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Alice Mullen to Join Inpress as Poetry Book Society Manager

Posted on November 29, 2016 by Rebecca Robinson | 0 comments

Inpress and The Poetry Book Society are delighted to announce the appointment of Alice Mullen to the role of Poetry Book Society Manager.  

Alice joins the Poetry Book Society after six years at the poetry publisher Carcanet Press and PN Review, where she is the Marketing and Events Manager.  

Sophie O'Neill, Managing Director of Inpress and The Poetry Book Society, says, "I am absolutely delighted to be welcoming Alice to the role of PBS Manager.  She comes to us with a wealth of poetry publishing and subscription marketing experience, and was the stand-out candidate for this job.  The Poetry Book Society is in extremely safe hands and I'm really looking forward to working with Alice to grow the business and broaden and diversify our reach”

Mullen says, “It will be an absolute honour to manage the Poetry Book Society in this exciting new chapter of its existence and carry on the great work of my predecessors. I look forward to working with Inpress to promote the PBS and ‘propagate the art of poetry’ further afield to ensure that the legacy of TS Eliot prospers in its new home in Newcastle.”

Alice will join the company on 12th December and will take on the day to day running of the Poetry Book Society business.

The new PBS website at www.poetrybooks.co.uk, which has been under development since Inpress took over the PBS in June, is due to go live this week.  More information will be available as soon as it is live. 

The Poetry Book Society was founded in 1953 by T S Eliot and friends to “propagate the art of poetry”.  Working as a book club, its members are a group of committed poetry readers who are offered a selection of the best new poetry collections of the quarter, chosen by poet selectors. Inpress took over the running of the PBS in June 2016. 

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Little Island Press in The Bookseller

Posted on November 04, 2016 by Rebecca Robinson | 0 comments

Little Island Press are asserting themselves as a new publishing force to be reckoned with tonight at a sold out launch event at the London Review Bookshop. 

To mark the occasion founder editor Andrew Latimer spoke to The Bookseller this week about all things aesthetic, and what drives him to publishing perfection.

Speaking to Danny Arter in an interview that encompasses the search for the perfect cover fabric, typography and Brexit, he said, "The fact is that some people don't read poetry and are, in fact, actively uninterested in it, irrespective of price. But there are a modest, and relatively stable number of readers who are."

"Why, then, should we insist on an often unfeasibly low price point at the expense of the quality of the product, merely in order to keep alive the pipe-dream of poetry's popularity? We risk devaluing the whole medium. Out decision to turn the poetry collection into a tactile, collectable hardback is merely one means of addressing the awkward fit of the poetry book in the contemporary market. By deliberately investing in production values, we hope to restore something of the medium's intrinsic value."

The whole article isn't online yet but you can squint at it above and you can find out more about the Little Island Press philosophy, and information on upcoming titles, on their website

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Congratulations to Oneworld!

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Sophie O'Neill | 0 comments

Heartfelt congratulations to Oneworld for running off with the Booker Prize for the second year running with Paul Beatty's The Sellout - an amazing achievement!  It makes me so proud to be working within the independent publishing sphere and supporting passionate publishing. Even if Inpress don't have the pleasure of working with Oneworld directly, we and many other independent publishers, will be celebrating their well deserved good fortune, and will revel in the David and Goliath imagery of winning against the might of large conglomerate publishing houses.

We at Inpress work with so many talented and dedicated independent publishers and this just backs up the confidence I have that, should they want it, their Booker time will come too.  

Not that we haven't had our own Booker success stories with the following shortlisted titles, The Last Hundred Days - Patrick McGuinness from Welsh publisher, Seren.  The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng from new recruit to Inpress, Myrmidon.  (Tan Twan Eng also had his previous title on the longlist The Gift of Rain). 

We also like to claim publisher of Tilted Axis and acclaimed translator Deborah Smith's winning of The International Booker with her translation of Han Kang's The Vegetarian as our own too.  Feel proud of those you work with!

While feeling so upbeat, I think it's time we added a prize-winners section to our categories - Inpress publishers and their authors are constantly winning awards and we will make sure we celebrate that.

