Over at our sister site 79 rat press, we have just launched for pre-order 6 amazing books, from new writers and some writers very familiar to people here. I have reposted the announcement in full here – don’t miss out!
The 6 startlingly fabulous limited edition collections that we are publishing as part of NOTHING TO SAY are available for pre-order now. There are just 25 copies of each collection in the limited edition print run. Make sure you don’t miss out on yours.
To pre-order your copy of any (or indeed all) of these titles, simply Paypal £6 per title to firstname.lastname@example.org and add £1 each title for UK postage or £3 for postage anywhere in the world outside the UK, and stating which collection(s) you would like and your address. At today’s exchange rate that’s US$13.82 incluiding postage and shipping to the US, CA$14.02 to Canada, AU$13.86 to Australia and 10.66 Euros to Europe. The collections will be officially launched on June 10th at a week long installation at Oxford’s Albion Beatnik Bookstore featuring not only a live performance on the 14th and a reception on the 10th but original artwork from our authors, a modern mystery play, and copies of NOTHING TO SAY’s stunning poetry and prose for you to read at your leisure in its own dedicated space all week. All copies pre-ordered by the end of May 17th will be dispatched so as to arrive on or before Saturday June 8th. All orders will be acknowledged by email within 12 hours of receipt (PLEASE check your spambox if you haven’t received confirmation – emails will come from email@example.com which is a long address and sometimes gets filtered to spam).
But before you add postage to your order, we are thrilled to announce three special preview events for NOTHING TO SAY where you can pick up any pre-ordered copies:
May 29th, The 2013 Saboteur Awards – the UK’s premier awards night for pamphlets and spoken word, held at The Book Club in London.
June 1, 6.30pm a unique preview night of poetry and art at the Oxford studio of renowned artist Tom de Freston
June 8, Stoke Newington Literary Festival where the writers of NOTHING TO SAY will be puttng on a spoken word extravaganza as part of our touring troupe The New Libertines, who have performed to sell-out crowds at the festival for the past two years.
If you would like to pick up your books from any of these, please say which when you place your order and we will bring your sparkling copy with us for collection.
We are a tiny press, but we cherish both our readers and our authors. As a result, we do what most presses our size (and many poetry publishers much bigger than us) do not do – we pay our authors up front (we also pay our fabulous cover artist, Eleanor Leone Bennett). Not a huge amount because we deal in limited editions, but at £1 per £6 book we’re not only different in paying up front but it’s a larger percentage royalty than pretty much any other publisher will pay on a paperback. We also submit their work for the most prestigious prizes and for review at the leading publications. We do this without private funds or support from the Arts Council and that means we run a very tight line with our budget. So in order to fund our print run, we rely on print orders.
If we do not sell out (I should add the last time I did a limited edition, at eight cuts gallery press, we sold out through pre-orders in under a week and before the launch date), we will print some unreserved copies that you can pick up at the above events, but only a very few. Like I say, like several other great small presses, we rely on pre-orders so we can do what we do, and do right by everyone. We hope you understand. And to show our appreciation to you, all pre-orders will come with a free copy of my own new pamphlet, also published by 79 rat press, i cannot bring myself to look at walls in case you have graffitied them with love poetry.
So, here they are in all their splendour. Our writers come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some have won prestigious awards, some have previous collections, some have glorious blogs, some run underground zines and spoken word nights. But we figure you know how to use google, so we’re not going to tell you about that (you can read some offbeat interviews with them here though). We also, again unlike many presses, think what has gone before is really relevant to now. If you know them already then, well, you know them already and you want their new work because you know it will be stunning. If you don’t know them already, you probably don’t care where they’ve had poems published or whether they’ve had poems published before (and if you do, as I said, you can probably manage google). What you do care about is these books. So here are very brief descriptions and a brief sample of poetry form each book.
Paul Askew’s Animal Magnetism is a beautifully surreal journey through love and loneliness in the company of Wthnailesque narrators and a delicious assortment of poetic animals. His work has the fragility and lightness of a paper lantern but it also has a glorious sense of the absurd, and comes in equal parts T S Eliot, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and internet poetry.
Orange Was the Colour of Her Dress, Then Silk Blue
I ordered a date
and was given the future.
I don’t know why, but I’m imagining you
listening to Charles Mingus and smoking a Gauloises.
Everything changes with the dusk;
your dress, your hair, your lipstick, the way you move.
In deeper light, you become the evening,
just as you had been the day.
The song’s still playing as you undress,
turning into night. You click your fingers
and I come.
And now it’s November.
We’re huddled in coats, drinking whisky;
the fireworks are done. We have a clear sky
and a fire that neither of us will let die.
wide-shining is a collection of retellings of classical myths constructed with filigree precision. Like a Dali painting, each poem is a thing of beauty and yet each leaves you with the disconcerting sense that something you can’t quite pinpoint is ever so slightly wrong. What makes these poems so startlingly fresh is the precision of that ever so slight imbalance that lifts these poems from the classical to the absolutely contemporary.
