The Emma Press has been awarded a grant from Grants for the Arts, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, to conduct a 15-date national poetry tour for children.
The Myths and Monsters tour will include poetry readings, interactive storytelling and poetry-writing workshops aimed at children aged 9-12, featuring thirteen poets including Joseph Coelho (shortlisted for the 2015 CLPE Poetry Award), Kate Wakeling (writer-in-residence with Aurora Orchestra) and Andrew Wynn Owen (recent winner in the Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory Awards).
Emma Wright, founder of the Emma Press, said: ‘We are thrilled that the Arts Council is supporting this tour and helping us to share the joys of poetry with children across the country. We hope that our events inspire children with a sense of ownership of both language and stories, and that we contribute to their ongoing enjoyment of literature.
The Myths and Monsters tour begins this month at Tales on Moon Lane Festival, run by Tales on Moon Lane bookshop in partnership with Dulwich Picture Gallery, and will visit Penzance Literary Festival, Bags of Books children’s bookshop in Lewes, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Village Storytelling Centre in Glasgow, Loogabarooga Festival in Loughborough, Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham, and community libraries in Slough, Woodley, Wokingham and Birmingham.
Wright added: ‘We want to use the tour to draw attention to the importance of poetry for children of all ages: it’s a terrible shame how poetry seems to drift from being a ubiquitous delight for younger children, present in nearly all picture books, into something you just read at school. As Chrissie Gittins has pointed out in the Bookseller and the Guardian, this is reflected in the often paltry children’s poetry book sections in bookshops, with the implication being that there is no demand for it. We hope to challenge this perception and demonstrate during the tour both how vital poetry is for children and how much they enjoy it.’
The tour follows the publication of the Emma Press’s first children’s book, Falling Out of the Sky: Poems about Myths and Monsters, edited by Rachel Piercey (Newdigate Prize, 2008) and Emma Wright.
Full details of the tour can be found on the Tour page.
The Emma Press is publishing the first in a new series of themed children’s poetry anthologies on 18th June 2015.
Falling Out of the Sky: Poems about Myths and Monsters is a collection of new poems edited by Rachel Piercey (Newdigate Prize, 2008) and Emma Wright, with contributions from twenty poets including John Fuller (Forward Prize, 1996), Joseph Coelho (shortlisted for 2015 CLPE Poetry Award) and Abigail Parry (Eric Gregory Award, 2010).
The poems retell or reference well-known myths, legends and fairytales, with an emphasis on ancient Greek myths. The book is fully illustrated with black line drawings, and the stories in the poems are accompanied by notes from the editors, providing context and extra details.
Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘Roger McGough, who is judging the CLPE Poetry Award this year, recently criticised the lack of poetry books being published for children. I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of poetry for children and as a poetry publisher I am delighted that I am in a position to do something about this. We are throwing all our resources behind Falling Out of the Sky, to bring it to as wide an audience as possible. We hope that we will receive support from booksellers and the press.’
The Emma Press intends to publish one new children’s poetry anthology each year and will launch an open call for submissions of poems about ‘space and aliens’ in July, for an anthology scheduled for publication in September 2016.
Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘Publishing poetry for adults is difficult enough, and as Chrissie Gittins recently pointed out in the Guardian (Why is children’s poetry so invisible?, 28/4/15), poetry for children has even less of a public profile. We are aware of the challenges facing us, but we hope that the Emma Press Children’s Anthologies will gain momentum as we publish more in the series and become something like Horrible Histories for poetry.’
The Story Museum in Oxford is hosting a launch event for the book on 18th June, featuring a discussion about writing poetry for children by John Fuller, Rachel Piercey and Andrew Wynn Owen. There will also be a launch party at Love & Scandal coffeehouse in London on 23rd June, and a reading from Andrew Wynn Owen and Kate Wakeling at Waterstones Oxford on 27th June. These events will be followed by a nationwide tour of readings and workshops running July-November 2015.
Full details of the events can be found here: http://theemmapress.com/events/
Falling Out of the Sky: Poems about Myths and Monsters ISBN 978-1-910139-18-9 Publication date: 18th June 2015 Available for pre-order: £8.50 (paperback) / £4.25 (ebook)
The Emma Press has launched an open call for submissions to a sea-themed poetry anthology due for release in October 2016.
The independent publisher, based in Winnersh, is inviting poets to send in up to three poems by 21st June 2015. According to the publisher’s rules, all people submitting must be a member of the Emma Press Club, whereby they must either have bought a book/ebook/set of postcards from the publisher’s website in 2015 or already have been accepted into an Emma Press publication.
