Sunday, 2 December 2012

December Guest Bloggers: Jackie Nerney and Jim Higo!

December Guest Bloggers: Jackie Nerney and Jim Higo! 
As  most of you will know by now, the Eel is based in the River Humber at Hull. She is pleased to introduce Jackie Nerney and Jim Higo who, like the Eel, also spend their spare time rocking Hull's poetry scene. Jackie and Jim are not only here to provide their take on what they look for in submissions to their fabulous poetry anthology called Incandescent, they are also here to talk about performing poetry to a live audience and the best ways of overcoming nerves. To read Jackie and Jim's interview for yourselves check them out in the Guest Bloggers section.

Jackie Nerney is a writer, editor and hypnotherapist.  Jackie previously taught creative writing in prisons and has co-edited a number of magazines and editorials.  Jackie organises and runs the “Away With Words” open mic night and is Editor in Chief of Incandescent Poetry.

Jim Higo is a writer, poet and performer from Hull.  He wrote and performed a one man play at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010.  He is a poetry slam winner and his work has been published in a number of anthologies.  This year he has performed his poetry comedy show “That’s Not How You Spell Pedantic” at the Edinburgh and Ilkley Festivals. A DVD of his work titled “Lazy Poetry Slag” will be released in December 2012.  He also hosts a monthly open mic night “Away With Words” at Union Mash Up in Hull. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Push Cart Nominees: Read the Best of the Eels for yourself!

Work from the Push Cart Nominees!

With the Eel now one year old, she is thrilled to be old enough to nominate writers from her issues for the Push Cart Prize. She was even more excited when four of her nominees gave her permission to put their work on her site! She is therefore pleased to present Heather Cairns, Linda M. Crate, Kanchan Chatterjee and Mark J. Mitchell! To read their work for yourself, check out the 'Work From the Issues' section!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Best of the Eels: Push Cart Nominations!

As many of you know, the Eel was officially one year old in October! This means that for the first time ever, the Eel is able to nominate writers for the Push Cart Prize! A huge thank you to all the writers for submitting their work to us over the past year. It was a tough decision, but after much scratching of heads, the Eel and her Small Fry are thrilled to announce that the nominees are....

Katie Metcalfe For One Second (Short story: Eel # 1: December 2011)

Heather Cairns The Tulips I Keep in Berlin (Poem: Eel #2: April 2012)

Mark J. Mitchell Villanelle On A Theme of Desnos (Poem: Eel #2: April 2012)

Linda M. Crate your canvas (Poem: Eel #2: April 2012)

Kanchan Chatterjee The Poet (Poem: Eel #3: October 2012)

Ian Parks Glitter Ball (Poem: Eel #3: October 2012)

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Photography by Sheri Wright.

Rusting Stories by Sheri Wright
The Eel is proud to announce that she has a new addition to her 'All about Art' section on her site! For the first time ever, the Eel is able to showcase some excellent photography courtesy of Sheri Wright. Sheri has not only provided four of her excellent photographs, she also very kindly agreed to write a short article about what inspires her art. To see more of Sheri's work go to the Art Section. 

Above:  Yellow Patch by Sheri Wright. 

Eel's November Guest Blogger: Ian Parks!

November Guest Blogger: Ian Parks!
Trying to find inspiration, dealing with writers' block and trying to not take rejection letters personally. These are just a few of the problems writers encounter on a daily basis when trying to get their work 'out there'. The Eel is thrilled to announce that Ian Parks is here as this month's Guest Blogger. In a fantastic interview with the Eel, Ian has given us his take on all these issues, plus much more. But never mind listening to the Eel prattle on. Go to the Guest Bloggers section to read what Ian has to say on writing, editing and publishing for yourselves!

