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This Is Not Your Final Form: Poems about BirminghamEdited by Richard O’Brien and Emma Wright

Illustrated by Emma Wright

Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-60-8
Publication date: 16th Feb 2017
80 pp / 33 poems / 6 illustrations

Price: £10 /£5.50 (ebook)

Buy now


This Is Not Your Final Form is a collection of poems about Birmingham. Bringing together entries from the inaugural VERVE Poetry Festival Competition, this anthology depicts a second city which is no longer content to play second fiddle. Poets from a range of backgrounds – long-term residents and visitors alike – tell personal stories and take on the area’s complex industrial and social history, as well as its unique blend of architectural styles. The result is a tough, unsentimental love letter to the Midlands metropolis, which finds beauty in concrete and unity in contradiction.

Includes the 2017 VERVE poetry competition winners, chosen by judge Hannah Silva.


About the editors

Richard O’Brien’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. He also writes for children: his first children’s play – an adaptation of The Selfish Giant – was produced at the Arcola Theatre in December 2016. He is working on a Midlands3Cities-funded PhD on Shakespeare and verse drama at the University of Birmingham.

Emma Wright worked in ebook production at Orion Publishing Group before leaving to found the Emma Press in 2012, with the support of the Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise programme. She has since published 33 poetry books, including themed poetry anthologies and single-author pamphlets. In 2015 she was awarded a grant from Arts Council England to run Myths and Monsters, a poetry tour for children, and in 2016 the Emma Press won the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlet Publishers. She lives in Birmingham.



‘This Is Not Your Final Form is a compact, accessible read befitting multiple revisits in order to uncover the poems’ many layers. […] The poets have channelled the city’s depths and looked (for the most part) beyond the obvious clichés. Talented voices of many different backgrounds and poetic styles are featured, reflecting the diversity which to me is one of the city’s greatest strengths. The city’s distinctive self-deprecating humour and outlook fill the pages of this funny, bleak, uplifting, tragic, original, gritty and inspirational love letter to Birmingham.’ – Contemporary Small Press


About the poets

Margaret Adkins is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and English Literature at Worcester University. In a previous life she worked as a nurse and midwife in Birmingham. She has had a poem published on Poetica Botanica (Ledbury Poetry Festival, 2016) and a few elsewhere.

Reza Arabpour is a Birmingham-based artist with a Brummie-Persian flavour. He writes and performs modern folk songs under the name ‘Reza Jaan’ at weekends and on Soundcloud. He is an aspiring director, and will soon be releasing a blog called The Collected Works of Rezathustra.

Carole Bromley lives in York and has two books with Smith/Doorstop, the most recent being The Stonegate Devil which won the 2016 York Culture Award. A collection for children, Blast Off!, will be published in June 2017.

Natalie Burdett is from the Black Country. She is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, researching poetry, place and politics. Her poems have been shortlisted for the London Magazine and Bridport prizes and work has appeared with Ink, Sweat & Tears, Under the Radar and Agenda.

Keith Chandler’s poetry has been published by Carcanet, Redbeck and Peterloo in five collections. His poems have won prizes in many competitions, including a runner-up prize in the 2012 National Poetry Competition.

Jenna Clake is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. She is the editor of The Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language. Her work has appeared in Poems in Which, Queen Mob’s Tea House and more. She is the winner of the 2016 Melita Hume Prize.

David Clarke’s pamphlet, Gaud, won the Michael Marks Award in 2013. His first collection, Arc, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2015 and a new pamphlet, Scare Stories, is due out with V Press in 2017.

Nellie Cole is a student and writer from the Black Country. Her poems have been published online by arts charity Leaveners and featured in an exhibition at Dudley Museum and Art Gallery. She is currently working on a collection about the local murder mystery: Bella and the Wych Elm.

Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times, Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre amongst many others. His debut collection, Ticker-tape, is published by Nine Arches Press. He is a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, and also serves as chair of Spread The Word.

Bernard Davis has lived in Birmingham for thirty-four years and regularly reads at local poetry events. Five of his poems have been set to music by composer Andrew Downes for the song cycle ‘The Door of Winter’, which will be performed for the first time in 2017.

Susannah Dickey has had work published in Ambit and The London Journal of Fiction and will be featured in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 (Eyewear). She is in her final year studying for a BA in English with Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast.

Jennifer Edwards fell in love with a Brummie and moved to Birmingham from San Francisco, where she was the lead singer in the all-girl Kinks tribute band, The Minks. She holds an MA in poetry from the University of San Francisco, where she worked under the mentorship of poet Jane Hirshfield.

Tessa Foley is originally from Flitwick, Bedfordshire. She now lives in Portsmouth, working in the Creative and Cultural Industries Faculty at the University, where she previously gained her Masters in Creative Writing. Recognised in the Bristol Poetry Prize and Poetry Rivals Competition, she also won the Live Canon Competition in 2013.

Heather Freckleton has lived in various locations in the UK and, for a short time, in India. Her poems and short stories have been published in several anthologies and highly commended in the 2009 Cheshire Prize for Literature. In 2015 she won first prize in the Poems Please Me competition.

Victoria Gatehouse lives in West Yorkshire and her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her competition wins include Ilkley Literature Festival and the Poetry News Members’ Competition and she has been placed in many others. In 2016 Victoria was shortlisted for the Flambard Poetry Prize.

Roz Goddard is a poet, teacher and former poet laureate of Birmingham. She has published four collections of poetry and currently hosts Brum Stanza, the monthly Poetry Society group which meets monthly at Waterstones in Birmingham to write and critique poetry.

Shaun Hand is the guitarist with FABRIK and also writes and performs under the name ‘Broke English’. He wrote and published Pop Art Poems: The Music of The Jam through his own imprint, Sheep Publishing. He is currently working on his first novel and reprinting an out-of-print Victorian novel.

Nick Knibb (a.k.a The Archbishop) can be found in noisy, crowded pubs performing on stage in between punk bands. His poems are often based on music from the 1970s and 80s, and at the Godiva Festival in 2016 he was commissioned to perform a trio of poems called ‘Coventry, The Specials and Me’.

Gregory Leadbetter’s debut full-length poetry collection, The Fetch, was published by Nine Arches Press in October 2016. His book Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English Book Prize in 2012. ‘Beorma’ was commissioned for the inauguration of Sir Lenny Henry as Chancellor of Birmingham City University in November 2016.

Gill Learner left Shirley for London in 1960 and now lives in Reading. She has won several prizes, including the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham award, and been published in many magazines and anthologies. Her collections, The Agister’s Experiment (2011) and Chill Factor (2016), are from Two Rivers Press.

Bernadette Lynch lives between Birmingham and the West of Ireland. In 2016, her poem ‘Bringing Home the Cows’ was commended in the Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition. Her work won a Hanna Greally Award at the SiarScéal Festival, County Roscommon, and was published in the Festival Anthology, Centenary in Reflection.

