Alice Roberts reviews This is my He(art), the Inklight Journal 2015, edited by Kristiyana Kalcheva and published by the Inklight Society. 

 

Image by Anders Jacobsen

Image by Anders Jacobsen

 

The Inklight Journal for 2015 (officially launched on the 10th of May) This is my He(art), is immediately striking as a result of its bold cover art. The simple design and contrast between the red and multi-tonal parchment yellow, a suitable choice, fit comfortably with the subject matter – a heart sewn together with ink. This theme successfully pervades the collection, a good framework for what the editor Kristiyana Kalcheva describes in her introduction as the ‘bloody confused, booze-and stress infused (he)arts of St Andrews writers’. Indeed, the title is broad enough to include any emotional or experiential style writing, which could have been a dangerous choice. However, the journal avoids becoming too vague or descending into the murky (and generally dull) depths of teenage nihilism – instead balancing on the edge of angst and remaining charmingly self-deprecating and often honest.

The focus of the journal seems to be somewhere between the feeling of being young, the confusion of human relationships and questions of identity. Subjects include an eclectic mix of first love, memory, synesthesia, an elegy and the wish to be a punk. Poetry dominates the collection, as does a somewhat recurring theme of rain and wind – perhaps an influence of the Scottish weather. A range of styles are displayed, ‘the heavy hearted as much as the playful’, as stated in the introduction, and the journal reads as being varied and representative of multiple forms of poetry. All the work is of a high quality, with Alexandra Julienne and Patrick McLaughlin particularly sanding out.

Although the table of contents was a nice edition, and made the journal seem more professional, there were still some minor issues. The art inside the journal was not as strong as the cover – much of it felt unrelated to the poems, and at times interfered with the legibility of the script. The largely cohesive nature of the poems emphasized the detachment of the prose pieces from the poems, which seemed unrelated to the major themes of the publication. Lastly, there were pixelation issues with some of the font, which seemed as if they could have been easily resolved. However the length of the journal felt appropriate; long enough to have varied subject matter, but short enough to appear a complete work.

Displaying a range of modern styles, This is my He(art) felt inclusive and honest as well as relevant. Overall, the journal is worth reading for its generally perceptive exploration of all of us who have lived through ‘a quarter of a life’ (give or take) and experienced everything that comes with it.

 

 

Alice Roberts

 

 

Image by Anders Jacobsen