NINE ARCHES PRESS MARK 15 YEARS IN PUBLISHING WITH NEWS
OF NPO FUNDING AND 2023 POETRY LIST
Wide-ranging poetry list showcases debut voices,
award-winning authors, timely themes and a new anthology.
(Top: l-r Sarala Estruch, L. Kiew, Katie Hale, Rishi Dastidar, James McDermott, Isobel Dixon
Bottom: l-r Jacqueline Saphra, David Clarke, Ian Humphreys, Olga Dermott-Bond, Kostya Tsolakis and Deborah Alma)
Climate change, grief, and queer perspectives on nature are key themes as Midlands-based independent poetry publisher Nine Arches Press unveils full list of publications for 2023 and shares news of continued Arts Council England National Portfolio funding.
With five debut collections, new poetry books by acclaimed authors and commissioning of a new poetry handbook edited by ‘Emergency Poet’ Deborah Alma, this announcement forms a list of 12 new poetry titles to be published by Nine Arches Press in 2023. The list embraces the big themes of current times – climate change, nature and grief, world events and personal histories all feature in a diverse range of poetry collections from both emerging and established writers.
2023 launches with publication of three debut poetry collections. After All We Have Travelled by Primers mentoring scheme finalist and Ledbury Poetry Critic Sarala Estruch, is a distinctive journey across time, continents and cultures, through memory and generations of family history, exploring the long legacies of empire and its personal and political effects. Following this will be More Than Weeds, by L. Kiew, a book Seán Hewitt calls “inventive and iridescent”, which explores the language of migration, drawing on botanical and ecological detail in a study of borders, belonging, place and people. March 2023 brings publication of White Ghosts, the poetry debut by novelist and author of My Name is Monster, Katie Hale; a collection of unflinching poems tracing maternal lines and difficult legacies of slavery and whiteness woven into the fabric of America, which poet Andrew McMillan calls "a reckoning with self, and with familial history”.
Early summer will bring new poetry collections from acclaimed and returning Nine Arches poets. Forward Prize 2022 judge Rishi Dastidar publishes Neptune’s Projects in May, an apocalyptic reshaping of mythology, mixing wit and harsh realities, god-like egos and absurdism, in poems which give bold consideration to the stark choices humanity now faces on a warming planet.
In June, Isobel Dixon will publish her fourth collection with Nine Arches, A Whistling of Birds. The book began, Dixon says, as a group of creature-focused poems, with illustrations by Douglas Robertson, after a conversation about D.H. Lawrence’s Birds, Beasts and Flowers. Growing to take on a vivid life of its own, A Whistling of Birds pays close and striking attention to our threatened natural world, with echoes and glimpses from other nature-honouring writers and artists as well. It will be published ahead of the 100th anniversary of Lawrence’s iconic collection next year.
Poet and playwright James McDermott will also publish his new collection of poems Wild Life in June. Exploring the nature of queerness, queerness of nature and queerness of ‘natural’ masculinity, McDermott’s poems root themselves firmly in the coastal landscapes of North Norfolk with a vivid and radical dialogue between nature, sexuality and self-discovery.
In July, Nine Arches will also publish a moving and powerful fifth collection by TS Eliot Prize shortlisted poet Jacqueline Saphra. Velvel’s Violin shifts between past and present, revealing stories, missing histories, collective and inherited traumas from the Jewish diaspora: a warning to a world where hatred is on the rise and the legacy of the Holocaust echoes current narratives of displacement and migration.
Poets David Clarke and Ian Humphreys will also return with new collections, both of which address nature and grief in distinctive ways. Clarke, winner of the Michael Marks Award, publishes a third collection with Nine Arches Press in August; The Field in Winter elegantly reflects on memory, time, and the very particular landscape of grieving. Ian Humphreys, co-editor of the recent After Sylvia anthology marking the 90th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s birth, follows his Portico-prize longlisted debut Zebra with Tormentil in September, a collection ofpoems alive with the connections of family, food, community, place – and, at its heart, prayers for fabulousness and transformative encounters with loss, fear and fearlessness.
October will see two further debut poetry collections – from poets Kostya Tsolakis and Olga Dermott-Bond. Both were recently Featured Poets for the BBC Contains Strong Language festivals in 2021 and 2022. Olga Dermott-Bond, winner of the 2019 BBC Proms poetry competition, presents Frieze – a spectral and spellbinding debut, where women’s voices speak across space and time, from art and literature, folklore and personal story. Kostya Tsolakis, founding editor of harana poetry and winner of the 2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, was born and raised in Athens, Greece, and now lives in London. His debut, Greekling, celebrates and commemorates ‘rejected’ Greek bodies and skilfully intertwines Greek culture, history and poetic influences with the queer experience and narratives of coming of age and coming out.
November will bring Poetry to Make and Do – a ‘how to’ handbook of prompts, inspiration, ideas and essays designed to help both aspiring and established poets find ways not only to write poetry, but to take it out into the world through collaboration, projects, performances and more. The book follows previous popular creative writing handbook titles for Nine Arches – The Craft, Why I Write Poetry and How to be a Poet, and will be edited by Deborah Alma – aka The Emergency Poet and founder of the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy, based in Bishops Castle, Shropshire.
Nine Arches Press, a regional shortlistee for The British Book Awards’ Small Press of the Year 2019, achieved Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status in 2018 and has just been successful in applying again for the 2023-36 NPO funding programme. As well as publishing poetry, Nine Arches run two poetry mentoring schemes (Primers and Dynamo), poetry workshops and live and online events, and were co-directors, with Writing West Midlands and BBC Arts, of the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival in Coventry in 2021, and the SkyLines Festival of Poetry & Spoken Word in 2022.
Jane Commane, editor and director at Nine Arches Press, commented: “Since 2016 we’ve put over 30,000 new books of poetry into the hands of readers in the UK and beyond, and published 124 titles since 2008. We are excited to announce our 2023 list of thought-provoking and innovative poetry books, and thrilled to have the continued support and investment in our activity by Arts Council England through National Portfolio Organisation funding 2023-26. We are proud to be an NPO and committed to ensuring more people have access to adventures in poetry whether on the page, online, or on stage.”
Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England said: "Nine Arches Press plays an important role in England's literary scene by publishing contemporary poetry and showcasing new writers to audiences across the region. We're delighted to be investing in their work for the next three years and it'll be great to see them continue to support emerging artists and get people of all ages inspired by the written word."
Subscribe and stay up to date with our latest news at Nine Arches Press: