Original Plus chapbooks
Authors featured here in descending alphabetical order are Janette Ayachi / George Beddow / Helen Buckingham / Chris Deakins / Martin Ferguson / James Fountain / R. M. Francis / Sheila Hamilton / Andy Hickmott / Christopher Jackson / Dina Kafaris / Neil Leadbeater / Mark Leech / Siobhan Loga / Rupert M Loydell / Paul MacDonald / Joan Michelson / Ian Mullins / Paul Murphy / Andrew Nightingale / Alan Price / Samantha Roden / Kate Ruse / Fiona Sinclair / Paul Sutton / Andrew Taylor / Alfred Todd / Geoffrey Winch /
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Janette Ayachi: Pauses at Zebra Crossings
Apologies - this title is now out of print.
"Glorious and derelict cityscapes become Janette Ayachi’s theatre for beginnings, endings and ‘hesitant slant expectancies’. Her poems dissect emotional attachment unsparingly close-up, and the best of them give words to feelings that didn’t quite have words before." Rob A. Mackenzie
‘This is a collection from a poet with whom I am unfamiliar, but hope to become more familiar with on the strength of the poems here. My favourites in this collection are Run, with its vivid imagery of a person who "slipped into the room like , spilled glass of cognac" with a "celluloid smile slightly smudged like a blurred negative" and The Artist, which paints a picture so easily of "a pre-Raphaelite heroine drunk on sculpture" in Rome. All the poems have great imagery - even one dealing with unpleasant situations, such as Salamander Street, which portrays the seedy side of society with perfect clarity, a flawless word-picture, mesmeric despite its subject matter. Recommended.’ D J Tyrer The Supplement
"A history of ‘charred loves evolves here in the nervy, attentive poems of Janette Ayachi. New York, LA, Barcelona, Las Vegas and Amsterdam are the haunted rooms that the poet explores. Their various cultures shape her forms and images, but it is the relationships that sustain interest, redolent with passion and its aftermaths." Amy Wack
for a signed copy contact email@example.com
This is what Eric Baus says of George Beddow's The Bitter Lemons of Nerval -
"George Beddow's poems retune the imagination through sharp changes of scale and ever-mutating allusions. Here, a hybridized song awakens somewhere between the strings of a prepared piano and the lyre's ancient sigh. A simultaneously playful and ominous tone infuses these compelling, often animistic landscapes. His words shimmer and vibrate anew, attracting faraway echoes."
ISBN 978-0-9931186-7-8 £3.60
mirrormoon: Helen Buckingham
‘Not many Western haiku poets are inclined to immerse in moon-viewing like Buson . . . . Helen Buckingham followed the same path . . . . Reader, be ready to embrace the spirit of autumn – and catch glimpses of the moon, even if they are not immediately visible to you!’ Anthony Kudryavitsky
‘Helen Buckingham sequels her ‘Water on the moon’ with her new publication ‘Mirrormoon’. . . . This time around she’s in mixed moods; now playful, now serious, now witty…She sways to all the influences of every moon phase and reaches up capturing for this collection every possible moon; strawberry moon, wolf moon, day moon, she even crafts a moon into a painting, not forgetting the ever indelible blue moon. . . .’ Gillena Cox
"Helen isn't a poet who's afraid to look for haiku and senryu in the stuff of modern living. Whilst every one of the poems in Mirrormoon includes a reference to our oldest of friends, the moon, there's also the mention of Pringles and Mars Bars and allusions to goth teens, cash points and cellulite!" Liam Wilkinson
"The rhythms of these haiku both in themselves and as a group enact a powerful ancient, deep and nourishing sense of time. / This is a major haiku work offering a profound vision with great poetic skill." Charles Thompson
ISBN 978-0-9562433-8-6 £3.00 (price for UK only)
Chris Deakins: In a Parallel World
‘This collection has a new maturity, but not one of comfort or senescence. Undercut with black humour and wry observation the poems explore conceptions of morality, loyalty, desire, resignation and liberty. I read them and say to myself: ‘Yes that’s what it is, that’s what it feels like’. To me they have a quality that is at once familiar and beguiling. Neither placating or neurotic they simply tell you how it is.’ Tim Kaye
ISBN 978-0-9570197-0-6 £3.00 (price for UK only)
An A to Z Art of Urban Survival, Following Diogenes of Sinope
"An A to Z Art of Urban Survival, Following Diogenes of Sinope is exactly that: a selection of wide-ranging and adventurous poems where contemporary society juxtaposes and re-energises elements of older traditions, ‘former glories, ageing stories’… Myths of the moon and sun, chronograph artists running, instant imagist texts and a ballad of Grunge King Cobain are just a few of the colourful characters and narratives within this striking and thought-provoking pamphlet. Who were we – and what are we now? As identity, time, society, nature and relationships take the spotlight, there are ‘hypnotic details to be discovered’ on every page. " Sarah James
