The Emma Press

The Emma Press acquires two new poetry pamphlets selected by the Birmingham Editorial Readers Group

The Emma Press is delighted to announce the acquisition of two poetry pamphlets – Mate Arias by Norfolk-based poet Lewis Buxton and Masters by Irish poet Mark Ward – to be published in July & October 2025, respectively.

The pamphlets were acquired by The Emma Press directly from the authors following an open call in August 2023 which saw 506 submissions.

The shortlist and final selections were decided on by the inaugural Emma Press Birmingham Editorial Readers Group. Funded by Arts Council England, this was a project inviting keen readers from diverse backgrounds in the Midlands into the selection process. Across six sessions, the group read and discussed the submissions longlist and ultimately selected books for publication. The 2023-2024 Birmingham Editorial Readers Group members were Aarti Kumari, Beth Preece, Catherine Redford, Ilina Jha, Michelle McLean & Prem Mehra. 

Selected by Local Readers

A sonnet sequence, Mate Arias by Lewis Buxton is a love song to male friendship viewed through the lens of exercise, pop culture, and mental illness. At equal times tender and funny, awkward and hopeful, these poems emerged from Buxton’s new poetry performance show, Friend, which is touring the UK throughout 2024. BERG member Prem Mehra commented: “As serious as it is playful, vulnerable as it is honest, Mate Arias navigates the complicated nature of bromance, and left me reflecting on the male friendships in my life and my role within them. “

Mark Ward’s Masters is an ekphrastic journey across 20 artworks by dead gay male painters. Writing in response to artists as varied as John Singer Sargent, Francis Bacon and Keith Haring, Ward goes in search of a shared gay male history across the past century. Tender and daring, Masters investigates queer relationships, asks questions of painter-model power dynamics, and invites us to look more deeply at the worlds beneath and beyond the brushstrokes. Mehra said, “I was drawn to Mark Ward’s intimate reveal of the narratives held in paintings and the power of the unsaid; and marvelled at the dual exploration of the relationship between painter and subject, reader and poet.”

What they said

Mark Ward said: “I’m thrilled that Masters has found a home with The Emma Press, a publisher who I’ve long admired. This years-long ekphrastic project began where lots do – being inspired by the artists that came before you – and grew into a book about the things we carry from our shared queer history and, like all painters, trying to capture a moment’s light.”

Lewis Buxton said: “Mate Arias is about my friends: how, when and why we love each other. The Emma Press feels like the perfect publisher for this because already – despite not really knowing them – they feel like friends. I’m really happy we’ve met each other.”

Birmingham Editorial Readers Group member Catherine Redford, said: “These pamphlets are written with deep sensitivity and offer us fresh, creative ways into the themes of love, masculinity, sexuality, relationships, and power. Both Buxton and Ward engage beautifully with the concept of the gaze: not only how we see, but how our perception of being seen ourselves is tied up with expectations, fears, and desires. These poems lead us to unexpected places, with Ward’s works of art in miniature and Buxton’s soaring voices sparking with the energy of new perspectives.”

About the authors:

Born in 1993, Lewis Buxton’s work has appeared in Poetry Review, The Rialto and The Independent and won the Winchester Poetry Prize (2020). His collection Boy in Various Poses (Nine Arches Press) was published in 2021, and Mate Arias will be published by The Emma Press in 2025. He lives in Norfolk. 

Born and based in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Ward is the author of the collection Nightlight (Salmon Poetry, 2023) and four previous pamphlets: Faultlines (voidspace, 2024), HIKE (Bear Creek, 2022), Carcass (7KP, 2020) and Circumference (FLP, 2018). He is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, an international journal of LGBTQ+ poetry. More info at

For further information or to request a review copy, please contact: 

Georgia Wall, Publishing Manager, The Emma Press

About The Emma Press:

The Emma Press is an award-winning independent publishing house based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. It was founded in 2012 by Emma Dai’an Wright and is dedicated to producing beautiful, thought-provoking books for adults and children, and to making publishing and literature more accessible and welcoming. The Emma Press publishes themed anthologies, illustrated chapbooks and children’s poetry and fiction, with a growing list of translations which includes titles from Latvia, Estonia, Indonesia, Spain and the Netherlands. 


  • The Emma Press

    The Emma Press is an independent publisher specialising in poetry, short fiction and children’s books. We are trying to make publishing and literature as welcoming and accessible as possible.

    View all posts

The Emma Press is an independent publisher specialising in poetry, short fiction and children’s books. We are trying to make publishing and literature as welcoming and accessible as possible.
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