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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Two leading independent poetry publishers combine forces

Two leading independent poetry publishers combine forces in a Northern world-poetry powerhouse

Anvil Press Poetry and Carcanet Press announced today (8 October 2015) that they have agreed to merge operations. The result: the most diverse world poetry list in the United Kingdom, and one of the great poetry lists in the Anglophone world, to be published from Manchester.

Greenwich-based Anvil Press Poetry, founded in 1968, is Britain’s longest-standing independent poetry publisher. Manchester’s Carcanet began a year later. Each grew out of a poetry magazine, New Measure and Carcanet respectively. Both have, for over four decades, been directed by their founders. Peter Jay has been the editorial and production director of Anvil, and Michael Schmidt editorial director of Carcanet. Their lists are complementary: they have shared authors, both are internationalist, committed to translation and to Anglophone poetry from around the world. They also honour the classics with modern translations, and both have made notable discoveries among emerging poets.

Anvil has published between six and ten new books a year, Carcanet between thirty and forty-five. Carcanet has ranged beyond poetry, into fiction, essays and other genres, though its main focus is poetry. Anvil’s extensive list of modern European poetry – including Celan, Popa, Lalić and Seferis in versions by exceptional poet-translators –  is outstanding. It has also published writers from the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, the Far East and Latin America. It published the first four full collections by Carol Ann Duffy. Throughout its forty-seven year history it has maintained high design and production standards.

Carcanet has comparable range, with an especially strong Commonwealth list and one of the most active first collection lists in the country. It was the first UK publisher of translations of Pessoa, Celan, Milosz, and Pamuk. It champions the work of the New York School and has a notable commitment to Anglo-American and continental modernism.

Between them Carcanet and Anvil have six Nobel laureates, more than a dozen Pulitzer Prize-winners, and in 2014 Carcanet poets won the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Award. Carcanet as a press received the IPG Alison Morrison Diversity Award and was shortlisted for the Inkubate Trade Publisher of the Year Award and the Bookseller Best Independent Publisher Award. In 2000 Carcanet was named the Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year.

Peter Jay is retiring from front line publishing to continue the writing and translation projects which have long been on his back burner. He said, ‘It is wonderful for our poets that Anvil is moving to the best possible home with Carcanet, a publisher for which I have always had enormous respect and admiration.'

Michael Schmidt commented, ‘Carcanet Press in a sense grew out of Anvil. Peter inspired and catalysed our programme and it is a great pleasure to bring the two together into a single operation. They have always been family.’ That family also includes the celebrated magazine PN Review, recently re-designed and re-launched. And Carcanet works closely with other imprints including Comma, Northern House and Sheep Meadow (USA).

Carcanet assumes full responsibility for the Anvil list which will become integral to Carcanet’s ongoing programme.

Inquiries to Alice Mullen, 0161 834 8730 extension 22 or Carcanet is represented to the book trade by Compass and distributed by NBN International.

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Ivan V. Lalić

The Spaces of Hope

I have experienced the spaces of hope,
The spaces of a moderate mercy. Experienced
The places which suddenly set
Into a random form: a lilac garden,
A street in Florence, a morning room,
A sea smeared with silver before the storm,
Or a starless night lit only
By a book on the table. The spaces of hope
Are in time, not linked into
A system of miracles, nor into a unity;
They merely exist. As in Kanfanar,
At the station; wind in a wild vine
A quarter-century ago: one space of hope.
Another, set somewhere in the future,
Is already destroying the void around it,
Unclear but real. Probable.

In the spaces of hope light grows,
Free of charge, and voices are clearer,
Death has a beautiful shadow, the lilac blooms later,
But for that it looks like its first-ever flower.

Translated by Francis R. Jones

From The Passionate Measure by Ivan V. Lalić

Please see Latest News for the important announcement about Anvil’s future made on 8 October 2015.

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