Anvil Press Poetry

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Founded in 1968 by Peter Jay and now based in Greenwich, south-east London, Anvil Press is England’s longest-standing independent poetry publisher.

We specialize in contemporary English poets – with a leavening of Irish and American – and in a range of translated poetry, from ancient classics to modern and contemporary poets.

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Nearly two years after the untimely death of the Irish poet Dennis O’Driscoll, we are proud to publish the poems he had written in 2011–12 since compiling Dear Life, his much-praised 2012 collection now re-issued with a foreword by Seamus Heaney. Update is a powerful and moving addition to his work.

Two other quite different new books are also featured this month: Anthony Howell’s Silent Highway and Martina Evans’s Burnfort, Las Vegas.

After some 40 years of support, we are sad that the Arts Council has decided to discontinue regular funding to Anvil from spring 2015. We thank the Council for the support which has made our publishing possible.

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Dennis O'Driscoll


Distance is the soul of beauty. – Simone Weil

How will this seemingly off-the-rack day
eventually stack up? A day that does
its routine duty, and is pulling out
the stops now for the usual grand finale,
as the sun, voyage terminating, discharges
runny colours like ship’s bilge.

Will this day survive the test of time?
Will we live to see it notch up classic rating,
like a novel – posthumously acclaimed –
that had suffered multiple rejections,
a reappraised basement painting
newly accorded old master status?

Could this day – so humdrum it seems
forgettable – become numbered among
our very best: free of crisis, a vindication
of the quiet life; belated recognition for
an understated Sunday that shunned
the limelight, yet may still withstand scrutiny?

Might what appeared, in its own day,
to have made a modest splash, at most,
seem nearly faultless in a retrospective light,
redeem the reputation days gain for adversity,
shine sublimely in past tense, display
an unsuspected aptitude for happiness?

From Update by Dennis O'Driscoll

Our featured books

Burnfort, Las Vegas cover

Martina Evans: Burnfort, Las Vegas

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Dear Life cover

Dennis O'Driscoll: Dear Life

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Silent Highway cover

Anthony Howell: Silent Highway

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Update cover

Dennis O'Driscoll: Update

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