Two presses

July saw the publication of the Triptychs from Guillemot Press. I was one of twelve poets asked to write for the series, the brief being just that – the word ‘triptych’.  We were however, told how the poems would be produced.  As a small, three-sided pamphlet, hand printed on a 1920s letterpress.  The result is beautiful: all twelve triptychs presented in a striking black, limited edition box – only 52 made.  My triptych contains three poems responding to the work of artist Alison Watt. I’m managing my slight obsession with her work, specifically her paintings that address the ‘erotic connotations of fabric’, by writing a sequence of poems that will be included in my next collection.  Now in possession of a triptych boxset myself I have loved reading how we all interpreted the commission. There are poems inside from Peter Riley, Mona Arshi, Toby Martinez de las Rivas, Isabel Galleymore and others.  Our respective offerings are fascinatingly varied. Luke Thompson, editor of Guillemot Press has written a piece about the Triptych project’s gestation and production for the forthcoming issue of PN Review. I have great respect for the press, and what Luke is doing, and hope to work with Guillemot again in the future. Watch this space.


I have always been a long admirer of Candlestick Press.  I often buy their books as gifts. Even though I’m sure they would have preferred wine, I bought my daughter’s teachers a copy of Ten Poems of Kindness at the end of term. My daughter has just about got into the swing of school, and her teachers recognised her anxieties as well as her enthusiasm with patience and, well, kindness. Later in the summer, my daughter received a handwritten letter from one of her teachers, thanking her for the book and also explaining what kindness meant to her, as a grown up.  It made me a bit emotional I have to admit, but what a good, gentle correspondence for that small book of poems to spark. I have always loved the idea of featuring in one of Candlestick’s anthologies, so it made my day when I was asked if my poem ‘Pigeon Love’, from my first collection, could be included in their new edition of Ten Poems About Birds.  Out now and including poems from Katrina Porteous, Paul Farley, Emily Bishop, it is a very lovely thing – and each purchase includes a donation to The Owl’s Trust.