"In 'An A to Z of Urban Survival Following Diogenes of Sinope', Martin Ferguson charts the eerie sights and sounds of unfamiliar landscapes and the ways in which our more ordinary urban scenarios can quickly take a turn for the worse and become unsettling. A dead-eyed shop assistant holding up a see-through piece of lingerie or an abandoned building where an anxious photographer hopes to find 'details that captivate' and 'fascinating vignettes' can become, as disquieting as the violent characters of African myth or the sight of a majestic condor lured into the valley. / This uncertainty, in which '[e]very horse [is] dark, straight-mouthed, or Trojan' (we just can't know in advance), is but a sign of the general malaise we have managed to impart to our very Earth---who, in the pamphlet's last piece, complains to a fellow planet that 'I am unwell, / I have The Sapiens'. It is to Ferguson's credit that he manages to diagnose and show up this discomfort with grace, humour and poise. " Laura Chalar
£3.60 for a signed copy contact
James Fountain : The Last Stop
‘James Fountain's poems encompass time spent in Saudi Arabia, his return to the UK and the universal theme of lost love. He rejects novelty, preferring to focus on accurately capturing the spirit of place, whether that's building in the desert heat, planning pathways through mountains, parents watching children on beaches, street lights triggering memories of a lost love or children playing with toy grenades and mimicking behaviour seen on news reels. Fountain seeks connections, talking about football with an Iraqi, about cricket with an Indian taxi driver, an elegy to a rock star killed in a car crash. These poems explore human fragility against a permanence of landscape with honesty. In the title poem, "removing love like an Elastoplast assumes / we are healed, and I'm far from it," acknowledges and explores experience without nostalgia. Skilfully crafted, these poems strike chords which resonate beyond the page.’ Emma Lee
‘From the author of a very fine PhD on a fascinating but forgotten poet, Joseph Macleod, here is another fine volume of poems, topical but underpinned by poignant timelessness.’ Professor Edward Chaney
'Eight years on from his highly promising debut, Glaciation (Poetry Monthly Press), James Fountain’s The Last Stop shows the satisfying maturation of an unshowy but distinctive talent. Much of this peripatetic collection evokes faraway places where Fountain has lived and worked over the past decade: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Cambodia. These poem-impressions or verse-observations have something of the anomic fascination of Alun Lewis or Bernard Spencer (‘neglected hope smiles through clenched/ teeth, souring the blossoming day,/ roughening the tough path for drivers’ –‘Cab Ride Through Al Khobar’), even T.E. Lawrence (‘In the tranquil zone of night, I tread to bed/ aware of the stillness of desert,/ the sense of emptiness, as ambition itself/ quietly begins to stir’ –‘Al Khobar at Night’). We feel we are there with Fountain in the thick Arabic ‘hot hair-dryer breeze of evening’.
Fountain’s style is subtle, not formalist yet not quite free verse either; there are, for example, in ‘The Abuses of Riches’, occasional unobtrusive end-rhymes –‘fold’, ‘foretold’, ‘netherworld’– and wonderful sound-chimes –‘mannequins’, ‘cleanse’, ‘chimes’. A painterly eye expresses itself in ‘Cenang Beach Sunset’ with ‘grey dappling/ purple with sapphire at sunset’ and ‘Waves roll like Persian carpets’. Some poems, almost poem-postcards, gift us glimpses of half-told stories, as in ‘On An Bang Beach’ with its ‘lone/ man’ who ‘lights a cigarette under shade’ and its ‘hawker’ who ‘exhales/ a sigh accompanied by a Vietnamese/ folk song, reminding him to keep on’; and the ‘old Saigon peasant in conical hat’ who collects backstreet tourist litter in ‘Treasure Hunter’. While the unassuming but captivating lyric ‘Point of Origin’ is reminiscent of Anglo-Welsh poets Alun Lewis and Clifford Dyment: ‘Green leaves/ unfurled each spring/ like new-born/ twitching fingers’.
Landing back home with a bump, ‘My Generation’ has an elegant anger sometimes pursed in pentamerous couplets: ‘The bearded cleric in his antique chair,/ captive politician with mile-long stare’ –but closes on a note of hope: ‘we snapped the trappings of injustice,…/ rose above ideology, invented our own, regained our lives, and reclaimed our souls’. The title poem is an exquisite Romantic miniature: ‘Rain droplets snake down/ the window, and I remember you/ sleeping through the day, an unpainted/ porcelain face on the pillow,/ your far-away gaze as you woke slowly’.
It’s to be hoped that The Last Stop will be the first of many more stops on the poetic travels of James Fountain.' Alan Morrison
ISBN 978-0-9955802-5-1 £3.60
Due to be released 18th February 2019
Lamella by R. M. Francis
These poems apply Freud's Uncanny, Kristeva's Abjection and Lacan's Lamella Myth to the mundane, dealing with the borderlands of being. In the liminal landscapes of post-industrial Britain, the underbellies of everyday life, in the unlooked and overlooked, R. M. Francis guides us through the lost feral, primal and off-kilter parts of selfhood. You wear the mask. You face the mirror.
