Of Cats and Men

‘In ancient times cats were worshipped as Gods; they have not forgotten this.’ – Terry Pratchett.

 Cats and men have almost always been a taboo subject; men are associated with dogs. Man and dog have bonded through the ages through the masculine-centric hobby of hunting – dogs are, after all, man’s best friend. For some men at least. This post presents a contradiction to the idea that masculinity relies upon love for dogs.

To name but a few male literary figures who were inspired by their cats:

Ernest Hemmingway – Pictured Above. Hemmingway was famously known for his love of cats, and coined the saying ‘one cat just leads to another’.

William S Burroughs – His house was littered with cats, similarly to Hemmingway. His last recorded diary entry before he died expressed the pure love he felt for his cats: ‘Pure love. What I feel for my cats present and past.’

Edgar Allan Poe – He adored his tortoiseshell cat, Catterina, who used to sit on his shoulder and watch him write. Catterina also kept Poe’s wife, Virginia, company whilst she was dying of tuberculosis.

T.S. Elliot – Having written an entire book of poetry on cats, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, he owned many felines himself. Those most notable were called Jellylorum, Wiscus, and George Pushdragon.

Jack Kerouac – Aside from being a free-spirited Beat pioneer, Kerouac was also a self-proclaimed cat lover. The death of his favourite feline, Tyke, was documented in his 1962 novel Big sur.

Charles Bukowski – Bukowski famously declared ‘In my next life I want to be a cat.’ The gentler side of his personality is revealed through the book On Cats, which offers his musings upon these beloved felines.

More men should be able to embrace their inner ‘cat-man’ like the writers above, whether for personal reasons or purely to spite gender normativity and the constraints of masculinity.  I leave you with a final quote:

‘What greater gift than the love of a cat?’ – Charles Dickens

 

 

Jade.

 

The Importance of Creative Writing in Politics

 

There is a General Election coming up in Britain and at Foxtrot Uniform are very interested in poetry that questions the Establishment and status quo so political poetry is important to us. There are clearly two straight choices in this election: the hope of the state working for everyone in society, or the stability of working in the Government’s interests. Throughout the campaign period we’ll be given lots of information telling us reasons to vote for one party or the other, but one piece of information we are rarely given is literary views, or views from within popular culture. Creative Writing has been so important in the past to influence public opinion. Think of the scathing satires on parliament such as Gulliver’ Travels, or the woe of World War One poets, the anti-establishment writing of the Beat Generation, or the political music – for lyric is definitely poetry – of Bob Dylan and Billy Bragg but in recent years political works have been rarely published.

Creative writing is, as Wordsworth stated, ‘Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’. It is these ‘powerful feelings’ that can help to influence our voting choices. Poetry and prose have helped to kick start and fuel revolutions and protests: from P. B. Shelley’s ‘The Mask of Anarchy’ and Blake’s ‘The French Revolution’, to Whitman’s ‘To a Foil’d European Revolutionaire’ or Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’. In fact, the influence of some poets has been so feared that poems have been censored to prevent their message being spread. Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ was the subject of an obscenity trial in 1957 as it was believed by the State that the poem could influence young Americans to liberate themselves both politically and sexually. ‘Howl’ calls for us to cast away the

‘Three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman’s loom’

 

These are all obvious metaphors for average American life, and being told to cast them away is controversial and revolutionary. However, the Judge presiding over the poem’s trial ruled that the poem does have ‘literary and social merit’ and therefore, was important as a piece of text that might influence young Americans. In fact, the poem – along with Kerouac and Burroughs’ texts – kick-started the Beat Generation, a revolution that liberated the youth of America.

 

However, creative writing has lost its influential capacity. Writers – and musicians – are scared to offend and do not publish political poetry so much. Kate Tempest is one poet whose poetry is politically influential. Other writers, however,  may find that publishers are generally scared to hurt sales figures so are not overly keen to publish controversial or politically charged pieces of writing. Yet, here at Foxtrot Uniform you can expect to see controversial poetry and prose which questions where we are going as a world. So, get out there and explore the influential politically charged poetry that is published and write some of your own to influence your peers in this upcoming election.

By Joshua Cialis

 

 

 

Meet the Founders…(4)

Hello,

I am Jade.

 

My role within Foxtrot Uniform is the Head of Publishing and Artistic Director. I was the second person to become involved in Foxtrot Uniform due to my knowledge of publishing and editing, as well as my artistic and writing ability.

 

I have loved reading literature since I was very young, constantly spending hours reading when and where I could. I began writing at age 13, but seriously took up the idea of being an author aged 15. As well as poetry, I enjoy writing prose and drama, being heavily influence by my acting history. I have written short stories, a novella, two plays and various amounts of poetry in recent years.

 

My writing process begins with throwing my ideas down on the page, followed by a heavy editing process in order to create the desired outcome. I particularly strive for eloquent and poetic language across all mediums of my work, taking influence from the likes of Shakespeare and Allen Ginsberg.

 

As a multifaceted creative person, I have to divide my time between art, drama and writing. I often find myself drawing or painting, as well as attending the theatre and joining the thespian society at my university.

 

I look forward to reading your submissions, if you have any inquires please don’t hesitate to email us.

 

Best,

 

Jade

 

Meet the Founders…(3)

Y’ello readers,

I’m a West Country Literature/Creative Writing student studying in Chester and soon to be studying for a year in Sweden. My role in the magazine consists of working with Holly on the Selections/Corrections process, as well as keeping on top of all things social.

