…Rising. Edited by Tim Wells. A5, photocopied, coloured cardboard cover up to Issue 27, paper covers to present. Page length varies, average 28 pages. Free.
Rising was started back in 1994 by poet, performer and raconteur Tim Wells because, in his words, “there wasn’t enough of the kind of poetry I liked in print. Back then it was a paper, scissors and glue endeavour. It wasn’t until issue 21 that I got a computer, and even later ‘til I learned how to use it badly”.
The poetry of Rising is a fighting mix of bawdy, literary, and culturally diverse inspiration which is reflected in its visual elements which are taken from Kung-fu films, westerns, cute girls holding books, northern soul singers, Planet of the Apes, 60′s films stars, Hemingway, late night pub lock-ins, Elvis, war films, and Joan Collins. To confuse the librarians every issue is produced in the same format, but takes a new title i.e. Bad Moon Rising, Wang Dang Rising, Whole Lotta Rising.
I met Tim in 1995, two weeks after I first moved to London. It was only my second outing to a poetry event (the first was a terrible visit to a writer’s group whose members were perturbed by the fact the room they met in was above a topless bar - but that’s a story for another post), and to a teenager new to London, the shouting, banging, raucous poetry of The Hard Edge Club was an embracing hammer to the head. It was here Tim first thrust a copy of Rising into my hands, an event that has been replicated since then with unerring regularity (Maybe that is a topic for further study, how makers of anything, not just zines, distribute their own work - from the ‘stand back and let it distribute itself’ approach all the way to aggressive insistence. Tim’s is a firm take it or leave it).
The latest issue, number 64, is a Ranting poetry special. Tim is currently researching the history and influence of 80′s Ranting poetry, and how that history is reflected and captured by its zines, badges, and other ephemera. There is a touring exhibition of ranting zines, and a programme of accompanying events, this latest issue of Rising reprints some of the early to mid -eighties work of Seething Wells, Michael Smith, Phill Jupitus (when he was Porky the Poet), and Joolz to name only a handful of the contributors.
Rising is now London’s longest running poetry zine - by that I mean a zine that has stayed true to its roots and not attempted to ‘upgrade’ to magazine status. Its contents are also a history of the London poetry scene of the last twenty years, a Who’s Who of poets and performers that have helped build the vibrant and healthy scene it is today. Rising’s real strength though is not just longevity but an insistence on quality work largely ignored by other publications.
There is one way to find out what I mean - if you see Tim at an event ask him for a copy, tell him I sent you.