Adventures in poetry
Image: Poets confirmed for the Nine Arches Press 2019 list
(Top: l-r Theresa Lola, David Clarke, Ian Humphreys, Julia Webb. Bottom: l-r Jacqueline Saphra, Primers Volume 4, Jessica Mookherjee, Tom Sastry)
Fresh from celebrating its tenth year of publishing during 2018, independent publisher Nine Arches Press has announced a lively and eclectic publishing programme for 2019, with nine titles scheduled by a range of debut and returning, prize-winning poets.
Nine Arches Press, which achieved Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation status earlier this year, will open 2019 with the debut collection by British Nigerian poet Theresa Lola, In Search of Equilibrium. A Barbican Young Poets Programme alumnus and joint-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, Lola’s first full collection is an extraordinary and exacting study of death and grieving.
Hebden Bridge-based Ian Humphreys will join Lola on the list in April, also with his debut collection, Zebra. His acutely-observed and joyful poems explore mixed identities, otherness, and coming-of-age as a gay man in 1980s Manchester. Humphreys is a fellow of The Complete Works programme (which aims to promote diversity and quality in British poetry) and was highly commended for his work at this year’s Forward Prizes, an accolade that also went to Jessica Mookherjee in 2017. Nine Arches will publish the new collection, Burst, by Mookherjee, which mixes family, myth, magic and migration in poems that range between Bengal, Wales and London.
David Clarke, winner of the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2013 and longlisted for the Polari Prize in 2016, returns with The Europeans in March 2019, a timely second collection in the light of the date set for Brexit. Wry and close-to-home, these poems explore journeys, ideas of nationhood and the optimism of a time when Europe and the UK enjoyed a quite different entente cordiale.
Two other poets return to Nine Arches with their second collections in 2019. Norwich poet Julia Webb follows her 2016 debut with Threat, which poet Andrew McMillan describes as ‘a collection which brilliantly manages to be both surreal and of the body… [and] knows how closely love & loss, comedy & tragedy, violence & sexuality can be bound together within the tight confines of a poem”. Londoner Jacqueline Saphra will follow her critically acclaimed, T. S. Eliot Prize shortlisted All My Mad Mothers (2017) with Dad, Remember You Are Dead in September – a sister volume to her previous collection, taking on the canon in an examination of fatherhood and
daughterhood within a wider context.
Rounding off the year is the debut from Tom Sastry, Bristol-based poet who was one of Carol Ann Duffy’s Laureate Choice poets in 2016 and brings us his collection A Man's House Catches Fire, poems where playfulness and surreal humour dovetail perfectly with altogether more serious themes. In addition, Nine Arches Press will also publish a fourth volume of Primers, their annual showcase of talented new voices in poetry, featuring Lewis Buxton, Amelia Loulli and Victoria Richards (and produced in partnership with The Poetry School), as well as a creative writing handbook, The Craft, to be published towards the end of 2019.
Jane Commane, editor and director at Nine Arches Press says:
“We are delighted to be presenting such an exciting list in 2019 – one which demonstrates how Nine Arches Press both supports new rising voices in poetry but also continues to work closely with poets who have been a big part of our own development over the last ten years. National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England has been vital in allowing us to sustain and broaden our reach as publishers, and we look forward to more adventures in poetry in 2019”
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