Bill breaks the record

February 1, 2014
Attracting 120 subscribers, the promotion of Bill Griffiths' Collected Poems & Sequences (1981-91), just out, has smashed the record for the Reality Street Supporter scheme, which has numbered 70-85 subscribers annually on average over the past few years.

The Bill Griffiths volume is the only new title to be published by Reality Street this year. This is because I am taking a little breather, and trying to focus a bit more on my own writing during 2014. The success of some of the press's titles - especially Philip Terry's tapestry, Paul Griffiths' let me tell you, The Reality Street Book of Sonnets and the perennial Out of Everywhere and Denise Riley's Selected Poems - has been very welcome, but, having retired from my day job three years ago, I now feel like I have plunged into a new one, albeit one that pays very little for the amount of effort. Not quite Reginald Perrin (older British readers will recognise that), but still.

So the 2014 Supporter scheme has now been closed to new subscribers, but you can still buy both the Bill Griffiths volumes through this website at very favourable terms. And watch this site, or the Facebook page if that is your wont, for advance news of the 2015 scheme and publications programme.

Footnote: the Philip Terry and Paul Griffiths books have been and continue to be commercial successes for the press (in relative terms - we are still talking sales of hundreds rather than thousands) because they have reached out beyond the usual supporter base of poets. In Philip's case, the crucial factors have been a prominent review in The Guardian and shortlisting for the Goldsmith's Prize. In Paul's, his reputation as a music critic, several high-profile reviews on first publication in 2008, and a recent second surge of sales following Paul's adaptation of some of the words of his novel as a libretto for German composer Hans Abrahamsen (see previous post). The last three titles mentioned above have all benefited from being taught in various higher educational establishments, Out of Everywhere being
, amazingly, in its eighteenth year of publication.

 

let me tell you

January 7, 2014



Paul Griffiths' Reality Street novel let me tell you has been condensed into a poem that has been set for soprano and orchestra by Hans Abrahamsen. Here, the composer talks with Paul and with Barbara Hannigan, the soprano, who was evidently key to putting this project together.

The composition itself is a beautiful piece of about 30 minutes in length, and for a short while at least you can listen to a performance (with the Berlin Philharmonic) broadcast on Portuguese radio.


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From the rooftop

December 10, 2013
The view from the roof of our house - chiefly of other roofs in Hastings Old Town - is wonderful, especially on a very balmy, watery-sunny December day. But there's something illicit about it. I'm not supposed to be here. It's not very comfortable. I have just crawled out of the Velux window into the lee of the chimney stack and I have to twist my ankles into strange positions to wedge myself in the runnel below the chimney while simultaneously leaning against and trying not to dislodge a ban...
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Deadmans Beach

December 2, 2013
The tide was in at Deadmans Beach, and the wind was up. The fishing fleet was ranged on the banks of shingle being encroached by rushing and receding waves: an impressive if heterogenous collection of chiefly traditionally clinker-built vessels (but some of fibreglass), both larger trawlers and also punts, that’s to say, undecked boats, all with diesel engines, sitting on their greased hardwood blocks or planks, awaiting favourable conditions. Linseed oil dully gleamed and colours faded aga...

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After the Goldsmiths rush

November 14, 2013
Well, it's all over, and the result was both a disappointment - I can't pretend I didn't hope that Philip Terry's tapestry might win the Goldsmiths Prize - and a relief - not only that the suspense is finished with, but also ... well, the world of literary prizes and what they entail is not one that I am familiar or completely comfortable with, and now I don't have to deal with that.

For the record, the worthy winner was Eimear McBride for her disturbing and poetic novel A Girl is a Half-Forme...
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Dead Level

November 1, 2013
Two youths – the one, a hoodie, the other, a beanie – were observed at 10:57 sharing a plastic bottle of cider behind the electricity pylons. White Lightning. They moved hardly at all. The weather was clement, if still chilly. At the road junction for Deadmans Beach just beyond the Barbican Gate was an emptied pub (the Barbican Inn in fact, the faded sign said), half-timbered and lead-latticed, advertised as being for sale, with temporary wire mesh fencing mounted on breeze blocks barring...

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All that is the case

October 14, 2013

The case continues. It is built sentence by sentence. And so we are sentenced to death. The sea was lucid. The sea was impossible. How could we proceed? One plus one is two, but one times one is one. The story so far: still a south-westerly, with gulls wheeling in it. No further, then. But all these manila folders have re-emerged, bulging with cases, past and indeed ongoing. There are stacks of them. Filing cabinets needed, make a note of that. But these cases, closed or still o...


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"I like sentences that seem to run away with my thoughts"

October 8, 2013
Johan de Wit's Gero Nimo hasn't had nearly the attention it deserves since it was published in 2011. So it's a pleasure to read Jim Goar's excellent interview with him in The Conversant. It's the latest in a series of "transatlantic interviews" wherein two poets can converse online about what it means to write poetry.



Johan talks about where his sentences come from and what happens to them when they get there. And how he gets started, overcomes blockages, revises.

"Day after day, chapter after ...
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Shortlisted

October 1, 2013
When Reality Street took on Philip Terry's strange and wonderful novel tapestry it was, well, because I thought it strange and wonderful, and not with any expectation of public acclaim or commercial success.

Oddly, it was the second Oulipo-influenced novel with a lower-case title that we had published - after Paul Griffiths' let me tell you - and also the second after that book to achieve national press reviews, in the most recent instance, Nicholas Lezard's pick of tapestry as paperback of th...
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Molecule III

August 26, 2013


Thanks to Howard Jones and COMA Sussex, this score of mine from a number of years ago was performed again last April (listen to it here) at St John sub Castro Church in Lewes. The score fits onto a standard postcard and I hope is self-explanatory (apologies for the typo in the instructions, which wasn't my fault). It was originally part of a project, Postcard Music, in which 12 composers based in London at the time each contributed a score/postcard. It's long out of print.

Howard and the ensem...
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About ...


Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at http://www.kenedwards.eu/