The brief for submissions states: ‘We want poetry to bear witness to the ocean’s harvest and wreckage, and writers to record the sea that leaks into their lives. […] We want to read verse that follows fishing trawlers and perilous crossings, charts the Middle Passage and the Bermuda Triangle, and to hear how coastlines differ for islanders and the land-locked, migrants and the lost-at-sea.’
The Emma Press Anthology of the Sea is the latest in the publisher’s series of themed and illustrated poetry anthologies. Themes have so far included parenthood, homesickness and women’s friendships, with The Emma Press Anthology of Dance launching at the Rambert Dance Company HQ in Waterloo on Thursday 14th May from 7.30pm.
The anthology will be edited by Eve Lacey, who previously edited Furies (For Books’ Sake, 2014), an anthology of contemporary women’s poetry.
Eve Lacey said: ‘The Emma Press is expert in anthologising new writing under broad themes, and the perfect publisher to do justice to the sea’s potential for poetry. There is almost infinite scope for all manner of sea-inspired poems in this anthology and I can’t wait to read the submissions. I am especially looking forward to poetry that pushes the boundaries of nature writing and opens our eyes to new ways of seeing the sea.’
Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘We were incredibly impressed by Eve’s work on Furies, so we were delighted when she approached us with her idea for the anthology. What with Amy Key and Best Friends Forever, Sarah Hesketh and The Emma Press Anthology of Age and now Eve, we have been very lucky in finding guest editors who understand our aims as a press and embrace all of our values.’
The Emma Press is an independent publisher dedicated to producing beautiful, thought-provoking books. It was founded in 2012 in Winnersh, UK, by Emma Wright, formerly of Orion Publishing Group. In 2014, the Emma Press was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award for poetry pamphlet publishers. In 2015, Oils (Emma Press, 2014), by Stephen Sexton, was selected as the PBS Winter Pamphlet Choice.
The Emma Press’s publishing programme features themed poetry anthologies and single-author poetry and prose pamphlets, with an ongoing engagement with the works of the Roman poet Ovid.
For more information, please contact Emma Wright at queries [at] theemmapress [dot] com
The Emma Press is delighted to announce the six poets whose pamphlets have been chosen for publication in 2015/16: Deborah Alma, Kathy Pimlott, Camille Ralphs, Ben Rogers, James Trevelyan and Alison Winch.
The six poets’ pamphlet proposals were selected by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright from over 130 submissions sent in during the publisher’s open call last summer. Four of the pamphlets are standard-length pamphlets and two – by Camille Ralphs and James Trevelyan – will join the Emma Press Picks, a series of themed, illustrated pamphlets.
Series editor Rachel Piercey says: ‘Each of these pamphlets is absorbing and electrifying in equal measure. Individually and taken together, they blaze with the excitement of language: these are poems which sweep you up and stride through space, time and the exquisite complexities of human experience.’
The Emma Press published 10 poetry pamphlets in 2014 and was shortlisted for the publisher’s award in the 2014 Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets, run by the Wordsworth Trust and the British Library in association with the Times Literary Supplement. Their pamphlet Oils, by Belfast poet Stephen Sexton, was selected by judges Luke Kennard and Denise Saul as the PBS 2014 Winter Pamphlet Choice.
Publisher Emma Wright says: ‘We’re very pleased with the wide range of voices and styles in the pamphlets we’ve chosen. Judging by all the submissions, the Emma Press is developing a reputation as a publisher which is willing to take risks, and I hope our six new pamphlet poets will strengthen this.’
The new pamphlets will be published from October 2015 to June 2016. The Emma Press will launch a new open call for pamphlet submissions in the summer.
More information about the poets
Deborah Alma was born in North London and lives in Powys. She works with people with dementia and at the end of their lives using poetry, teaches creative writing and is the Emergency Poet in her 1970s ambulance.
Kathy Pimlott was born and raised in Nottingham but has lived in Covent Garden for nearly forty years, where she works on community-led public realm projects. Her poems have been published widely, including in Magma, The North, South Bank Poetry and Mslexia.
Camille Ralphs started in Stoke, and has studied in Lancaster, Cambridge and soon Oxford. She is a senior poetry editor at The Missing Slate and was 2014’s Cambridge editor-in-chief of The Mays Anthology.
