I first became aware of the Scottish poetry journal Anon through some of the poets I follow on Twitter (most of whom I’ve included in my poetry list, which you can follow too here.

Anon is edited by poet and social media producer Colin Fraser and Peggy Hughes, who works at the wonderful Scottish Poetry Library.

One cool thing about Anon is its format, which is reminicent of those old Penguin Classic paperbacks.  The other is its completely anonymous submissions process.

The editors do not know the names of the poets whose work they are considering — and they never know the names of the poets they are rejecting.  As the Anon tagline proudly proclaims it, “We don’t care who you aren’t…”

I submitted a few poems to the magazine last year, including one poem I’d written in Alaska over a dozen years before called “Midnight Sun.”  The poem got picked and appeared in Anon 7.

Here’s what one reviewer, writing in the journal Sabotage, said about that issue of  Anon:

“Anon Seven is an effervescent production, its poems spanning the world: from Dave Coates’ transfigured, strangely threatening ‘Leith’ (on the magazine’s doorstep, since Anon is produced in Edinburgh), to the detailed, tender surveillance of Lake Illiamna, Alaska, which Scott Edward Anderson undertakes in ‘Midnight Sun’. Its strengths lie in variety, and particularly in the sheer invention and craft of certain poems – sometimes, even, of especially successful lines, such as the opening of Richard Moorhead’s ‘I Shot A Bird’, which breaks upon the reader with a brash insistence that ‘Everyone should try some killing’.”

Here is my poem, “Midnight Sun”:

 

Midnight Sun

at approximately 59° 45′ N Latitude, 154° 55′ W Longitude

 

Each night,

I watch the sun set

over Lake Illiamna

through the willows.

How physical,

the names of willows:

Bebb and Scouler,

feltleaf, arctic, undergreen—

names ill-suited for their frail appearance.

And how palpable the story,

told by the black-capped chickadee

about the four bears who come

each night to the village,

linger for a couple of hours,

then vanish.

As the bird now vanishes

from atop the satellite dish

outside the room at Gram’s B&B.

He leaves behind

a white remembrance,

which disturbs the signal

coming from Anchorage,

interrupting a program about

the formation of the Hawaiian Islands,

and sending ripples of multi-colored “snow”

swirling into TV screen volcanoes.

While back outside,

midsummer sun barely sets on the village,

angling over sparse willows

and spruce, bentgrass and sweetgale,

perhaps twinflower, although

verifying the presence of that species

may require a second look.

A second look, which the sun

will suggest, upon its return

four and one-half hours from now.

That is when the BLM surveyors arrive

on their ATVs (whatever the weather

and whether they’re foolish or clever),

to verify yesterday’s measurements,

as they do each morning,

in this village of willows

and midnight sun.

 

–Scott Edward Anderson

 

Order copies of Anon — or better yet, a subscription — here: Anon

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