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The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 12

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Yen-Yen Lu

To get us into the festive spirit here at Inpress we've been looking back at some of our favourite books from 2015. It's...

Our favourite from December and a preview of what January has to offer!

Rebecca's Choice: The Golden Rule by Ernest Noyes Brookings
 

http://inpressbooks.co.uk/products/the-golden-rule

During the last seven years of his life Ernest Noyes Brookings wrote nearly four hundred poems on a wide variety of subjects arranged with his gentle mixture of faith and logic.

The Golden Rule now presents his best work in a single volume. With a biographical memoir by David Greenberger (editor of The Duplex Planet, and also the man who first encouraged Brookings to write), photographs and facsimiles of handwritten poems, this book commemorates a truly distinctive and wonderfully enjoyable writer.

Buy it here.

 

  

 
 
Yen-Yen's Choice: Forgive the Language by Katy Evans-Bush
 
http://inpressbooks.co.uk/products/forgive-the-language

Typewriters, plagiarism and the poetic line are just three of the subjects under the spotlight in this book of essays by much-loved literary blogger Katy Evans-Bush.

Combining the intellectual rigour of the literary critic with the dynamism of a seasoned traveller in the blogosphere, these essays place poetry at the heart of contemporary culture, meeting at the borders it shares with music, politics and sculpture.

Buy it here.

  
 
 

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The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 6

Posted on December 08, 2015 by Yen-Yen Lu

To get us into the festival spirit here at Inpress we've been looking back at some of our favourite books from 2015. It's...

Marking the halfway point in our series of favourites from 2015, here’s June!

Rebecca's Choice: Blood Work by Matthew Siegel
 

 

A debut poetry collection from Matthew Siegel centers on containment: the containment of blood in our bodies, our bodies as containers, and the ways in which we contain ourselves.

"The deceptive directness of Matthew Siegel’s debut is remarkable; in his capable hands, illness reveals how barely contained any human being is, and how we reach, alone and together, for whatever will hold us." - Mark Doty

Buy it here.

 
 
 
 
 
Yen-Yen's Choice: The Lost Art of Sinking by Naomi Booth
 
 

This is the story of Esther, who lives in the Pennines with her father. Esther is obsessed with experimenting with different ways to pass out: from snorting Daz powder at school to attempted auto-asphyxiation in a serviced apartment in north London. But what happens when you take something too far? And what has Esther’s mother, a beautiful dancer wasting away in her bedroom, to do with it all?

Buy it here.

  
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Read All About It: 'Forgive the Language' by Katy Evans-Bush

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Yen-Yen Lu

Forgive the Language author is New York-born Katy Evans-Bush, poet and prolific literary blogger. Her blog, Baroque in Hackney, a pun on the American pronunciation of ‘baroque’, is an amalgamation of poems, essays, reviews, political writing, and commentaries on her life in London, where she has lived since she was nineteen. It was shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize for political writing. Her essays and reviews have been published widely, including in Mslexia, where she worked as a digital life columnist.

Penned in the Margins will be bringing together this first full collection of essays from Evans-Bush, which will feature reviews and re-evaluations of writers and poets, including Ted Hughes, Wendy Cope, and forgotten war poet Eloise Robinson, alongside some more practical advice for writers.

There is a great focus on language, as the title suggests, and a playful and poetic use of language carries throughout Evans-Bush’s writing. There is also a sense of conversation to her words; rather than talking at the reader, there is a personal tone which seems to bring the reader closer to her writing.

What are your hopes for this collection?

Ha! Good question. I’m not sure I really even know yet. I mainly hope people will read it. For me the whole book is about joy, and language, and about the lore of making. It’s about reading. These are things that I think are important far beyond the labels and credentials they get confused with. I hope the appeals to people who don’t write, who want to write, who love to read, who miss something but aren’t sure what it is, who like puns…

Why and how did you start blogging?

I started Baroque in Hackney in 2006. I’d just been made redundant; the title is a pun on ‘broke’, playing on my taste for a rich cultural life and my lack of money. A friend had told me, only half-joking, that if I was ‘trying to get published as a poet’ I HAD to have a blog. The name more or less came instantly, and I then sat with a glass of white wine outside a local café and dealt with the total shock of the blank white screen. It was like buying a new notebook, only everyone in the world could potentially see your tentative scribbles.