'Beauty in what others might label as sordor. Right up my street. Blown away by it, into a better place, and who could ask for anything more from words?' Niall Griffiths
'So much contemporary poetry is divorced from the bodily instincts and functions. What [Francis] is doing is an anchoring without loosing the intellectual. It has the wild desirous energy of Whitman, the free flow of lyrical instinct from Ginsberg, the nihilism and disillusionment of Larkin, the attention to craft and its purposeful deviation of Auden and touches of the de-familiarisation of Redgrove. And an element that owns all of this and more and says 'this is mine'. It is dense and very resonant.' Bob Beagrie
'Resonant and highly charged – like a veritable stream of elementary particles smashing into each other.' Michael Jarvie
'Holding a magnifying lens uncomfortably close to many everyday human issues.' Charley Barnes
'Francis is a writer with real grit.' Isabelle Kenyon
ISBN 978-0-9955802-8-2 £ 3.60
Sheila Hamilton: One Match
"On 16 January 1969 in the centre of Prague, in a busy thoroughfare by the National Museum, a 20-year-old university student named Jan Palach poured petrol on himself and lit a match. He died of his horrific burns three days later. . . . It was a fierce gesture of protest against the Soviet occupation of his country . . . .In a sequence of deeply felt poems Sheila Hamilton explores the incident and its ramifications. Her language cuts sharply and cleanly to the bone." Ketaki Kushari-Dyson "There has been thorough research behind Sheila Hamilton's representation of Jan Palach's story in this remarkable sequence of poems. The cool, matter-of-fact tone of her work succeeds in infusing the story with its true horror. . . . There is so much that is unknown, imprecise about Jan Palach's short life, but Sheila Hamilton here brings it very much into the foreground of now: Jan Palach lives in these poems. Unforgettably." Gill McEvoy
ISBN 978-0-9562433-7-9 £3.00
(price for UK only)
The Reedy Boy : Andy Hickmott
Widower Glen Fenny neglects his chores one Spring morning and, on a whim, finds himself on the bank of a reedy lake, where he sees
among the stalks of the rushes and reeds
over on the opposite shore,
a boy, or a man worn down to a boy,
sitting solemnly counting his toes,
as naked as the lake from his withered heel
to his weathered nose.
The Reedy Boy is a traditional fable with a modern moral, told in 24 free verse chapters.
ISBN 978-0-9931186-2-3 £3.60 (price for UK only)
Christopher Jackson's The Monkey Fragment
‘I don't think I've ever read anything quite like The Monkey Fragment. Here is the wry philosophising of Douglas Adams, the grotesque draftsmanship of Mervyn Peake--rolled into a form all its own. This belongs on your shelf, and clattering away at your mind's typewriter about ludicrousness, infinity, and love.’ Robert Peake
ISBN 978-0-9931186-6-1 £3.60
The Blinding Light Circling Elpida, in one act : Dina Kafiris
"Of a kind of writing that combines the silence of the age old landscape with the chatter of fiery tongues ceaselessly talking 4000 years ago until now without stopping even for a drink of Raki… these poetic notes record and transmit what the ears think they have been hearing all the time although this is not necessarily true." Nanos Valaoritis
£3.00 (price for UK only)
Punching Cork Stoppers : Neil Leadbeater
‘Many of the poems in Neil Leadbeater’s latest collection, Punching Cork Stoppers capture the heat and light and sensuality of Lisbon. Other landscapes embrace both the human and natural world, which are sometimes contrasted and at other times merge into a whole that feels deeply inhabited: but they are always compassionate. These short poems catch the essence of a scene or situation, like calligraphic sketches, the details bringing alive whatever scene is painted for us. Sometimes they are shaded in with snippets of conversation, or words with folded meanings, or even famous characters such as Tennyson and Byron, who sidle or stride into the present. Neil Leadbeater’s assured and rhythmic poems are always a pleasure to read. For me these poems are like parcels – I enjoy peeling back each line and layer, and what lies at the heart of them is a gift that often surprises and delights at the end.’ Morelle Smith
‘From its intriguing title onwards, Punching Cork Stoppers is a mesmerising read. Neil Leadbeater conjures up an essence of Portugal – we can almost feel the heat as we follow the narrator and his unnamed companion through Lisbon, beyond cork plantations to old streets where the sound of fado wells up from the night quarters. The writing is elegant, ‘word perfect’ to quote the opening poem of the collection.’ Jane Seabourne
'The poems in this chapbook by Neil Leadbeater represent a love letter to Lisbon, to Portugal, and to its cork groves in particular. In the capital the poet hears fado music, a form of song characterised by mournful tunes and lyrics, in the old streets: “This notion of fate - / the passion of the heart which wins hands down / over logic held in the head …”
He devotes three poems to different Lisbon funiculars, and another to the city‘s spectacular ‘Aqueduto das Aguas Livres’, “those high-pointed Gothic arches / striding over the edge; / that brass-led fanfare of uniform pillars.”
