Tag Archives: Poems

Day 25: Small Press Advent Calendar: CINNAMON PRESS

day 25This will be the last post in this 2012 Small Press Advent Calendar, and so I’d like to thank you for following, sharing, and most importantly, buying the books. Without you buying books, these fantastic, quirky, and sometimes life-changing, independent publishing houses would not be able to operate. So, without further ado, behind door 25, is…

‘Above the Forests’ by Ruth Bidgood, Published by Cinnamon Press

Cinnamon Press is a small, independent publisher run by a family team. They publish fiction, poetry and selective non fiction books, choosing not by genre, but by selecting works they feel passionate about, writing that is thought provoking and says something new.

Based in North Wales, they aim to include a significant list of Welsh writing in English amongst their titles, and their other authors come from a wide range of places from South Africa to New Zealand, America to China, the rest of the UK, and more.

They also run Envoi poetry magazine, which is now in its 53rd year, and a number of competitions.

cinnamon_-_above_the_forests_resized_‘Above the Forests’ by Ruth Bidgood, is a collection of poems in which the lie of Welsh land, local and family history, social pressures, the promptings of dream and of scientific speculation are all evoked, serving to draw the reader, often literally step by step, into processes of questioning, self-questioning and an intuitive crossing of boundaries.

At 90 years of age, Ruth’s voice remains effortlessly precise: the thought and language in the poems comes across razor sharp, and with ‘a lyricism that pushes at the boundaries of life.’ [-GWales]

“These are daring poems… Above the Forest combines deep feeling with keen intelligence.” – Anne Cluysenaar

‘Above the Forests’ is available to buy now via Inpress Books for £7.99.

[Day 25 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Eleven pm, 25th December’ by Charlotte Wetton. Do carry on visiting the site daily for the rest of their calendar, which carries on until Dec 31st!]

Merry Christmas!!

 

Day 24: Small Press Advent Calendar: HAPPENSTANCE

day 24The book behind the 24th door of the advent calendar reminds me of the underbelly of Christmas time; those moments you have as a child when you’re not really sure what’s going on, but you just know somehow that things are not as they should be.

‘Giant in the Doorway’ by Marion Tracy, Published by HappenStance

HappenStance is an independent publisher based in Scotland that specialises in poetry pamphlets. In addition to publishing, they review chapbooks and provide information about pamphlet publishing in general, mostly via their sister site Sphinx. They also operate an interesting subscription scheme that is worth looking into:

For just £7.50 pa, you receive:

– 1 free publication of your choice.
– The latest chapter of The HappenStance Story.
– Information about each new publication (snail mail).
– News about press activities during the year.
– 25% off the cover price of each publication.
– A free PoemCard with every order:
– Feedback on up to twelve poems of your own, if sent during reading ‘windows’.

Find out more information and/or subscribe HERE.

‘Giant in the Doorway’ by Marion Tracy is a collection of poems that begins with an evocative account of one day and night in a holiday cottage, from the point of view of a child struggling to make sense of her mother’s psychiatric illness. The subsequent poems extend the narrative through a mature (but no less emotive) reflection on the mother’s life, death and legacy.

Here’s a taster poem, as featured on the HappenStance site:

Giant in the Doorway   Marion TracyGiant in the doorway

10.

I’m in the double bed next to judith
lennie is asleep in the cot moon lays down
a clean bandage onto the floor I can hear

the sea singing with my mother
their voices mutter and shout
and dip and scream together below

and outside I know the word mad
but when I ask judith what’s wrong
with mummy exactly and judith says

she can’t spell it or pronounce it I know
judith doesn’t want to talk about it
I shouldn’t talk about it

Buy ‘Giant in the Doorway’ direct from HappenStance now for £4.00.

[Day 24 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘You are Not’ by Nathan Lunt]

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 16: Small Press Advent Calendar: CRYSTAL CLEAR CREATORS

day 16If you like your poetry served up with a large slice of what one might term ‘gritty northern realism’, then this next pamphlet is for you. Behind door 16 we turn to…

‘Citizen Kaned’ by Andrew Graves, Published by Crystal Clear Creators

Crystal Clear Creators is a not-for-profit arts organisation based in the East Midlands, devoted to developing, producing, publishing and promoting new writing. It records, produces and broadcasts spoken-word material; it publishes anthologies and pamphlets of new writing; it runs dayschools and courses on creative writing, media and heritage; and it hosts live events, including readings. It works with new, up-and-coming and established writers, actors and producers, as well as other partner organisations.

They also currently run a literary magazine, called Hearing Voices, the first four issues of which can be purchased from their website.

‘Citizen Kaned’ by Andrew Graves is collection of work more often seen on the stage, under Graves’ performance name ‘MulletProof’. Reviewer, Matthew Herbert, advises however, that “there’s far more scope for enjoyment if Citizen Kaned is read without such preconceptions.”

I’ve got a feeling that fans of John Cooper Clarke might enjoy this collection. Herbert’s description continues:

CitizenKaned_COVER“Rhythms and rhymes gallop through these deft observations on the inherent incongruence of life in Nottingham, yet there are also underlying layers of subtlety. Rather than using clichés as lazy shortcuts, Graves is capable of turning expressions upside down. Witness this line from ‘Ceremony’:

their love spins round like kebab-house meat

Graves then completes the poem by summoning a sense of beautiful grottiness:

they emerge embarrassed, wasted and sweaty
to shower in the headlights and raindrop confetti.”

There are those who won’t like this pamphlet, but if you’re into the stage/page cross over then I think you’ll like this. Just the snippets I’ve read certainly made the rainy northern/midland-ish town I grew up in jump straight back into view!

Read more reviews of ‘Citizen Kaned’ on the fantastic Sphinx Poetry Chapbook Review website.

‘Citizen Kaned’ is available to buy now from Crystal Clear Creators for £4.00.

[Day 16 of the The Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Snowman Poem Written on a Sunday Night’ by Rob Auton]

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]