So the number of people who regularly buy poetry books is decreasing. On the other hand, the population of the earth is on the up. The way I see it, there’s everything to play for. With that in mind, I will be running a poetry stall at Lower Marsh Market from Friday 14th June, selling The Flower and the Plough and a variety of Emma Press cards and postcards. I am also delighted to be selling books from a few other independent poetry publishers whose work I admire. These are:
Donut Press, a Devon-based independent press run by Andy Ching and Liam Relph
Sidekick Books, a poetry press run by Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving in London
Valley Press, a literary publisher based in Scarborough and run by Jamie McGarry
I’ll be presenting the poetry books as ‘the perfect gift,’ both for other people and as a personal treat to oneself on a Friday afternoon. They are all beautifully-designed and presented, and at £5 – 10 for potential mind-blowing and bliss-inducing language, cheap at the price.
I want to challenge the idea that poetry is inaccessible or ‘difficult,’ and that you need a literature degree to understand and appreciate it. Some poetry is difficult and inaccessible, but it’s difficult and inaccessible to everyone. At its best, poetry can be comforting, challenging and life-enhancing, sometimes all at once, and its place should be in everyday life, not just in English lessons and the rare moments when one has psyched oneself up to really concentrate.
I hope the gift-shop context will help with this, and to bring the idea home I’ve challenged some artists I know to produce affordable (£10) art squares inspired by a selection of poems and lines I picked out. Sometimes a way into poetry can be through a line or phrase that speaks to you, so I hope by isolating some of these and representing them in prints or sketches or stitches that people will be encouraged to look up the full source poems.
I can’t wait to have all the books and art squares laid out in front of me, and I’ll be updating my Facebook and Twitter pages with news from the market and my responses to the books from other publishers. If you’re in London on any of the dates, do come by and say hello. Lower Marsh is just behind Waterloo, so it’s very accessible, and you can grab a drink at my favourite bar while you’re there too.
Dates (11am – 4pm each day):
Friday 14th June
Friday 21st June
Friday 28th June
Friday 5th July
Friday 12th July
Friday 19th July
Friday 26th July
Friday 2nd August