There are nods to Tennyson, Byron and Southey as he traces their footsteps, and a number of mentions of a companion in these poems, which give them an added resonance: “Your high heels keep up their rhythm / on the parquet floor / word perfect.” (‘Buying Shoes in Lisbon’).
Leadbeater marvels at natural wonders, too, such as the ‘Sacrifice of the Cork Oak’ (“To have your cells pared off …”), ‘The Essence of Lemons’, and ‘Oranges Coming of Age’: “A fire-burst of summer segments / squeezed out and citrus-cool”.
He and his companion lived among the cork groves for a summer:
The only sound we heard all day
was the tight-lipped talk of the district logger
and the ragged tear of plank panels
prised like tape from the trees
Leadbeater is acutely aware of the land’s thirst. In Oporto he recalls “how long the time has been / since the last rain was heard”; he sees “low-lying farms pitched like loaves / in the burn and shine of hills” (‘A Sea of Wheat near Moura’); and the final, short poem sighs at “the hard-edged glare” (‘Natural Light’). In more than one poem there is a longing for showers....' Greg Freeman: Write Out Loud
'Edinburgh-based Neil Leadbeater is a well-established poet and review writer of notable international standing. Long-term Quantum Leap subscribers may immediately recall his earlier association with our magazine, while, for the assurance of his renewed support, we welcome his return. The tongue-in-cheek title of this fascinating evocative Iberian whimsy rather modestly is drawn from Neil’s earlier experience of life in Portugal. And this collection is thus remarkable for his vivid portrayals in verse of the general locale within those wine-producing regions:
In the Casa da Música
Jordi Masó plays Joaquin Turino
a late-bottled vintage
of dark butch reds
from the quintas
of the Douro.
IN THE CASA DA MÚSICA, PORTO
It was, of course, from those vast areas of neighbouring wooded groves that the cork required for the making and supply of wine bottle stoppers was duly obtained:
Imagine if you will, he said,
what it must be like
to nestle in the glass neck
of a young-vatted Tempranillo
and inhale the fruit of the vine!
Neil’s following poem, SACRIFICE OF THE CORK OAK, takes on a similar personified representation, as he describes the stripping of a richly bark-clad cork oak. Sensuously described summer heat conditions are pleasingly compensated with mouth-watering references to the lovely sun-kissed fruit abundantly produced, and so readily at hand, within those areas close to Neil’s then-temporary home:
THE ESSENCE OF LEMONS
is largely sunshine. Its bitter juice
the last catch in the throat.
There are references, too, to the poet Byron’s stay in Portugal:
In Sintra, ‘the glorious Eden’, he ate oranges,
luscious globes of refreshment
that helped him stand the heat;
conversed with monks in bad Latin
and shocked society with his pocket pistols,
swearing in Portuguese.
BYRON IN PORTUGAL
In his poem, LISBON HEAT, we find Neil on posthumous nodding terms with Alfred Lord Tennyson, who had long since roamed around this region. In another poem, we visit Oporto, an excursion somewhat marred by the excessive summer heat, at the time. Readers will readily warm to this writer’s wealth of detail and descriptive colouration in creative imagery so vital to his topographical depictions. A superb collection of well-penned verse, available now, at low cost, budget price…and post free, into the bargain!' Bernard M. Jackson: Quantum Leap Issue 84
ISBN 978-0-9955802-4-4 £3.60
The Worcester Fragments: Neil Leadbeater
"Neil Leadbeater’s writing seems effortless; on examination one realises it’s the work of a truly great writer". Les Merton, Editor: Poetry Cornwall "Neil Leadbeater always offers the reader accomplished and very interesting poems. His love of the natural world dominates his main themes, and his accurate observations have a delicate and lasting power." Peter Thabit Jones, Editor: The Seventh Quarry
"Neil Leadbeater focuses with sharp observation on the natural world. Delight and amazement, even in its smallest and most obscure arrangements, inspires him". Eve Kimber
"Neil Leadbeater is one of the most interesting poets writing in Britain today". Luis Benitez, Argentina
£3.00 (price for UK only)
Chang'an Poems: Mark Leech
