Home PageBook newsEmma Press poetry anthology offers inclusive view of Britain

Award-winning Birmingham publisher the Emma Press is launching Second Place Rosette: Poems About Britain on 8th November 2018.

Edited by Emma Dai’an Wright, publisher at the Emma Press, and Richard O’Brien, the new poet laureate of Birmingham, the anthology offers multiple interpretations of what Britain is, rejecting top-down ‘official’ images of what it means to be British in favour of an inclusive grass-roots understanding of nationhood.

Featuring illustrations by Emma Dai’an Wright, the anthology will be the fourth in the Emma Press Ovid series, which began in 2014. Each book in the series takes its inspiration from a work by the Roman poet, and this one is no exception. Borrowing the ‘almanac’ structure of Ovid’s Fasti, the anthology is a chronological calendar of holidays, rituals and practices that make up life in modern Britain.

Offering a refreshingly inclusive take on British national identity, poets from a variety of different cultural backgrounds speak to their sense of what Britain means through their own daily lived experience and what they care about. From maypole dancing to mehndi painting to medical prescriptions, the subjects range from the universal to the personal: every family has their own rituals, and each culture its own important days and figures to remember and commemorate.

Emma Dai’an Wright and Richard O’Brien, editors, say: ‘With the isolationism of Brexit looming, we wanted to explore the idea of Britain in a way that allowed for a multitude of interpretations: not denying the shameful aspects of our history, but recognising what we can be proud of. For all its flaws, Britain is the country that offered a better future to our parents and grandparents as immigrants from Ireland and refugees from Vietnam… What emerged from our submissions is a patchwork quilt of Britishness, made up of many fabrics and textures.’

Emma Dai’an Wright is a British-Chinese-Vietnamese publisher, designer and illustrator based in Birmingham, UK. She studied Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford, and worked in ebook production at Orion Publishing Group before leaving in 2012 to set up the Emma Press with the support of the Prince’s Trust.

Richard O’Brien is a poet, translator and academic based in Birmingham, UK. He has a PhD on Shakespeare and the development of verse drama. Richard’s pamphlets include The Emmores (Emma Press, 2014) and A Bloody Mess (Valley Press, 2015). His work has featured in Oxford Poetry, Poetry London and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. In 2017 he an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors for his poetry and in 2018 became Poet Laureate for Birmingham.

Launch events for Second Place Rosette: Poems About Britain are in the works for Birmingham and London. Information will be uploaded to the Emma Press events page when released.

Second Place Rosette: Poems About Britain

ISBN 978-1-910139-55-4 / RRP £10.00 / 128 pages / 52 poems / 184 × 123mm

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