Orbis 169


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Orbis 169

Front cover artwork: ‘When The Forest Calls‘ by Theresa Tahara;
back cover, detail from image: http://theresa-tahara.artistwebsites.com/

Featured Poet
Maureen Hill: Bering; Anna Christina; Glass; Bertha – Mrs Rochester

Poems from:Yvonne Baker:The taste of black moss; Simon Fletcher:Landscape;
John Hart: Elation; Kate North: Hematocyte; Paul Stephenson:The Swell Speed of Mrs Jackson’s Knees

Prose from: Gail Dendy: Breath’s Journey; Ayelet McKenzie: Broken Surfaces;
Luke Murphy: The Glass Cage

Translation: Michael Swan: Petrarcha Canzoniere 272

Past Master: Dave Troman on Edgar Allan Poe

Article: Enda Coyle-Greene: One Woman’s Voice – the poems of Sheila Wingfield

Reviews by:Angelina Ayers,Maria Isakova Bennett, Suzannah Evans,
David Harmer, 
Afric McGlinchey, Jennifer McGowan,
Clairr O’Connor, Lynne Taylor, D.A. Prince

Orbis 169 contributors also include:
Niamh Boyce; Séamas Carraher; Ross Cogan; Ian Colville; Stella Davis;
Siobhan Daffy; Eliza Dear; Marianne Dissard; Martin A. Egan; Margaret Gleave;
Cora Greenhill; 
Oz Hardwick; Chris Hardy; Gloria Keeley; Noel King;
Simon Leonard; Luke Palmer; 
Ali Pardoe; Kathleen M Quinlan;
Marilyn Ricci; Marg Roberts; Catherine Rockwood;
Phil Ruthen; Martha Street; Alec Taylor; Linda White 


March 16

Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition 2015

is for previously unpublished stories of up to 2,200 words by women writers.

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Neil Gunn

Neil_Gunn_Writing_Comp_LogoMarch 2
The Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2014/15
Organised by High Life Highland & The Neil Gunn Trust
Adult short story and poetry sections open to writers worldwide
Choice of 3 themes
Full details and entry forms at www.highlifehighland.com/neilgunn



Con O'Neill & Leanne Best in Educating Rita at Liverpool Playhouse (c) Stephen Vaughan #IMG_9017

February 6 – March 7


Educating Rita 

Liverpool Playhouse

Reviewed for Whatsonstage:


Image: Stephen Vaughan 


Imagine going to Hamlet, knowing next to nothing about the play, or Shakespeare, for that matter – can’t be done, not in these information rich days. Back in 1979, however, Willy Russell magically conjured up one such scene, one of many, with Rita experiencing Macbeth.


Though Educating Rita isknown for its comedy, in the world according to Frank, by his definition, and his actions and attitude, it is also a tragedy: a man who was a gifted poet, is doomed, after a brief renaissance, hell-bent on the path to self-destruction. Australia, in fact, in a jaunty conclusion which may seem an oddly happy ending. Leanne Best excels in this final scene but while she deals adroitly with an infatuated alcoholic, his apparently calm acceptance does not ring quite true. His petty jealousy has previously erupted in a comment about Mary Shelley, knowing Rita now fully understands the cruel allusion. Education leads you forward, offering choices, but also alienates; the risk of being marooned, between those left behind, and those at a level you still may not be able to attain.


OK, nitpicking, because right from the start, the audience is in for a treat. The set is damn near as breathtaking as the first view of the magnificent Picton Library: a tome lined, almost tomb like chamber; hidey hole for him, a whole new world for her. Dominated by a low, tilted circular ceiling cum screen, this is somewhat under-used; after a whizz through 1970s images, there’s just a close-up and details from a painting Rita admires.


Perhaps one of the most amazing things about this play and its long shelf life, you could say, is that given this solitary location, it is gripping, with remarkable, sparkling dialogue matched by first rate actors. Rita, passionate, determined, and goodness, so brave and funny, is a completely enchanting heroine. And genuinely so, embarking on her quest, and succeeding, against all the odds. It helps of course that she is so attractive, in her trendy clothes – yes, even for the 70s. Frank is stuck with his cardies, in a kind of monochrome uniform.


And for an erudite man, he should know a lot better as the roles shift, his mentor bewitched by her muse. Harking back to Pygmalion and Galatea, Rita is far more than raw material to be moulded, or indeed, owned. Initially, she feels she has not the mind or the language to express her feelings and thoughts, similarly, words can barely do justice to Leane Best’s performance – as if born to play this role. Meanwhile, Con O’Neill almost eradicates thoughts of Michael Caine though just as well he’s playing a drunk; at times, his voice is strained almost to the point of speechlessness.


There was of course, a standing ovation, for the actors, Willy Russell, the play, and for Liverpool – tickets have nearly sold out, so make sure of yours.




February 2


UK based women over 21


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Red Squirrel Press

January 31
Red Squirrel Press Annual James Kirkup Memorial Poetry Competition
& Annual Sara Park Memorial Short Story Competition

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Fire River Poets

Fire River Poets Logo

February 20
Fire River Poets Open Poetry Competition 2014/15


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Orbis 168



Orbis 168 Summer 2014
£5 (Overseas: £9/€12/$15)
Subs: £17/4 pa (Overseas: £35/€42/$58)

Front cover artwork: ‘Tickled Pink’ by Lance Headlee;
back cover, detail from image: www.lanceheadlee.com

Featured Poet, 
Lance Nizami: AmericanaHealing; Zen

Poems from: John Temple Finnigan: ….take these broken wings and learn….;
Mandy HaggithSunderbansNiels HavWith Charlie Chaplin in Yulin;
Anzhelina PolonskayaThe Berkut of Mezhigorie (trans. Andrew Wachtel);
Noel WilliamsNight-scented stock

Prose from: Caroline Carverthe search; Michael CaseyLetter to Meryl;
Rachael HegartyThe Cleaning Lady

Translation: Terese Coe, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Fallende Sterne

Past Master: Ian Colville on Robert Herrick

Angelina Ayers, Maria Isakova Bennett, Suzannah Evans,
David Harmer, Afric McGlinchey, Jennifer McGowan,
Clairr O’Connor,  D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor

Orbis 168 contributors also include:

Christopher Allen; Maria Bennett; Robert James Berry; Adrian Buckner;
Lucinda Carey; Ian Clarke; Nick Conrad; Jim Conwell; Anna Dwyer;
Anne Hay; Anne Humphreys; 
Ashleigh John; Terence John;
Shirley Jones; Gill Learner; Michael Mc Carthy; 
John Michael Mouskos;
Dr D. Parrott; Marcus Smith; 
Dolores Stewart; Lynne Taylor;
Jonathan Totman; Helen Whitten; Anna Wigley; Sarah Williams  


January 24
University of Oxford Continuing Education MSt in Creative Writing



David Burland

May 31

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