I realised quickly that I knew more than I thought I did about what I wanted to write. It was going to be not just about poetry, but about anything that might appeal to people who liked poetry: i.e. people like me. So this meant books, movies, the arts, politics and culture, anecdotes, pictures, rants, movie reviews, and funny things that happened to me on the way to work.

So in a sense I just went on my nerve. I almost deliberately didn’t think about it too much, especially once I understood that I could trust my instinct. It has been a great education in many ways.

What do you find enjoyable about blogging and what are the challenges?

The two best things about the blog have been the people – I’ve grown readers and made friends – and the way it acted as a launch pad for the rest of my writing. I learned a lot about my own style. It was really exciting, creating the voice and growing it into something flexible and capacious.

I used to have a game I played on the blog, like a parlour game: which writers of the past would have had blogs, and which wouldn’t? I think a surprising number of them would have. It’s not a new thing, the desire to write off-the-cuff, in the moment. Or anonymously, which of course many bloggers do. I’ve always loved reading diaries and letters.

The big challenges were also intrinsic to the form: the limitations of the voice, the responsibility to the form, the post you realise you shouldn’t have written, the way it develops its own needs and momentum and becomes like a sort of job. But I have a theory that the thing that’s bad about something is often what was great in the first place. A blog is something you really have to do for love or not at all. I love it – though Facebook and Twitter changed blogging – and that’s another conversation.

This book, Forgive the Language, grew out of the blog in one way, but it also grew out of my more serious reviewing and essay-writing. A few of the essays here do come from Baroque; it was another education, working out which of my so-called ‘best’ blog posts would stand up between paper covers. A blog post is meant to be read quickly and maybe never again; an essay is more considered. Even the best blog posts were often too ephemeral – in their nature, content, style. Dashing off whatever I thought might be amusing in the moment was a bit like how we used to dash off letters to friends in the old days. I hardly ever spent more than an hour on a post. With Facebook that all changed, and the blog posts less frequent, and more like essays…

You also write poetry. How does your process for writing poetry differ from writing essays (and generally for your blog)?

I wrote poetry first. Little children love poetry if you let them, and devices like rhyme, alliteration, lists and repetition are how we all learned language. I’ve written poems as long as I’ve been able to write – obviously, since long before blogging existed. It’s about language for me, and the play of light, if you will, on an idea or a feeling or something so inchoate you can only make it flesh in the form of a poem. It’s like gathering smoke together and giving it embodiment in the form of words. A poem is like a little miracle; it’s a phenomenon that can’t be understood or paraphrased. It occurs. And it might take a long time at your desk to bring it out, to make it occur.

As a child I also read humorous essays, memoirs, all sorts of things. When I was 15 we read Charles Lamb’s ‘A Dissertation Upon a Roast pig’ in school and I nearly made myself sick laughing. By then I understood that an essay is just a discussion of some subject, and that you could be both serious and amusing at the same time. I never thought an ‘essay’ was only some boring thing you had to write for school. And I was beginning to read serious literary criticism. Reading books about books! What could be better? So poetry and essays feel equally natural to me. I also used to write stories…

Forgive the Language will be published by Penned in the Margins and is available to order on our website now. Katy Evans-Bush can also be found on her blog, Baroque in Hackney.

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Emma Hammond on Poetry and The Story of No

Posted on October 16, 2015 by Yen-Yen Lu

Emma Hammond, author of The Story of No from Penned in the Margins, recently wrote a piece on the poetry collection for the Penned in the Margins blog. Read on and keep your eyes peeled for more from our authors and publishers! 

It was my intention to write a book that got away from the confessional, to be one of those poets that does interesting work around data and process. In the initial meeting with Tom (Chivers) I spoke about wanting to transcend my kookiness- whatever that means. Why should people care about all that? Personality driven art is hard to get right I think. There will always be someone hating it, which is good too.

When I watch other poets, or read their work it is always the bits that are sort of personal and hurty that appeal to me the most. I read this poem by Huw Lawrence recently calledBypassed and these lines sum up what I mean:

You get there through St. Clairs
where my father gives me crisps
and leaves me standing too long
outside the pub

I want to know the secret things, but I know a lot of people don’t. My attempts at using language in a new way went astray when my Mum died while I was writing the book. But really, the book is not all about that. I think it is about modern life in general, and how it bullies you. Mum was bullied her whole life by convention, status and expectation.

