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“What the Journal posits is not the Madman’s question: “Who am I?”, but the Bewildered Man’s question: “Am I?” Bewildered or Mad? Click Here.

Cool, so you’ve clicked on that lovely quote from Roland Barthes, so I suppose you’re interested in what we’re all about.  Firstly, let me introduce myself.  I’m Sam Stolton, the founding editor of Inky Needles and I’d like to tell you why this silent, hibernating animal, this pair of eyes looking out above the urban metropolis, this one, Inky Needles, resides on this digital terrain.

First and foremost, there are many different opinions on life out there.  This has never been more apparent than throughout the fragmentary nature of 20th century intelligentsia and the many fingers on the modern and postmodern hand.  Well, our view is that they can’t all be right, neither can they all be wrong.  As a result, we believe that voices in different tongues, dialectics and opinions should be embraced rather than concentrated to a bias relative to a political, artistic or cultural agenda.  Whereas before 20th century movements would dictate the political and cultural nature and disposition on it’s literature produced, we are doing things the other way around.  We are not stating a political, cultural or philosophical agenda and asking our writers to produce work to a sociological undercurrent that animates the features of a dogmatic manifesto.  NO.  (*cough*, excuse me, just an ironic mothball there).  No, seriously, our open submissions policy, outlined in our editorial programme, offered to all editors of the venture, states that we consider all work of all opinions, and from the contributions we receive and publish we may then, be able to identify a broad, comprehensive and all embracing perspective on contemporary society, unrestricted by a formatted dogma.

So why Philosophy, Poetry and Politics?  The art of the essay, from Rouseeau to Heidegger, from T.S Eliot to Montaigne, has been used as a philosophical and political device in order to manufacture, assemble and disseminate ideology.  It’s journalistic merits are unrivaled, even in the digital age, and have comfortably been compounded into the online machine, contributing to a mass body of work of which is is immediately adaptable and deletable.  We are able to change our voices in a heartbeat.  And that’s what Inky Needles is about, keeping up with these changes.  It all sounds very Orwellian doesn’t it.  And, as a left wing, ex-young socialist myself I’d oppose the deletable nature of this online society.  But Inky Needles does not dictate, we merely watch, we are only a platform, a theatre, whereby you play out the stage directions of modern society, what you say though, is up to you.  So now to poetry.   Ezra Pound said that “Literature is news that stays news,” and his quote can be modified somewhat to be applied to poetry.  Poetry is the feeling of being ‘in’ this allusion of ‘news,’ it is experiencing the contemporary period and churning it out in rhythms of dream and flights of metaphor, it is an instrument to apply sound to the context of experience.  Poetry is visceral, and therefore appeals to our emotional receptions to a greater degree than of which the craft of the technical essay can.  The essay speaks to us, the poem screams, shouts and cries at us.

Why Inky Needles?  Ah, the name.  The premise behind Inky Needles relates very closely with our publishing ethos.  If experience is both documented but also composed through writing, we are attached to words and language by a means that no other expressive facility can afford us.  We can record life through writing, but also, in reading, we can compose our own experiences of life.  Therefore, this pocket of existence, warranted through language for the invigoration of the literary soul, requires a relationship with words that is essentially unending, for as long as we can read words, we can read experience.  We can never escape the words, and, like the tattooists’ implement, our pen is like that of the Inky Needle, the mark of the word -  the desperate, enduring, material presence of language.

So what’s the point it in all?  Some odd fellow with a wonky eye and a receding hairline not even of the maturity and good grace that the age of thirty permits, once told me that it was ‘one of those’  fruitless and pointless artistic endeavors.  He’s absolutely right, it is.  The point is one day we’ll all be dead and all this will merely reside in the recesses of literary history, and even that is doubtful, what with all this digital erasure tradition.  But while we’re here, we can only consider with what the apparatus which we have permission to operate.   And those are life, existence and experience.  Those are the facilities of which we have a most sincere communion with now, and those are the privileges of rational contemplation.  And through the literary form of Philosophy, Poetry & Politics, perhaps we may be able to fortify these concerns of our Wordly experience, and find out a little bit more about Barthes’ “Who Am I?” and the “Am I?”

Welcome to Inky Needles.