“Takin’ The Time with the Magazine”*

* Quote from the intro to Better off Without a Wife by Tom Waits. Very much used just for the quote and not a sign of things to come…Oh god!!

This week saw the closure of Marie Claire after 31 years of publication and a bit of an outcry about it – admittedly it was mainly from journalists that I follow, but none the less it is a very sad day when a mag like this closes.

This article that followed takes a good look at what’s behind it all.

Having worked in the research side of the magazine world about fifteen years ago on Mother & Baby, Pregnancy & Birth, Yours and Your Health for Emap (before they were bought out), I can remember the days when ABC results were announced and the bi-annual scrabble to find new ways to make our declines sound better than our competitors’ declines. I can’t imagine it’s gotten any easier since then..

This chart from the Guardian article makes it abundantly clear how bad things have become

It got me thinking again about whether poetry magazines should be publishing readership figures…not because some take advertising (although I do wonder how that works), but because is it helpful to poets to know the potential audience size for their poems. I’ve sort of covered all of this before here so won’t bang on about it much more, but a conversation earlier in the week did get me thinking about trying to work out a formula for Mag audience vs online audience and the cache of print vs online. Is there an inflection point somewhere on this imaginary chart where you can find the perfect place to submit to?

I doubt this will ever be answered, or even if it needs to be, but perhaps one day the Riches formula will be as renowned as something like the Dirac Equation. You know, the Dirac Equation…

I know I’ve certainly been thinking about my own subscriptions recently. I used to subscribe to Uncut and Wired, but cancelled them a long time ago. I keep meaning to sub to New Scientist and Viz, but a combination of circumstances (Insert John Peel gag about “...And three more from them coming up after the news.”) means that I have to look again at my outlay on poetry mags, but they are such lovely things. I know I’m lucky enough to have been able to afford these subscriptions up until now (and hopefully I can keep them going for as long as possible), but I’m going to have to let some of these subs lapse for a while.

That said, and it’s said sadly (A great Smashing Pumpkins B-side, written by James Iha. Check out his first solo album, Let It Come Down – it’s an absolute smasher. I don’t think it’s on streaming services, but if you can track it down) they are all lovely things. I mean look at these.

Recent-ish arrivals

The Under The Radar arrived earlier this week and I wolfed it down. The Dark Horse arrived yesterday and I’m hoping to dive into that later today. The Salzburg arrived today and I will get to that ASAP.

Coincidentally, the UTR also prompted a conversation with Ed Garvey-Long about his poem in there that makes reference to the aforementioned Smashing Pumpkins.


  1. Priority Seat
  2. Orthopaedic Hovercraft (Credit to my wife for this one)
  3. The Screaming of Rhubarb
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Tans
  5. Burnt Parsnips


17K running – Missed a run this week due to a visiting mother

0 Poems worked on Nada, nowt, zilch. Although, half an idea about a combination of Unwinese and Nadsat.

27 days without cigarettes. May have smoked yesterday, but it’s a blip.

1 rejection email – From Primers. There’s a magnificent looking shortlist of poets though, so I can’t wait to see who gets chosen.

1 flurry of submissions – Now I have a load of poems back I can send a load out again. That’s how it works

1 introduction to Stanley Unwin I’m pleased to have introduced someone to the work of Sir Stanley…

1 review published – Jane Lovell’s This Tilting Earth

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


The Doomed City by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
Island of Towers, Clarissa Aykroyd


Not a lot, couple of Dublin Murders and a Rugby World Cup final..

Listened to:
Vetiver, Up on High, Thing of the Past
REM, Monster
Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
Anna Meredith, Fibs
808 State, Transmission Suite
and of course, The Archers…

It was either this or Magazine (and that seemed too obvious)