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Welcome to Collection 5 of Crowstep Journal and more fine Tales of the Unexpected! We once again found ourselves with a very long shortlist (over 200 submissions/50 shortlisted) and a lot of rereading to arrive at this point. It has very much been a process of curation rather than sitting down and rejecting poems (which is why we don’t send ‘rejection’ emails). So, if your work hasn’t been included this time, please know that it is  not necessarily a comment on the quality of your work.


Both John and I come from a visual arts background and are very interested in presenting our collections as pieces of work that stand strong collectively (like an exhibition) as well as individually (also, think concept album!) so there are many different variables to consider. There is no denying that there is also a good deal of subjectivity involved in choosing what we would like to present, but I hope that previous collections now give a better idea of what we are looking for and connect with.


Having said that, Collection 5 is possibly the most eclectic to date. This is a very exciting development for us as it hopefully shows that we are drawn to and embrace a wide range of styles, themes and voices whilst hopefully also growing something that is uniquely ‘Crowstep’. We’ve tried to define what that is in previous editorials but those definitions tend to shapeshift. This is because we are continually being surprised and intrigued by your work and it becomes difficult to pin down what we hope to attract without sounding cliched. Here are some of our favourite moments:


We might have watched cartoons on the telly/ but I drew a door in a wall of rock/ and you ran through it (Deborah Harvey), Anywhere else and the flesh would tear/ like a licorice whip, unravelling/ from the bone in slick, bright ropes (Bethany W Pope), It is the color/ of a dirge, that with time will wander/ toward a major key’s Picardy Third (Nancy K. Jentsch), i felt like growing   an/ ovoid sphere in the middle of a line (Blossom Hibbert), …will a madman, in an oil slick skin/ with a cyclops miner’s lamp/ plunge, into history's depression (Lisa Lopresti), Listening for things to come/ my shape became an ear (Mark Cassidy), ...and a Gaelic charm to knot your tresses to mine fails/ my dry, knotted tongue/ in landlocked winter air (Reyzl Grace), and throaty grumbles of countless cats rumble/ unlike Schrodinger’s they just want to exist in one state   dry (Geraldine Fleming), Once a year we flood these fields/ with a sisterhood of shadows,/ mothers and daughters, sons in drag (Siegfried Baber), liquorice  liquid molten coco.../ pushing the weeds of sea          up with the chocolricee (Kevin Moffatt), from women who tended/ to the purple of eggplants/ the yellow of limoncello/ they drank up flavors/ from the pouring sun (Susan Shea), Kicking high, in one indented curve – lordosis, but woven not from flesh,/ Composed, instead, of the residue of combusted wood -- curling upwards (Oisín Breen).


With great respect & thanks to all those who have shared their brilliant work



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