In some ways this makes it a political book. Being a woman, being a person. Trying to do the things that you’re supposed to do, on a larger level than just getting married and having kids- though that is in there too. Is it even possible to be ‘bohemian’ anymore? I don’t have a mortgage or a ‘real job’ and I am a single mum but I still have to fight different types of conformity- having an identity on the internet for instance, the constructs put forward by the media, being a ‘poet’. Even by writing this I am policing myself, trying to call myself or my work something.

It would be nice to think you can get away from these things. By being honest I think you can get some of the way there. In The Story of No, the poem ‘End’ for example is a sort of anti-status- the opposite of what I would post about myself on Facebook. Depression, or however you think of it, the reality of the everyday, my failures.

Perhaps it is unwise to think you can attain a state of Zen through exploration of difficult subjects, using something as useless and slippery as language, but I still think the best way to silence something is to expose it for what it is. There are many different ways of doing this with poetry which is why I like it so much. And although I set out to write a different type of book, I am glad this one got written. I am also the boy eating crisps outside that pub, and I would like Huw Lawrence to know it. Love and common experience are the things that will save us- they exist outside any kind of regulated space.

Emma Hammond's The Story of No is available to order on our website.

 

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The Ryan Van Winkle Virtual Book Tour

Posted on May 20, 2015 by Rebecca Robinson

When Inpress were asked to host a leg of Ryan Van Winkle's virtual book tour we were thrilled (because we love attention), and then confused (because what's a virtual book tour), and then thrilled again (because still, attention, and it turns out it's a really cool idea.) All we had to do to be part of this monumental project was to ask him some questions about his brilliant new book, The Good Dark, so we gladly accepted. It's ace, but there must have been a dark cloud hanging over the office that day because they're not particularly cheery questions... he said they were fun to answer though, and for that we are eternally grateful. Anyway, here's what we talked about...

 

I’ll get the nepotistic questions out of the way first! Inpress is a Sales & Marketing organisation specialising in the work of independent publishers, how important do you think being published by Penned in the Margins has been to how The Good Dark  has turned out?

Working with Tom Chivers, the editor and publisher of Penned, certainly changed the book and made it better than the original manuscript I sent him. The most obvious way Tom affected the book was in getting me to change the title I has submitted the manuscript with.  The original name for this collection was Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel which I was very loyal to.

I was resistant to changing the title to The Good Dark partly because it sounded too portentous, maybe too pretentious. But in changing the title, I had the opportunity to re-consider many of the poems with new eyes. The book didn’t need to be about us or our or even about how things used to be. It could be a lot broader, could take stock, could look forward a little. That realisation, affected what I chose to include and what I chose to leave out of the collection, and those decisions made the book what it is. I’m pleased with that and  think Tom made an astute call and did it patiently. I think he saw something in the book that I hadn’t quite been able to focus on. It was good editing there and throughout the collection, so being with Penned was seriously important in making The Good Dark what it is.

You’re from New Haven, Connecticut. Is that as American as it sounds?

Yes. And I can get more American. I grew up in Stony Creek, Connecticut. A small shoreline community on Long Island sound. The kind of place you set The Babysitter’s Club.

This is your second collection, what will your tenth collection be about?

Aliens and hoverboards. It might take a while.

What’s your least favourite poem in the book?

Ouch, hard question. I honestly don’t think I have one (yet). Tom & I were pretty good about cutting anything we were unsure about and were doing so, shaping the collection, right to the end.

Interestingly, there are poems I wish could have been included in this book. For one reason or another a lot of poems I personally like didn’t get into the collection. For instance, I’ll always wonder if I should have included poems from the Red Room performance like The Ocean I Call Mine or You Wanted to See the Lighthouse and people seem to like this one poem called Castle all of which were once included in the typescript but got removed because they didn’t sit right. Basically, I’ve got a collection of b-sides buried on my hard drive.

The Guardian described your Edinburgh Fringe show as “intimate and haunting.” Are you particularly intimate and haunting in your day to day life?

Well, if the Guardian says it…

 

You can buy The Good Dark here and you can catch Ryan on tour at any one of these events:

- 1 June, London, Waterstones Piccadilly, 7pm

w/ Naomi Booth

- 2 June, Cardiff, 7pm

Waterloo Tea at the Wyndham Arcade

w/ Nia Davies & special surprise guests!!!

- 3 June, Glasgow, Tell it slant, 7pm

w/ Matthew Siegel

- 4 June, Edinburgh, Blackwell Bookshop Edinburgh, South Bridge, 6.30pm

w/ Matthew Siegel

FREE After party at The Forest from 8pm -- featuring musical guests Supermoon & Faith Eliott and more ...

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