I’m writing this to introduce you to BOLD, a sister publication to The Broken Spine Artist Collective, and founded and co-edited by Stuart M. Buck, and me, Alan Parry. It is true that both Stuart and I are working busily, and relatively successfully, on our existing literary publications, why then would we countenance the idea of starting something new? We both know that the likelihood of us earning either fame or fortune from this is minimal. So, why bother? The truth is that we are both artists, and as such we like to create, we like to take risks, and do something new, something striking, something bold.
BOLD itself will be an anthology of poetry, prose, and visual artwork on the theme of masculinity. Why create something of this nature? I can hear you ask, and why now?
Well, the reasons are manifold, but primarily Stuart and I wanted to work together, and if we were going to do that, it was going to be on something that we had a shared interest in. It quickly became apparent that the debates surrounding masculinity are that common interest.
Stuart has spoken openly about his admiration for Andrew McMillan’s poetry, much of which deals with issues of masculinity, of identity, and of queerness. McMillan’s poetry about his coming out and his coming of age marks him out, in our opinion, as one of the finest poets in the English-speaking world today. The impact of McMillan’s work on Stuart’s own writing is clear and has inspired some of the work in Blue the Green Sky, which was published by The Broken Spine in June 2021, a publication I had the good fortune to serve as editor on alongside Paul Robert Mullen.
While I touch on the male gaze in my own chapbook, Neon Ghosts, my real interest in masculinity was borne out of a love for Lad Lit that was made famous by writers such as Nick Hornby in Nineties Britain. Further, I have recently completed my MA Popular Culture, where my research mainly considered representations of masculinity in the Alan Partridge canon, looking at how that relatively unique character, who emerged during the crisis of masculinity at the end of the twentieth century, has changed over time, and what the reasons might be for his development. I did not want my MA to come to an end. Rather, I wanted to continue exploring the different images of masculinity, be they hegemonic, queer, trans, female, or something else entirely.
Collectively, our goal is to bring together poetry, prose, and visual art that documents all of these different images; the positive and the negative experiences, and to share that work with the world.
We want to showcase that masculinity today, and in the future, need not be about men holding down physical or powerful jobs, oppressing women, shying away from their own thoughts and feelings, and all those other things that might come to mind when you think of maleness. We aim to prove that masculinity might not even be about maleness at all.
The truth is that the boom in men’s studies was, at least in part, a direct result of the impact of feminist studies, and similarly we will use the growth in the myriad feminine publications as a spur to create a publication that openly discusses masculinity, in all of its forms.
To this end, we will bring in a team of Guest Readers that will change with each publication, and the first person to officially join the editorial staff for BOLD 1 was David Hanlon. David is an excellent poet in his own right, and has written on such issues himself in his debut collection Spectrum of Flight. (Animal Heart Press). Shortly after we were able to bring poet Katie Jenkins into the fold. Katie is a writer who I particularly admire, who I have previously published in The Broken Spine Artist Collective and she is also a regular reader at our #OnlinePoetryNights where her work is always very well received.
Our submission window will open later this year for a period of twelve weeks, once people have had a chance to look at our submission guidelines, and we aim to present BOLD 1 in the summer of 2022.