John McGhee lives in London. His work has appeared in Magma, Lighthouse Review and Under the Radar. He is currently completing a PhD on surrealism and futures studies. @johnfutz

Kibriya Mehrban is studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Often claiming she’s writing for her blog or working on a novel, Kibriya actually spends her time reading/writing poetry, attending spoken word events and narrowly avoiding lateness penalties on assignments. This is her first published poem.

Jill Munro has been widely published in anthologies and magazines and long-listed three times for the National Poetry Competition. Her first collection, Man from La Paz, was published in 2015 by Green Bottle Press. She won the Fair Acre Press Pamphlet Competition 2015 with The Quilted Multiverse, published 2016.

Nusayba Nabeel is a ten-year-old girl born and raised in Birmingham. She has two younger sisters with whom she loves to explore her city. She particularly enjoys reading and baking. She aspires to become a writer, beautifying life for herself and others with poetry.

Rachael Nicholas is a poet from Birmingham. She was a 2012 Eric Gregory Award winner. Her work has appeared in Magma and Banshee magazine, as well as anthologies by the Emma Press. Her pamphlet, Somewhere Near in the Dark, was published by Eyewear Publishing.

Cheryl Pearson lives and writes in Manchester. Her poems have been included in publications such as the Guardian, Prole, Envoi, and Southword. She won the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2016 and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her debut collection, Oysterlight, is forthcoming with Pindrop Press in Spring 2017.

Helen Rehman lives in Birmingham and is interested in folklore, horror and theatre. She works part-time as a neighbourhood innovator for Moseley and Kings Heath (the rest of her time is spent being a mother to Alfie and Izzy and a wife to Mo). This is Helen’s first published poem.

Ali-Noor Salam is a Year 4 student at Barford Primary School. He likes to write poems in his spare time and is an avid Manchester United Fan.

Maya Stokes is an aspiring poet and short story writer. She lives in the Midlands. This is her second published poem.

Louise Vale is a screenwriter, poet and translator. Her poems have been published in magazines, online, and broadcast on US Public Radio. Some are monologues, dialogues or mini-dramas. She was shortlisted for the Magma Poetry Editors’ Prize in 2015 and 2016.   

Rob Walton is from Scunthorpe and lives on Tyneside. He writes and performs poetry and fiction for adults and children. His work has been published by the Emma Press, Butcher’s Dog, IRON Press, Red Squirrel, Arachne and others. He collaborated with sculptor Russ Coleman on the New Hartley Memorial Pathway and one of the exhibits for the forthcoming Fountain 17.

Charlotte Wetton was born in Birmingham and has lived most of her life in Yorkshire. Her spoken word album, Body Politic, was released in 2012 and her new pamphlet, I Refuse to Turn into a Hat-stand, is out with Calder Valley Poetry in March 2017. Her favourite place in Birmingham is the Gas Street Basin.

Edited by Richard O'Brien and Emma Wright. Illustrated by Emma Wright.

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Edited by Emma Wright and Richard O’Brien

Illustrated by Emma Wright

Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-55-4
Publication date: 8th November 2018
52 poems / 128 pages
Price: £10 (paperback)

Buy now


Second Place Rosette is a collection of poems about the customs, rituals and practices that make up life in modern Britain.

The poems take in maypole dancing, mehndi painting, and medical prescriptions. Some events, like the Jewish Sabbath, happen every week; some, like the putting away of Christmas decorations, thankfully come only once a year.

Much of the book displays an ambivalence towards the land and its rituals, but there is also love, affection and pride. Mixed feelings: what could be more British than that?


About the editors

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 won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors for his poetry.


About the poets

Claire Askew’s poetry collection This changes things (Bloodaxe, 2016) was shortlisted for an Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, the 2016 Saltire First Book Award, and the 2017 Seamus Heaney Centre and Michael Murphy Memorial prizes. @onenightstanzas.

Dean Atta’s debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His poems deal with themes of race, gender, identity and growing up, and have appeared on BBC One’s The One Show and several times on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Channel 4.

Casey Bailey is a secondary school senior leader, poet, spoken word performer, author and rapper from Birmingham. His first short collection, Waiting at Bloomsbury Park, was published in 2017 by Big White Shed. His first full poetry collection, Adjusted, was published in 2018 by Verve Poetry Press.

Sarah Barr lives in Dorset and writes poetry and fiction. Her poems have appeared in The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, South, the Bridport Prize Anthologies 2010 and 2016 and 105 The Templar Anthology 2016. She teaches creative writing in Dorset and for the Open University.

Clare Best’s Excisions, her first full collection, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, 2012. Other poetry publications include Treasure Ground, Breastless, CELL, Springlines. Her latest book is a prose memoir, The Missing List (Linen Press, 2018).

Julia Bird grew up in Gloucestershire and now lives in London where she works as a literature promoter. She has published two collections with Salt Publishing (Hannah and the Monk, 2008, and Twenty-four Seven Blossom, 2013) and an illustrated pamphlet – Now You Can Look – with the Emma Press in 2017.

Jerrold Bowam: a British/Canadian writer who aspires to find others who are as amused as his muse, have a predilection for repetition and a penchant for recurrence.

Jo Brandon was born in 1986 and currently lives in West Yorkshire. Jo has a pamphlet, Phobia (2012), and a full-length collection, The Learned Goose (2015), both with Valley Press. Jo’s work has featured in various publications including The Poetry Review, The North, Butcher’s Dog and Magma.

Carole Bromley lives in York where she is the stanza rep and runs poetry surgeries for the Poetry Society. Winner of a number of first prizes, Carole has three collections with smith|doorstop: A Guided Tour of the Ice House, The Stonegate Devil and Blast Off!, a children’s collection.

Alan Buckley is from Merseyside, and now lives in Oxford. He has two poetry pamphlets: Shiver (tall-lighthouse, 2009), and The Long Haul (HappenStance, 2016). He was highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prizes. He is a poetry editor at ignitionpress, and a school writer-in-residence with the charity First Story.

Shruti Chauhan is a poet and performer from Leicester. In 2018, she won the National Poetry Library’s Instapoetry competition and was voted Best Spoken Word Performer at the Saboteur Awards. Shruti’s debut pamphlet, That Which Can Be Heard, is forthcoming with Burning Eye Books in November 2018.

Claire Collison’s publishing credits include Butcher’s Dog, The Compass, Island Review, Bare Fiction, Elbow Room, and Templar Anthology. Artist-in-residence at the Women’s Art Library, Claire is currently touring her single-breasted life modelling monologue, ‘Truth is Beauty’.

Oliver Comins lives in West London and writes poems about people, sport, landscape and growing up. He grew up in Warwickshire, the county where Edge Hill is located. Templar Poetry has published three of his pamphlets since 2014 and a full length collection, Oak Fish Island, in 2018.

