Tag Archives: Small Press

Day 11: Small Press Advent Calendar: PENNED IN THE MARGINS

day 11Am I allowed to have favourites? If so, then this next publisher is definitely one (and not just because they have a CHRISTMAS SALE on), which made it hard to chose just one book. I’m going to go with poet, Hannah Silva’s suggestion, though, as  it’s a great introduction to what I love about their whole list. Day 11 is…

‘Adventures in Form’ by Various, Published by Penned in the Margins

Penned in the Margins is a literary arts producer and independent publisher. Based in London’s East End, they specialise in contemporary poetry and spoken word, but operate across all art forms.

penned in the margins booksSince 2004 they have curated, produced and commissioned a diverse range of events, projects and productions: from sell-out music/poetry nights, to a series of bespoke literary salons, and a number of UK touring shows – working with over one hundred and fifty writers, musicians and artists.

They publish poetry collections, anthologies, and a series of limited edition mini-books, and come highly recommend from a number of very notable sources [read all about them here].

‘Adventures in Form: A Compendium of Poetic Forms, Rules, and Constraints’ by Various, has received a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and been picked by The Independent as one its Best Christmas Gifts for the Bookish, so if you’re still unsure about this buying poetry lark, then maybe they can convince you!

And for the already converted, Hannah Silva (check out her blog ‘Opposition‘ – she does some very interesting, innovative stuff) explains that the book is great if you’re a writer looking for inspiration, as it’s full of playful approaches to words and form. Penned in the Margins write:

adventuresinform_cover“Welcome to a strange new world in which a poem can be written using only one vowel, processed through computer code, collaged from film trailers, compiled from Facebook status updates, hidden inside a Sudoku puzzle, and even painted on sheep to demonstrate Quantum Theory.

Discover a multitude of new and unusual poetic forms – from tweet to time-splice, and from skinny villanelle to breakbeat sonnet – in this inspiring and inventive anthology.

Adventures in Form features over ninety poems by forty-six contributors”

Read a list & short bio of all those contributors, and several short reviews on the Penned in the Margins website.

Buy ‘Adventures in Form’ now, available for the DISCOUNTED PRICE of £7.99 until 21/12/12!!

And be sure to have a look at the rest of their catalogue, they have some sparkling gems in there.

[Behind door 11 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Christmas Fire, Christmas Fare’ by Sarah L. Dixon]

Day 10: Small Press Advent Calendar: SALT

day 10Up next by popular request (and not just for melting the ice), this publisher has had a great year, with some fantastic achievements including a title shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (The Lighthouse by Alison Moore). Behind Door 10, we have…

‘Some Bright Elegance’ by Kayo Chingonyi, Published by Salt

Salt was founded in 1999, and since then has published nearly 1000 titles. They are proudly independent and deal with work spanning a wide range of genres. For whatever it is they’re publishing though, they have three over-arching principles:

  • To meet the needs of readers and to build new audiences.
  • To have the highest design and production standards for product in all media.
  • To support the best new writing (wherever it is found) from the most important writers working today.

To further support their commitment to developing new authors, Salt also operates a number of important literary prizes: The Crashaw Prize for Debut Collections of PoetryThe Scott Prize for Debut Collections of Short Stories and The Salt Prizes for individual short stories, flash fiction and poems.

‘Some Bright Elegance’ by Kayo Chingonyi is a book of poetry about the changes that are a part of life in the 21st Century.

Some Bright Elegance by Kayo ChingonyiThe book explores these changes in relation to the search for meaning and consolation in the wake of bereavement, the memorial role of music, and the effects of social change on local communities. The website tells us more…

“Chingonyi’s debut offering presents an achingly tangible vision of a world of bass and deified beats and backstreet pizzerias and so much more, shuttling from Borges and Cildo Meireles to Bojangles and manga/anime, all rendered through an effortlessly self-assured voice. More than a title, ‘Some Bright Elegance’ is a statement of intent, a promise that Chingonyi delivers on”

To read more reviews of the book and view a sample of the poems, head over to the Salt website. You can also buy it from there for the DISCOUNTED PRICE of £5.20.

[Day 10 of the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Initiation’ by Katy Ewing.]

