Beautiful Scruffiness 4 Literary Review By Carol Fenwick

I was so delighted to recieve this wonderful review from Carol that I thought I’d post if here for you all to read. (: Enjoy.



Beautiful Scruffiness 4 Edited By Katie Metcalfe

Literary Review By Carol Fenwick

Katie Metcalfe’s fabulous literary collection fully embraces social satire, alternative, eclectic and humorous angles. Light and shade with huge chunks of northern soul – from the realist to the quirky, surreal, futuristic, to the present, it is all in abundance here.

Katie Metcalfe, the writer oozes talent. Author of many works including One of Many Knots and The Absence of Trees and featuring in numerous literary magazines and journals including The Sentinel Quarterly and Teesside Artists’ Journal as well as being an inspirational therapeutic writer and workshop practitioner, her editorial work is also extremely impressive boasting a talented team of illustrators, artists, website designers and proof readers. Katie’s hard work has paid off, being entirely self-funded. This collection is sponsored by Paul Drew.

An extensive collection, the polished and well presented appearance and overall execution of the magazine reads more like a book in its professional feel. The front cover “Bear Design” is a terrific illustration and Paul Watson, Philip Liddell and Daryl Watson deserve great credit for this and other excellent illustrations in the anthology.

So for the content of BS4, from Metal Depression by Charlotte Ghost with the sensuous cacophony of words making you feel that you actually are at a metal gig. In fact mental health issues such as depression and addiction are strong themes in the collection of works assembled from an array of new, established, northern and Teesside writers and poets as well as those from as far and wide as The Hague, Finland and Abu Dhabi.

The Intruder by Tom Haward about depression and a gritty tale of addiction in Redcar in the 80s by Sarah Dennis’ Drowning Crabs come to mind. Mental health runs through much of the poetry and prose with the Dickensian Miss Havishamesque character, in Bride to Be by Mollie Baxter, particularly poignant, this collection is nonetheless punctuated with some greatly humorous elements. A Design for Children’s Literature by Michael Brooks provides a hilarious micky take of the children’s literature industry while Evelyn’s Virtual Diary by Janet Olearski with the futuristic, sci-fi yet here and now social satire about mortality, the Internet and standards of literature is clearly not to be missed.

In amongst all this is the creepy and apocalyptical poetry and prose, The Phoenix Year by Stephen Toase and Again rose up the Calling Waves, by Robert Allento name but a few. There are lighter moments with The Three Davesby David Gaffney. Mornings After by Daisy Cains weaves together nature, realism and lost love together lucidly and profoundly with a touch of the cynical.

Finland meets Middlesbrough in Kalle Niinikangas’s poem for Bob Beagrie, Maybe the Grey Man accompanies a touching piece about the Finnish air force and the author’s Granddad.

The overall quality of the written work is extremely good. Green House Ganglands by Michael Pederson is a particular highlight with some terrific poetic and naturalistic imagery. I also especially loved The Last Witch by Andrew McCallum. The thoughtful nature of works such as Gold Waterby AJ Kirby discussing injustice and prejudice and A New more Clever Kind of Madness by J.J. Steinfeld are both interesting and insightful.

From the lyrical poetry of Adrian Tellwright in Isn’t Life Wonderful, language of love from the Songs of Solomon to the satirical song style of Esa Ensio Hirvonen –Aiyah Leh there is also Horagalles, the cosmic pincushionby Thomas Hendry where myth meets The Wicker Man. In fact each piece of writing provides a unique literary voice captured to perfection by Katie Metcalfe.

You have alternate character perspectives in New York Panic by Clare Fisher and tales of exploration in The White Zone is for…by Dominy Clements.

Finale sums it all up. Ironically this is a collection you will love to bits. With Slice of the Moon Publishing, Big Eyes and BS5 on its way as I write it’s hats off to you Katie for this five star publication and your magnificent achievements.