Aviva Dautch has an MA in creative writing from Goldsmiths and a PhD in poetry from Royal Holloway. Her poems are published in magazines including Agenda, Modern Poetry in Translation and The Poetry Review. In 2017 she won the Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers Prize for emerging voices.

Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire and writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including: Mslexia, Modern Haiku, Shooter, Journey to Crone, Ekphrastia Gone Wild, The Emma Press Anthology of Aunts and In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights.

Ian Dudley’s most recent publications have been in Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Rialto and Zoomorphic. He has won the Oxonian Review (2015) and Aesthetica (2017) poetry competitions, and featured in Eyewear’s The Best New British And Irish Poets 2016.

Clementine Ewokolo-Burnley is a migrant writer, mother and community worker. She has been a finalist in the Bristol Short Story Prize Competition 2017, the Miles Morland Scholarship Award and received an Honourable Mention in the Berlin Writing Prize Competition. @decolonialheart

Steve Harrison born in Yorkshire and now lives in Shropshire. His work has appeared in Emergency Poet collections, Wenlock Festival, The Physic Garden, Pop Shot, Mid-Winter Solstice, The Curlew and Poets’ Republic. He regularly performs across the Midlands and won the Ledbury Poetry Festival Slam in 2014.

Ramona Herdman’s pamphlet Bottle is published by HappenStance Press. It was the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice for Spring 2018 and one of the Poetry School’s Books of the Year 2017. She won the Poetry Society Hamish Canham prize 2017. @ramonaherdman

Maryam Hessavi is a British, Manchester-based poet of English and Iranian descent. Her poetry has been published in Smoke Magazine and is forthcoming in Ambit. She is a Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic, with reviews featured in The Manchester Review, Poetry London and The Poetry School website.

Nicola Jackson writes in London and Cumbria, inspired by landscape and ancient communities. Her poetry is published in journals and newspapers. She has won prizes including the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2017 for her debut collection, Difficult Women, (Indigo Dreams Press). She has an MA in Writing Poetry.

Angela Kirby was born in rural Lancashire when there was a strong tradition of festivals, cultural and religious. She now lives in London. Shoestring Press published her four collections: Mr Irresistible, Dirty Work, A Scent of Winter, The Days After Always, and New and Selected Poems. A fifth is due out in 2019.

Joan Lennon lives in Fife. By day she is a novelist and has recently had her 21st book published, but by night she is a poet. Her latest pamphlet – a narrative poem called Granny Garbage – is published by HappenStance.

Nick Littler is a poet and songwriter based in Cardiff. His poem ‘The Girls from Maynard’s’ appeared in the Emma Press anthology In Transit: Poems of Travel. He writes and records music under the name Pocket Witch, and his first album, Nothing the Sun, came out in June 2018.

Derek Littlewood is a poet and naturalist living in Worcestershire. He has collected stones from many seaside locations, including Cornwall and Lizard Point, the site of many family holidays with his wife and children.

Roy McFarlane is a former Birmingham Poet Laureate and current poet-in-residence at the Birmingham & Midland Institute. He has three collections: Celebrate Wha? (Smokestack, 2011), Beginning With Your Last Breath and The Healing Next Time (Nine Arches, 2016 and 2018).

Kibriya Mehrban is a University of Birmingham Creative Writing graduate whose poetry first featured in the inaugural Verve Poetry Festival anthology This is Not Your Final Form (Emma Press, 2017). As of 2018, she is interning at Writing West Midlands and relentlessly pursues poetry in all its forms.

Fiona Moore’s first collection The Distal Point has just come out from HappenStance Press and is a Poetry Book Society Autumn 2018 Recommendation. She is co-editing Magma 72 on climate change.

Tom Moyser lives in London and is an English teacher. His poetry has been published in the First Story anthology Footsteps. Every August, he attends a folk music festival in Sidmouth and has been in their Torchlight Procession about three times.

Margot Myers lives in Oxford. Her poems and flash-fiction have had some success in competitions including Havant, Cinammon, and Bridport. She has been published in The Interpreter’s House, and the Emma Press anthologies of Dance, Urban Myths and Legends and Aunts. She celebrates as many feasts and festivals as possible.

Carolyn O’Connell lived in London for most of her life and has recently moved to Cheshire. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and anthologies both in the UK and US, including by Envoi, Reach and Aspire. Her first collection, Timelines, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2014.

Claire Orchard is a poet from Wellington, New Zealand, whose father was born and raised in Farnworth, Lancashire. Her first poetry collection, Cold Water Cure, was published by Victoria University Press in 2016.

Cheryl Pearson lives and writes in Manchester. Her poems have been published in The Guardian, Southword, Under The Radar and The Interpreter’s House. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is a reader for Frontier Poetry. Her first collection, Oysterlight, is available now from Pindrop Press.

Kathy Pimlott’s pamphlet Goose Fair Night (Emma Press) was published in 2016. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Poem, Magma, The North, South Bank Poetry, Morning Star and Brittle Star, and in several anthologies. Kathy lives in Seven Dials, London, where she works as a public realm project manager.

D A Prince lives in Leicestershire and London. Her second collection, Common Ground (HappenStance Press, 2014), won the East Midlands Book Award 2015.

Kim M. Russell grew up in London in the sixties, when she enjoyed day trips to the south coast with her grandmother and sister, and one memorable holiday in Clacton with a glamorous aunt – rich pickings for a poet. She now lives in Norfolk with her husband and two cats.

Laura Seymour‘s first collection, The Shark Cage, won the 2013 Cinnamon Press debut poetry collection award and was published in 2015. Her poems have appeared in several journals including The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Magma, Envoi, Iota, Ambit, Glitterwolf, Prole and Mslexia.

Natalie Shaw lives in London and works for the Government Digital Service. Her poems can be found in many different print and online journals, as well as in a variety of anthologies.

Hollie-Anne Slatcher is from Surrey and is currently studying Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Birmingham. ‘The Queens Head At Christmas’ is her first poem to be published and is based on a traditional pub in Hastings, which her grandparents used to own.

Pam Thompson is a poet, lecturer, reviewer and writing tutor based in Leicester. Her publications include The Japan Quiz (Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time, (smith|doorstop, 2006). Pam has a PhD in Creative Writing and her second collection, Strange Fashion, was recently published by Pindrop Press.

Beth L. Thompson is from Liverpool, where she grew up dancing, singing, guitar-playing and writing. Beth recently completed her MA in Writing at the University of Warwick, where her work was anthologised in Moonshine (Ball Bearing Press, 2017). She is currently working on her first novel.

Louise Walker lives in London and has been teaching English for over 30 years in girls’ schools. Her poems first appeared in the Florio Society’s anthologies (Sycamore Press). In 2017 her pamphlet An Ordinary Miracle was published by the Barafundle Press.

Rob Walton is proud to have been born in Scunthorpe, the ‘Industrial Garden Town’, a few miles from where the Haxey Hood takes place. He now lives on Tyneside. His poems and short fictions have been published in various places.

