Tag Archives: christmas

Day 17: Small Press Advent Calendar: SEREN BOOKS

day 17Today I have been in Wales, and so I thought Day 17’s entry should also hail from the land of magic and mountains. Instead of poetry though, here we have the letters of poets, oh, and a FREE GIFT* (of poems).

‘Poet to Poet: Edward Thomas’s Letters to Walter de la Mare‘ Ed. by Judy KendalL, Published by Seren Books

Seren Books is an independent literary publisher specialising mainly in English writing from Wales. They are  driven by quality writing across a wide-ranging list which includes poetry, fiction, translation, biography, art and history, and are proud to have published authors and books that have won many a prize here in the UK and over in the USA.

At the heart of their list is a good story told well or an idea or history presented interestingly or provocatively. They have an international authorship and readership, but their roots remain in Wales, where they continue to prove that writers from a small country with an intricate culture have a worldwide relevance.

‘Poet to Poet: Edward Thomas’s Letters to Walter de la Mare’ Ed. by Judy Kendall, is a collection of 318 letters written between Edward Thomas and Walter de la Mare from 1906 to 1917, only 3 of which have been previously published).

poet_to_poet_front2The letters provide new and crucial evidence about Thomas’s poetic processes and the start of his mature poetry, as well as the mutual support the two poets enjoyed. The Seren Books website tells us that:

“Poet to Poet offers a moving epistolary account of the developing personal and poetic relationship of both poets, with biographical revelations, and increased understanding of their influence on each other and key points relating to their poetic processes.”

“This marvelous book about the thankless, frustrating task of, well, keeping on keeping on. But, frankly, what else can a poor poet ever do?” The Tablet

Sounds intriguing to me! I’m always fascinated by how other poets go about the process of writing and, if I’m honest, also how they go about being a poet.

Check it out and browse an extract from the book on the Seren Website.

‘Poet to Poet’ is available to buy now from Seren Books for £14.99.

And, it comes with a lovely FREE GIFT*, so here’s a bit about that too…

‘Christmas in Wales’ by Various: Celebrate Christmas the Welsh way in the company of some of Wales’ leading writers, past and present.

christmas_in_wales_0There are poems on pretty much every seasonal subject you could imagine: “Christmas mass, the nativity play, turkey and plum pudding, the Mari Lwyd, presents, the weather, the shopping and post-festive blues are among the many subjects drawn from stories, poems, diaries and letters. Wartime Christmases in Swansea and the Rhondda – and home thoughts from India and Italy – pantomime characters, Christmas cards and New Year Resolutions; R.S. Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Dannie Abse, Gillian Clarke, Catherine Fisher, Bruce Chatwin, Sian James, Kate Roberts and Leslie Norris, Christmas in Wales has all the ingredients for the complete experience of the season of celebration.”

*Normally £7.99, this book is automatically included free with every order placed before December 21st 2012.

[Day 17 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Untitled’ by Anna Percy]

Day 15: Small Press Advent Calendar: FIVE LEAVES PUBLICATIONS

day 15This next title is perhaps more suitable for those looking for a companion through a difficult Christmas time, or perhaps just for those who like their reading subjects serious, even while their halls be decked and their trees be tinseled. Day 15 is…

‘The Oxygen Man’ by Joanne Limburg, Published by Five Leaves Publications

Five Leaves is a small, independent press, that specialises in several areas – Jewish secular culture, social history, fiction and poetry.

In addition to their publishing program, the press is one half of the organising team for Lowdham Book Festival (the largest literature event in Nottinghamshire), a sponsor for several writing prizes, and one of the brains behind States of Independence, a project promoting independent presses.

Five Leaves is supported by Arts Council England. Read about them in more detail here.

five_leaves_-_the_oxygen_man‘The Oxygen Man’ by Joanne Limburg is a collection of poems written in response to the death of the author’s younger brother, a brilliant chemist who took his own life in 2008. They follow Limburg as she visits the mid-Western town where her brother lived, worked and died, range back over their shared childhood, and look ahead as she tries to work out what it means to be the one who stays behind.