Day 9: Small Press Advent Calendar: RED SQUIRREL PRESS

day 9Next up is a book that piqued my interest with its intriguing title and led me to ask a question I never expected to ask: ‘How do you defragment Sappho?’ It’s…

‘Defragmenting Sappho’ by Kevin Cadwallender, Published by Red Squirrel Press

Red Squirrel Press is an independent publisher based in Northumberland.
They publish poetry (full collections and pamphlets), short fiction (short story collections and novellas), and run the annual James Kirkup Memorial Poetry Competition and the annual Sara Park Short Story Competition.

‘Defragmenting Sappho’ by Kevin Cadwallender brings the work of Sappho right into today’s world. Reviewer, Elizabeth Rimmer, describes how on her blog:

defragmenting sappho cover“Essentially Kevin Cadwallender has reconstructed poems from the fragments which are all we have from the 7th century BC poet Sappho. He studied them intensely in the translations of Anne Carson, deliberately restricting his vocabulary to what is known of hers, and producing sixty new composite poems.

The result is […] moving, astonishing, a little bit obsessive. It’s brilliant.”

To read an extract from ‘Defragmenting Sappho’, head over to Elizabeth’s Blog.

It’s got me intrigued anyway!

You can buy the book from Red Squirrel Press for £6.99 (+£1.25 p&p)
(Just scroll down the catalogue until you spot it)

[As always, check out the Poetry Advent Calender, Day 9 is ‘The Artists Commission’ by Fiona Ritchie Walker]

Day 4: Small Press Advent Calendar: OVERSTEPS BOOKS

day 4I had hoped that this Advent Calender would be something of a journey of discovery, and sure enough, Day 4 features a publisher based in Devon who I’d not heard of, despite having lived on the same peninsula as them for 6 years! Day 4 is:

‘A Place where Odd Animals Stand’ by Simon Williams, Published by Oversteps Books

Oversteps Books, founded in 1992, prides itself on publishing some of the best in contemporary poetry, covering a wide range of established and new poets. They provide a voice for many poets who live in, or have strong connections with, the South West, but also publish collections by poets from elsewhere. Their writers give regular poetry readings at festivals and other events.

‘A Place Where Odd Animals Stand’ by Simon Williams is described as a “wise and witty” collection. And the author adds that:

a-place-where-odd-animals-stand-full“It represents the best of my poems written in the last five years and includes a section on autobiographical events, as well as a miscellany of ‘general purpose’ poems. As the title suggests, many of these are about odd aspects of the world and there are plenty with a light kick in their heels.”

You can read a couple of poems from the book on the Oversteps Books Website.

And you can buy it now for £9 by clicking here.

[Day 4 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘The Little that Tells a Story’ by Jackie Hagan]

Day 3: Small Press Advent Calendar: NASTY LITTLE PRESS

day 3So much of poetry is in the rhythm of the words and music of the rhymes and so it seemed only fitting to turn next to a publisher who has just released their first Spoken Word Album. Day 3 is:

‘We’re All in this Together’ by Luke Wright, Published by Nasty Little Press

Nasty Little Press publish entertaining poetry from the UK’s best loved live poets and have shown themselves to be very versatile when it comes to format. They’ve published pamphlets, longer collections, an illustrated text, this poetry album, and also have a series of Arts Council funded ‘Intros’ which are limited editions designed to help new voices gain a footing in the poetry world.

We’re All in this Together by Luke Wright is a spoken word album featuring fifteen poems plus a hidden bonus track. It’s described as “bawdy, funny and also, at times, rather touching and sad, displaying Wright’s ability to take a stereotyped character and find the humanity in them.

Luke_Wright_Opener The Drunk Train promises this album will “peer behind Britannia’s grin and shake her towns like money tins” and the following poems do exactly that, taking in fat bullies, posh school boys obsessed with “drawing willies on their toys,” baby-boomers hell-bent on spending their kids’ inheritance and a B Movie set in Brentwood.”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Luke Wright live, and I must say that his work is even better than this description implies; it’s rude, intelligent and compelling.

You can buy the album direct from Nasty Little Press for £8 or download it from itunes.

[And here’s your link to the Poetry Advent Calendar, Day 3: ‘The Fox’ by Rachel Burns.]

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!