The leaves have fallen, the birds have flown, and not a sound can be heard in the trees. Yet in the Cuckoo nest, fingers are tapping, pencils are scribbling and coffee is being supped. Indoors – but not idle – our writers have been busy, and Cuckoo Quarterly issue 12 is finally here! So sit back, get some biscuits (or a mince pie if it’s going), and let our host of voices fill the long, silent night.
Voices is the theme (if you hadn’t already guessed), and in this issue they come from near and far, are new and familiar, and too wise (or at the very least too wacky) to ignore. Lock lances with Newcastle’s Stagknights; think of home with Shi Pu; or look further afield to a pertinent take on Hong Kong Divided. If you’re feeling contemplative after a glass of eggnog why not take a moment in Poetry to consider the Thoughts of a Forest Man; or head over to Shorts for the right-on rhythms and slick spirit-foxes of The Groovy Vibes Nightimes (cooler than a pair of snakeskin boots!).
Periodicals this time round is as jam-packed as a long-awaited Christmas stocking; we’ve the sixth instalment of the long-running The Boy and the Storm and the second parts of Figure of Eight and Bad Habit. And if your eyes are swimming after all that reading, don’t go without checking out our two perspectives on young people’s growing online dependence (gulp!): Generation Selfie, and The Internet Kids (well, there’s always Cuckoo Press… )
Season’s greetings and merry reading, we’ll see you when the Cuckoo calls!
For this edition of Cuckoo Quarterly we offered up the theme of ‘Voices’ and it’s proven to be a particularly rich thematic sea. We are lucky to have voices from far and near – Hong Kong, China, America and more; with perspectives, stories, memories and dialect all featuring. Nasim Asl, Elizabeth Lolo and Ellen Zhang have each written very different pieces inspired by family and heritage. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have A Day in the Crate, which assumes an unusual perspective to tell us a tale filled with suspense. And to honour our roots we included some Northern voices!
Shi Pu by Ellen Zhang
Two Tongues by Nasim Asl
Facing Winter by Central Cheshire Buddy Scheme
Dilly by Elizabeth Lolo
A Day in the Crate by Christa Knipes
Verano en la Ciudad by Evan Boone
The Voice of War by Zainab Abbass
String of Memories by Alina Perlstein
Stagknights and Dragons by Lewis Brown
Hong Kong Divided by Nicole Chan
Hannah Szenes by Emma Hoffman
Generous Reflections by Marisa Salvia
Issue 12 sees part six of The Boy and the Storm – Lewis Brown’s long running serial. (Don’t worry if you’ve missed out so far – you can still read the earlier instalments in previous issues to catch up with Sascha’s story.) Also ongoing is Marcie Winstanley’s Figure of Eight and part two of Bad Habit by Andre-Naquian Wheeler, which concludes the story of a bad friendship.
The days contract, darkness descends, but the Cuckoo poets march on into the winter abyss. No frost can stop the clocks of Celia Watson’s Alarm Set, nor can the chill wind dull Haley Mudrick’s Thoughts of a Forest Man. Our poetry this issue may hold little promise of the coming spring, rather the sobering comment of on this veil of tears and the numbing warmth of another bottle of Courvoisier. What we can promise is verse of contemplation, observation; the momentary flowerings of the wintering mind on which to while away a long night.
Thoughts of a Forest Man by Haley Mudrick
Keys by Kathryn Hanly
School Is Out by Meghana Mysore
Solace by Katherine Liu
Origami by Nasim Asl
Alarm Set by Celia Watson
Courvoisier by Lydia Hounat
on this veil of tears by Claire Hurley
What are you looking for in a good Short? Whether it can be found in the sentimental potency of She and I, or the poetic macabre of Fur and claw and tooth and bone, the literary melting pot certainly lends itself to an eclectic read for those who enjoy the shorter end of what fiction has to offer. While we at Cuckoo have been listening to the Voices in our heads, Danielle Michel has also been admiring the multitude of the autumnal spectrum, and Billy Charlton gazes to the heavens before plummeting catastrophically back to earth with the unnerving tragedy of Dissolution Summer.
Travelling by Jonathon Roberts
She and I by Taylor Kang
What the Highway Prefers by Elliott Simpson
Dried Flowers by Danielle Michel
Dissolution Summer by Billy Charlton
Salted Cod by Tina Fang
Fur and claw and tooth and bone by Grace Curtis
The groovy vibes night times by Archie Hyde
This is – as ever – the perfect section to dip into if you’re looking for a short read. This issue includes the wonderful call to arms on behalf of the world’s introverts in the form of Elissa Mullins’ spoken word piece The Introvert’s Manifesto.
This issue’s non-fiction section takes a look at the modern world’s benefits and its problems. Whether it’s a rant on the unnecessary worry about the younger generation’s supposed over-reliance on technology or an article discussing democratic engagement among young people, this is the section that is guaranteed to get you thinking, and perhaps also spark a debate.