excited.
The Ofi Press is now accepting submissions from young poets aged 16 to 25 from both the UK and Mexico, to be showcased online later in 2013. The theme of the poems should be based on “connection” and you may interpret this in your own way! You could think of emotional, philosophical or scientific connections – or in just about any way, shape or form. The more imaginative, the better. Selected poems will be translated into Spanish.
Throw lots of seeds out there and work hard. Explore your writing, read lots and, more than anything else, enjoy yourself! You never know what may come from those tiny seeds.
Submitting your poems
Submissions via YPN are now closed – you can read the fabulous poems from the Ofi Press-Young Poets Network collaboration here. And you can still submit to the Ofi Press directly – good luck!
Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British poet, translator and editor based in Mexico City where he edits The Ofi Press magazine online. He has forthcoming or published poetry in Wasafiri, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Barehands Poetry Anthology, Morphrog and New Linear Perspectives. He has represented the Mexican national cricket