Posts Tagged ‘the emma press’

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 Keen Bean, a tiny coffee shop in Oxford run by poet and entrepreneur Will Davies, has just started a series of free poetry nights to promote small and independent publishers. Will was kind enough to invite me to curate the first event and I leapt at the chance; I’ve been planning some events to coincide with the publication of The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse from September onwards and I was glad to be able to try some ideas out in front of a small audience.

The event, which took place on Saturday 3rd August, was a two-hander featuring Rachel and Richard, both friends of The Emma Press. Here are the introductions I wrote for the Keen Bean event page …

Richard O’Brien reading

Richard O’Brien is one of the most exciting and in-demand young poets around, popping up most recently at the BBC Proms. He won the Foyle Young Poets of the Year award in 2006 and 2007, and his debut pamphlet, your own devices, has almost completely sold out. He has a second pamphlet coming out in the autumn with Dead Ink, as well as one scheduled for January 2014 with The Emma Press.

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Rising star Rachel Piercey was President of the Oxford University Poetry Society and won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. She writes beautiful, lucid poetry and her illustrated pamphlet of love poems, The Flower and the Plough, was published by The Emma Press earlier this year. Last month she joined the editorial team on Cadaverine Magazine.

The Keen Bean pamphlets

With a line-up like that, I was pretty confident about how the poetry side of things was going to go, but I also felt pressure to hold up my end of proceedings. I made some hand-stitched pamphlets, so the poets wouldn’t have to shuffle bits of paper around on stage, and I planned an informal speech explaining the origins of the press. The Keen Bean had the intimate atmosphere sorted already, so all that was left was the running order. At the suggestion of Rachel, I organised her and Richard’s poems into alternating chunks of 2-5 poems, designed to work as individual segments but also to speak to the preceding and following mini-sets.

Rachel Piercey next to my banner

Richard and Rachel, as it turns out, have very complementary styles. Richard approaches his subjects with great intensity and depth while Rachel has a sparer touch, drawing out her often startling observations with deceptive simplicity. They share a love of form and a nice line in almost masochistic emotional honesty, and watching them alternate was like taking a too-deep breath in and then puffing it out too fast: both giddying and intense experiences, but in different ways. They were brilliant on Saturday, and I really hope we can put on this show again so more people can see it. The whole event went as well as I had hoped it would, not least due to the relaxed charm of the Keen Bean and Will Davies himself.

As mentioned above, there will be many more Emma Press events taking place from September onwards, so do sign up to the newsletter and keep an eye out for announcements on Facebook and Twitter. These will involve lots of the poets from the Mildly Erotic Anthology (available for pre-order here) and will be completely amazing, so start getting excited … now! If you wish you’d been at the Keen Bean event, you can check out the setlist below and even read some of the poems for yourself.

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The setlist:

Richard O’Brien Rachel Piercey

Scintillometry Songs about Louise Desire Path

At the arcade The corps Lilac tree Boys who take traffic cones Sea bed

More Sharks Than Ever Before Actaeon Munch’s Cock

On Rosebery Avenue Bath time Truth or dare

Ransom The Smell of Apples Orpheus

Know not me Ride Tonight, Matthew…

Magician’s Assistant Victorian Pornography

Family tree Symbiosis

If you were just kicking yourself for not having made it down to Lower Marsh Market during office hours on a Friday recently, then stop kicking yourself. I’ve been enjoying the market very much, so you now have another month in which to wander down and get your hands on some poetry books which you might otherwise have had to order online, or maybe never seen at all. These are beautiful, tactile objects, so I would recommend strongly against forgoing this experience – these books have to be seen and felt to be believed, and where better to browse than in a sunny street in South London under a gazebo presided over by ME?

NEW DATES:

Friday 12th July, 11am – 4pm Friday 19th July, 11am – 4pm Friday 26th July, 11am – 4pm Friday 2nd August, 11am – 4pm

As for the kinds of books I have to offer, there is of course The Emma Press’s The Flower and the Plough, resplendent in pink, and also a variety of books from the following independent poetry publishers:

Donut Press. Donut Press has been producing beautiful poetry pocketbooks since 2001, when book-selling colleagues Andy Ching (editorial) and Liam Relph (design) joined forces to create a small publishing dream team. They are based in Devon and are publishing Murder Bear, by W.N. Herbert in the autumn.

Sidekick Books. Sidekick Books was founded in 2009 by Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving, both award-winning poets. They publish anthologies with themes as diverse as Japanese monsters and British birds. They are currently working on Coin Opera II, a poetry anthology about video games, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Valley Press. Valley Press is a dynamic Yorkshire-based publishing house, founded by writer and poet Jamie McGarry in 2008. Valley Press recently published the poetry produced by official Glastonbury Festival poet-in-residence Kate Fox and will be publishing an anthology of the winning short stories from The Big Issue In The North New Writing Award.

When I first came across Aunt Elsie’s Secret Market, I thought it might be a cult. A sandwich board chalked with an owl and an arrow caught my eye on the way to meet a friend in Reading last year, and I weighed up the thrill of following a mysterious sign up into an office block against the embarrassment of falling for some textbook cult trickery. Would I have learned nothing from watching both the Children of Barabbas and Life Mechanics storylines on Neighbours in the 90s? Then my friend arrived and curiosity got the better of us, and boy am I glad it did. Aunt Elsie’s is AMAZING. It’s lovingly curated by Suzanne Stallard from local arts charity Jelly and full of gorgeous stalls selling everything from ceramics to vintage clothes to handmade fabric accessories to books by local presses. Ahem. . . I knew I wanted to be part of it and was  insanely excited when my application was accepted for the Spring Fling event in the marketplace at the beginning of May.

My canvas signs

I’d had one experience of having a stall at a fair before, but not on this scale. This time, I felt more confident about setting up my table and I was pretty pleased with my new signs, knocked up on some canvases from Hobbycraft the night before. I wanted to create some height on the stall without bringing my entire remaining stock of The Flower and the Plough, so I built a little wall from some of my favourite books, which I thought might come in handy if footfall was low during either of the days. 

The Flower and the Plough on sale

As it happened, I didn’t have time to pick up a book once. People kept stopping by to read the cards and leaf through the The Flower and the Plough, and often they wanted to chat about the poems or how I was finding being a new publisher. One lady read the Catullus postcard the whole way through and was astonished by how apt the line ‘Oh kiss me all the way to the tattoo parlour!’ was for her daughter, who’d married a man with a sleeve tattoo and subsequently had her own arm tattooed to match. Another lady read the Napoleon BonaCard and couldn’t believe that this ardent declaration had come from the same man she’d studied at school.

Selling as I do mostly online, it was lovely to be able to see people’s reactions to the book and my cards and brooches, including the new cards I’d made just in time for the Spring Fling and the brooches I sewed on the Friday, as a non-aggressive way to occupy myself while people were browsing my table. Since my last craft fair, I’ve refined my business plan to focus more on publishing rather than having a gift shop, but I enjoyed running the stall so much that I really would like to do it more often. To that end, I’m going to have a stall at the Lower Marsh Market (behind Waterloo) every Friday from 14th June for a month as a kind of pop-up shop, to see how it goes. I’m hoping to sell Emma Press products as well as books by other small poetry publishers and poetry-inspired affordable art by some very talented artists I know. It’s going to be AMAZING.