By Angela Ferguson
A magazine inspired by the life of Chester resident and poet Trevor ‘Mack’ McCormack is to be launched in the city this weekend.
Mack, who was originally from Dublin in Ireland, had lived in Chester since 1999 and had grown to love writing poetry after going through periods of homelessness which impacted on his health.
He had even had his work published in an anthology of his writing, called Looking Back. Looking Back, which was inspired by events and observations throughout his life, was published thanks to funding from the National Education Union and Unite. It was launched in September 2019 at the SHARE Shop in Chester, which has supported the magazine from its inception.
Mack had talked about producing a magazine which would be a vehicle for other budding writers. Sadly, he died in March 2020, before the magazine came to fruition.
Mack’s Mag will be launched at an event taking place at Storyhouse in Chester at 2pm on Saturday 5 March. The launch will see readings of Mack’s poetry, along with performances from a number of local charities including Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and Café 71.
Magazine co-founder and former teacher Campbell Russell, known as Russ, met Mack in 2017 when he was invited to mentor him in order to develop his writing.
Russ said: “While I would never describe myself as a poet, my role became a supporter. It took two years to move Mack’s writing from odd scraps of paper and entries in a journal to the poems that can be found in the anthology.
“Mack’s poetry book was transformational. His confidence grew and he would begin to talk about his future. We had plans for a road trip to Ireland, but I recognised that this would require a considerable improvement in his health which was not good at the time.
“But the plans for a second book and the magazine were developing. Mac wanted others to have similar opportunities to him. By the start of 2020 we had seven new poems and the outline idea for the magazine which would provide a platform for other artists like Mack.”
Russ said that he hoped that the first edition of Mack’s Mag would also help to shine a light on local charities supporting people in the community through things like art, drama, dance and writing.
He added: “After Mack died I was left with a few poems and a lot of memories. The one thing I felt I could do was to complete the task of developing the magazine. I’m delighted that this has happened, and I’m grateful to all of the organisations and individuals who have contributed to what feels like a suitable legacy for a lovely man.”
Rachel Lamsley, the Chair of SHARE said: “We are delighted to support this project. Long term volunteers with SHARE remember Mack with great affection, and in particular the launch of his poetry anthology. The magazine has the potential to provide a platform for many vulnerable individuals looking for a way to be heard, and this is very much in tune with the principles of SHARE.”
The launch event, which will also be attended by Chester MP Chris Matheson and Cheshire West and Chester councillors Richard Beacham and Matt Bryan, will include a Q&A session.
To book free tickets, visit https://www.storyhouse.com/event/macks-mag-the-official-launch.
Mack’s Mag is distributed free but donations would always be welcomed, while Looking Back is priced at £5. Both are available through The Share Shop or by e-mailing Russ on email@example.com. The proceeds will be used to fund future editions of the magazine.