Monday, 30 December 2013
One does – doesn’t one? – say thank you. One has been well brought up. After Christmas, especially. (The speed at which my brother and I, when small, tore open wrapping paper was restricted only by my mother’s handwriting of the tally: Uncle Bill, Airfix model; Aunty Nesta, book token; Cousin John, fountain pen. And on Boxing Day or the day after, the writing of thank-you letters – short, formulaic [see above], but they may actually have been my first written compositions.) Especially, too, when one wins an Oscar or publishes a book.
The acknowledgements pages of a book can be odd and revealing things. They include, first, persons or organisations the author is obliged to thank: publishers or literary estates that have given permission for previously published material to be quoted, or funding bodies that have given grants. Poetry books and story collections usually list the magazines in which individual poems or stories included in the present book have been previously printed, but I doubt these lists (which can go on and on, and even more so in US books, which often also list the titles of the particular poems which appeared in each magazine) are strictly necessary (who cares?) – they are etiquette, and also a form of advertising: look, I’ve had a poem in the TLS, you should take me seriously. They are lists of little badges.
And then – rarely for poetry but sometimes for fiction and almost always for non-fiction – the personal acknowledgements to people who have read and commented on early drafts, provided letters of introduction, etc. (If it’s a long book, the words ‘the late’ occasionally appear before names.) There’s room here for some flavour, some spice: in a CBe book published last year, X is thanked ‘for editing out most of my favourite parts in the Introduction’, and Y ‘for explaining when ladies are women’. Also, because the ways in which books get written change over time, a book can often be dated to a rough decade by its personal acknowledgements. Some novelists now thank workshop groups or writing circles and name their members. A decade or so ago, a conspicuous number of male non-fiction writers appeared unable to perform such mundane tasks as filing their research notes, compiling a basic index or even typing up their own manuscripts: others, usually women (and often wives, presumably unpaid), were thanked for undertaking these chores. (A number of these writers, I suspect, also didn’t cook, drive or do the shopping. They were writers.)
Agents and editors are often thanked, and I’m not sure about this. When I worked as a desk editor at Faber and an author included my name in their draft acknowledgements I’d usually delete it – it’s my job, I explained, and I get paid for this; save your thanks for the people who have given time or expertise freely, without expecting reward. Sometimes, this was a way of keeping my name out of a book that I didn’t in fact like and didn’t want to be publicly associated with. But generally I’d hold to that. Besides, if agent and editor, why not everyone else involved in the making of the book? – post-room staff, receptionist, office cleaners … So that you’d end up with something like the rolling list of credits at the end of a film (gaffer, grip, best boy). (There is, by the way, a nice credit at the end of My Own Private Idaho: ‘Additional dialogue: William Shakespeare’.) Best keep it short: the longer the acknowledgements go on, the more self-congratulatory they come to seem.
I apologise to anyone I’ve left out. Any errors are entirely my own responsibility. The socks were just what I’ve always wanted.
Sunday, 15 December 2013
Not ten books, as a current meme(?) calls for, but one: James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941). (Impossible to choose a favourite book? Not always. I was asked to suggest one by someone I was having coffee with a few months ago, just as as we were getting up to leave – and this came into my head, and we needed to sit down again and talk about it, and I stand by it.) If there wasn’t the Bible and you had to invent one, this for me would be very much it. It includes riffs, narratives, lists (exhaustive inventories of clothes, animals, tools, furniture, among them), photographs (Walker Evans), transcripts, impassioned essays on the ethics of journalism, work & economics, aesthetics, vernacular architecture, education, language; the occasional poem; and passages that are a form of prayer. It is also a coming-of-age book (Agee was in his twenties) that refuses to come of age: it is fuelled throughout by rage (at how the world works; at himself) and by love. ‘What, what is it has happened? What has been happening that we are living the way we are?’
‘The nominal subject is North American cotton tenantry as examined in the daily living of three representative white tenant families’ (Preface). In the summer of 1936 Agee and Walker were commissioned by Fortune magazine to write a piece on sharecroppers (tenant farmers who pay their landlords a share of the crops on their land) in Alabama. Agee is, to say the least, conflicted: ‘It seems to me curious, not to say obscene and thoroughly terrifying, that it could occur to an association of human beings drawn together through need and chance and for profit into a company, an organ of journalism, to pry intimately into the lives of an undefended and appallingly damaged group of human beings, an ignorant and helpless rural family, for the purpose of parading the nakedness, disadvantage and humiliation of these lives before another group of human beings, in the name of science, of “honest journalism” (whatever that paradox may mean), of humanity, of social fearlessness, for money, and for a reputation for crusading …' But he writes (even though ‘I’m not capable of it; and if I were, you would not go near it all. For if you did, you could hardly bear to live’), and result is this book, a book that ‘is a book only by necessity’.
