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Monthly Archives: January 2013

New from Equipage

New from Equipage

Last Tuesday there was a book-launch in Heffer’s main shop in Cambridge in which Rod Mengham’s Equipage Press presented two excellent new items.

Keith Sands has translated 17 Voronezh Poems from the Russian of Osip Mandelstam. As he pointed out these poems were written between 1935 and 1937 and do not constitute a sequence. Sixteen of the poems are from the Voronezh Notebooks written during exile first in Cherdyn and then in Voronezh. The last of the translations was written in June 1937 just before Mandelstam’s second arrest.

It seems opportune here to note that John Riley, one of the co-founders of Grosseteste Press, published two translations of the Russian poet. Mandelshtam’s Octets appeared from Grosseteste in 1976 and the Stalin Ode Sequence, From the Second Voronezh Notebook was published by Rigmarole of the Hours in Australia in 1979 the year following Riley’s murder in Leeds.

The second new publication from Equipage is Mother Blake by Carol Watts. A sequence of fifteen poems this book makes a fascinating and welcome continuation of work that had been so striking in When blue light falls 3 (Oystercatcher Press) which I reviewed in Tears 55.

These books are available from Equipage, c/o Rod Mengham, Jesus College, Cambridge CB5 8BL.

Tears in the Fence 56

Tears in the Fence 56

Tears in the Fence 56, designed by Westrow Cooper, is 176 pages and features poetry by Peter Hughes, S.J. Litherland, Aaron Belz, Michael Grant, John Latta, Geraldine Clarkson, Sarah Crewe, Mark Goodwin, Steve Spence, Louise Anne Buchler, Chrissy Williams, Papageorgiou, Lynne Wycherley, fiction by John Brantingham, James Wall, visual poems by Sarah Kelly, and extract from David Caddy’s Cycling After Thomas And The English.

The critical section features Jennifer K. Dick and What’s Avant-Garde in the 21st Century, Jeremy Reed on Robert Duncan, Laura Burns on Elisabeth Bletsoe, Harriet Tarlo’s The Ground Aslant, Michael Grant on Anthony Barnett, Ian Brinton on Michael Heller, Laurie Duggan on Michael Bolton, Mandy Pannett on Catherine Edmunds, Peter Carpenter on Mathew Hollis and Edward Thomas, Steve Spence on David Harsent, Philip Kuhn, Rosie Jackson’ s Between The Lines and Anthony Barnett’s Antonyms, plus much more.

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Nicholas Johnson’s Cleave

Nicholas Johnson’s Cleave

Waterloo Press has recently published a reconfiguration of Nicholas Johnson’s astonishingly powerful and important poem, Cleave. What started out as an Arts Council commissioned book in 2002 with the subtitle ‘The Debateable Lands’ (dealing with the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth) has become a collection of poems which sing and resonate with a depth of perspective and a new authority. As I wrote on the blurb for this handsome new edition these poems cut through the world of political expediency with a sure understanding of the pragmatics of destruction.

Meg Bateman’s comments at the beginning of the volume are absolutely pertinent:

Cleave is a highly imaginative and experimental poem, a cry from the south west to north east of rural England, which has sustained man since the last ice-age. It has no thesis, no moral argument: rather it is the disorientated response to something completely abhorrent. The culling of farm animals in the infected areas and their buffer zones may have removed the slur of disease from British livestock, but the disease is fatal to neither man nor beast. As much as the skies, the water-ways, the sunsets, and the blood-soaked fields, it is ourselves who are polluted by the process.’


Etruscan Books has also just put out a typically professional piece of craftsmanship with Carlyle Reedy’s collection of poems, Epos. For those of us who recall Peter Barry’s Poetry Wars, British Poetry of the 1970s and the Battle of Earl’s Court (Salt 2006) the close analysis of Reedy’s ‘isle of sheppey’ poem brought into sharp focus the sense of the effect of natural forces on human objects. As Lee Harwood puts it ‘The poems are like spells. There are things one can’t fully understand, can’t explain, but somehow trusts.’


These two books are a must for the New Year.

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