"Mark Leech’s sequence of 41 poems centres on a tyrannical empire where dissidents experience foreign exile and banished lovers can only dream of homecoming and reconciliation. The ancient capital Chang’an has towers, temples, parks, squares, courtyards—even jade rooms. A long bridge crosses a river. Geese fly in bitter winter winds. A drunk looks deeply into his bottle. Several elements of classic Chinese poetry are present.... Surprisingly, interlayered with the matter of ancient Chang’an is a modern version of the nastiest police state full of people suffering the consequences of violent turbulence—imprisonment, censorship, separation, fear, blood and death ... What we have with Chang’an Poems is a poetry of ambiguity where meanings are veiled, perhaps complying tonally with the dissident’s fear of the repressive apparatus of a totalitarian state. Even so, frequent discontinuities in the poems’ narrative threads affect adversely the overall cohesion and coherence." Peter Jarvis
"Leech’s playfulness unpicks his close observations, his concern for the world, and renders them mimetically to create a fractured, shifting picture. Is this how we experience our world? This is a carefully woven sequence that is astute and uncomfortable." Angelina Ayers: Antiphon
"This is a haunting collection that is reminiscent of elements of the Carcossa Mythos in its surreality and hopelessness, crossed with dark hints of a repressive police state. A powerful and evocative collection. Highly recommended." DJ Tyrer: The Supplement
"Mark Leech’s Chang-an Poems are winningly sentimental and full of blunt-nosed brilliance. Built on a tripod of surveillance, where the omnipresence of state censorship meets personal censorship and immingles (sometimes brutalizes) a deeply affecting love story, Chang-an is a survival fight and a haunting reflection of our precipiced world at large.... Without question, the longevity of this sequence confirms Leech as one of the most illuminative poets of my generation." James Byrne
"In Chang'an Poems, Mark Leech has produced a collection of rare grace, subtlety, and power. In his concern for our fragile earth and its most vulnerable and exploited people, he is an eloquent advocate for social justice for all humanity." David Olsen
"...The style and structure of this work is so authentic it could be taken for a translation. Leech is an excellent craftsman. The lexis has the spare quality and tone of Chinese writing. Poetic form is adapted to suit narrative shifts. The more complex and frankly uglier side of the conflict is recounted in longer poems with harsher language.... The overall effect is a sequence where beautiful imagery of love and nature counterbalances the harsh realities of a civil war." Fiona SinclairISBN 978-0-9570197-1-3 £3.00 (price for UK only)
Borderlands: Mark Leech
‘Mark Leech’s poetry comes from a quiet, still place, which makes achieving a detached purity of tone possible. Here, in this anatomy of loss, grief is a landscape of grassed over derelictions; empty houses sing with wrens and, against a backdrop of destruction and decay, a river heals. This collection has tremendous resonance for our troubled times.’ Pat Winslow author of Kissing Bones (Templar Poetry)
‘In Borderlands, Mark Leech extends his Chang’an Poems to envision the post-revolutionary life of a once-exiled dissident thinker. After losing his wife in the struggle against a repressive regime, the grieving and distracted survivor wanders through physical and metaphorical borderlands, as he progresses from self-doubt to healing and redemption. With precise control of language and emotion, Leech deftly balances power and subtlety, clarity and mystery, in a compelling narrative.’ David Olsen author of Unfolding Origami, forthcoming from Cinnamon Press.
‘A sequel to Leech’s Chang’an Poems (Original Plus, 2012),Borderlands stands alone well....Imaginative turns of phrase and startling images of rivers, sunshine, bombers, and the city itself linger, along with the mood that creeps up on you through this beautifully crafted narrative.’ Kathleen M. Quinlan
£3.60 (price for UK only)
Siobhan Logan: Mad, Hopeless & Possible
Sackleton’s Endurance Expedition 'Siobhan Logan’s Mad, Hopeless & Possible lifts the reader out of their warm armchair to place them among the stubborn men of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition. This history of polar exploration is at once efficiently informative and dramatically powerful: smooth, economic prose offset against haunting poetic soliloquies. It’s as if Logan has pulled desperate men’s voices out of sub-zero winds. ' Mark Goodwin
In 1914 two groups of explorers set out, separated by a continent but united by one man's vision of 'the last great polar journey'. Sir Ernest Shackleton rated applicants for his Antarctic expedition as 'Mad, Hopeless & Possible'. The ice-locked trials of his Endurance crew are legendary. But this collection weaves in the 'hidden shadow-story' of the Ross Sea Party, his supply team, who were marooned in the white wilderness just as war consumed Europe.