Most mornings I can barely stand to look at this
something-like-happiness misting our periphery,
an epiphany spat out like pips from our tongues,
all our half-sung songs stringing along behind us,
and you, dark god, perfect weight above me, telling me
you love me and me drop dropping droplets through your hand,
my stolid body turning liquid as sand and running our fierce current
fast as silver-quick fish, my flick-flecking lips biting like teeth
as I shoal beneath you, held so tight I can barely breathe.
The shift of the seasons sinks us,
and at my brink I tip through
summer autumn winter spring
– all the fast-spin of cold and heat –
fells me as I fall back replete,
my heart beating pomegranate red,
jawing my mouthful of seeds.
Dirty White Everything is what happens when the poetic blank generation gets dressed up for a goth night out. The ultra-modern post-consumerist sweats of Brett Easton Ellis are delicately fused with the lace and velvet of fin de siecle Montmartre to deliver an unforgettable journey into a dark night of emptiness and exquisite pain.
Train drags itself back to Swindon,
back legs a burden, wounded animal.
Sitting backwards, wrenched
all fingernails and heels and
Fay Wray King Kong scream,
spitting lipstick saliva at authority.
I am dragged home back to
the floor is sticky
with discarded lollipop stick.
Job Centre Tuesdays,
orphaned shopping trolleys,
trees blooming Tesco plastic,
garish carpet and
knick-knacks that only ever remind you
of buying them.
I look out the window
see a dead seagull on the tracks,
look back and notice
a spelling mistake
on the safety card.
The man sat beside me
looks like my dad
sleeping with his mouth open.
Andy Harrod fuses media more perfectly than any other writer in the UK today. Blending art, photography, conceptual typography, poetry and prose with a musical sensibility that earworms its way inside you as you read, spending time with this collection is like watching in horror and amazement a skilled surgeon take the top off your head and lay every part of your mind out in front of you. It is impossible to read this book without coming away with a profoundly changed sense of yourself.
mammal is unlike anything else. Structurally it is, well, a mammal, a living creature constructed from limbs and a head and a torso of poems that are not quite separate but not quite parts of the same whole, bleeding into one another but separated by silk-thin membranes. Its content is surreal, transgressive, humorous, disturbing, rhythmic, complex, like watching the slow dissection of a living creature unfold before your eyes.
Now i am a jaybird.
i live among the copies
behind my life is violets
the violets copy in the brushgrass behind
the violents copulate & scrub behind the brush
we fuck & fall away like brushstroke
Cheryl & i
brushgrass like an oil painting
brushfire we fly away the waitress
the waitress with child
the waitress scatters us away with glasses
vermouth glasses & ghosts.
pink lady stains from a pure clear mouth
a strain mouth pretty pure
Our beaks are black.
dark our beaks at our backs
are our black tails hedged & angled
we wrestle with the angles
math across the door & lambsblood
we spill the oil & the bread
we get us wet
we fill us with what
fill us with what we want.
lord give us strength to copy
fill us with what we want
to copulate in love
to violate to blank
to copy in love
to xerox the deity
xerox the deity
she blisses at the slightest provocation
she’s blissing on the ground with others like us
like us, i am on the bough with others
others like me
nothing the others
as we utter with pleasure & ruse
repetitive herds of blackbirds rue
as we utter with dainty want
it’s us we want
we want us.
we want our daily want
us we utter with deity want
give us our daily bread
give us our olive oil
pus the violets
boil the violets
Imagine an earthquake destroyed Manchester and buried everyone and everything in it. And imagine in 700 years’ time an archaeologist uncovers a box and in it are unanswered love letters from someone no one knows to someone no one knows. That’s the closest I can get to describing the sense of voyeuristic heartbreak experienced as you read this beautifully, painfully intimate and needle-sharp collection.
Designs Charged Wearable
You don’t know it yet but one day I’ll seem very important to you.
One day I will mean nothing to you at all.
When you forget about me, your mind will
Congeal in cool, wax clumps
Like a switched-off lava lamp
You don’t know it yet but one day I will seem very familiar to you.
One day you won’t recognise me at all.
You’ll be like a man-trap in the un-walked woods
I’ll be the leaves that disguise your entrance
Nobody will ever fall in
And together we’ll be the world’s worst kept secret
One day I’ll make a lot more sense to you.
One day you’ll wonder how you ever understood me, but
You don’t know that yet.
If I ever get scared of the dark again
I’ll ask you to walk me upstairs
Shadow puppet plays at midnight
Might make me feel better.
I’d make a great stay-at-home-widow.
“The dark is so dumb” you will tell me
“And the dead are so ignorant”
You don’t know it yet but one day I’ll be your phone wallpaper background
One day you’ll delete my phone number.
You may one day find yourself taking my
Poetry books to the cancer shop
Along with two of my dresses
After tiring of explaining the logistics of
Any given Pixar film to me
One day I’ll get around to subscribing to your feel.
Would it be wrong or would it be hilarious
To make a snow-cock today?
I tried to work an allusion to GK Chesterton into this poem
But I soon lost interest,
You don’t know that yet.