The Emma Press Anthology of Dance


Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright
Illustrated by Emma Wright

Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-15-8
Publication date: 14th May 2015
42 poems / 80 pages / 8 illustrations
Price: £10 (paperback)/£5.50 (ebook)

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‘start peeling oranges to your lady say
can you do the succotash? and if yes do the succotash
with her a couple laps around the kitchen
with one hand on the small of her back and the other hand
still peeling oranges’

– from ‘Lullaby with Succotash’, by George David Clark

This is a book for dance-lovers. It’s a book for everyone who catches their breath at the ballet or in front of Strictly Come Dancing, or who can’t look away when someone magnificent takes to the floor in a club. It’s also a book for people who’ll dance anywhere, as often as possible, and for those who dance rarely but enjoy it when they do. What makes us start dancing? Why do we ever stop? The Emma Press Anthology of Dance is a celebration of everything from an intimate shuffle to the most death-defying waltz.



‘This is a fitting testament to the transformative and empowering potential of dance, an enjoyable anthology, which should appeal to poetry fans and acolytes alike.’ – Jessica Traynor for Sabotage Reviews

‘This is a small, delightful book full of contemporary poems about dance in short, staccato bursts. […] A very enjoyable book that should appeal to both dance fans and poetry lovers with its strong message of the potential of dance to empower and change people’s lives.’ — Lynne Lancaster for Sydney Arts Review

‘We are introduced first, and again throughout, to the universality of dance through the eyes of animals, the flailing bodies of the uncoordinated, the intoxicated, the lush from love who swagger in kitchens and on side streets. […] We discover the fleeting nature of dance, the joy in hearing dance when it is not able to be seen, and perhaps the most poignant point of all: “We dance to learn about a part of ourselves books can’t teach.”‘— Kirsten on Setting the Barre (including some gorgeous photos of the book)

‘Every poem is so relatable […] and the anthology has a lovely journey of progression. ‘Learning the Steps’ by Maria Taylor […] brings us to a line which no doubt is the most poignant of all … ‘We dance to learn about a part of ourselves books can’t teach’. This moment allows us to ask ourselves about our own place in Dance, whether we do this consciously or without a thought at all. Dance is everywhere and I feel that after reading this I will be drawn to this even more.’ – Emma-Hope on Carpe Diem Emmie


About the editors

Michael Marks AwardsRachel Piercey (right) is a former editor at The Cadaverine magazine and a current editor at the Emma Press. She studied English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. Her illustrated pamphlet of love poems, The Flower and the Plough, was published by the Emma Press in 2013 and her second pamphlet, Rivers Wanted, in 2014.

Emma Wright (left) studied Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford. She worked in ebook production at Orion Publishing Group before leaving to set up the Emma Press in 2012. In 2013 she toured the UK with The Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour, supported with funding from Arts Council England as part of the Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme.


About the poets

Stephanie Arsoska has been published by the Emma Press, Prole, Iron Press, Mother’s Milk Books, Magma, Ink Sweat & Tears and Nutshells & Nuggets. She was a finalist in the Stanza digital slam and featured on the IndieFeed Spoken Word podcast. She runs a Virtual Open Mic Night on her website

Sophie F Baker has been published in magazines including Smiths Knoll, The Rialto, Poetry London and Magma. She won an Andrew Waterhouse Award from New Writing North in 2010 and an Eric Gregory Award in 2012. She works at the Poetry Society and is a founding editor of poetry magazine Butcher’s Dog.

Dzifa Benson was born in London to Ghanaian parents and grew up in west Africa. She writes, performs, curates and teaches, and has performed her work at venues including Tate Britain, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Southbank Centre. She was a writer in residence at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2007-8.

Jane Burn is an artist and writer based in the North East. She is a member of many poetry groups and her work has been published in a variety of magazines. She likes to write about minutiae of everyday life: loss, success, failure, fantastical thoughts and the joy and peace of nature.

John Canfield grew up in Cornwall and now lives in London. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Oxford Poetry XIV.2, Transom Issue 5, Newspaper Taxis (Seren, 2013), Coin Opera II (Sidekick Books, 2013) and The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood (Emma Press, 2014).

