2011 shortlist - pamphlets

The seven short-listed pamphlets are:

Neil Addison, Apocapulco (Salt)

Tesco, Proms Night, Jeremy Clarkson and the debt crisis – all this and much more feature in this packed collection. Apocapulco – no it’s not a misprint – is indeeda kind of queasy holiday apocalypse location, a book which manages to balance a direct focus on the contemporary with more lateral-thinking wit and satire.
Neil Addison was born on Merseyside in 1970. His previous work includes The Everyday of Irma Kite, from the Arthur Shilling Press.

Simon Armitage, The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right (Smith/Doorstop Books)

Returning to the pamphlet form, and the pamphlet publisher, which first launched Simon Armitage’s remarkable career the variety in this collection almost feels like a lap of honour. Quietly ironised monologues, flashes of startlingly apt imagery, and a dry but never arid sense of humour are typical of the poems in The Motorway Service Station.

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in Marsden, Yorkshire, and is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has published ten collections of poetry including Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid (Faber) and his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Sean Burn, mo thunder (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press)

mo thunder is a collection of visual poetry in which found words and phrases have been placed under pressure and re-configured. Playing with typography and a textured approach to design, this is a work which refracts a variety of different kinds of everyday language, foregrounding oral as well as visual effects in a mesmerising way.

Sean Burn is a writer, performer and artist. A playwright and film-maker, his films have been screened at the Tate Modern and venues abroad. He was shortlisted for a Dadafest Disability Arts Award in 2009, the same year Skev Press published his third larger collection of work, wings are giving out.

Olive Broderick, Darkhaired (Templar)

In Darkhaired the sun and moon mark moments of reflection and wonder with lyrical power. This is a book of open landscape, where the need for epic journeys is mourned and where meetings, even when planned, seem fleeting, insecure, fragile.

Originally from Youghal, Co. Cork, Olive Broderick travelled to Northern Ireland to undertake the Creative Writing MA at Queen’s University Belfast, settling in Co. Down in 2003. She is a founder member of the Write! Down Collective.

Ralph Hawkins, Happy Whale Fat Smile (Oystercatcher)

A single sequence, Happy Whale Fat Smile is disorientatingly funny: a journey across the whitespace of the Arctic and the page, where “Pleasant things are always sensual” and that probably includes “turning on the heater in the car-port”. A wry and unexpectedly touching book.

Ralph Hawkins has been writing poetry since the late 1970s when he was one of a number of radical poets gathered at the University of Essex. He now lives on the Essex coast at Brightlingsea. His many publications include Tell Me No More and Tell Me (Grosseteste 1981), At Last Away (Galloping Dog Press 1988), The Coiling Dragon... (Equipage), and Gone to Marzipan (Shearsman).

James McGonigal, Cloud Pibroch (Mariscat)

This is a book which is as lyrical as it is unsettling. Striking metaphors rooted in acute observation – “Dogs learned a sign language of teeth and tongue” – animate and resonate, yet the dream reality of many of the poems reveals how much more is at stake.

James McGonigal lives in Glasgow. He taught English for fourteen years in secondary schools before working in higher education. His PhD thesis was on the work of the English modernist Basil Bunting. He is Professor of English in Education at Glasgow University. His poetry and translations have been widely published in literary magazines and some are collected in Driven Home (Mariscat, 1998) and in the tri-lingual long poem in English, Scots and Irish Gaelic, Passage/An Pasaíste, (Mariscat, 2004). His biography of Edwin Morgan, Beyond the Last Dragon, appeared in 2010. Cloud Pibroch is his third collection from Mariscat.

Sophie Robinson, The Lotion (Oystercatcher)

With language hyper-sensitised, this collection deliberately blurs the senses and intelligence. Desire and loss are enscribed in a work whose poems are on the move – at the tingling pace of the pulse.

Sophie Robinson’s work has been featured in numerous anthologies, including Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century, edited by James Byrne and Clare Pollard, and Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets.  Her debut collection, A, was published by Les Figues in 2009.

2011 Shortlist Publishers

The five short-listed publishers are as follows:

The Crater Press is an independent poetry press run by Richard Parker, operating in both London and Brighton. Crater pride themselves on matching typographically diverse, challenging poetry with interpretation via the letterpress process. Each pamphlet is unique and handmade using traditional methods, yet with a very modern edge. Parker uses 'the various freedoms of the letterpress process - including colour, folding, binding and formatting options' to produce pamphlets that may require a paperknife in order to read them, but are accessibly priced and startlingly individual. Poets include Sean Bonney, Rob Holloway and Peter Hughes.

Kater Murr's Press, run by poet and editor David Miller, publishes a diverse variety of work including lyric, prose poetry, and visual poetry. Poets include Richard Leigh, Lesley McKenna and Christopher Gutkind. Miller states that the eclecticism of Kater Murr reflects his desire 'to publish work that I consider singular, imaginative and vivid, regardless of fashion', and is especially keen on bringing new and emerging voices into the poetry community. His pamphlets have a minimalist house-style and are produced by hand from his home in London.

The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press is a newly-formed press, based in Merseyside and run by Alec Newman. It focuses primarily on promoting linguistically innovative poetry, and has published poets such as Sean Burn, Robert Sheppard and Antony Rowland. Newman mixes work by established poets with exciting emergent and perhaps overlooked schools of poetry at the experimental end of the poetry spectrum. He is 'particularly interested ... in poets who know which aesthetic traditions they are coming from, and what they must do to change the course of these traditions.'

Mariscat Press was founded in 1982, is based in Edinburgh and run by Hamish Whyte. They aim to publish poetry that moves and excites, and poets that possess a feel and care for language. Mariscat sees the pamphlet format as the ideal vehicle for a sequence or series of poems (in which a poet can explore and develop a theme) and they mix new with established voices in their list, having published work by R. V. Bailey, James McGonigal and Valerie Thornton. Mariscat's aim 'has always been to publish poetry in affordable editions, with attention paid to presentation.'

Roncadora Press is based in Dumfries. Hugh Bryden runs the press single-handedly, producing each pamphlet himself using bookart techniques. He says 'Roncadora Press wishes to place itself where artists' books and poetry pamphlets comfortably meet, to have the handmade and individual feel of an artist's book combined with quality contemporary poetry.' Bryden works closely with the poets (including Hugh McMillan, Jean Atkin and Graham Fulton) to produce pamphlet designs that perfectly complement the text, and markets their pamphlets through exhibitions and installations as well as more conventional methods.