 

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The Background To Shtum: The Stutter Poems David Bateman

Posted on October 22, 2016 by Rebecca Robinson | 0 comments

Stuttering And Writing 

I stuttered since soon after starting school.  It began as a simple repeat-stutter, where you’re saying the same syllable over and over, but by the time I was in my teens it had developed all the extras that stutters do.  So it became a block-stutter too, where you just get completely stuck, unable to say anything for a while except for the odd ‘Uh’ noise, and where you’re also grimacing badly as you try to force the word out.  Most children who stutter leave it behind at some point in their later childhood or teenage years; but as happens sometimes, mine just carried on with me.

     I started writing poetry properly when I was 16.  Cycling home from my Saturday job as a hospital cleaner, I’d often stop off at the bookshop for a browse.  This particular sunny June weekend, I noticed the names Henri, McGough and Patten on the spine of a book, and I recognized them as the names of the three poets on Grimms, a live album of music, poetry and comedy I’d heard at my friend Rob’s.  The poets were funny and serious at the same time; and, reading the book that evening, one of the poems reminded me of a dream I’d had, that I’d already written down as diary.  I thought maybe I could make a poem out of that, and I tried it.  Next day, at risk of being thought airy-fairy, I showed the poem to a couple of friends; and I think I was always going to be a writer from then on.  Admittedly I stuttered so badly I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to talk properly; but at least I could write.

 

Writing Shtum

Jump forward a few years.  The poems in Shtum were written over a long spread of time: mostly 2009 to 2015, but the earliest ones are from 1980.  I’m half-surprised that I hadn’t thought of writing a collection about stuttering earlier, and that it took someone else’s project to kick me into action.

     It was in May 2009 that I was contacted by Gary Hastie via my author’s page at the Write Out Loud website, asking if I’d take part in a BBC Radio Merseyside documentary about stuttering that he was making.  At that stage, he was particularly interested in stutterers who perform in public; and the fact that the focus would be on my poetry and performing prompted me to look back at what poetry I’d written to do with stuttering itself.

     I felt that I hadn’t really written much about stuttering apart from a couple of pieces, but what I discovered was that I’d actually written quite a lot – except that most of it was in the form of diary, and the rest was mostly rough-drafted half-ideas for poems that had never really been finished.

     The main early stutter-poem I had finished, ‘Spoken Poem By Stuttering Poet’, had been written pretty much in isolation, soon after I’d started individual speech therapy, though before going to group therapy.  It was a long piece that didn’t really work as a whole; but when I came back to it all these years later, selecting and reworking parts of it, it directly spawned nine of the poems that went into Shtum.  Beyond just that, though, looking at other fragments and at past diary from a distance, there was a sense of suddenly knowing what to do with them as poetry in a way that I sometimes hadn’t known at all at the time, back when its intimidating subject matter had been staring me so closely in the face.  Anyway, the reworking of those pieces now mostly came easier, and that reworking in turn led to an outpouring of new poetry – from the inward-looking free verse of ‘The Stutter The Symbol’ to the much lighter (but I’d say just as truthful) approach of rhyming poems like ‘It’s Hard To Be Suave With A Stutter’.

     Why hadn’t I written more about stuttering earlier?  I think partly it was precisely that closeness, that not always knowing how to pitch a piece so that it will work for other people.  And part of this is that stuttering was such an angst-laden thing; and that as a poet something you learn – painfully sometimes – is that it’s very easy to give other people an overdose of your personal angst if you’re not careful.

     But I think there’s something else as well, connected but not the same, which is this.  As someone who stutters, you want to see your stutter as less damaging or significant than it is.  For a lot of the time you’ll be implicitly telling yourself that your stutter doesn’t really affect you a lot, that it’s not a big or important part of your life.  It’s only at other times it’s crystal clear to you that the stutter has profoundly affected pretty much everything in your life, and has made a challenge of not just classrooms and job interviews, but pretty much every other social situation too, big and small.  When even the smallest interaction can suddenly become fraught with difficulty, no wonder so many of the poems mention catching the bus or buying a train ticket.

You can buy Shtum on our website here.

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