Ros Woolner grew up in Bourne End, a village on the Thames between Marlow and Cookham. Her poems have appeared in Magma, The Cannon’s Mouth, Under the Radar and a number of anthologies. Her first pamphlet, On the Wing, was published by Offa’s Press in 2018.


To celebrate the publication of their fiftieth book in five years, Jewellery Quarter-based publisher the Emma Press is throwing a birthday party. The business has grown from humble origins – in 2012, production assistant Emma Wright quit her job with a large trade publisher in London to start her own publishing business.

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The Emma Press has launched a call for poems about dinosaurs, to be published in an anthology for children edited by Richard O’Brien.

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The Emma Press has launched a call for poems about rituals and customs in Britain, for an anthology publishing in October 2018. Editors Richard O’Brien and Emma Wright hope the book will ‘build up a portrait of the country by exploring what its inhabitants commemorate’. The book’s theme is inspired by Ovid’s Fasti.

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The Emma Press is publishing a book of poems about Birmingham this week. The anthology, titled This Is Not Your Final Form, will be launched at Waterstones Birmingham on Saturday 18th February, 11am-1pm.

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Tiny Moons
A food memoir by Nina Mingya Powles
ISBN 978-1-912915-34-7

A journey through childhood snacks, family feasts, Shanghai street food and student dinners.


The Goldfish
Poems by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul
ISBN 978-1-912915-20-0

A sumptuous, surreal exploration of femininity, written in the voice of a goldfish.


Poems by Síofra McSherry
ISBN 978-1-912915-40-8

Poems covering the timespan of an illness, death, and burial. The PBS Spring Pamphlet Choice.


Bicki-Books #2

The second set of six mini picturebooks aimed at children aged 3+. The Bicki-Books are only £4 each and feature beautiful full-colour illustrations. Perfect for tiny hands to hold.


Poems by Maarja Pärtna
ISBN 978-1-912915-42-2

Poems about global warming and the effects of Soviet rule. Translated from Estonian by Jayde Will.


The Whimsy of Dank Ju-Ju
Poems by Sascha Aurora Akhtar
ISBN 9781912915279

Akhtar drags the reader into a world of magic, heat, life and… whimsy.


A warm and snouting thing
Poems by Ramona Herdman
ISBN 9781912915293

Poems about the physicality, not only of desire, but of the human and natural worlds which surround and shape it.


Poems the wind blew in
Poems by Karmelo C. Iribarren
ISBN 978-1-912915-31-6

Poems aimed at children aged 6+, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel.


Contemporary Gothic Verse
Edited by Nisha Bhakoo
ISBN 978-1-912915-36-1

Haunting, romantic poems, full of dark doorways and strange spaces for readers to get thoroughly lost in.


The Stack Of Owls Is Getting Higher
By Dawn Watson
ISBN 978-1-912915-33-0

Poems set in Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas and the poet’s native Belfast.


priced out
By Conor Cleary
ISBN 978-1-912915-25-5

Poems about the terror of economic precarity, the 1990s economic bubble and its deflated aftermath.


Super Guppy
By Edward van de Vendel
ISBN 978-1-910139-65-3

Poems aimed at children aged 6+, translated from Dutch by David Colmer.


By Lenni Sanders
ISBN 978-1-912915-23-1

Poems where horror imagery and romantic lyricism combine to construct a new gothic world.


Dear Friend(s)
By Jeffery Sugarman
ISBN 978-1-912915-18-7

Poems about love, desire and friendship in a variety of guises and locations.


The Adventures of Na Willa
By Reda Gaudiamo
ISBN 978-1-910139-59-2

A collection of stories following Na Willa, a bright and adventurous little girl growing up in Surabaya, Indonesia.


When It Rains
By Rassi Narika
ISBN 978-1-910139-63-9

Kira joins her friends Ana and Ilo for an adventure in the rain.


Dragons of the Prime
Edited by Richard O’Brien
ISBN 978-1-912915-05-7

An anthology of poems for children about the fascinating world of dinosaurs.


Everything That Can Happen: The Emma Press Book of Future Poems
Edited by Suzannah Evans and Tom Sastry
ISBN 9781910139523

Poems about the near and distant future.


The Girl Who Learned All the Languages of the World
By Ieva Flamingo
ISBN 9781912915095

Join Lela on her journey to learn all the languages of the world, one word at a time…


Elastic Glue
By Kathy Pimlott
ISBN 978-1-912915-07-1

Poems about inner-city living and allotments.


Poems for teens by Rachel Plummer
ISBN 978-1-910139-47-9

A collection of LGBT themed children’s poetry based on retellings of Scottish myths.


Second Place Rosette
Edited by Emma Wright and Richard O’Brien
ISBN 9781910139554

A collection of poems about the customs, rituals and practices that make up life in modern Britain.


The Dog Who Found Sorrow
A picture book by Rūta Briede & Elīna Brasliņa
ISBN 9781910139547

The story of a dog who wakes to find his hometown covered in thick black clouds and goes out in search of the source.


The Head That Wears A Crown
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 9781910139769

A children’s poetry anthology featuring the Kings and Queens of the British Isles.


Picture books by Arnolds Auziņš, Janis Baltvilks, Pēters Brūveris, Herberts Dobre, Valdis Grenkovs, and Maija Laukmane

A collectible series of six pocket-sized picture books featuring modern nursery rhymes.


Some Cannot Be Caught
Edited by Anja Konig and Liane Strauss
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑88‑2

These poems rustle and roar with the voices of animals and humans, coexisting on Earth.


In Transit
Edited by Sarah Jackson and Tim Youngs
ISBN 978-1-910139-94-3

Whether sailing in a stately cruise liner or running for a grimy commuter train, this book is a companion for the journey.


Once Upon a Time in Birmingham
Stories by Louise Palfreyman
ISBN 978-1-910139-51-6

A lively introduction to thirty of Birmingham’s most awe-inspiring women, past and present.


Everyone’s the Smartest
By Contra & Ulla Saar
ISBN 978-1-910139-99-8

Everyone’s the Smartest is a collection of poems which tell strange new stories in familiar school settings. Translated from Estonian.


Anthology of Love
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑56‑1

Fifty-six poets speak to what love means to them right here, right now.


By Carol Rumens
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑80‑6

Elegies for a late partner which explore the principle that death, even for atheists, isn’t purely loss.


Queen of Seagulls
By Rūta Briede
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑13‑4

A story of seagulls, music, mystery, and true love. A picture book for all ages. Translated from Latvian.


The Book of Clouds
By Juris Kronbergs
ISBN 978‑1‑910139‑14‑1

A mix of dreamy fantasy and scientific fact in these poems introduce children to the world of clouds. Translated from Latvian.