Photo © Matthew Fleming
Ben Rogers lives and works in London. His poetry has been published in magazines including Magma, Long Poem Magazine and Popshot, and he has also written a script for a puppet show and a radio sketch show that was broadcast on BBC London.
James Trevelyan grew up in the Midlands and now lives in London. His poems have been published in print and online magazines, and anthologised by the Emma Press. He is Poetry Reviews Editor for the Cadaverine and works as an Arts Administrator.
Alison Winch was born in Leeds and lives in London. Her book Girlfriends and Postfeminist Sisterhood (Palgrave 2014) looks at female friendship in the media, and she also writes on feminism and Buddhism. She is poetry editor for Soundings Journal.
Photo © Graeme Vaughan
The Emma Press has announced the poets who will feature in their forthcoming anthology of urgent new political poems, Campaign in Poetry, publishing on 2nd April 2015.
The line-up includes several rising stars of the UK poetry scene: Luke Kennard, who was recently named as a Poetry Book Society Next Generation Poet; Clare Pollard, whose translation of Ovid’s Heroides was published by Bloodaxe in 2013 and is currently touring the UK; and Kayo Chingonyi, who won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2013. The book also features Stephanie Arsoska, Elizabeth Barrett, Ellie Danak, Dai George, Jan Heritage, Holly Hopkins, Anna Kisby, Rachel Long, Rosie Miles, Mona Arshi, Richard O’Brien, Ewan Stevenson, Jon Stone, James Trevelyan and Kate Wise.
Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘I think there are a few key assumptions which keep people from voting: that politicians don’t understand the concerns of the average voter, that all the political parties have become the same, and that voting makes no difference. These beliefs have some grounding in fact, but taken together they form a manifesto for apathy which is frankly terrifying.’
‘I believe in democracy and I believe in the ability of poets to find the blazing emotional core within complex, equivocal subjects, so this anthology is a reaction against apathy. This isn’t a collection of poems to tell you what to think or how to vote; this is a collection to fire people up and encourage them to engage with politics.’
Campaign in Poetry is edited by Rachel Piercey (Newdigate Prize, 2008) and Emma Wright, who collected the poems through a mixture of commissions and an open call for submissions in August-September 2014. The anthology is a collection of poems about voter apathy, social inequality and disillusionment with politicians, inspired by current affairs and written in anticipation of the UK General Election.
The Emma Press is holding a book launch for Campaign in Poetry during London Book and Screen Week, at the Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon on Wednesday 15th April. A further launch will take place at Word Power Books in Edinburgh on Thursday 30th April. Further details of the launch parties can be found on the Events page.
Full details of poets involved in the book can be found here.
In a move set to rattle the producers of Fifty Shades of Grey, due for cinematic release on 13th February, the Emma Press has announced a new call for ‘mildly erotic’ poems.
The publisher is planning an expanded second edition of The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse (2013), featuring more poems about ‘love, sex and romance, focusing particularly on the headspace of eroticism’.
Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘I appreciate that our announcement will overshadow the release of the film, but I’m sure everyone will still be able to get just as excited about Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as they do about the chance to send us erotic poems. My apologies to Sam Taylor-Johnson and Vintage Books nonetheless.’
Poets are invited to submit up to two poems by 15th March 2015. Mildly Erotic Verse: Darker (kidding!) is publishing in February 2016 and will be edited by Rachel Piercey (Newdigate Prize, 2008) and Emma Wright, founder of the Emma Press.
The Emma Press first published The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse in September 2013. It was accompanied by the Arts Council-supported Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour and the publisher has since produced one-off mildly erotic poetry events at Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Freud Museum and at the opening weekend of the Southbank Centre’s inaugural Festival of Love.
Publisher Emma Wright says: ‘When we first put out a call for mildly erotic poetry in 2013, we were a very new press but we had some great submissions even then and we chose 23 poems which I still really love. It’s now been a year and a half since we published The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse and people are still enthusing about it, so we thought we would throw it open to more poets who have discovered the Emma Press since then. The whole point of the original anthology was to showcase and celebrate the diversity of human erotic experiences, so I’d love to double the number of poems and experiences depicted in Mildly Erotic Verse: 2nd Edition.‘
‘We’ve continued to work closely with several of the poets who first came to us through our call for erotic poems, and I don’t think this is a coincidence: if I connect with someone’s erotic vision, I’m likely to connect with their literary voice too.’
The Emma Press is presenting further mildly erotic verse at the Purbeck Literary Festival on Saturday 21st February, in a reading at the Worth Matravers Tearoom featuring Jo Brandon, Richard O’Brien and Rachel Piercey (ticket information here).