I started dabbling with writing in my last year of Sixth Form, wanting to take it on further through my University years. Through a combination of degree work and becoming housemates with Josh, my work has been and is still going through the experimental phase, testing out various themes and styles in which to present my work. I imagine I will always be in this experimental phase, however I can only see this as a benefit for years to come.

Nailing down any particular influences proves difficult: I attempt to read and watch a diverse amount of work so that I am open to new ideas all the time. In saying that however, I am partial to most things dystopian, surreal and absurd (the weirder the better).

In my very spare time I drink beer and coffee, traverse the UK by train and keep up to date with most sports and news articles. Taa for reading: I look forward to each and every submission!

Yours faithfully,

Reece Merrifield

Meet the Founders… (2)

Hi, I am Holly Royle, my role within Foxtrot Uniform is Selections and Corrections. This involves editing, particularly regarding grammar and punctuation, along with partaking in choosing pieces to be published in the magazine.

I have loved literature from an early age, but only in more recent years have I started writing my own poetry and prose. I find that inspiration occurs randomly throughout the day, therefore I frequently make notes of any passing ideas I may have for a poem or short story.

I am greatly influenced by Gothic and Victorian literature, predominantly the works of the Brontë sisters. The differing portrayals of life and the darkness within humans by the sisters in each of their works is extraordinary. Charlotte’s Villette, Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey, are my favourites out of all their works. Dark and disturbing themes of death, uncanniness and madness are areas that I find particularly fascinating, and are well explored in the Gothic and Victorian genre. Ideas that challenge concepts of normality greatly appeal to me and I am looking forward to reading submissions which provide an insight into how others view the world.

Best wishes,
Holly.

 

Meet the Founders (1)…

Hi I am Joshua Cialis…

Think of me as the Lawrence Ferlinghetti of Foxtrot Uniform. I am a poet and the Editor of Foxtrot Uniform, I keep everything moving within the magazine and help to choose pieces to publish. I originally came up with the idea for Foxtrot Uniform midway into my second year of university after several failed attempts to find a platform to share my work; so after gathering a group of friends around me we launched Foxtrot Uniform opening for submissions.

I originally started writing in my late high school years; starting with simple rhymes and then gradually moving away from form and exploring the ways words work together seamlessly – I believe in Allen Ginsberg’s phrase ‘first thought, best thought’, and therefore do little editing of my work. Although, I do sometimes tweak words to make the poem flow better. There’s great need for more spontaneous writing in a world governed by pre-written speeches and rolling scripted news. We live in a world of uncontested ‘facts’ – whether they are true or not – and poetry, I think, is the way back to opinion. A freedom of speech written in spontaneous verse.

As a writer I am greatly influenced by the likes of Keats and Blake, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, John Cooper Clarke and Mike Garry, but also enjoy reading (and listening to) the poetry of Simon Armitage and Holly McNish. I write in a style mixed between formed verse and formless prosaic poetry; and enjoy the truth that spontaneity allows the writer to give on the page or stage.

I look forward to reading your pieces when you have sent them in to us. If you have any questions directly for me, send an email to foxtrotuniformpoetry@gmail.com and address the subject line to ‘Joshua’.

Yours creatively,

Joshua

What do we like to see?

Well anything really!

Submissions for the Autumn/Debut issue of Foxtrot Uniform are open, and the deadline is set for the 8th of August 2017. I have been asked by quite a few readers, what it is we will be accepting. The answer is, something we haven’t seen before, something new and exciting, a subversion of a traditional form, a totally new way of writing. Whether you keep to a strict rhyme scheme or totally go with the flow of writing. If you’re writing prose we like new ideas, new ways of saying something, satires or essays.

As was stated on the ‘How To Submit’ page, we accept any form of poetry or prose – prose pieces being 500 words or less. We would love to read any pieces that you’ve written whether it’s a short story, long poem, or a tiny haiku. We are generally interested in the madness of originality. So see if your words can burn like roman candles on the page and enlighten us as readers.

Some ideas of what to send in might include:

Essays on ideas (500 words or less), Poems of any form: from haiku (no more than 6 haiku a single submission),  to sonnet, or free verse and formless poetry, short stories, and satires. We will read anything sent in to us at Foxtrot Uniform.

So send your pieces to foxtrotuniformpoetry@gmail.com to get them published…

Welcome!

Hello reader,

You are almost as new to this as we are. We have set up this magazine in order to free the modern author. Foxtrot Uniform is not constrained by form or literary prowess: it is for writers and readers, thinkers and listeners, lovers and fighters. Foxtrot Uniform hopes to give a platform to published and unpublished writers alike; allowing anyone to get their foot on the road to a wider readership. We will be accepting a mixture of poetry and prose for publication in the magazine. So, as long as your piece is written down and is original we will look at it and potentially (probably) publish it.

We set up Foxtrot Uniform in our second year of university to free the multitude of young writers fighting to be heard – or more likely read. We had found that if publishers don’t like you, your style, or theme then they just won’t accept your poetry. So in the spirit of the Beat Generation and the fanzines of the punk era, Foxtrot Uniform will be accepting new and exciting forms of writing along with explorative ways of using existing forms. Nothing’s off limits, the page is utterly yours!

We have set Foxtrot Uniform up in such a way that there is not just one Editor, the founders are equal in judgement. Each with their special roles. This wider scope in editorship means that personal preference will not get in the way of publishing; each piece will have to go through at least 3 of the founders before it is discarded or accepted. This means that you are more likely to get accepted and published.

We look forward to receiving your work…

Yours creatively,

Joshua (Editor/Founder)