Acknowledgements are due to Daniel Lyons for the photo of Ian

Monday, 8 October 2012


As many of you know, Eclectic Eel is a European Eel known to scientists as Anguilla anguilla, AND she is critically endangered! To stop the Eel from becoming extinct you can buy Issue Three of her fabulous zine. An eclectic mix of poetry and prose from writers around the world, the Eel can be yours for £1 (British money), plus postage and packagining which varies depending on where you all live. To preserve your Eel please contact her Small Fry at who will sort out getting a copy to swim over to you!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Book of the Month: Silver Threads by Jade Kennedy

The Eel takes an avid interest in her writers, and loves it when they keep in touch with her after the Eel has published their work in her issues. She was thrilled when Jade Kennedy let the Eel know about the release of her first poetry collection and was looking for people to review it. She was even more excited when the Eel's Guest Blogger for August/September Rose Drew offered to write a review of Silver Threads for the Eel's site. The Eel is delighted to welcome Jade and Rose back to the Eel's platform! 

Silver Threads: Jade Kennedy (2012, Valley Press)
Reviewed by Rose Drew
This slim volume of 21 poems, most of delicate length, takes the reader on a journey from shame and regret, through nights of guilt, dark fog and ice, to a resolution of forgiveness and getting on with it. By the end of the collection, we are awash in acceptance for sins that are left unspecified.

The author buries her meanings deeply within symbolism both readily understandable (“This well was built by my hands,/each stone laid down under a waxing moon./I am fated to drown beneath its brown shameful waters..”, from ‘Still Waters’) and more obscure (“I have a white skin of cardboard”, from ‘December’), leaving much of the work to the reader. This allows readers to take away their own meanings, which is preferable to poems that tell too much, that spell out each and every interpretation. A slight danger for the novice poetry enthusiast or the less literary-minded may be a sense of being closed out from understanding the author’s motives.

The opening poem, ‘The Lies I told my Mother’ is a personal favourite (I had a difficult mother), but the poet is redeemed, one hopes, by the Mother who urges the poet to let go of the most harmful regrets (“that which scars the spirit”).

Interspersed between the guilt and regret are fascinating descriptions of run-down seaside tourist towns (‘Sunshine’), ageing Hallowe’en props (‘Carved Smile’), and a vivid account of a typical boozy night on the town, seeking escape, anonymity and individuality. In ‘Gothic Undercurrents’, we follow urban drinkers as they “…follow/ the same faceless shepherd,/ lured into a pen that they believe/ cannot be labelled”, but they are sheep, “scream[ing]/ in individual voices” doomed to live “the same non-conformist story.” Ms Kennedy has a sharp eye for capturing the conformity inherent in striving for individualism in large groups; but there can be safety in numbers too.

Whereas the collection is riddled with guilt, the riddle is what the guilt is for; but at the end, the poet has worked out her feelings. As we follow her into self-forgiveness, she ties both halves of the collection together with ‘Yorvik’, which imagines lost Viking villagers as they stumble back into existence (“and come to the surface/ to be amongst the living once more.”) and process through “towns, cities and fields”. The author is amongst the throng, and so the dead wade into the surf to meet the Devil; or perhaps a more benign Deity: but all are “barefoot and chastised….with our hearts humbled”, so one assumes a sense of peaceful acceptance. The imagery of thrusting hands and crumbled ancient villagers dragging out into the light of modern day is appreciated by this historian! To keep her promise of salvation, the last two poems choose life and welcome the dark as just a passage from day through night, with a sky glittered by friendly moon and sparkling stars: “and show us all maybe, just for one night/ that the dark is just dark,/ no meaning to be found.”

This is an exciting first collection, with a style of writing more often found in the pages of Orbis. One hopes that Jade Kennedy has many more years to take us on a range of journeys.

Silver Threads can be found on Kindle at Amazon:  or ordered from Valley Press

Saturday, 29 September 2012

October Guest Blogger: Meg Tuite! 
The Eel is proud to introduce the Fiction Editor for Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Meg Tuite, who very kindly volunteered to be the Eel's October Guest Blogger! Check out the Eel's interview with her in the Guest Blogging section where Meg tells us about her early writing attempts as well as what she looks for in submissions!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

New Artist: Helen Burke!