Further details of the call for submissions can be found on the Submissions page.
The Emma Press has launched a call for submissions of poems about ‘urban myths and legends’, for a new anthology inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Poets are encouraged to send in poems which tell new stories and include some kind of transformation, as a nod to the original text. The anthology will be edited by Rachel Piercey (Newdigate Prize 2008) and publisher Emma Wright, and is due to be published in November 2015.
Urban Myths and Legends will be the third in the ‘Emma Press Ovid’, a series of anthologies loosely themed around works by the Roman poet Ovid. The first was A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction, inspired by the Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris and published in January 2014, and the second was Homesickness and Exile, inspired by the Tristia and published in September 2014.
Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘The Metamorphoses is often considered to be Ovid’s masterpiece, so we’re expecting a big response to this call. The requirements are quite exacting, but I think poets like a challenge and will hopefully come up with some brilliant stories.’
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 31st December at 00.00 GMT and everyone must be a member of the Emma Press Club, which involves buying a book or ebook or set of postcards from the publisher’s website. Full details of the submissions guidelines can be found on the Submissions page.
The Emma Press is currently also open for prose pamphlet submissions (deadline 25th January 2015).
The Emma Press has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets. The independent publisher, based in Winnersh and founded by Emma Wright with editor Rachel Piercey, has been shortlisted for the £5000 Publishers Award alongside Flipped Eye, Rack Press, Smith/Doorstop Press and Shearsman Books.
The Michael Marks Awards are run by the Wordsworth Trust and the British Library, with the support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust. There are two awards: the Michael Marks Poetry Award, for ‘an outstanding work of poetry published in pamphlet form’, and the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award, for ‘an outstanding UK publisher in pamphlet form, based on their publishing programme between July 2013 and the end of June 2014’.
The Emma Press published its first pamphlet, The Flower and the Plough, in January 2013 and will have published ten more by the end of 2014. They recently launched a pair of pamphlets, Oils by Belfast poet Stephen Sexton and Rivers Wanted by Rachel Piercey, with events in London, Oxford and Belfast.
The judges of the 2014 Awards were Tanya Kirk, Lead Curator of Printed Literary Sources at the British Library, Zaffar Kunial, current Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust, and Andrew McCulloch, a poetry reviewer for the TLS.
The judges said: ‘A newcomer to the pamphlet world, the Emma Press was founded in 2012, with an aim to create poetry books that are visually stimulating with illustration and bespoke design. […] The judges were impressed by the confidence of this newly established press.’
Emma Wright said: ‘Rachel and I are beyond excited about being shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards. Poetry pamphlets are quite an overlooked artform, by most literary awards as well as booksellers, but we believe that they are the key to finding new audiences for poetry. We are passionate about our books, and we are thrilled that the judges picked us to be on the shortlist.’
The results will be announced at a special dinner for the shortlisted poets and publishers on 25th November at the British Library.
He’s done it again! Mere months after being awarded the prestigious Newdigate Prize, Andrew Wynn Owen has now also won the Lord Alfred Douglas Memorial Prize for ‘the best sonnet or other poem written in English and in strict rhyming metre.’
The prize, open to students at Oxford University, required entrants to submit their poems anonymously, inscribing each page with a motto which could be matched up with their names and mottos in a separate envelope. Andrew’s winning entry was a section from his detective epic poem ‘The Adventures of Elmó Elmínus’. You can read it in full here and here’s a little extract:
‘Elmínus, in those days, was oft invited Along to parties thrown by courtly friends. He was the perfect guest – his name excited Those lively spirits that good speech attends, Which is the best of sprezzaturan ends. He grinned, he sang, he sipped a vodka tonic, His jokes were frequent and his humour chronic.’
In July, Andrew was awarded the Newdigate Prize for his poem ‘The Centrifuge’ and joined such noble alums as Oscar Wilde, Andrew Motion and one Rachel Piercey.
Publisher Emma Wright says: ‘The Emma Press published Andrew’s debut pamphlet, Raspberries for the Ferry, in March and we are incredibly proud and unsurprised that he is winning all these awards. He’s obviously brilliant and amazing, and I’m pleased that other people are recognising this.’
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Andrew is reading at the Southbank Centre on 3rd December as part of the Special Edition event celebrating Emma Press pamphlet poets. Entry is free but booking is essential. More details here.