“Limburg’s universe appears to be constantly twisting away from perception even as she pins it down in lines of singular economy.”
Poetry Book Society

You can read 3 sample poems from the book on the blog Peony Moon.

Buy ‘The Oxygen Man’ now via Inpress for just £4.00 .

[Day 15 on The Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Tattoo in Winter’ by Kate Noakes]

Day 13: Small Press Advent Calendar: CANDLESTICK PRESS

day 13If, like me, you prefer to do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your dressing gown, then this next one is for you. These pamphlets make perfect little gifts, probably even for people who don’t think they like poetry. Door 13 is…

‘Tea’ by Various, Published by Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press is a small, independent publisher based in Nottingham. They publish poetry pamphlets aimed equally at people familiar with poetry and those who are not. They chose the pamphlet form partly because they love it’s historic associations with literature, politics, philosophy, radical thought and social welfare; and partly because it’s perfect size to make an ideal alternative to a greetings card.

And this is where Candlestick Press come into their own on the gift front. The pamphlets come with matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message, and they issue them on a wonderful range of intriguing themes such as tea, or mother, or sheep, or bereavement, or London, or love, or pudding, or even… a series of 12 Poems for Christmas, introduced by Carol Ann Duffy.

ten-poems-about-tea‘Ten Poems about Tea’ by Various, with an Introduction by Sophie Dahl, does what it says on the tin really. You like poetry? You like tea? You’ll like this. As Kenny Knight rightly says in his poem ‘Lessons in Teamaking’, there was a time when, in the eyes of some,

“the teapot was the centre
of the known universe.”  

Get this book for anybody who still feels this is true!

And if you don’t like tea, be sure to check out the Candlestick Press anyway because they’re bound to have something that does appeal.

For a full list of the poems/poets included in ‘Ten Poems about Tea’, just click this link, where you can also buy it now for £4.95 (+£0.75 p&p).

Thanks you to Lydia Towsey for this recommendation!

[Day 13 of the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Seasons Jewels’ by David Mountain]

Day 2: Small Press Advent Calendar: BLOODAXE BOOKS

day 2From one end of the scale to the other, we jump in on Advent Calendar Day 2 with a publisher with some big names in their catalogue, it’s:

‘Unsent’ by Penelope shuttle, published by Bloodaxe Books

Bloodaxe Books is one of Britain’s leading poetry publishers. Founded in 1978 by Neil Astley, he has this to say about the company now:

“I see Bloodaxe as not only a publisher of poetry books but a publisher of poetry via all kinds of media, including live performance, audio, video, internet, radio and television – and now e-books too. Editing, designing, printing and marketing the books is the central strand in our activity, but we then work with many people and organisations – especially radio producers, literary editors on newspapers, festivals and events organisers – to get the poetry out there, to get the poets heard as much as possible as well as read on the page.” – Poetry Book Society

‘Unsent: New & Selected Poems 1980 – 2012′ by Penelope Shuttle is described by our reader who recommended it as:

unsent “A brilliant collection of poems spanning such a wonderful variety of her work from several previously published poetry collections as well as some new poetry. She so eloquently speaks from the heart but she also manages to keep her poetry grounded in life’s experiences. One of the most brilliant poems in this collection is ‘Before Dawn’ which portrays reflections during sleepless nights and how those feelings change as time moves on.”

You can buy it here for £8.28.

As a bit more of a taster, here’s Penelope Shuttle herself reading from the collection…

[And here’s your link to the Poetry Advent Calendar,  Day 2: ‘The Private Taste of Ten November Seconds’ by Camille Ralphs.]

[P.s. sorry this update is late, I have been struck down by a rather unpleasant winter-associated illness I’d prefer not to discuss!]