There’s a late section (‘Inductions’, pages 361 to 407 at the core of it in my 1988 Picador edition; I don’t know about about the current Penguin Modern Classics edition, though that one does have a fine intro by Blake Morrison) that I go back to most years, in which after having met the people he’s going to write about he drives away into an intensity of aloneness – heat, sexual longing and frustration, death-wish, ‘I could my foot to the floor right now and when it had built up every possible speed I could twist the car off the road, if possible into a good-sized oak, and the chances are I would kill myself, and I don’t care much about doing that either’ – and then he drives back, to the house of one of the families he has met (‘its side porch and all the the filthy lard cans and the hard dirt scattered with hen turds; nobody there’) and then the children suddenly materialise, ‘feet on the running-board and quick bodies clamped close against the hot flank of the car, panting with the grinning look of dogs, their eyes looking straight, hard, and happy into mine. (Jesus, what could I ever do for you that would be enough.)’
Walker Evans, in a 1960 foreword (included in most editions of the book, I think; Agee himself died in 1955, in his forties), recalls Agee: ‘His hands were large, long, bony, light, and uncared for. His gestures were one of the memorable things about him. He seemed to model, fight, and stroke his phrases as he talked. The talk, in the end, was his distinguishing feature. He talked his prose, Agee prose. It was hardly a twentieth-century syle; it had Elizabethan colors. Yet it had extraordinarily knowledgeable contemporary content. It rolled just as it reads; but he made it sound natural – something just there in the air like any other part of the world. How he did this, no one knows.’ And: ‘His Christianity – if an outsider may speak of it – was a punctured and residual remnant, but it was still a naked, root emotion. It was an ex-Church, or non-Church matter, and it was hardly in evidence. All you saw of it was an ingrained courtesy, an uncourtly courtesy, that emanated from him towards everyone, perhaps excepting the smugly rich, the pretentiously genteel, and the police.’
The original text that Agee submitted to Fortune magazine, lost for decades, was published in the US this year (Cotton Tenants: Three Farmers, The Baffler/Melville House). From the introductory part: ‘a human being whose life is nurtured in an advantage which has accrued from the disadvantage of other human beings, and who prefers that this should remain as it is, is a human being by definition only, having much more in common with the bedbug, the tapeworm, the cancer, and the scavengers of the deep sea’. That Fortune, a business magazine, didn’t print it is hardly surprising.
A review (in NYRB) by Ian Frazier of Cotton Tenants adds some background and perspective. ‘The reason he left out black tenants from the main part of his story was simple: Fortune had no interest in them. Black people in poverty weren’t news.’ He adds information from And Their Children After Them, a 1990 book whose authors followed up survivors and descendants of the families that Agee came to know. He notes that Cotton Tenants is a like a dam from which Famous Men (with all its ‘confessions, declarations of love, passionate divagations and occasional incoherencies’) burst: ‘Freed from a magazine article’s bounds, the energy that Agee aims at his target often goes flying off into space; but when it strikes something real – the way a breeze moves through trees at the edge of a cotton field, the looks men give to a woman of bad reputation in a general store – the energy is so abundant that every tiny pixel blooms.’ He writes that ‘if Famous Men is sometimes not a good book or a sensible book, it is also, inescapably, a great book’.
Friday, 13 December 2013
There’s a symmetry here: the first van (run by two women) is along the road from the printer in Acton, west London; the second (run by two men) is along the road from Central Books, the distributor, in Hackney Wick, east London. I sampled both today. From west to east, if I’m taking no more than two boxes of books – which slot into the blue case in the second photo – I go by Overground rail.
One of the reasons that CBe has kept going for six years is my stubborn, quite possibly childish insistence on doing myself everything that I can do, including the trekking of boxes – which may not be the most efficient way of doing things, and is also one of the reasons why I’m tiring, and need to step back and have a think about this.
