Published in Issue 25 of Visionary Tongue, Winter 2008.

Aesthetically The Supplement doesn’t look like much, consisting as it does of five photocopied, double sided A4 pages. However, its mix of articles, reviews, poetry, letters of comment, adverts and op pieces – featuring various ‘interesting’ subjects that include art, history, myth, TV and film, literature and SF – is involving and I found myself readily hooked. Overall it has a charming and wryly amusing approach with no uncomfortable self-awareness or embarrassing earnestness.

Issue 39’s main feature is an excellent article, ‘The Borrower Poet’s A-Z’ by Steve Sneyd, which includes ‘A Tentative Abcedary of Plagiarism Euphemisms’, ie. a list of all of the terms used by writers to blur the line between being inspired by a piece of work and outright stealing from it. Looking at famous proponents and examples (‘talent borrows, genius steals’), it extensively explores the topic, discussing archetypes, recalled invention and trace memory. ‘Stealing from one source is theft, from several is research,’ is one of the many pertinent quotes it uses, many of them of uncertain provenance themselves. The actual ‘A-Z of Plagiarism Euphemisms’ itself is comprehensive, covering over a page and ranging alphabetically from acted upon by, with apologies to, and taking in along the way such reliable favourites as cover version, drawing on, inspired by and updating. It even reassures the writer suffering from ‘the anxiety of influence’, aiming to, ‘help you feel comfortable…doing something you can’t escape…as long as you remain human.’

Other features in this issue include pieces about writers, poetry, short and long reviews (of books, TV shows and art exhibitions), analysis of particular writers and long letters to the editor, which are detailed and well-written, if rather incestuous! My one tiny gripe is that the quality of the photocopying does make some parts of it rather difficult to read.

Overall The Supplement comes highly recommended, it’s observant, witty, informative and even reassuring. Extra material is available at the website:

Review by Mia Hart-Allison