Paul StJohn Mackintosh

Writing * Poetry * Dark Fiction * Weird * Fantastic * Horror * Fantasy * Science Fiction * Literature


This page is devoted to shameless self-promotion. Because if I don’t, who will?

Praise for Begin the Beguine:

“Readers approaching this book may be expecting little more than a comprehensive account of the histories of the musical icons of America’s Swing Era coupled with the story of a fabulous ship, the Cunard liner, the RMS Franconia. They will not be disappointed. But the author delivers so much more than this, incorporating into his text a range of personalities apart from the obvious, such as Cole Porter and Artie Shaw, all of whom he brings to life in fascinating detail.

However, it is John Graham, a Clydebanker whose life story the writer chooses to subtly transform an accomplished document into a powerful novel. The history of John’s childhood, his apprenticeship in the Merchant Navy and the overlooked but horrific Nazi blitzing of Clydebank, its shipyards, and its town—and which killed John’s parents and destroyed the family home—profoundly affects him.

John’s ambitions moved beyond his successful sea career. His studies included science and Islamic law, and he found his life’s partner in the young Farah Ayad, an educated and ambitious native of the Seychelles. Their love story, repeatedly disrupted by war, is delicately told and is consummated when John sees “standing on the quay, a small figure in white”.

Through all of this the RMS Franconia had sailed her graceful way, from unique superstar, through bruised troopship, escaping major damage, her luxury trappings mothballed, and had emerged as the chosen venue of the famous Yalta conference.

This is an enchanting book which will appeal to sailors, historians, jazz buffs and romantics everywhere. It is as smooth as the best chocolate eclair you ever tasted. A beguine whose beginning and whose conclusion should not be missed.” – JULIA STONEHAM, HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY

Praise for Black Propaganda:

“”In these stories you will find worlds achingly familiar and eerily alien, the light of love coexisting with the darkest spasms of violent emotion and cruel detachment which may be found in the human spirit. The introduction to this work… reads as though some mad literary alchemist threw Lucien Greaves, Banksy, and William S. Burroughs in a blender and hit “liquefy,” or perhaps discovered the suicide note one of Lovecraft’s protagonists folded between the leaves of Beyond Good and Evil…”
“Shades of the crueler moments of the ‘Metamorphoses’ are evoked with an almost clinical languidness through the callous observations of the torments inflicted under the narrator’s unblinking eye, as chilling as listening to a condemned serial killer linger lovingly over the details of their crimes. The juxtaposition of crassly contemporary elements, such as promotion rights and viewership, with a resurrection of the brutal entertainments of ancient arenas seeks to strip away illusions of social evolution, baring the potential for depravity in human hearts…”
“Mackintosh engages with the written word as a creative expression of some cleansing fire of the spirit, an act of atonement that builds rather than destroys, an orgasmic confession joining pain to redemption that instills a sense of almost voyeuristic guilt in the reader who will likely be unable to look away: perhaps fascinated, perhaps repulsed, perhaps changed… and certainly never bored.” – NICHOLAS SHIPMAN, SEE THE ELEPHANT

Praise for The Musical Box of Wonders:

“Crammed with attractive detail handled with sensuousness … Poems that are in turn elegaic and entertaining, technically adept and resourceful, treating a variety of themes Western and Eastern with grace and dignity. What more could one hope for in a collection?” – ALAN BROWNJOHN

Praise for The Golden Age:

“This book [The Golden Age] alone strikes me as among the most distinguished by younger British poets known to me” – MICHAEL HAMBURGER

“I love the moments of serenity, the unfailing gravity, with sometimes a little gentle irony, showing an oeuvre of great power, founded as well on Truth and Love, like the room in ‘Home’, those few so understated verses – We need these utopias without illusions” – YVES BONNEFOY

“Great clarity and confidence – unstrained but rich” – PETER SCUPHAM

“Paul St John Mackintosh is writing singularly skilful and attractive poems. At the heart of his work is a love of his medium. He delights in word-wit. His use of rhyme is uninhibited, joyous. He is utterly alive to rhythm and sound, form and tone. One can imagine Auden, aux anges, giving his craftsmanship an approving grunt.
Poems such as ‘The Magic Kingdom’, ‘The Life and Death of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham’, and ‘An Expressionist Passion’ – a terrifying and moving rewrite of Christ’s crucifixion – “ convince me that this is a young poet worth following and worth listening to” – KEVIN CROSSLEY-HOLLAND

“A classical sense of form and order … bold assertions of truly classic values, committed enough to outface easy cynical responses” – PHILIP GROSS

“Poems which combine formal accomplishment with a lively inventiveness in treating a range of subjects – notably the foreign landscapes which he knows well and renders with accuracy and sympathy” – ALAN BROWNJOHN

“What singles itself out for immediate comment is the poems’ remarkable voice and vocabulary – a genuine poetic diction, regularly using improbable rhymes and half-rhymes – natural, playful and provocative” – RICHARD MAYNE

“As one of the first literary editors to have ‘discovered’ Paul St John Mackintosh as a poet, I have known him and his work for several years now. His reputation is growing as is his work – He has now published his first full-length book of poems, The Golden Age, which uses his remarkable formal skills to convey his sensitivity to a wide range of European literary history and development combined with an assimilation of influences from his deep interest in Japanese culture. He is a dedicated writer” – PETER DALE

“Very fine, fully focused, and rhythmically achieved pieces that are a pleasure to read – and also some discursive surprises – there is an undeniable lyric power too – I foresee even more powerful things ahead” – STEPHEN ROMER

The Independent Publishing Magazine’s citation of me as #1 of their “12 Publishing Shakers You Should Be Following“:

“Mackintosh is insightful and cuts to the chase when writing his articles on Teleread. It might be an article on literature or an article on digital publishing, but he delivers often in short bursts and pulls together links and commentary on issues with the one thing all journalists hate to do nowadays—add balanced opinion and substance without the waffles or syrup, and never allow skewed news on publishing to escape without some kind of a critical eye.
Maybe it’s because he is based in Budapest, Hungary—outside of the hub of the publishing and digital matrix—it allows him hone that critical eye when he writes his pieces for Teleread.” – MICK ROONEY, TIPM