June, 2010. South Africa vibrates with football fever.‘Feel it, it is here’ goes the slogan. South African flags adorn cars across the city, flying from antennae and covering wing mirrors. If you … Read article
March After all of our readying and careful preparation, the hive sits outside with a What Now? feeling about it, an unnaturally bright near-tangerine beside all of the stripped-down grey… Read article
Over Eid al-Adha in September 2015 the Turkish-Syrian border opened to allow around 50,000 Syrians to cross to spend the holiday with their families. It had been closed for nine months. Some travelled… Read article
‘Your old house was haunted,’ my girlfriend said to me. She had sensed it whenever she had passed the place, before she knew I had ever lived there. It was a curious hybrid, a rustic townhouse tha… Read article
From What I Remember I snag out each fingernail, deflate my hand to a surgical glove, roll my arms to the elbows like there’s work to be done. I am, it turns out, a reluctant ghost. I am leaving … Read article
‘You might try something about the sea?’ said Carstairs, although I wasn’t really listening. ‘What's that about the sea?’ ‘You know, how it... looks in this light,’ he clenched his… Read article
Riding to Ronda What can be remembered, what made up— The unsure eye slips this to that in landscape past the bus-glass. Trees stream into helio ceiling / sky flipped into ground. A pond… Read article
Inner and outer, natural and supernatural, life and death - several pieces in Issue XVI of The Junket are concerned with the limits of our experience. There are angels, ghosts and dragons - but, strangest of all, there is writing itself, with its uncanny ability to transform and transcend.
For Holly Corfield Carr, words are something to conjure with. Her poem ‘Charm against Wednesdays’ prescribes a fantastical brew to ward off the midweek blues (‘some rumour, ripe...a fist of dust’). But the real alchemy here is in the poem, not the potion, as suggested by the final invocation to Wednesday’s namesake, the Norse god of poetry.
Elana Wolff’s ‘Theory of Dreaming’ acts on the reader like a psychedelic drug, accelerating from a still, haiku-like meditation into an omniscient daydream which folds in multiple subjectivities. The poem ends by hinting at a more permanent transformation: ‘Perhaps we are all angels / Have given up our flesh / And are no longer free’.
Summoning ghosts rather than angels, Jonathan Gharraie’s subtle Iowa memoir ‘Dragons’ Veins’ explores the fertile connections between haunting, writing and being far away from home. For the author, writing ‘resembles becoming a ghost among the living’. Helen Jukes’ ‘Bee’ is concerned less with distance than with the “supersensory force” that draws people or things together. Her spellbinding account of becoming a beekeeper asks what it might mean to “enter a world of pure relation”.
Nick Haslam’s dispatch from Turkey, ‘Syria in Exile’, is about relations and distance in a more literal sense - the refugees he meets are attempting normal lives while in agonising proximity to their families over the border. For Wessie du Toit, the ‘ragged frontier’ between a wealthy resort town and the poor black townships on its outskirts is the starting point for a reflection on South Africa, a waking nightmare of ‘rotten, unaccountable’ inequality in which ‘ghosts...break into empty mansions’.
Jennifer Upton, another South African, describes the contraction of her world that occurs when looking after her convalescing cat while a global event, the 2010 football World Cup, takes place outside. Animals also figure prominently in Sam Kitchener’s comic short story ‘Carstairs’ Homer’, although less as things to be cared for than as tokens in a mysterious system of gift exchange in a remote Greek village.
Issue XVI of The Junket is here, free as always, and deserves to be read. We hope you enjoy it.
List of Contributors
Holly Corfield Carr is a poet and PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and the Frieze Writer's Prize in 2015. @hollycorfield
Jonathan Gharraie lives in Derbyshire and is working on his first novel.
Nick Haslam is a public policy adviser and travel writer. He currently lives in Istanbul.
Helen is a writer, beekeeper and writing tutor currently based in Oxford. helenljukes.wordpress.com
Sam Kitchener is an author. Published works include War and Peace (different one). @sam_kitchener
Jennifer Upton is working on a doctorate at the University of Cambridge, researching contemporary South African non-fiction. She is an editor for Review31.
Elana Wolff is a Canadian writer, editor, translator, and designer and facilitator of social art courses. Her fifth collection of poems is forthcoming with Guernica Editions in 2017.