By Rakhshan Rizwan
ISBN 978-1-910139-78-3

Rakhshan Rizwan unpacks class and identity in the context of Pakistan and South Asia.


Birmingham Jazz Incarnation
By Simon Turner
ISBN 978-1-910139-86-8

Simon Turner decomposes and recomposes one poem.


Now You Can Look
By Julia Bird, illustrated by Anna Vaivare
ISBN 978-1-910139-84-4

The story of a woman who takes one glance at conventional early-twentieth-century life, and throws in her lot with art instead.


The Secret Box
By Daina Tabūna
ISBN 978-1-910139-90-5

A collection of three coming-of-age stories about young women. Translated from Latvian.


The Noisy Classroom
By Ieva Flamingo
ISBN 978-1-910139-82-0

Poems for children which capture the emotional highs and lows of childhood with a sharp, surreal eye and a touching sympathy. Translated from Latvian.


Postcard Stories
By Jan Carson
ISBN 978-1-910139-68-4

Every day in 2015, Jan Carson wrote a story on the back of a postcard and mailed it to a friend. This is a collection of the highlights.


By Zosia Kuczyńska
ISBN 978-1-910139-72-1

In 1940, a young girl is taken from her home in Eastern Poland. Seventy years later, her journey is reimagined by her granddaughter.


Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real
By Padraig Regan
ISBN 978-1-910139-74-5

Padraig Regan’s poems delight in the sensual and visual, and are alive with the textures of paint, sugar and overripe fruit.


Meat Songs
By Jack Nicholls
ISBN 978-1-910139-62-2

The voices of humans and animals clamour for attention in Meat Songs.


By Emma Simon
ISBN 978-1-910139-64-6

Loss, love and various severed body parts are scattered throughout Dragonish.


Anthology of Aunts
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-66-0

Poems which explores what it means to be – and feels like to have – an aunt.


First fox
By Leanne Radojkovich
ISBN 978-1-910139-70-7

A collection of short stories set in an everyday world tinged with the dreamlike qualities of fairy tales.



The Dragon and the Bomb
By Andrew Wynn Owen
ISBN 978-1-910139-58-5

A long poem about a man who wants to be a saint and an alchemist who wants to split the atom.



This Is Not Your Final Form: Poems about Birmingham
ISBN 978-1-910139-60-8

A tough, unsentimental love letter to Birmingham.


Anthology of the Sea

The Emma Press Anthology of the Sea
Edited by Eve Lacey
ISBN 978-1-910139-45-5

Poems which bear witness to storms, naval history, ocean creatures and the human desire for freedom.


Space and Aliens

Watcher of the Skies: Poems about Space and Aliens
ISBN 978-1-910139-43-1

Poems about the outermost possibilities of space. Aimed at children aged 8+.


Moon Juice

Moon Juice: Poems for Children
By Kate Wakeling
ISBN 978-1-910139-49-3

Kate Wakeling’s poems are full of curious characters and strange situations. Aimed at children 8+.


Urban Myths and Legends

Urban Myths and Legends
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-24-0

Poems by modern poets who have taken inspiration from the Metamorphoses.


Mackerel Salad

Mackerel Salad
By Ben Rogers
ISBN 978-1-910139-41-7

The poems of Mackerel Salad lure the reader into disorientating situations, via space and sea.



By Alison Winch
ISBN 978-1-910139-39-4

Alison Winch looks at different kinds of intimacy via nightingales, betting shops, and the Canterbury Tales.


Goose Fair Night

Goose Fair Night
By Kathy Pimlott
ISBN 978-1-910139-35-6

Pimlott take us on a tour of the Midlands, bustling London and the seaside.



By James Trevelyan
ISBN 978-1-910139-37-0

Poems about minor characters in 1980s and 90s action films.


Mildly Erotic Verse

Mildly Erotic Verse
ISBN 978-1-910139-34-9

An anthology which celebrates modern eroticism in all its messy, sexy glory.



By Camille Ralphs
ISBN 978-1-910139-30-1

A sequence of poems set during the 1612 Pendle witch trials.


True Tales of the Countryside

True Tales of the Countryside
By Deborah Alma
ISBN 978-1-910139-26-4

Poems about sex, love and ageing in rural Shropshire and Wales.



By John Fuller and Andrew Wynn Owen
With illustrations by Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-28-8

Letter poems on the subject of travel, between John Fuller and Andrew Wynn Owen.


The Emma Press Anthology of Age

The Emma Press Anthology of Age
Edited by Sarah Hesketh
ISBN 978-1-910139-31-8

A collection of poems which challenge, celebrate and give age a voice.


Slow Things

Slow Things
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-16-5

An anthology which celebrates taking life at a leisurely pace.


Falling Out of the Sky

Falling Out Of The Sky
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-1-910139-18-9

A treasury of poems about myths, legends and fairytales. Aimed at children 9+.


Anthology of Dance

The Emma Press Anthology of Dance
ISBN 978 1 910139 15 8

What makes us start dancing? Why do we ever stop?


Campaign in Poetry

Campaign in Poetry
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 1 910139 02 8

A powerful anthology about political and social issues in the UK.


Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever
Edited by Amy Key
ISBN 978 1 910139 07 3

A celebration of the transformative power of female friendship.



By Ruth Wiggins
ISBN 978-1-910139-05-9

Poems celebrating the primal forces of nature and the human heart.


If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women

If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women
By Jacqueline Saphra
With illustrations by Mark Andrew Webber
ISBN 978-1-910139-06-6

An eerie, sensuous world of eccentric parents and step-parents.


Rivers Wanted

Rivers Wanted
By Rachel Piercey
ISBN 978-1-910139-04-2

A frequently heart-breaking collection of poems about love, identity and home.



By Stephen Sexton
ISBN 978-1-910139-03-5

Stephen Sexton’s poems pulse with melancholy. A PBS Pamphlet Choice Award winner.


Homesickness and Exile

Homesickness and Exile
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 1 910139 02 8

How does it feel to be a foreigner? Can you choose where you call home?


The Dead Snail Diaries

The Dead Snail Diaries
By Jamie McGarry
ISBN 978 0 9574596 9 4

A collection of observational poems and literary parodies which explore snail culture.


The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood

The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 1 910139 00 4

A collection of poems about fathers and fatherhood.


Captain Love and the Five Joaquins

Captain Love and the Five Joaquins
By John Clegg
ISBN 978 1 910139 01 1

An adventure story about bounty hunter Harry Love and a head in a jar.


Ikhda, by Ikhda

Ikhda, by Ikhda
By Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi
ISBN 978 0 9574596 6 3

Characters and landscapes leap off every page in Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi’s dazzling first pamphlet.


Raspberries for the Ferry
By Andrew Wynn Owen
ISBN 978 0 9574596 5 6

A stunning debut pamphlet of gorgeous, tart, juicy poems grounded in the past and bubbling with modern verve.


