Tag: poetry

Alchemy: Why poetry publishers need to get it together

In May this year, three wrestling matches were held in a library. Two small poetry publishers, Sidekick Books and The Emma Press, nominated their champions for the ‘Pamphleteers’ grand slam, roared about their scrapping prowess and set them against each other in a no-holds-bard smackdown. Pamphlet took on pamphlet, and the poetry pitted dinosaurs against dragons, witches against sinister government agencies and, most curiously of all, mackerel salad against Angela Lansbury.

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independent press

On launching an independent press: Jamie McGarry interview

Valley Press is an independent publisher of poetry, non-fiction and fiction, founded in 2008, and run as a full-time business since January 2011. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Valley Press founder Jamie McGarry about setting up a new press and how it all came about.

1. Tell us the story of how Valley Press came about.

The short version: after an unsuccessful attempt to become a Primary School teacher, I fell into an English Literature degree, and then realised this was not a subject that was going to make me highly employable. I had been making books of various kinds since the age of 6, so decided to start doing that a bit more purposefully, to enhance my CV – using the name Valley Press, as I lived on Valley Road at that time. It was the summer of 2008.

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Shortlists revealed for 2015 Forward Poetry Prizes

The shortlists have been unveiled for this year’s Forward Poetry Prizes, commonly thought of as the Booker Prize of the poetry world. Prizes are awarded for best collection (£10,000), best first collection (£5,000) and best single poem (£1,000), with all nominees published in the UK and Ireland between October 2014 and September 2015.

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London Book Fair opens poetry competition

Next week’s London Book Fair is, for the first time, incorporating poetry, with its Poetry Pavilion space giving publishers of poetry a place to exhibit. To mark the occasion, the Fair and Inpress have joined forces to bestow the inaugural Poetry Pavilion Prize. The prize is open to anyone either attending the event, connected in any way with exhibitors or otherwise working in the international book trade.

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Poetry featured heavily in new BBC arts slate

Less than a month ago, Robert Harris used his position as head of the Costa Book of the Year Award judging panel to rail against the lack of airtime given to literature by the BBC’s televisual output. Whilst probably not a direct response to Harris’ particular grievances, it is, however, hard to feel that the Corporation’s newly announced slate of arts programming isn’t delivered in a spirit of recalibration, bringing as it does a poetry season for BBC Four and the latest iteration of the erstwhile Late Review.

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Book of poetry by PJ Harvey to be published in 2015

In a lateral career move that makes sense as completely as fellow cultishly adored musician John Darnielle’s transition to novelist earlier this year, PJ Harvey is to release a collection of poetry in 2015.

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2014 Forward Prizes awarded

Ahead of this year’s National Poetry Day (happening this Thursday, 2 October), the Forward Arts Foundation has awarded its annual prizes for poetry. Regarded, in terms of its ability to make writers’ reputations, as the Booker of the poetry world, the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection went to Kei Miller’s The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion, in which a mapmaker ‘is gradually compelled to recognise – even to envy – a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman’s eternal city of Zion.’

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Flagstone unveiled commemorating Scotland’s first published woman

As part of history festival Previously… this past weekend, Professor Germaine Greer unveiled a flagstone in Edinburgh commemorating the life and work of Elizabeth Melville, Lady Culross, the first woman to be published in Scotland. The memorial is inscribed with suitably recalcitrant lines from Melville’s Ane Godlie Dream, her groundbreaking debut work, a narrative poem first printed in 1603: ‘Though tyrants threat, though Lyons rage and rore / Defy them all, and feare not to win out.’ The flagstone lies, appropriately, in the city’s Makars’ Court in the Lawnmarket (‘makar’ being a Scots word meaning poet). Greer previously included Melville in her Kissing the Rod: An Anthology of 17th-Century Women’s Verse.

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Book of Iain Banks poetry to be published in 2015

When Iain Banks died of cancer last June at the cruelly young age of 59, it was widely assumed that The Quarry – the novel whose first reviews started to appear on the day of his death – would be his last published work. This past weekend, however, on what would have been Banks’ 60th birthday, his long-time publisher Little, Brown announced that it will publish a book of Banks’ poetry – much of it never before published, much less collected – in February of 2015. The book will also feature work by Banks’ close friend Ken MacLeod – himself an author – who will serve as the collection’s editor. MacLeod says ‘I’m delighted that Little, Brown is going to publish Iain’s poems, which he wrote over many years. They show a wise and witty mind at work, rational and humane and in love with the world.’ No different from the rest of Banks’ corpus, then.

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Amazon starts literary journal for Kindles

Continuing its ongoing efforts to have a finger in every single literary pie that’s going, Amazon has now realised that it hasn’t as yet made any money from the ever popular realm of literary journals, and so has set about remedying that by preparing to make money from the ever popular realm of literary journals. The multi-hyphenate online behemoth has launched Day One in its American Kindle store, a typically ambitious weekly publication that will endeavour to highlight the work of new and emerging authors and poets.

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Shortlist announced for this year’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize

Back in February, we reported that the Melita Hume Poetry Prize was open for submissions for its second year of discovering young UK poetry talent. Five months later, publishers and award backers Eyewear and judge Jon Stone have whittled entries down to a shortlist of thirteen nominees which was announced late last week. Having initially predicted a shortlist of between six and ten, the publisher says the number of nominees is down to the year, so for better odds we’d suggest holding off entering as long as you can whilst still being eligible to participate.

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Salt to focus on anthologies rather than individual poets

In what will no doubt be distressing news for poets and readers alike, The Guardian reports that the independent publisher Salt will no longer be releasing collections of work by individual poets, opting instead to focus on anthologies featuring a variety of contributors. The reason, as anyone with any kind of awareness of poetry’s current standing in modern literature could likely guess, is a decrease in sales, both for the form in general and specifically in Salt’s own collections, with the company reporting a decline of over a quarter in the past year and of a full half over the past five years.

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