ISBN 978-0-9562433-9-3 £3.00
(price for UK only)
Love Songs for an Echo by Rupert My Loydell ... is prefaced by ... ‘Music, moments of happiness, mythology, faces fatigued by time, some twilights and some places try to tell us something, perhaps did utter some meaning that we should not have forgotten, or perhaps are on the point of telling us something: the imminence of revelation that never quite occurs is perhaps what we call the aesthetic fact.’ – Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Wall and the Books’
'Nothing happens and nothing happens and nothing happens and all of a sudden there is a whole life gone and you realise that all those nothings were in fact everything.' - Gabriel Josipovici, Contre-Jour
ISBN 978-0-9931186-5-4 £3.60 (price for UK only)
Lost in the Slipstream by Rupert M Loydell
"....is a very varied, very large suite of rooms, all of them fit for habitation. In most of them you know precisely where you are because you've read Rupert Loydell before and know something of his preoccupations - his eye, his imagination, his hopes and fears, his inner questings. As I read it now .... it is a diary or record of days or occasions, some of which, conceivably, are still to arrive. Some of the matter is immediate and rendered without interpretation or analysis, whilst others appear to push Loydell into either carefully directed introspection or onward and into a sequence of tenuously related or, as far as the reader is concerned, totally unrelated events, memories and thoughts. Questions are asked, discoveries are related, mysteries - perverse as well as wondrous - play themselves out in almost real time .... " Peter Dent
£2.50 (price for UK only)
Rimbaud's Hair by Paul McDonald
“An unpretentious poet who is good company,” (Caroline Clark, Welsh Books Council).
“McDonald's language is sharp, street-smart and lyrical…These poems don't try to fool anyone. They give it to you straight.” Andrew Belsey.
“Every line works in its own right, every stanza has something in it to enjoy.” (Claire Askew, Sentinel Poetry Quarterly)
“Hilarious observations and talent for reproducing conversational speech.” (Raw Edge)
"A keen sense of observation and playfulness" The Journal.
“Witty, honest observations offer up characters you may have viewed in your childhood through the bottom of a Vimto bottle - or, in later life, through a beer glass” (Julie Boden, Writer in Residence, Birmingham Symphony Hall)
“This is a book that throws itself into your face like torn paper from a clown’s bucket, and leaves you soaking it all up.” Ink Sweat and Tears.
“…a delightful miscellany of portraits and landscapes that are a pleasure to read.” David Troman: Carillon Magazine
ISBN 978-0-9955802-2-0 £3.60
Valuable Things by Paul McDonald
This pamphlet takes some of the world’s most compelling art and explores its themes in a series of ekphrastic poems. Using individual paintings as a starting point, the poems offer lyrical responses that function simultaneously as art criticism and art in their own right. The author brings both his critical and creative skills to bear on key paintings by, among others, Degas, Hopper, Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Vermeer, in ways that eloquently capture their character and complexion, deepening our understanding of the work,and unpacking its force and relevance for the twenty first century.
ISBN 978-0-9955802-6-8 £3.60
Bloomvale Home by Joan Michelson
'I was surprised at how much I like them because I am a difficult reader of poetry. These got through to me because of how direct they are. They are also clear and sympathetic. I was pleased that they did not sink to sentimentality, which we hate.' Diana Athill (99)
'With their finely-calibrated tone of voice, Joan Michelson's new poems vividly document the practicalities, mundane details and inevitable fate of those who live in Bloomvale Home. At the same time, she moves us powerfully with her portraits of the residents' confusions, heroism and still-vigorous emotions. One of the residents bursts into song in a "language strange"; in a similar way, this highly original book makes for essential - if often uncomfortable - reading for us all.' Martyn Crucifix
'These finely observed and compassionate poems give the reader a vivid sense of what might be in store for any of us.' Carol Satyamurti
Almost Human a collection of poems by Ian Mullins
According to Wikipedia autism is a highly variable neurodevelopmental disorder that first appears during infancy or childhood, and generally follows a steady course without. People with autism may be severely impaired in some respects but normal, or even superior, in others. Overt symptoms gradually begin after the age of six months, become established by age two or three years, and tend to continue through adulthood, although often in more muted form. It is distinguished not by a single symptom, but by a characteristic triad of symptoms: impairments in social interaction; impairments in communication; and restricted interests and repetitive behaviour. So says Wikipedia.
“Not only is this chapbook full of very good poetry but, if you let it, it may adjust how you look at those who occupy a different space to you on the spectrum which is its backdrop.” David Troman: Carillon Magazine
The Sun rises over Arsenal, North London by Paul Murphy
"¿Who is Paul Murphy? I don’t know. Although he is a close friend, where his writings are concerned: ¿where the Hell does he comes from? ¿what the hell is his style? ¿who the hell has moulded his art? To put it in a nutshell: how healthy unhealthy (thanks God) is he as a poeitai. Some sort of "enfant terrible", non conventional (bless them), sincere (up to the point of spilling his guts). I like it, in a society that is full of well being and suspicious of correct language (meaning the end of personal, idiosyncratic speech), he likes to dwell at the other side of the mirror. Spring has sprung in his poetry, essays, and all of his queries. ¡Oh yeah! Plato expelled poets from his ideal Republic because they are “false pedagoges “ Ok. Translated: because they are itchy mosquitoes of the mind. So is Paul (better John). I like being surprised. A good mind shakes you up, as he does with our nervous grey brain. Or in maths lang: a non linear writing as poems should be. But trust me poets are also your confidents, your pillow they will never let you down. The last line of defense as music is. Imagine a world of guys and gals addicted to poetry. For sure is the first step to f*** the drug dealers.