George David Clark teaches creative writing and literature in the honors college at Valparaiso University. His first book, Reveille (University of Arkansas Press, 2015), won the Miller Williams Prize and his poems have been published widely. He is the editor of 32 Poems and lives in Indiana with his wife and their three young children.

Geraldine Clarkson is based in Warwickshire. Her poems have appeared in The Best British Poetry (Salt, 2014), The Rialto, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Ambit, Iota and Under the Radar. She was the Selected Poet in Magma 58 and won the Ware Sonnet Prize in 2014. She is currently working on her first collection.

James Coghill has been published in Homesickness and Exile (Emma Press, 2014), Ink Sweat & Tears, Verse Kraken and Lighthouse Literary Journal, with work forthcoming in Astronaut zine and Birdbook 3 (Sidekick Books). He likes to dance, but is unfortunately terrible at it. He is currently teaching himself Swedish.

Flora de Falbe comes from London and is currently in her first year studying English at Cambridge. She won the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012 and took part in the 2014 Tower Poetry Summer School. She was recently published in CAKE journal and the Emma Press’s Motherhood and Fatherhood anthologies.

Brian Docherty was born in Glasgow and now lives in north London. He has published three books: Armchair Theatre (Hearing Eye, 1999), Desk with a View (Hearing Eye, 2008) and Woke up this Morning (Smokestack Books, 2012), with a fourth, Independence Day, forthcoming from the Penniless Press.

Claire Dyer’s poetry collection, Eleven Rooms, was published by Two Rivers Press in 2013. Her two novels, The Moment and The Perfect Affair, and her short story, Falling for Gatsby, are published by Quercus. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Francine Elena was born in 1986 and grew up in London, Lisbon and Scotland. Her unpublished pamphlet Fluoro was shortlisted for the 2014 Pighog Prize and her poems have been published in The Best British Poetry (Salt, 2013), Best Friends Forever (Emma Press, 2014), Poetry London, Ambit, 3:AM Magazine and The Quietus

Katherine Gallagher was born in Australia and has lived in north London since 1979. She has five full collections, most recently Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems (Arc Publications, 2010), and she has won various awards including the Warana Prize, a Royal Literary Fund Bursary and a London Society of Authors’ Foundation Award.

Hilary Gilmore lives between London and her native Blue Mountains in Sydney, after eleven years based in Britain and Eastern Europe. Her professional life concerns the histories and cultures of dress, and she is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton. Her poetry has been published in Motherhood (Emma Press, 2014) and Once Wild, the 2014 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology.

Rebecca Goss grew up in Suffolk and returned to live there in 2013, having lived in Liverpool for twenty years. Her second collection, Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House, 2013), was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection. In 2014 she was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets.

Jan Heritage has recently completed the Royal Holloway MA in Creative Writing and has had poems published in several magazines. Back in the day she was Faber’s Promotions Manager. Now she teaches yoga in Brighton.

Sarah Hesketh has been published in magazines and anthologies including The White Review, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot and Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History. Her second collection, The Hard Word Box (Penned in the Margins, 2014), was inspired by her time as poet in residence with Age Concern.

Emma-Jane Hughes was brought up between the sublime of a river barge and the ridiculous of boarding school. She has been published in two Bridport anthologies, online by Mslexia, and in other anthologies. Emma is researching and teaching at the University of Chichester, and remains indebted to the lecturers there.

Emma Jeremy was born in Bristol and is currently based in London, working towards an MA in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in Rising, Poems in Which, The Voices Inside Our Heads, Nutshell and Best Friends Forever (Emma Press, 2014).

Carla Jones grew up in Surrey and now lives in Bedfordshire. Her poems have been published in Iota and The New Writer. When she’s not writing, she compulsively cuts up paper and doodles on things.

Melinda Kallasmae’s poems have most recently been published in Best Australian Poems (Black Inc. Publishing, 2014), The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (Interactive Press, 2014), and The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood (Emma Press, 2014). Once upon a time, Melinda enjoyed maypole dancing.

