In times like these, when the fizzy drinks tax is popping off and it feels like it costs at least a tenner just to tie your laces and leave your house, we thought we’d reassure you with some CHEAP POETRY PAMPHLETS and the news that Bury Food & Wine is selling cans of San Pellegrino Aranciata Amara for 40p. That offer may be for a limited time only (taking no chances, I have just slammed three in a row) but we always have a variety of refreshing poetry to choose from. To reflect that, here is a selection of pamphlets old and new.
The magpies among you have already spotted the silver and glittery new title from shop favourites Imogen Cassels and Face Press. Mother; Beautiful Things is itself a thing of great beauty and a portion of the proceeds will be going to a cancer charity of Imogen’s choosing. Another pamphlet doing its bit, this time for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, is Fair by Martin Thom. Fair is a single, long poem published by infernal methods. It concerns the Yemen crisis, British arms sales to the Saudis, and last year’s DSEI Arms Fair.
If you like pamphlets that sold out their first run and have been reprinted, then I have some very good news. All This Is Implied by Will Harris, published by HappenStance, sold out its first run and has been reprinted! In other good news, Hilton Als recently bought a copy of Bridget Minamore’s Titanic (Outspoken Press) from us, so you really ought to do the same.
It would be remiss to write a list like this and not include a title from The Emma Press. Dragonish by Emma Simon is one of many gems from them. Why aren’t all of us writing poems in the format of emails about running away with the circus? Simon shows us how to. Another staple of the poetry section is the impeccable clinic press. Where would we be without their pamphlets? Crying somewhere, probably, and with good reason. Crying for No Reason by Kim Kyung Ju, translated by Jake Levine, is a gorgeous thing in pink and green, with some of the best titles of this bunch.
I recently discovered that John and I both really like Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Whilst I find some nice editions of her poetry for the shop, you can read Sonnets from Elizabeth’s, a pamphlet by Rosanne Wasserman from Grey Suit Editions, subtitled After Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portugese. What’s that? You’d like to add another elegant and grey pamphlet to your selection? Rack Press will be all too happy to oblige. We have lots of their titles and I particularly recommend Nicky Arscott’s Soft Mutation. Or, if it was sonnets that caught your attention, how about a whole crown of them? Small press royalty Jacqueline Saphra and Hercules Editions released A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller earlier this year. Introduced by the poet and with an essay from Edinburgh College of Art’s Dr Patricia Allmer, the pamphlet handsomely presents sonnets and photos side by side.
In Róisín Tierney’s Clutag Five Poem Series pamphlet, I particularly like the first poem about a hapless alchemist. Tom Betteridge’s Pedicure, from sine wave peak, is a lovely book in gold and white with a fab poem within called ‘Fuzz Summer’. The PBS Summer Pamphlet choice for this year is their choicest choice yet: A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan. It is a wonderful thing and Mary Jean will be joining us on Monday 30 April for our Carcanet New Poetries VII reading. Also out with ignitionpress are Glean by Patrick James Errington, who is described by John Burnside as ‘a real find (...) a poet I’ll return to again and again’ and There’s No Such Thing by Lily Blacksell, who’s got hiccups.