New Artist: Helen Burke!

In July it was quite rightly brought to the Eel's attention that even though she accepts art work for her zine, there is very little mention of it on her website. In August, the Eel decided she should do something about it and dedicated an entire section of her site to everything arty. Her Resident Artist, Denny Marshall got the ball rolling by sharing his thoughts on those dreaded rejection letters we've all received at some stage. She is very pleased to announce some new additions to her Art Section. Because Denny is a never-ending mine of creativity and takes his position at Eel's Fish Quarters very seriously, she is thrilled to say that Denny has provided some of his previously unpublished colour art to accompany his article. 

As if that wasn't enough, the Eel is proud to welcome her V.I.P. Guest Artist for September/October, Helen Burke! A round of fins for Helen! Written specifically for the Eel's fishers, the Eel is thrilled to  feature Helen's exclusive article, Painting Through the Looking-Glass, in which she describes her artistic journey being like going through Alice's looking-glass. Helen has also very kindly allowed the Eel to showcase some of her art to go with her exclusive, but why are you still here listening to the Eel prattle on? Go and check out Helen's work for yourselves!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Brace yourselves...The Eels are coming!

The temperature is dropping, the leaves are falling and the nights are getting shorter. Once again, the Eel and her editorial Small Fry have abandoned sleep, preferring to chain smoke and drink gallons of coffee in between  feverishly typing the night away. This can mean only one thing. Yep, you guessed it: ISSUE THREE IS COMING! Featuring more mind-blowing art work from the Eel's Artist in Residence, Denny Marshall, along with work from the likes of Ian Parks Mary Stone Dockery and Miriam Sagan, Issue Three will be swimming your way from October 1st! For the literary fishermen out there who cannot wait for the fleet of Eels to make their perilous journeys through the world's postal service, the Eel will have more scaly goodness available on line. Following the success of Guest Appearances from Victoria Watson and  Rose Drew, the Eel can confirm that the indefatigable Meg Tuite will be rocking the Eel's Guest Blogger section from October 1st. It's all happening here at the Humber's Mouth!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

August-September Guest Blogger: ROSE DREW!


Following the success of Victoria Watson's article, the Eel has decided to make featuring an editor/writer as her Guest Blogger a regular thing. She is pleased to welcome her second guest, Rose Drew, to the blogging stage! To read Rose's take on the art of writing and what it's like running a small press, go to the Guest Bloggers section!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Introducing New Art Section!

The Eel has decided to add a new section to her site, dedicated to promoting the artwork she gets sent for her zine. To celebrate this latest addition, Eel's Resident Artist Denny Marshall, has kindly given the Eel permission to showcase the artwork used for the front cover of Issue Two! He has also written an article about his take on rejection letters, which can be read in the NEW 'All about Art' section!
Front cover for Issue Two featuring 'Twirl' by Denny Marshall

Friday, 11 May 2012

Calling All Writers!

Eel doesn't only take an avid interest in what her contributors' other projects are, she is also on the look out for other worthy literary causes. She thinks the I Am Woman Project is such a cause. As part of their campaign to raise money for various charities, the organisers are also releasing a number of anthologies. Up until recently submissions were only open to women writers, but the Eel is pleased to tell you the editors are now accepting work from male writers as well. Eel urges everyone to check out I Am Woman's mission statement, and submit something- even if it means Eel gets less work sent to her for her precious Issue Three. (Eel submitted!) See below for more details about the I Am Woman Campaign which were sent to the Eel by Victoria Watson. Many thanks to Victoria for letting the Eel know about this worthy campaign.