Anna Kisby is an archivist living in Brighton. Her poems have been placed in competitions and published in magazines and anthologies including Magma, Mslexia, Poetry News, Ink Sweat & Tears and The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood. She won The New Writer magazine’s single poem prize in 2011.

Gill Learner’s poetry has won several awards and has been widely published, most recently in The Interpreter’s House 56, Agenda 48 and Her Wings of Glass (Second Light Publications, 2014). Her first collection, The Agister’s Experiment, was published by Two Rivers Press in 2011 and she hopes to have a second in 2016.

Emma Lee has published two collections – Mimicking a Snowdrop (Thynks Press, 2014) and Yellow Torchlight and the Blues (Original Plus, 2004) – and her third, Ghosts in the Desert, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2015. She blogs at and reviews for London Grip and Sabotage Reviews.

Julie Maclean is the author of Kiss of the Viking (Poetry Salzburg, 2014), When I saw Jimi (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2013) and You Love You Leave (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). She has been shortlisted for the Crashaw Prize (Salt) and was the joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize.

Martin Malone was born in County Durham and now lives in Warwickshire. His poems have been published in a number of magazines and he is currently studying for a PhD in poetry at Sheffield University. He edits The Interpreter’s House poetry journal and his second collection, Cur, will be published by Shoestring Press in 2015.

Felicity Maxwell is a postdoctoral researcher on ‘The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700’ project at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her sonnets have appeared in Goblin Fruit and Sonnetto Poesia. Her sonnet in this book was inspired by her learning Elizabeth I’s favourite dance.

Paul McMenemy is the editor of Lunar Poetry. He can’t dance.

Margot Myers lives in Oxford and has been writing poems for three years. She is interested in the use of myth in poetry and is working on a series of poems about the park where she walks her dog every day. Several of her poems have been commended in poetry competitions.

Richard O’Brien’s second pamphlet, The Emmores, was published by the Emma Press in January 2014 and A Bloody Mess followed from Valley Press later that year. His work has featured in Poetry London, The Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011) and The Best British Poetry (Salt, 2013). He is working on a PhD in contemporary verse drama.

Wendy Pratt was born in Scarborough in 1978 and now lives just outside Filey. She recently completed a BA in English Literature with the Open University and is now studying towards her MA in creative writing with the MMU. Her second pamphlet, Lapstrake, will be published by Flarestack Poets in 2015.

Rosie Sandler lives in Essex with her husband and their two children. In this estuary spot, she writes suitably watery poems, as well as stories and novels. Her poetry has appeared in The Rialto, The Poetry of Sex (Penguin Books, 2014) and London Grip. She runs The Poet’s Resource at

Jacqueline Saphra teaches at The Poetry School. Her first full collection, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye, 2011), was nominated for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and an illustrated book of prose poems, If I Lay On My Back I Saw Nothing But Naked Women, was recently published by the Emma Press.

Two of Catherine Smith’s collections, The New Bride and Lip (both Smith/Doorstop, 2000 and 2008) have been shortlisted for Forward Prizes. Her poetry is widely anthologised and her latest pamphlet-length publication, The New Cockaigne (Frogmore Press, 2014), is a surreal, supernatural satire on revolution, excess and restraint.

Maria Taylor’s poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, including The Rialto, Magma, Stand and The North. Her debut collection, Melanchrini, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2012 and shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize in 2013. She blogs at

Pam Thompson is a poet and university lecturer based in Leicester. She is one of the organisers of Word!, a spoken-word night at The Y Theatre and her publications include The Japan Quiz (Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time (Smith/Doorstop, 2006). She won First Prize (Judges’ Prize) in the Magma Poetry Competition in 2015.

Andrew Wynn Owen studies English literature at Magdalen College, Oxford. His first pamphlet, Raspberries for the Ferry, was published by the Emma Press in 2014. Also in 2014, he was awarded Oxford University’s Newdigate and Lord Alfred Douglas prizes for poetry.

Lana Faith Young lives in Tasmania and is currently studying Creative Writing and Screen Studies at Griffith University. In 2012, Lana was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premiere’s Book Awards in the digital narrative category. Lana loves poetry, writing children’s books and jumping ocean waves.
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