The Held and the Lost

The Held and the Lost
By Kristen Roberts
ISBN 978 0 9574596 8 7

Kristen Roberts sketches portraits of characters and relationships in her debut pamphlet.


Anthology of Motherhood

The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978-0-9574596-7-0

A moving collection of poems about mothers and the state of motherhood.


The Emmores

The Emmores
By Richard O’Brien
ISBN 978-0-9574596-4-9

Richard O’Brien deploys every trick in the love poet’s book in this irresistible mix of tender odes, introspective sonnets and exuberant free verse.


A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction

A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 0 9574596 3 2

The Poetic Primer is an instructional anthology containing all you need to know about love, relationships and heartbreak.


The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic VerseThe Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse
Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
ISBN 978 0 9574596 2 5

READ MORE / OUT OF PRINT (See Mildly Erotic Verse)

The Flower and the Plough

The Flower and the Plough

By Rachel Piercey
ISBN 978-0-9574596-0-1

Love poems which capture everything from the extravagant surrender of early love to the raw ache and pain that can follow.



Edited by Sarah Jackson and Tim Youngs

Illustrated by Emma Wright

Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-94-3
Publication date: 30th June 2018
39 poems / 96 pages / 8 illustrations
Price: £10 (paperback)

Buy now


Travelling is never as just simple as getting from A to B. Whether you’re sailing in a stately cruise liner or running for a grimy commuter train, your mode of transport affects the way you look at the things around you. Travel can even make us question who we are at home: will we be the same person at the other end of the journey?

The poems in this anthology take in day-trippers and business travellers, but also characters who are forced to voyage against their will, as well as those with no choice but to stay put. Whatever your destination, this book is a companion for the journey, exploring the nuances of the strange state of being in transit.


About the editors

Sarah Jackson is the author of Pelt (Bloodaxe, 2012), which won the Seamus Heaney Award and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and Tactile Poetics: Touch and Contemporary Writing (Edinburgh University Press, 2015). She is an AHRC Leadership Fellow, a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.

Tim Youngs is Professor of English at Nottingham Trent University and the author and editor of several books on travel writing. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Magma, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Salzburg Review and Stride. His debut pamphlet, Touching Distance, was published by Five Leaves in 2017.


About the poets

Zayneb Allak has travelled and worked all over the world. At the time of going to press, she’s daydreaming about travels in Colombia. In her real life she’s a lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. Her debut pamphlet, Keine Angst, was published by New Walk Editions in 2017.

Baiba Bičole, a prominent Latvian poet since the 1970s, was born in Latvia but left as a refugee during World War II and has lived in the United States since 1950. She is the author of six collections of poetry and has received major Latvian literary awards.

Sharon Black is originally from Glasgow but now lives in the Cévennes mountains of France, having previously lived in Japan after catching the travelling bug in her late teens. She has two collections: To Know Bedrock (Pindrop, 2011) and The Art of Egg (Two Ravens, 2015).

Jeanette Burton has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and teaches English at a sixth-form College in Nottingham. This is her first published poem.

Nancy Campbell’s books include Disko Bay (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016) and How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Greenlandic (winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award). Her memoir, The Library of Ice, will be published by Scribner in 2018. She is currently the Canal Laureate.

George David Clark’s collection Reveille won the 2015 Miller Williams Prize and his new work can be found in Agni, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review and elsewhere. He edits the journal 32 Poems and lives with his wife and their four young children in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Claire Collison is a writer, visual artist, breast cancer survivor and artist-in-residence at The Women’s Art Library. Her work has been published widely. She came second in the Resurgence Prize and second in the Hippocrates Prize. Claire performs a life modelling monologue, ‘Truth is Beauty’.

Anna Kisby lives in Devon, UK. Her poetry is widely published in magazines and anthologies, she won the BBC Proms Poetry competition 2016, and she was commended in the Faber New Poets Scheme 2015-16. Her debut pamphlet All the Naked Daughters is published by Against the Grain Press (2017).

Jo Dixon is a poet and critic living in Nottingham. Her poems have appeared in a range of poetry publications, including New Walk, The Interpreter’s House and Furies (For Books’ Sake). Her debut poetry pamphlet, A Woman in the Queue, was published by Melos Press in 2016.

Andy Eaton was born in California and raised throughout the United States. He lives in Belfast and teaches in Oxford. His poems are published widely in places such as Copper Nickel, Ploughshares and The Yale Review. A pamphlet, Sprung Nocturne, was published by the Lifeboat Press in 2016.

Charlotte Eichler’s poems have appeared in magazines such as Blackbox Manifold, PN Review, The Rialto and Stand. In 2017, Poetry London awarded Charlotte a year’s mentoring with Vahni Capildeo. Her first pamphlet, Their Lunar Language, is coming out with Valley Press in 2018.

Rosie Garland is a novelist, poet and singer with post-punk band The March Violets. With a passion for language nurtured by public libraries, her poems have appeared in Bare Fiction, New Welsh Review, The Rialto and elsewhere. She won the inaugural Mslexia Novel Competition.

Rebecca Gethin lives on Dartmoor and has published two pamphlets, two collections, and two novels. Her poems have been published widely, and she runs a Poetry School seminar in Plymouth.

Rich Goodson has been teaching migrant and refugee teenagers for the last twenty-one years. His debut, Mr Universe (Eyewear), was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice in 2017.

Susannah Hart is a London-based poet whose work has been widely published in magazines and online. She is on the board of Magma Poetry and her first collection is due to be published by Live Canon in 2018. She’s also a keen traveller who loves learning different languages.

Fiona Larkin’s poems appear in journals and anthologies, including Magma, The North, Envoi and Under the Radar, and Best New British and Irish Poets 2018 (Eyewear). She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway.

Shara Lessley is the author of Two-Headed Nightingale and The Explosive Experts Wife. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and Colgate University’s O’Connor Fellowship. She co-edited A Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice.

Nick Littler is a poet and songwriter from Exeter, now living in Cardiff, where he is trying and failing to learn Welsh. His poem ‘Frank’ will appear in the forthcoming Emma Press anthology of poems about Britain.

Lila Matsumoto’s publications include Urn & Drum (Shearsman), Soft Troika (If a Leaf Falls Press) and Allegories from my Kitchen (Sad Press). She teaches poetry at the University of Nottingham and co-runs Front Horse, a magazine and performance night of poetry, music, and art.

Colleen J. McElroy lives in Seattle, Washington. Her collection Queen of the Ebony Isles won an American Book Award in 1985. Her collection Blood Memory was a finalist for the 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize. Many of her poems have been translated into languages including Russian, Italian, Arabic, and Serbo-Croatian.

Jane McKie’s most recent poetry collection is Kitsune (Cinnamon Press, 2015), and her most recent pamphlet is From the Wonder Book of Would You Believe It? (Mariscat Press, 2016). She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.