Time to stop all my jazz. Go to the source: Read Paul's work! Oh btw:¡Have a nice day Mr. Brown!" Carlos Fleitas
£2.50 (price for UK only)
The Black Madonna: Andrew Nightingale
These five poems explore aspects of the lives and myths of Mata Hari, Ada Lovelace, Lou Andreas-Salomé, Isabelle Eberhardt and the Black Madonna in a variety of forms, both narrative and surreal, concrete and ekphrastic, lyrical and cut-up.
(price for UK only)
Mahler's Hut & Other Accommodations : Alan Price
‘Much of Alan Price’s new collection of poems is a hauntingly powerful homage to Gustav Mahler. At times, they are profoundly tender, at others sweepingly elegiac, and the images linger in the memory with cinematic intensity. Even more importantly, perhaps, the poetry sings with an insistent musicality, as befits verse inspired by a great composer. In the Accommodations, potent lyricism is combined with piquant and touching intimacy. This collection confirms Price’s reputation as a remarkably distinctive, assured and impressive voice in British poetry.’ Adam Feinstein, poet, translator and author of the biography, Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life
“Price’s poetry is erudite, but he wears his research lightly. His technical skills, which are impressive, only augment the humanity at the core of his search for truth. Price’s deft juxtaposition of the demotic and the mythic, the musical and the prosaic makes for a thrilling read. Mahler’s Hut will appeal to anyone who finds interesting questions more satisfying than easy answers.” Claire Booker
Catch Ourselves in Glass by Samantha Roden
"Samantha Roden’s work is shot through with the longing and despair of the everyday and the everynight, but they take you further than a thousand over-reaches for profundity. They speak in a refershingly direct, restoratively honest voice which arrested me from start to finish. These poems retain a sense of hope and generosity of spirit in spite of all the casual brutality they encounter; a wit and intelligence accessed via careful sensory observation which transfigures the permanent markers, the third-hand buggy, the therapist’s chair. Poems which know when to look away, and when to leave the door open." Luke Kennard, 2017
"Samantha Roden is a raw, rare and original voice. She has the violent honesty of Bukowski, the tenderness of Simon Armitage and the black humour of Tony Harrison." Tim Lott
"Sam Roden reads like a Brum Bukowski mired in the midlands, full of soot and turmoil and the blackest of humours. I hang onto her every published word." Niall Griffiths
Corridors: Kate Ruse
"This chapbook is an excellent piece of work - not just as a collection of poems but as a whole object as the illustrations by Chris Bent contribute so much to the enjoyment of reading. ...in these economically straitened times do not hesitate to add Corridors to your collection - you will not spend a better £3.00 this side of recession." Patrick Lodge
"Through these poems Kate Ruse pulls the reader into the disturbing and yet beautiful convolutions of two genius imaginations. First Corridors expresses, with a muscular lyrical poise, the psychically-charged physicality of the great Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky; and then goes on daringly, to poetically rummage around in the difficult existence of Franz Kafka …. Chris Bent’s fine illustrations, throughout Corridors’ pages, provide the poetry with a dancing partner of gracefully varied light and dark tones". Mark Goodwin
Check out Kishan Patel and Annie Robinson's take on a poem from 'Corridors' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCUuHWff-wU
(price for UK only)
write me into bed with Casanova craft : Fiona Sinclair
"Fiona Sinclair tackles the most difficult of subjects with wit, humour, and mastery of the killer simile. Couples are "paired like ornaments around the room"; women dancing at a teenage beauty queens' ball "teeter behind daughters who have grown into their shoes". With these poems, it is clear that Sinclair has grown not into her mother's shoes, but her own." Maria C McCarthy
"Fiona Sinclair's wry, anecdotal poems give a voice to those for whom life seems a struggle. Her sharp eye for the incongruous enables her to find rueful humour in the romantic disappointments that can occur when choice is limited to men from Rochester and Deal. But her gift for apt and original comparisons is put to more serious use when she identifies with deeper emotional wounds. Who else would have observed that rejection feels like being the last of my species shown the door by Noah?" Mike Bartholomew-Biggs
ISBN 978-0-9570197-9-9 £3.00
The Chronicles of Dave Turnip: Paul Sutton
"Given that we should get the poetry we deserve, why isn’t more contemporary verse angry, unsettling, violent and downright scary? Maybe because it’s in denial, I don’t know. Anyway, in this pervasive somnambulism Sutton comes on like a prophet, reminding us with a fiercely assured lyrical touch that our ‘brains scream at night’." Luke Kennard
"Picture any 21st century town and you will find Dave Turnip, sex-starved semi-vegetable, drinking and copulating his way through the world, with occasional literary or social aspirations all too often defeated by his financial or alcoholic state of affairs. Paul Sutton's poems wittily and accurately depict the world we all too often find ourselves - both individually or communally - in. There is cynicism here, despair and warmth, opinion and hard facts, all informed by a clear eye and a righteous anger: Sutton cares about Dave Turnip and others like him, and this concern is what fuels and underwrites these invaluable texts." Rupert Loydell To read introduction click here
