Tag Archives: Luke Kennard

Day 21: Small Press Advent Calendar: HOLDFIRE PRESS

day 21It is now too late to order for delivery before Christmas, but this advent calendar continues so that you will know what to spend your book tokens on! Day 21 brings you…

‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard, Published by Holdfire Press

Holdfire Press is a new, small publisher based in Liverpool.  Their first 8 pamphlets were released in May 2012, and they aim to continue to publish pamphlets and also full collections by emerging UK poets.

‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard was selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Autumn Pamphlet Choice, which makes it even more surprising then that there there seem to be no descriptions of this intriguing 28-page mystery on the internet (nb. I’ve not searched the whole internet, but little is forthcoming). But as I’m a massive fan of Luke’s work in general, I’m sure he’s a great introduction to Holdfire.

We do get a bit of info about this pamphlet though on Luke’s blog, Planet-Shaped Horse. He writes:

Necropolis boat“My pamphlet, The Necropolis Boat, takes place within one of the lines of a poem from Planet-Shaped Horse, so could be considered a sequel or prequel or whatever you call a follow-up sequence the narrative of which occurs within one of the lines from the preceding work. A nested sequel, is what I’m going to call it, I think. But you don’t have to have read PSH to enjoy it! It stands alone! Like a man! On a jetty! On his own!
I hate the word jetty. I could have said anywhere and I went with jetty.”


For those of you not familiar with his work, here’s a short intro to him and poem lifted from the Poem a Month website (check them out!):

“Luke’s writing reflects his own personal interest in mental health and the way society perceives it, often using humour in his poems.”

The following poem, ‘Chorus’, is a poem from his second collection The Harbour Beyond the Movie. Luke gives us this insight:

harbour meyond the movie“I wrote it about seven years ago, at a time when I was writing these little fourteen-line anti-sonnets which explore a single tragi-comical scene. I wrote over a hundred and my editor selected ten to go in the middle section of the book. The other ninety were terrible. This one I wrote for a close friend who was going through a particularly nasty spell of clinical depression.”


The choir hadn’t left him alone since the first day of summer;
He awoke to find them stationed around his bed.

One day the choir arrived without warning or explanation,
Sang the choir in four-part harmony, handing him toast.

On his first day back at work, the choir stood at his desk,
Singing, The choir are making his professional life impossible.

Two weeks later his partner left him for an osteopath.
Hannah cannot stand the choir any longer, they sang.

That night he pummelled the choristers with his fists;
He beats the choir in frustration, but though they are bruised

And bleeding at the lip, they sing with redoubled vigour, sang the choir.
Then they sang, He cannot get to sleep, he cannot get to sleep,

He cannot get to sleep, in perfect fifths, until he fell asleep.
In time you may even grow fond of us, they sang, quietly.

– Read more on Poem a Month

Buy ‘The Necropolis Boat’ via the Book Depository now for £4.98 (free p&p).

[Day 21 on the Poetry Advent calendar is the very appropriate ‘Solstice’ by Russell J. Turner]


Day 20: Small Press Advent Calendar: NINE ARCHES PRESS

day 20This could be the last post in this advent calendar if the world does come to an end tomorrow. If, however, it turns out it’s just the end of the Mayan Calendar, then perhaps the absence of the absence of the world will itself possess a kind of weight. Either way, you’ll obviously be needing to get your hand on the book behind door 20, which is…

‘Absence has a Weight of its Own’ by Daniel Sluman, Published by Nine Arches Press

Nine Arches Press believe that literature is something vital and precious, and it’s this, above all else, that they hope their publications will reflect  both their aesthetics and content. Their tastes are eclectic and wide ranging, so rather than defining a ‘type’ or genre of work they want to publish they look for high quality work with a unique voice all of its own.

They publish poetry pamphlets and poetry books, as well as short story pamphlets and Under the Radar magazine, and look for work that they believe will excite, surprise or delights their readers.

Their aim is to continue to build their reputation as publishers of well-crafted and innovative contemporary poetry and short story collections.

‘Absence has a weight of its own’ by Daniel Sluman, is the book I put in this calendar to sit with you through your new year regrets. It’s described by Nine Arches as:

Absence has a weight of its own Cover copy.jpg-for-web-normal“an unflinching study of serious illness, sex, death and decadence […] at times provocative and by turns tender and wry. Frailties and vices are held up for inspection in a ruined landscape of disappointing highs, hung-over regrets and head-on collisions, haunted by figures such as Roman, an unrepentant and debauched womaniser. In the aftermath, real love and hope remain stubbornly, emerging into the sunlight of an unexpected new day.

There are loads of extremely good reviews for this book on Nine Arches which you should go now and read and get all tempted and then buy this book, but just to start you off, I’ll included one from poet Luke Kennard here:

“This poetry of love and trauma is deeply, generously intelligent without ever becoming knowing. There is no joke here: even the most ambitiously strange analogies are counterweighted by a tonne of hard-won pathos. Daniel Sluman’s imagery is jealous-makingly good and his fiercely witty, lyrical voice charts a course between the plainspoken and the precision engineered epiphany. On any given rainy morning, empty afternoon or night, they turn you sideways. You find yourself possessed like Roman (more Sluman’s sporadically illuminated sidekick than Berryman’s Henry) by the conviction, in the glittering mystery of a mundane street, that ‘we’re walking narratives’.”

‘Absence has a weight of its own’ by Daniel Sluman is available to buy now direct from Nine Arches Press for £8.99.

[Day 20 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Swithland Woods’ by Karen Powell]