Meanwhile, a rather boring update on the blog post dated 25 November, about permissions. (Which had three times as many viewings as any other post on the blog, which itself is depressing: it suggests that the only surefire way to get attention is to be shouty and aggressive). Faber have confirmed they’ll make corrections in any reprint, and have paid the invoice, so back to sweetness and light. Bath Festivals: two weeks after my email to them, which I posted here, their Chief Executive replied to say that I had given a ‘misleading picture’; that their staff salaries have reduced ‘in real terms, as we have not been able to pay cost of living increases for most of the last five years’; and that ‘The reason we are not paying fees on this poetry reading project is that it is a free event so we make no money from it at all’. To which I replied that I still believe that arts organisations in receipt of large amounts of public funding, and with a large budget for admin staff costs, should not be asking writers, artists, performers, publishers, to ‘waive any fees usually applicable’; and mentioned a recent poetry festival that offered a dozen events free to the public but did not see this as a valid reason for not paying the writers involved; and said that although I’d like the material in question to be included in their project I can’t agree to this if Bath Festivals is unwilling to offer an appropriate fee. And there, I assume, the story ends.
Monday, 9 December 2013
Preamble: the one different thing about this gathering is that the recommendations come from people who don’t get asked by the broadsheets but whose replies I was truly interested in. In the mix: some writers/readers, some booksellers, some publishers. All quite random (I sent off invitations to contribute one hour after thinking of the idea), though I tried to keep m/f, and interests in poetry/fiction, in rough balance. It’s not intended as an ‘alternative’ list, whatever that might be, nor was I asking for ‘best’ books – simply books that people have enjoyed, that they’d like to recommend, that may have flown under the radar of general attention. The very few rules: publishers were asked to steer clear of books they had published themselves; books published by CBe were not eligible; recommendations didn’t have to be for books published this year, or in the UK.
Astrid Alben (poet, editor, translator): My favourite book this year was The Notebook by Agota Kristof. First published in 1986, this almost-forgotten masterpiece is narrated by a set of preadolescent twins sent to a remote village for the duration of World War II. The story is stark, brutal and devoid of sentiment. The style is stark, brutal and devoid of sentiment. It reads like a goshawk examining the open wound on its prey. This is what makes it a masterpiece: aesthetics and ethics come before beauty and morality; style is inseparable from content. The Notebook is so good I shouldn’t even be sharing it with you. (Ed.: this doesn’t quite break rule 2, because The Notebook is not yet a CBe book; but it soon will be.)
Charles Boyle (CB editions): The Complete Fiction of W. M. Spackman (Dalkey Archive). Rarely is reading so much fun. Mimi turns to her lover in bed and he’s looking a little grumpy so she teases him by saying ‘Oh god you look like that phrase Charles said your grandfather says is the style most novelists write their novels in: “Henry shook his head thoughtfully”.’ They do indeed write in that plodding style, those ‘most novelists’; Spackman doesn’t.
David Collard (writer/researcher; blogs at Salvete): Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, published by Galley Beggar Press. Winner of the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize earlier this year, this is an astonishing first novel by a writer who has created a new form of prose from scratch. A harsh, spartan, rich and intensely moving account of a nameless protagonist's growth to maturity in rural Ireland, it's a book I've now re-read twice with increasing wonder and respect. Look out for McBride – she's a fully-formed talent.
Ken Edwards (writer and musician; runs Reality Street): Three books I discovered this year:
Miquel Bauça, The Siege in the Room (Dalkey Archive) – ‘three novellas’ it says here, actually three inspired rants by this Catalan writer who died in 2005.
William H. Gass, Omensetter’s Luck (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) – I had Gass down as a perceptive theorist, but neglected to read his novels until now – my mistake. This account of the small-town conflict between an imperturbable innocent and a demented preacher is a classic.
Georges Simenon, Banana Tourist – yes, and I finally got round to reading Simenon. The Maigret books are entertaining, but best are his ‘romans durs’, of which this Conradian tragedy of a young man who flees to Tahiti is a particularly fine example.
Gareth Evans (writer, editor, curator): The emergence of new small presses committed to the book as artefact has provided an enduring excitement this year. While remarkably savvy about the role of the internet in promotion and distribution, they share a profound commitment to all aspects of the material process, from design to paper and binding, while also relaying an enthusiasm to circulate often overlooked or obscured texts. The activities of both Corbel Stone Press and Test Centre across all forms (journal, book, chapbook, pamphlet, vinyl, cd, cassette …) have been a particular pleasure; the former passionately concerned with the arts and ethics of place, the latter re-energising the countercultural nexus around Iain Sinclair, Chris Petit, Stewart Home and others (they have put out a sizeable majority of the 18 publications Sinclair has released this year).