Day 1: Small Press Advent Calendar: CRUMB CABIN

Advent calender drawer number 1

How better to start off, than with a zine from a small publisher that embraces the very zeitgeist of indie publishing? Here we have, behind door number 1:

‘TERRA FURMA’ #0 published by CRUMB CABIN 

Call for Nominations: The Advent of the Small Press

Let’s get everybody to buy a book of poetry from an independent publisher this Christmas! Throughout December I will feature a different book each day along with details of where to buy it, and I’d like you to nominate who you want to see.

So, if a writer you admire (or maybe even yourself) has had their poetry published by a small publisher at some point in 2012 – be it a full length collection, or a few poems in an anthology – I’d like to tell more people about it!

Christmas is a fantastic opportunity to support the small businesses that we all know and love; a chance to send some extra business their way when we buy a gift from them for somebody else, or ask for something from them ourselves.

Baring this in mind, I’d like to do my bit for my fellow writers and publishers by sharing a link everyday during advent featuring a book that you might want to put on your Christmas list. That way, if anybody is stuck for ideas, they’ll know where to turn.

I’d like you to help by sending me links to the books you’d like to see featured, along with a few words explaining why they are great (or a short review if you’re feeling adventurous), and by sharing this page far and wide!

Send links and reviews to: smallpressadvent@yahoo.co.uk

(Nominations will remain open until December 14th)

Many thanks!

21st December – Caravanserai Christmas Radio Broadcast

Tune in to SourceFM Radio today, 1-2pm, to hear a special broadcast of live recordings made at the Caravanserai Yuletide Cabaret Dinner earlier this  month.
Featuring Mac DunlopNick Jarvis, Seamus Carey, Rob Barratt, Caroline Carver & Michael Carver
Listen online here: http://www.thesourcefm.co.uk/listen

caravanserai yuletide on source fm radio

Poetry Advent Calendar: Day 17 – ‘Let Winter Come’ by Nick Jarvis

It was my birthday a couple of weeks back and I got some new notebooks and pens as presents, and I must say, my belief in the power of the right tools for the job has been fully restored as from the moment of opening it I started 4 new poems. One of which I finished quickly and, within a week, had accepted for publication on the Poetry Advent Calendar. If only it always went this smoothly!

‘Let Winter Come’ probably represents the furthest point on the other end of the spectrum of the type of poetry I write, to the poem I wrote before it, the lewd and comical ’12 (Urban Dictionary) Days of Christmas’. If I ever put out a collection of winter poems, it looks set to be a rather varied publication!

Read ‘Let Winter Come’ on The Poetry Advent Calendar here.

15th December – Falmouth – Finn McCouls

This is going to be the first in a series of ‘gigs with musicians’ at which I will be performing poetry to unsuspecting pub audiences. When I say unsuspecting, we are of course advertising the events, but still I can guarantee that there will be people who are very surprised to have somebody talking at them instead of playing them sweet soulful music. I only hope they like it… and if they don’t, that they either keep their disappointment to themselves or express it with nice soft things like rotten tomatoes,  rather than hard things, like root vegetables!

We’ve given our new collective a name that manages to evoke some kind of generic inbreeding having occurred between the cult of Twee and Death Metal. We are, of course, neither very twee nor very metal but are employing the name in an ironic way, yikr! Also, it was written in magnetic words on my fridge and we thought it sounded epic.*

Nick Jarvis with Massive Dragon Solace at Finn McCouls Falmouth, Poster

So, come to Finn McCouls on Thursday and witness the first evening hosted by Massive Dragon Solace, featuring: Elliott Sutcliffe – playing his newer material which brings out a much softer and  more wistful side in his songwriting; Will Rothwell – with his beautiful finger-picking guitar style; and myself, performing amongst other things, a new poem called The 12 (Urban Dictionary) Days of Christmas, in which I find 12 different ways of mentioning teabagging.

Incidentally,  I’m going to post this poem onto my facebook page a verse at a time over the 12 days of crimbo, so head over there now to ‘like‘ it if you want to receive these updates.

*can you tell I’ve been reading the urban dictionary of late?!