Here are some websites of literary presses and others which we think highly of.
Acorn Book Company is a relatively new but highly successful publisher of short works of poetry and fiction, often beautifully presented in small format, with a particular leaning towards haiku and similar forms. Acorn also boast an admirably minimalist website.
Acumen has been going as a quarterly for over 25 years. Edited by Patricia Oxley, it publishes a lively mix of poetry and reviews together with special features on lesser known writers.
Agenda is one of the best known and most highly respected poetry journals in the world, having been founded in 1959 by William Cookson at Ezra Pound’s instigation. It is now edited by Patricia McCarthy, who co-edited it with William Cookson for four years until his death in January 2003. She is continuing, as Seamus Heaney says, ‘to uphold the lofty standards of Agenda’. Features poems, reviews and special issues devoted to major poets.
‘In 1959 a London paediatrician, Dr Martin Bax, diagnosed Angst and Ennui as the prevailing mood. He prescribed Ambit: poetry, fiction and art – sometimes shocking, sometimes erotic, sometimes comic, always compelling – plus a small dose of unstuffy poetry reviews.’ Ambit is an entertainingly maverick journal.
Arc Publications publish poetry in English and translated, ‘with special emphasis on the work of Commonwealth poets writing in English’; one example is the excellent Robert Gray. Arc also publishes much of the work of Ivor Cutler. Their website includes an entertaining History of Arc by David Morley.
‘The books have class and clout’, says Melvyn Bragg, and indeed they do: Bloodaxe Books has published much of the best new English poetry of the last 20 years, including Simon Armitage, Selima Hill, Roddy Lumsden, Glyn Maxwell and Chris Greenhalgh.
The Bow-Wow Shop
The Bow-Wow Shop is a newish (8 issues to date, February 2012) and idiosyncratic online poetry magazine edited by Michael Glover; Marius Kociejowski (see elsewhere on this site) is a contributing editor. Poems, review, articles and interviews make for an interesting mix.
As well as publishing PN Review, probably Britain’s best poetry magazine, Carcanet is home to John Ashbery, Les Murray, Elizabeth Jennings, Christopher Middleton, Edwin Morgan and a host of other excellent poets from around the world.
Enitharmon is divided into two companies: Enitharmon Press, publishing poetry, novels and essays by such writers as Alan Brownjohn, Vernon Scannell, David Gascoyne and Kathleen Raine; and Enitharmon Editions Ltd, which produces de luxe artists’ books in the tradition of the livre d’artiste.
Margaret and Peter Lewis set up Flambard Press in 1990 as a small, independent press offering opportunities to new and neglected writers, especially in the North of England. Poetry came first but Flambard now publishes some fiction as well.
‘As publishers become more corporate, global and boring, IRON Press champions new writing as it has done since 1973.’ So begins the home page of this Northern English press’s highly entertaining website. Among their publications is The Haiku Hundred, a particularly good anthology of English-language haiku, and Anvil alumnus Hamish Ironside’s Our Sweet Little Time.
Modern Poetry in Translation
Modern Poetry in Translation publishes exactly what its title implies and in its early days published ground-breaking work by Eastern European poets. Founded by Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort in 1965, it is now edited from Oxford by Helen and David Constantine.
Peepal Tree Press
Peepal Tree Press is home to the best in Caribbean and Black British fiction, poetry, literary criticism, memoirs and historical studies. It has published three prose works by E.A. (‘Archie’) Markham: Against the Grain: A 1950s Memoir, Marking Time and Taking the Drawing Room Through Customs (selected stories 1972–2002)
The Poetry Archive
The Poetry Archive, directed by Andrew Motion and Richard Carrington, is a wonderful and extensive library of sound recordings of poetry, mostly read by the poets themselves. Play them online or choose from a great collection of CDs. It covers recent and contemporary poetry from the UK and America as well as a growing collection of historic recordings from Tennyson to Dylan Thomas. It has a fine section for children.
The Poetry Book Society
The Poetry Book Society is, as their website puts it, ‘a specialist poetry bookseller and a book club for everyone who enjoys poetry – dedicated readers, occasional browsers and absolute beginners. We provide information, advice and discounts on poetry books to suit your needs, whatever your taste.’ It is well worth becoming a member, not only for new books at bargain prices but also for their quarterly Bulletin, the best means of keeping up to date with what’s being published in the world of British poetry.
The Poetry Business
Based in the north of England, The Poetry Business operates the Smith/Doorstop Press and The North magazine as well as holding writing days at its premises in Huddersfield and running an annual Book & Pamphlet competition.
The Poetry Society
Probably the best starting point for anyone new to poetry is to join the Poetry Society. Running the Poetry Café, sponsoring the largest open poetry competition and publishing the biggest British poetry magazine, Poetry Review, the society also offers a wider range of resources in areas such as education and expert criticism.
The Rialto is an attractive journal which concentrates on publishing original poetry by writers both new and established; it does not include reviews. Founded in 1984, it is edited by Michael Mackmin.
Tindal Street Press
Tindal Street Press, directed by Alan Mahar, is a Birmingham-based independent publisher of regional literary fiction with a national reputation for excellence and a prize-listing record that is the envy of many established imprints. It has published four collections of short stories by E.A. (‘Archie’) Markham: Meet Me in Mozambique, At Home with Miss Vanesa, The Three Suitors of Fred Belair and the omnibus collection, The Stories of E.A. Markham.Strongly recommended.