About I Am Woman
In March, I wrote what was a confessional article for one of my Twitter friends @MrsBPR at her blog,
After speaking to Margot (@MrsBPR), we decided we wanted to start-up a campaign to help women around the world who are suffering from abuse: be it verbal, psychological and/or physical. Our good friend Louise Stark joined the team and we were flying!
We then developed the idea and picked three nominated charities that we'd like to support:

I am Woman's mission statement is as follows:
The 'I Am Woman' Campaign is about using our voices to help other women. To raise awareness of women across the planet who have in effect 'lost their voice' or had it taken away...either through, fear, abuse, illness or war. We all have a voice, whether that be through our blogs, social networks or talking to people in our daily lives. We must speak for them until they can do it for themselves.

We're planning lots of things for the site and the campaign is gaining a lot of support on Twitter (@iamwoman_roar) and through Facebook (

On the website, we're hoping to feature true stories and so require submissions for that. We'd also love to get some inspirational quotes on the website and are happy to accept recipes and top tips.

Our first charity anthology has been released today and it features fictional stories and poems from female writers - both published and unpublished - from all over the world. We are thrilled that the wonderful Leila Aboulela (award-winning author of 'Minaret' and 'Lyrics Alley') also contributed a story. The anthology is a celebration of womanhood, of overcoming hard times and enjoying the good. Each story or poem, in its own way, illustrates the capacity every woman has for courage and strength, no matter what the circumstances.
The anthology is published through Kindle Direct Publishing and can be downloaded on Amazon Worldwide. This is the UK link:
If you are a writer - male or female -, or know of someone who would be interested, please see for submission guidelines, the next deadline is 1st August 2012. We've had some amazing submissions so far and we're looking forward to many more as we intend on future anthologies to be released regularly. 
'I Am Woman' is looking for authors - both male and female - to donate signed books to be auctioned off and given away for the campaign. I know how important reading was for me while I was in an abusive relationship. I credit reading with saving my life and making me realise I wasn't alone.

I am so thrilled that all of this was put in motion because of an article I wrote. Please get involved in any way you can.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Introducing artwork from Alain Marciano

The Eel takes an avid interest in the contributors to her zine, and is touched that they send her emails telling her about their new projects. The Eel was particularly impressed with Alain Maricano's art work and urges everyone to check it out: Eel is so impressed with his work, she is trying to persuade Alain to design the Eel's front cover for a future issue. She is keeping her fins crossed he will say yes! To find out more about Alain, check out the 'Work from Issues' section of Eel's website where you will find Alain's short story 'Candies' which was printed in Eel's second issue. In fact, Eel is so awed by Alain's talent she has decided to award him with random letters after his name: F.O.E (Friend Of Eel). She is proud to welcome Alain Maricano (F.O.E.) to the aquatic literary scene!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


In spite of coursework deadlines, work and technological difficulties, the Eel and her Small Fry are pleased to announce that Issue Two is now available! To bag your very own electric fish contact either the Eel at or Nicky Ellam at just make sure you put 'Buy Issue Two' in the email's title. The Eel costs one pound (British money) plus postage and packaging which will vary depending on where you are. The Eel uses PayPal.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Another Announcement.

Dear writers: It has come to Eel's attention that for some reason best known to itself, Gmail has been automatically sending submissions to 'Spam' (although it is worth noting that Gmail doesn't extend the same 'courtesy' to bloody Facebook notifications. The mind really does boggle). This means that Eel did not receive a couple of writers' submissions. Eel is very sorry if you were one of these writers. Until she can figure out WHY Gmail is doing this to her precious submissions, Eel has decided to change the way she organises submissions. From now on, whenever she receives a new submission she will email the writer to let them know that their submission has been received. She will aim to send this email between 2-3 weeks of each submission sent. If you do not receive your acknowledgement email within this time frame, it means one of two things: 1. Eel and her Small Fry are swamped. 2. It means Eel did not receive your work. In either case, writers should send an email to one of her Small Fry to check the status of their submissions. Nicky Ellam will be dealing with these queries and can be contacted at If you have to contact Nicky please put 'Submission Query for the Eel' in the email's title so she knows to look at it straight away. Nicky is NOT to be contacted UNLESS you have a question regarding the status of your submission. All other general questions can be sent to her Eel via her email or on her Facebook page, as well as on Eel's blog, where they will be answered as quickly as possible.