Fiona Moore’s first collection The Distal Point will be published by HappenStance Press in July 2018. Her pamphlet Night Letter was shortlisted for the 2016 Michael Marks Awards. She is co-editing Magma 72 on climate change. She used to help edit The Rialto, blogs occasionally at Displacement, and writes reviews.

Miranda Peake is a poet and artist based in London. Her poems have been published in magazines and journals, including Ambit, Bare Fiction, Magma, The Moth, Oxford Poetry and The Rialto. In 2014 she won the Mslexia Poetry Competition. She is a member of the Hornet Press Poetry Collective.

Cheryl Pearson lives and writes in Manchester. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including The Guardian, The High Window, Under The Radar and The Compass. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first full poetry collection, Oysterlight, was published in 2017.

Ilse Pedler lives and works as a veterinary surgeon in Saffron Walden. She often finds that poems come to her in the car between visits and ends up scribbling on bits of paper in lay-bys. Her pamphlet The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels won the Mslexia Pamphlet Competition and was published by Seren in 2016.

Yvonne Reddick is a poet and ecopoetry scholar. She has received a Northern Writer’s Award (2016), the Mslexia Pamphlet Competition (2017), a Hawthornden Fellowship and the Poetry Society’s inaugural Peggy Poole Award (2018). Her pamphlet Translating Mountains (Seren 2017) was selected as a favourite pamphlet of the year in the Times Literary Supplement.

Andrea Robinson is an artist, writer and printmaker. Her work is inspired by handed-down histories (and her much-travelled ancestors). Recent poems have been published by Coast to Coast to Coast, Fair Acre Press, Smeuse, Visual Verse, and in a sound installation for Protein Dance.

William Roychowdhury works in international development. He is often in transit. He tries to fit poetry between his job and looking after his two young children. His work has been published in a variety of magazines.

Vicky Sparrow’s poems can be found in Front Horse, datableed and Litmus. Her first pamphlet, Notes to Selves (2016), is published by Zarf Editions. She is completing a PhD on the poet-activist Anna Mendelssohn at Birkbeck, and edits reviews for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry.

David Tait’s first collection, Self-Portrait with The Happiness, won an Eric Gregory Award and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. His pamphlet Three Dragon Day was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award. His new collection The AQI is out in October 2018.

Andrew Taylor has published two collections with Shearsman and has pamphlets with Oystercatcher, Leafe, zimZalla, The Red Ceilings and Stranger Press.

Maria Taylor is a poet and reviewer of Cypriot origin. Her most recent pamphlet, Instructions for Making Me, is published by HappenStance Press. Her debut collection, Melanchrini (Nine Arches Press), was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize.

Alex Toms is a mum and trainee pharmacy advisor from Wivenhoe, Essex. Her poems have appeared in, among other places, Mslexia, Under the Radar and the Bloodaxe anthology Hallelujah for 50ft Women. Her debut collection will be published by Dunlin Press in late 2018. 87 86

Bitite Vinklers is a translator of Latvian folklore and contemporary literature, with work in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Paris Review, Denver Quarterly and Poetry Daily. Recent publications include Knuts Skujenieks, Seed in Snow: Poems (BOA Editions, 2016).

Rory Waterman is the author of Tonight the Summers Over (Carcanet, 2013), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and Sarajevo Roses (Carcanet, 2017), as well as two books on twentieth-century poetry. He is a senior lecturer in English, and co-edits the poetry pamphlet series New Walk Editions.

Rebecca Violet White is a poet who recently escaped London for a narrowboat in the West Country. Since finishing her Creative Writing Masters at UEA in 2014, she has been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears, For Book’s Sake and Elbow Room.

Simon Williams has eight published collections, his latest being a co-authored pamphlet with Susan Taylor, The Weather House, published in 2017 by Indigo Dreams. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet.

Jeremy Wikeley grew up in Romsey and now lives and works in London, but he used to get the train to Cambridge a lot. His poems, which have appeared in magazines like The North and Magma, often involve moving from one place to another.

Peter Surkov is a medical student and ex-marketeer. Recent poems have appeared in Magma, The Stockholm Review and Envoi.

Cliff Yates’ collections include Henry’s Clock (winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize), Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (Salt; Knives Forks & Spoons) and Jam (smith|doorstop). He is a former Poetry Society poet-in-residence and the author of Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School.



Watcher of the SkiesEdited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright

Aimed at children aged 8+

Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-43-1
Publication date: 29th September 2016
Page count: 128
Price: £8.50 (paperback)/£4.25 (ebook)

Buy now


How big is the universe? Are there dogs in space? What if your friend – or your granddad – was an alien? Join the poets in wondering in Watcher of the Skies, a sparkling collection of poems about the outermost possibilities of space, life and our imaginations.

Fully illustrated by Emma Wright and accompanied with helpful facts from space scientist Rachel Cochrane (Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh) and ideas for writing poems from Rachel Piercey, this is the perfect companion for any budding stargazer or astronaut.



‘This is a book which truly has something for everyone. From poems considering BIG topics, perfect for quiet contemplation such as ‘But How Big is the Universe?’ to those which are designed to be read and shared aloud: ‘Comet’ (which simply must be heard – how will you respond to the challenge it sets?), there are hours of sharing, reading and discovering to be done through an exploration of the space themed poetic treasures contained in this collection. […] This is a collection that well deserves a place on the shelves of any young science enthusiasts and which we’re sure will also bring adult readers plenty to discover and marvel at. A thoroughly recommended collection.’ – One Giant Read

‘A delightful book of poetry inspired by space, planets, astronauts, and aliens, with contributions from nearly 30 British poets. There are long poems, short poems, metered and not, with tone ranging from awestruck to silly, dreamy to defiant. Scribbly illustrations reminiscent of Quentin Blake accompany the poems. […] At the end of the book is a list of prompts for kids to write space-inspired poetry, and short biographies of all of the poets. Give this book to your kids’ English teachers!’ – Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society

‘This book has one main theme: space and aliens, and at first I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it at all (the theme didn’t really appeal to me) but by the end I realised I really, really enjoyed this book. The poems were quick, short and fun, as well as being packed full of interesting imagery. The book also had facts and space-inspired imaged sprinkled throughout, which made it a much more enjoyable read.’ – Jacob, age thirteen, Scoop Magazine


About the editors

Rachel and EmmaRachel Piercey (pictured, left) is a poet and editor for adults and children. She regularly performs her poems and runs writing workshops at schools and festivals across the country. Rachel co-edits the Emma Press books alongside Emma, who is one of her best friends from secondary school. Rachel’s poems have appeared in The Rialto, Magma, Poems in Which, Butcher’s Dog and The Poetry Review, as well as various Emma Press pamphlets and anthologies, and in 2008 she won the Newdigate Prize. She lives in London.

Rachel CochraneEmma Wright (pictured above, right) runs the Emma Press. After studying Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford, she did various odd jobs and ended up working in ebook production at Orion Publishing Group. She left in 2012 to follow her dreams and start a small publishing house. She lives in Birmingham.

