The first issue of Staple, edited by Don Measham and Tony Rees, was funded from the proceeds of a Writers’ Conference held at Matlock College in 1982 and was published in the Spring of the following year. At the conference, the poet Roy Fisher had referred to the kind of publication that the editors had in mind as being characterized by poems typed about a central staple. That image, with all its associations, provided the magazine’s name.
Staple continued under the editorship of Don Measham and Bob Windsor until 2000, during which time they transformed the magazine into a high quality, perfect bound publication. They also ran competitions and readings, and published a series of first collections of poetry and short fiction under the imprint Staple First Editions.
Staple passed into the joint editorship of Elizabeth Barrett and Ann Atkinson in 2000, though both already had strong connections with the magazine: Elizabeth had won the Staple First Editions Award in 1998 with her collection of poetry Walking on Tiptoe while Ann’s involvement went back to the early days of Staple Writers’ conferences, where the likes of Barry Hines, Roy Fisher and Fleur Adcock had run workshops and given readings. Elizabeth Barrett left the magazine in 2005, and after a short period under Ann Atkinson’s sole editorship, Wayne Burrows took over in 2007.
Staple has always published an eclectic range of work. In any given issue, experimenters can be found side by side with traditionalists, verse which is free or formal, narrative or experimental, lyric or dissonant all exists – hopefully harmoniously, or at least in a creative tension – within the same pages. Although best known for its poetry, Staple is also committed to publishing short fiction, essays, reviews and interviews, and the only rule is that we are constantly looking for fresh approaches to writing: above all, the work we publish should always be clear about its reasons for making demands of the reader, and reward the time and focus that the reader puts in.
Staple will continue to be a place where the often opposing camps in the literary world – mainstream and small press, avant garde and traditionalist, local and international – can all find space. In 2007/8 we published the first collection, A Stone’s Throw, from the poet James Caruth, Staple 66/7, a spring/summer double issue including work by Peter Porter, Andrea Roe, Douglas Houston and Clare Crossman, and Staple 68: The East Midlands Issue, which draws on the wealth of writing talent currently reaching critical mass in Nottingham and the East Midlands, with Clare Brown, Michael Pinchbeck, Derrick Buttress and Roberta Dewa among the contributors.
Following a hiatus after that issue’s appearance in Spring 2008, we secured funding for two further years, and beginning with Staple 69/70: The Publishing Issue, a 285pp anthology guest-edited by Rebecca Swift of the UK’s leading manuscript appraisal and writers’ mentoring organisation, The Literary Consultancy, are currently working our way through a series of themed issues, with Staple 71: The Art Issue and Staple 72: The Music Issue both available, and more to come.
For Summer 2010 we are publishing a special issue on the links between writing and film, with material already secured from Richard Skinner, Emma Lee, John Hartley Williams, Yelena Popova, Tyler Keevil, Sophie Mayer, Jill Campbell and Michael Eaton and in the Winter of 2011 we’ll be looking at translation, with Thomas Orzsag-Land’s new versions of Miklos Radnoti, Martin Stannard on Chinese poet Li Bai and Ruth O’Callaghan on current Mongolian women’s poetry.
With two anthologies in the pipeline – one featuring artists and writers working together, the other a second look at new writing in the East Midlands region – and events being scheduled around the country during the year ahead, we hope you’ll want to bookmark this page and return for updates as they’re added to the site. Even better, you could join our subscribers by visiting our online shop at http://staplemagazine.bigcartel.com/ or sending a cheque to:
Staple Magazine, 114 – 116 St Stephen’s Road, Sneinton, Nottingham NG2 4JS