Eel would like to apologise to the writers this happened to. She only became aware of the problem on Friday. She has done her best to retrieve people's submissions so that they can still be considered for Issue Two, and regrets that she was unable to do this for everyone. Please be assured that she is doing her best to sort the problem out, as well as improve how submissions are organised. She hopes those writers will consider submitting to her again. Eel would not only be happy to consider their work for a later issue, she will also prioritise their submission so that they get a faster response. (Just put something like 'Gmail ate my last Submission' in the email's title so that the Eel and her Small Fry know to look at it asap). Keep fishing.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Dear writers: All those of you who have submitted for Issue Two should have received an email from her Small Fry letting you know about the status of your work. If you haven't received an email then please get in touch with  the Eel and she will look into it for you. Eel can be contacted at Eel sends her apologies if you have not received your response- her Small Fry have been inundated with emails and haven't left their laptops for two days. Eel thinks they may actually have stopped seeing letters and words!

If any of you were wanting to submit and have not done so, Eel and her Small Fry are more than happy to consider your work for Issue Three.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Eel presents her latest F.O.E.!

As many of you know, the Eel and her Small Fry decided to give up sleep for Lent and put together a second issue of the best prose and poetry we receive from around the world. What is less well known is that behind the scaly face of the zine there is a horde of unsung heroes who stop the Eel and her Small Fry cracking up academically and socially. (They also come round and do things like build desks for the Eel- a task your favourite fish finds rather difficult, given that she is not in the possession of thumbs). As a salutation for ensuring the Eel doesn't die from self-neglect, she salutes them by giving them letters after their name: F.O.E, (which stands for Friends Of Eel...obviously). This got Eel thinking. For some reason you humans are rather taken with a despotic literary fish who has minions that help her rule the River Humber with an Iron Fin, and she's found that her list of F.O.Es keeps growing. And of course, where would the Eel be without the writers? Eel has therefore decided to  give one of the writers who will be appearing in Issue Two some random letters after her name. Eel is proud to present Mary Stone Dockery, F.O.E to the aquatic literary scene, in honour of her first collection of poetry: Mythology of Touch. Released on Monday, it's sure to cause a sensation and can be bought at Amazon: In the words of her editor, her collection shows us how the mythology of touch includes the spaces in between-both physical and emotional-and how we both survive and rely on them. The dangers and risks each speaker survives draws us in for a safe haven of our own yearning." Dennis Etzel Jr., editor
Mythology of Touch 

One of Mary's poems will be appearing in the second issue of Eclectic Eel, which will be available in April 

For those writers who have yet to hear from the Eel regarding the status of their submissions, please bear with us. There are a number of pieces still under review so don't panic if you haven't heard from us yet. We aim to have let everybody know by Monday. Happy fishing!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Call for Submissions!

It's been a while since you last heard from the Eel and she has decided to drop a line to announce that no, she is not dead. She has been busy looking at the latest batch of submissions and would like to thank all the writers who have sent their work in for Issue Two. We will be getting back to you all very shortly. If anyone has any poetry or prose they would like to submit to the Eel then please do so. Eel never closes for submissions. All work should be sent to Eel's email address: with a brief biography. The Eel and her Small Fry are aiming to have Issue Two out by the end of April so please send your work within the next couple of weeks if you'd like it to feature in this next issue. Sadly the Eel is skint so she cannot afford to pay writers. She does however send them a contributor's copy of the zine in which their work appears. The word count for prose is 1500 maximum and poems should not be any longer than 30 lines. Worried that your stuff may not fit the 'theme' of Eclectic Eel? Fear not. The rule is that if she likes it she publishes it. She's not called the Eclectic Eel for no reason.