Rachel Cochrane (pictured, right) grew up in London but has now crossed the border to study for a PhD in Astrophysics in Edinburgh. She studies the properties of galaxies and how they evolve over time.


About the poets

Sohini Basak will never forget the time her brother woke her up at dawn to show the International Space Station orbiting over their hometown. She studied literature and creative writing at the universities of Delhi, Warwick and East Anglia, where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury continuation grant for poetry.

John Canfield grew up in Cornwall and now tries not to be a grown up in London. He writes poems and sometimes people put them in books and sometimes they don’t. A promising career as a clown was scuppered by his desire to grow a beard.

Mary Anne Clark is reading English at Merton College, Oxford, and won the Newdigate Prize in 2016. Her poems have appeared in The Mays, Oxford Poetry, Ash and Flight, an anthology responding to the refugee crisis. She also has a poem in the Emma Press’s Falling Out of the Sky.

Mandy Coe is the author of eight books and works regularly with schools and universities through author’s visits. Her poetry has been published on the Poetry Archive, the Guardian, Radio Times and BBC television and radio. Her most recent collections are There Will be Cherries (Shoestring Press, 2016) and If You Could See Laughter (Salt, 2010).

Rebecca Colby taught English in Taiwan, worked for a Russian comedian and travelled the world as a tour director before she started writing books and poems for children. Her books include There was a Wee Lassie who Swallowed a Midgie (2014), It’s Raining Bats & Frogs (2015) and Motor Goose, coming out in 2017.

Dom Conlon is a children’s writer, poet and space biscuit. His work regularly appears in Stew Magazine and alongside The Funeverse poets.

Dharmavadana’s poems and short stories have appeared in many magazines. He has been a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order since 2005 and is poetry editor of the Buddhist arts magazine, Urthona. He has been working on a novel about Mars for three years and hopes to finish it eventually.

Julie Anna Douglas lives on the west coast of Scotland with her husband, son and daughter. Her poetry has appeared in Spider and Ember magazines in the USA, The Caterpillar in Ireland and various anthologies. She was shortlisted in 2015 for the National Literacy Trust/Bloomsbury Children’s Books Poetry Prize and is a writer for Amazing! Children’s Educational Magazine.

Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s poet-in-residence. She has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, placed in many competitions, and is co-author of Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System (PS Publishing, 2014). Sarah is studying for a Creative Writing MA at Royal Holloway College.

Inua Ellams was born in Nigeria and is an award-winning poet, playwright and founder of the Midnight Run. Identity, displacement and destiny are reoccurring themes in his work, in which he tries mixing the old with the new, the traditional with the contemporary. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic and Oberon.

David Harmer has written many collections of poems of children’s poems as well as having other poems and stories published all over the place. He was a headteacher but he’s lots better now and has spent many years working in schools getting everybody to write poems and laugh.

Philip Monks has published the pamphlets Wake Up!, Nursery Verse and Wrap Yourself Up and co-edited the poetry anthology Iris Of A Peeping Eye. He performs regularly and has run many poetry projects. He is a Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newman University and the University of Birmingham.

Cheryl Moskowitz is poet-in-residence at Highfield, a large multicultural north London primary school with over 48 languages spoken. Publications and broadcasts include Poetry Pie (CBeebies), Can It Be About Me? (Frances Lincoln), A Life in the Year of… Poetry at Highfield and The Girl is Smiling (Circle Time Press).

Dale Neal lives in the village of Barrowford in Lancashire. When not cutting hair he can be found writing about monkeys, monsters and bouncy castles. His first book, Hippo in a Half Pipe, is due for release in early 2017.

Rachael M Nicholas was born in Birmingham in 1987. Her work has appeared in Magma, Gigantic Sequins, The Cadaverine magazine and Banshee. In 2012 she won an Eric Gregory Award. Her first pamphlet, Somewhere Near in the Dark, was published by Eyewear Publishing in 2014.

Richard O’Brien’s poems for children were published in Falling Out of the Sky by the Emma Press in 2015. He has since seen them reimagined in drawings and performed back to him as choreographed dance routines. In 2015, he took part in the Myths and Monsters poetry tour, and now does author visits for the charity Pop Up Projects. Richard has never been to space, but he did once nearly fall asleep in the San Francisco Planetarium.

Suzanne Olivante lives in Sussex and writes poetry and jokes for children. Her work has been placed in competitions and published in anthologies. She was placed second in the Plough Prize Poem for Children in 2010 and was a finalist for the National Literacy Trust Poetry Prize in 2015.

Abigail Parry spent seven years as a toymaker, before completing her PhD in play and games in contemporary poetry. She can most commonly be found writing about beguiling animals, unhappy monsters, magic and mischief. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2010.

Gita Ralleigh has completed her MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London and published stories in Wasafiri and the Bellevue Literary Review. She is working on a novel for children, a steampunk fantasy set in India in which mechanical elephants feature.

Robert Schechter has published in Highlights for Children, National Geographic Book of Nature Poems, The Washington Post, Anon, Leviathan Quarterly and elsewhere. He lives on Long Island, New York.

Lawrence Schimel was born in New York and has lived in Madrid, Spain, for over 17 years. He won the Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 2002. His poems are anthologized in The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The Book of Dreams, and Slow Things (Emma Press, 2015).

Mike Sims is studied English at Oxford University. He co-founded Forest Poets and works for The Poetry Society. ‘Alien Boy’ is inspired by Michael Ondaatje’s wonderful novel, The Cat’s Table (Vintage, 2012).

Camellia Stafford was born in Warwickshire and she read English Literature and Language at King’s College London. Her debut pamphlet, another pretty colour, another break for air is published by tall-lighthouse and Letters to the Sky, her first collection, is published by Salt. Camellia lives in Warwickshire and works in museum education.

Jon Stone is one half of Sidekick Books, who publish collaborative anthologies of poetry on the subject of computer games, animals, dinosaurs and more. He is a survivor of the Lego Ice Planet Wars and an infamously terrible A-wing pilot.

Kate Wakeling lives in Oxford. When not writing poems, she works as an ethnomusicologist at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and writer-in-residence with Aurora Orchestra. A pamphlet of her poetry (The Rainbow Faults) is published by The Rialto and a collection of poetry for children aged 8+ (Moon Juice) has just been published by the Emma Press.

Rob Walton is a writer and performer of poetry for children and adults, as well as short stories, scripts and flash fiction. He won the 2015 NFFD micro-fiction award and his poems have been published by the Emma Press (Slow Things), Butcher’s Dog and others. His
children’s poems were published in Let’s Play! (Frances Lincoln).

Kate Wise fits poetry around two under-fives and a career in law. She has been published in various magazines in print and online, most recently in Structo and Poems in Which. Her work appeared in two Emma Press anthologies in 2015.