Free Verse returns

August 14, 2013

Free Verse, the poetry book fair, returns next month for the third year. The date to put in your diary is Saturday 7 September, from 10am-5pm. This year, having outgrown its previous venues, the 60+ participating presses and poetry organisations will be selling their wares at the Conway Hall, London. Reality Street will be there. 

This is the familiar site of the not-to-be-confused-with Small Publishers Fair, which has been running for many more years than that, usually in November. It looks like that may go ahead under different management this year, following the untimely death of its founder, Martin Rogers. However, Reality Street won't be participating this time.

The Small Publishers Fair has always been something of a dichotomy: artists' books on the one hand, poetry on the other, with a few - the publishers of visual poetry - straddling the gap. There was always an audience for the readings, organised over the years by West House Books, but few of the artists' book customers attended them. 

Free Verse, by contrast, the brainchild of Charles Boyle of CB editions, is entirely focused on poetry. But it spans the full spectrum of poetry publishing in the UK. Pretty well everybody. I mean, Faber & Faber will condescend to be there! Faber & Faber, Knives Forks & Spoons and If p then q in the same room - can you imagine? So there's guaranteed to be something you like and something you don't like. OK?

Maybe a few people will find they like something they previously were convinced they disliked. 

As for Reality Street, well, Peter Hughes will be there at noon reading from his great new book Allotment Architecture, which you can buy. (Why haven't you bought it already?) Andrea Brady would have been launching Cut From the Rushes, but finds she has to be in Germany that weekend. Never mind, her book will be on sale too. Along with lots of others. This is the only live event Reality Street is attending this year, so come and 
say hello and browse and buy.


Down With Beauty on Stride

July 31, 2013
Forgot to mention earlier that Andy Brown has reviewed Down With Beauty at Stride Magazine. He says nice things. Thank you, Andy.

By now, copies of the two most recent Reality Street titles - Allotment Architecture by Peter Hughes and Cut From the Rushes by Andrea Brady - should have reached most Supporters. They will be on general sale pretty shortly. The official launch date is 7 September.

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Sale on

July 2, 2013
Just thought I'd post that the annual Reality Street sale is on. A chance to catch up on the RS backlist at bargain prices - check it out. 

The summer sale always provides a little boost to the press's finances, not to mention welcome movement of authors' works from dusty shelves (or in the case of POD books, not so dusty megabytes) into readers' hands. 

As anyone who's ever worked in publishing at any level - from "major" publishers to the smallest of non-commercial presses - knows, the vast m...
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Big(gish) in Wales

June 21, 2013
Today, Midsummer Day, The Moors play their first gig of this year in Hastings Old Town, at the Jenny Lind Inn, where we've performed eight times previously (the last being 28 December). I hope the sound balance will be improved from that occasion, when we were plagued by problems: our current drummer, Russell, will be taking charge of the PA and mixing this time, as he did in Brecon, Wales, at the beginning of this month.

That was kind of interesting. It was the furthest the band had ever been...

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Guardian review for tapestry

May 31, 2013
In a rare (for Reality Street) emergence into the arclights of national newspaper coverage, Philip Terry's amazing novel tapestry, just published this month, has been given the thumbs up in Nicholas Lezard's weekly column in The Guardian. The online version appeared last Tuesday (28 May) and is in the print edition on Saturday 1 June.

And yes, it is "a nice touch that the publisher is based in Hastings". Our first "local interest" book, I think.

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Breaking news - the poetry market is down

May 30, 2013
The news that Salt Publishing is pulling out of doing single-author poetry collections may have made Carol Ann Duffy "extremely sad" but has met with a more considered response elsewhere.

Salt were in many respects pioneers, and, as I have mentioned before in this space, Reality Street would probably not be surviving now had I not been impressed with Chris Hamilton-Emery's blazing a trail in print-on-demand publishing.

But, as I have also said before, the idea of trying to make a profit out of ...

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Sarah Kirsch 1935-2013

May 23, 2013

The German poet and lyricist Sarah Kirsch died on 5 May following a short illness.

Born Ingrid Bernstein in what later became East Germany, she changed her name to Sarah in protest against Nazi anti-semitism. Later political protest caused her to leave for the West.

Sarah Kirsch's pamphlet, the poem sequence T, with a parallel English translation by Wendy Mulford and Anthony Vivis, was published by Reality Street in 1995. It's a beautiful little item, physically quite unlike the rest of Reality...
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Launch on 21 May

May 1, 2013

I'll be launching Down With Beauty and Philip Terry will launch tapestry with readings at The Blue Bus, on Tuesday 21st May, from 7.30 at The Lamb (in the upstairs room), 94 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1. Admissions: £5 / £3 (concessions). 

The books will be on sale at the special launch price of £10 each – or if you can't get there, you can buy them online. Or join the Reality Street Supporter scheme to get these and other books published in 2013.

Ken Edwards: Down With Beauty

A seri...

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Golden Handcuffs #16

April 30, 2013

The sixteenth issue of the enterprising Golden Handcuffs Review is now out. A thing I like about the magazine is that, highly unusually for US literary journals, it features British and Irish writers as a matter of course. No "special British issue", no tokenism. In this issue are David Miller (the intro from The Alchemist's Mind), Maurice Scully, Brian Marley, Paul Griffiths and, er, me. Also Peter Quartermain, who is a Brit living in Vancouver. And in addition: Robert Kelly, Hank Lazer, Da...
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There's something in there...

March 6, 2013
To Oxford last week (the proof copy of Philip Terry’s tapestry arrived just as we were leaving) to hear a rare performance of "There's something in there" - a piece composed a few years ago by John Tilbury using my words. 

Maybe a dozen or so red kites wheeling and hovering over the M40 around Beaconsfield, their forked tails slanting like rudders, as the sun started to emerge. I've never seen one before, and didn't realise they had got quite so common in this part of the world.

The concert w...

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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