About The Flea

Paul Stevens imageTHE FLEA Broadsheets are a Seventeenth Century brainchild of Mr. Paul Stevens, upon whom the conviction periodically seizes that he dwelt in that era in a former life, and indeed was an associate of Jack Donne (one of whose metaphysical meditations has inspired the title), Andrew Marvell, Will. Shake-speare, Ben Jonson, Sir John Suckling, & diverse others.

The intent of THE FLEA broadsheets is to serve the Soveraigne Muse, by publishing  first-rate poems which accord with Her Ideal of poetic Delight, in an occasional Broadsheet, using cutting-edge Seventeenth Century Technology, & state-of-the-art Alchemy; as wrought by the excellent skills of Mr. Peter Bloxsom of Netpublish, a cunning & learned Doctor of the dark electric Arts, who, in devising this Metaphysical Flea, to hop nimbly along the Hermetic threads of the Ætheric Web, is a very Dædalus for Craft, & yet himself a poet of most subtle Wit and Cadence, an Orpheus who masterfully plucks the poetic Lyre. Sir Mark Bulwinkle, of Bulwinkleland  (which lies far to the West beyond the Virginia Company Territories), has deftly executed the pictorial embellishment to exhibit the very Soul of our Metaphysical Flea; & Mistress Patricia Jones, a She-Pygmalion for Art, a Calliope for Song, whose artistic enterprise Imagineii lies also in the New Colonies, has rendered a most verisimilar likeness of the Editor of these Broadsheets.

THE FLEA is friendly to strong poems in Formal Verse, including poetry which might not, for sundry reasons, fit the Style and Orthodoxy of some prevailing Schools and Sects; poems which deploy difficult & bizarre Conceits, or (it may be) use abstruse language not found in every common inn or marketplace, or treat unusual topics, in ways perhaps displeasing to those Masters and Mistresses of the Fine Arts, who hold themselves Arbiters of politic taste in versification, but which are yet pleasant and harmonious to the taste of the Editor of THE FLEA.

For well-wrought verse on traditional (but perhaps unmodish) themes, as Love, the Soule, the Celestial Spheres, &c., will find a hearing from THE FLEA. Poems submitted here need not necessarily be of a “Metaphysical” complection (whatever that may be held to mean); but Mr. Stevens intends that verse exhibited here be not disqualified by such qualities as learnedness, complex syntax, daring conceit, abstract philosophical speculation, difficulty of expression or content, arcane or erudite Range of imagery or diction, traditional or intricate form, outrageous connection of disparate ideas, &c. as may often be the cause of editors looking askance at a submission; He emphasises rather that it will be his peculiar (and often unfashionable) Taste alone which will come to bear in matters of editorial Decision, though often under advisement from his boon-companions and cronies, Jack Donne, &c., at the Mermaid Tavern.

Thus choice of verse for inclusion in THE FLEA will depend entirely upon the Whim and Judgement of Mr. Stevens, who, always guided by The Muse, will make a selection from poems submitted, & perhaps including poems judiciously solicited, with each Poet normally represented by one poem, and will publish a new Broadsheet of THE FLEA whenever he deems that he has a proper set of true poems to publish, usually nine per issue. So Broadsheet issues will appear at odd occasions, hopping irregularly & capriciously forth in the manner of a Flea; unpredictable as to when it may next jump, and where it may next land, but threatening always that it will bite into the very life-blood of the Passionate Reader. It is expected that perhaps two or three such small but bitey broadsheets might leap to light in the period of a Year; or more, should Fleas in myriads multiply.