£2.50 (price for UK only)
being a collection of
and Haiku Collaborations
by Andrew Taylor
"Diamonds form under pressure. Formal constraint, in the right hands, transcends mere procedure and becomes a method for magic. Andrew Taylor's lambent, lucid englyns bright as sun struck raindrops, find beauty in the details of the world we know, in trees, birds, foxgloves and buddleia, a simple cup of coffee or the smell of diesel. His ludic, Oulipian haiku, derived from tweets, are a different pleasure, playing sly games of solipsism and self-reference to produce fragments of language that glint and glimmer like miniature cracked mirrors. Debussy defined music as the space between notes. These spare, elegant, exact poems show us how much can be illuminated by showing rather than telling. Andrew Taylor, like Bob Dylan, keeps a clear head and always carries a light bulb." Tom Jenks
'These are handsome poems - and their basis is a contortion of the welsh englyn. This contortion is represented in the hybrid plural 'englyns.' In welsh the plural is englynion - but these epistolary observations and snapshots are not englynion but hybrid haiku-tanka-englynion: englyns. Though the englyns miss the alliterative and sprung-rhythms of strict cynghanedd they are instead skilful epiphanic poems that move in scale from the sky to the molecule in Andrew Taylor's hands. The englyns are more like a tanka minus a line and seem to attempt to root the tanka in these post-Brythonic islands. Englyns are what Kerouac would have made had he been of celtic stock. "Welsh Butter./Ice-cold Coca"' Rhys Trimble
£3.60 (price for UK only)
Make Some Noise: The Woking Poems : by Andrew Taylor
'Exiled from Liverpool in body but not spirit, these restless, memorable poems roam the streets in borrowed sunglasses, hang out in hotel rooms deprived of sleep, and long for home.' Cliff Yates
'From Travelodges to cathedrals, and motorways to village footpaths, these poems work tirelessly to discover the sublime in the suburban. Here we see a poet negotiating the postmodern condition; at once delicate and brutal, lyrical and fractured, these words are essential reading for anyone curious about what it means to be alive right now.' Ursula Hurley
£2.50 (price for UK only)
Notes - while treading water : Alfred Todd
'These are dark, sad, joyful and wonderfully funny poems. Unlike many poetry collections, I wanted to read on to the end, then and there, find the diamond in the rough, the worm in the apple - so I did. And I did.' Hylda Sims'Alf Todd's poems are engaging and memorable, his characters poignantly and individually drawn, while also capturing the human frailty in us all. An enjoyable and heartening collection.' Cathy Grindrod'These poems are peopled with strangers we recognise and wish we had known. Their stories are told concisely and without sentimentality. The magic of Brendan and the Moon-path made this poem particularly memorable for me.' Jeremy Duffield
£3.00 (price for UK only)
West Abutment Mirror Images by Geoffrey Winch
"This title is intriguing and so apt with its connotations of junctions and substructures. There are layers of allegory in these poems concealed in details, apparently suburban and commonplace, that trigger a mass of associations. Here we have chains, gates, windows, mirrors, door bells ... stained glass in a cul-de-sac, a lay-by where ‘Dave’s Diner’ juxtaposes with a biblical cave in the Middle East, a blackthorn that is ‘scrappy’ as it harbours wrappers and junk. This landscape is a wilderness posing as domestic, there is menace beneath the surface, a sense of crossroads and a mood of time ignored and passing. Ashes are all that’s left of fire, light is thin and fading, even the guitar, forgotten on top of a wardrobe, has become ‘dumb’. These are strong, beautifully crafted poems, palpable with tension and twist." Mandy Pannett (Poetry Editor: Sentinel Literary Quarterly)
"Geoffrey Winch takes us on a detailed, even actually measured sometimes, exploration of a mirror world. His careful descriptions of often the most prosaic detail lead him to larger insights, like the meaning of time and the effect of the seasons. The use of classic Japanese forms, so appropriate to this most diligent of observers, punctuates this collection. There are sections that might have come straight from a translation of Basho, except the waterfalls and the rice wine have become culverts and cans of Guinness as Winch reaches into his civil engineering experience. This is a well-crafted set of work with great variety and many surprises for the reader from a poet at the top of his form." Tim Dawes (Director: The South Downs Poetry Festival)
"Winch has long been acknowledged as a master of both haiku and tanka. In this collection he extends that ability to include the haibun which combines prose or prose poetry with a succeeding haiku that develops the theme further... Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this chapbook is that every time you pick it up you find fresh delights within..." David Troman: Carillon Magazine