In the same vein, a delight to find Ken Worpole and Jason Orton’s important text / image collaboration The New English Landscape (Field Station), Vagabond Witness (Zero), Paul Gordon’s beautifully written advocacy of the life and work of the great Victor Serge, and the wondrous book-length concertina poem / portrait collaboration Correspondences by Anne Michaels and painter Bernice Eisenstein (Bloomsbury; pictured above); striking evidence that mainstream publishers have not abandoned the making of remarkable books when the situation demands – impossible to imagine this working on Kindle.
Katy Evans-Bush (writer, blogs at Baroque in Hackney): Kate Clanchy, Meeting the English (Picador): lusciously satirical, funny and moving. In the boiling summer of 1989, an impoverished, laconic, and brilliant Scottish boy is a carer for a Hampstead literary lion who's had a stroke.
Steve Ely, Oswald's Book of Hours (Smokestack): in which time, language and the folk history of the North of England are tumbled together. An utterly gripping and very masculine book. This is the first time I've seen a poet make plausible – and readable – use of Anglo Saxon!
David Kynaston, Austerity Britain (Bloomsbury): a big, fat, solid, teeming book of social history, published in 2008 and more prescient than Kynaston could have dreamed. The story of Year Dot. Lifeline reading.
Lorna Scott Fox (translator, editor and journalist): Two women’s books delighted me this year. Susana Medina’s Red Tales/Cuentos Rojos (Araña): as sexy as it is brainy. And funny. Nine tumbling imaginations of hunger, flux, and estrangement – and the fetishism of the ordinary – that you can also savour in the original Spanish. Full of contrasting reticence, Chloe Aridjis’s Asunder (Mariner): its mysterious knitting of quietude and potential explosiveness in the life of a solitary museum guard builds echoes upon echoes. Two utterly different female voices, yet both fragmented, interior and speculative; both an antidote to the plot-driven realism of much writing in English these days.
Naomi Foyle (writer): First up, two new poetry collections to sing about, both tackling, in their inimitable ways, work, love, psychogeography and the process of aging irascibly. In Woman’s Head as Jug (Arc) Jackie Wills fixes a sorceress’s eye on home, hot flashes, and Brighton history; with a steady hand she crafts poem-spells from garden dirt, iron, rat fur and bone. In The Wolf Inside (Hearing Eye) Donald Gardner prances a high wire between butoh and bathos, Amsterdam and London, late Yeats and the dark urban forest of late capitalism: all with the air of the eternal child peeking out from behind the final curtain. For those who haven't read it, I must also say I was glued to The Gulag Archipelago (abridged version, Harvill Press, 1985) this summer. Furious, absurdist, deeply compassionate, Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 'Experiment in Literary Investigation' is no mere essential historical tome, but a vital key to the human heart – and Putin's neo-Stalinist agenda.
Muna Khogali (bookseller, Book and Kitchen): This book was hard to get but we reviewed it for our African Reading Group that is held in the bookshop once a month: Andrew Eseimokumo Oki’s Bonfires of the Gods (Griots Lounge). A debut novel by a very talented young Nigerian writer and refreshingly not yet another novel from the diaspora but one of the crop of homegrown Nigerian writers. This is a really raw story of war and love. What elevates it is the superb use of tone and diction. Highly recommended.
Sophie Lewis (translator from French and Editor at Large at And Other Stories): L'homme qui savait la langue des serpents by Andrus Kivirähk (Editions Attila, 2013, translated into French by Jean-Pierre Minaudier; English, roughly: 'The Man Who Spoke Snakish'). This Estonian novel has shaken up my ideas about what books do today. It tells the story of the last Estonian to learn 'snakish', to live by choice in the forest and consort with snakes, rather than moving to the village and adopting the Christian God. More than simply dramatising an era's ending, Kivirähk both creates a vivid old world and shows the pain of its sliding, merging into and crumbling beneath the habits and mores of a new one. More than this, he sustains a biting satire on all ideas of golden ages, mistaken nostalgias for older ways and beliefs, and the damage such wishful fabrications can wreak. The book gently built into something so close to a novel-length allegory while still absorbing me as a novel that I was shocked. And rival languages at the crux of it too. Also, the translator's postface is an invaluable explanation of the Estonian context.
Ira Lightman (writer): This year I enjoyed Letting Go by Angela Topping (Mother’s Milk Books) for flights of word music and whimsical playfulness just where I didn't expect it in some very earnest and plain poetry of love and ageing and the work of supporting people; Ian McMillan's Ah've Soiled Ma Breeks! (The Poetry Business) for a narrative plainness again with some unexpected imaginative privacy and strangeness to it; and Gregory Woods’s The District Commissioner's Dreams (Carcanet, 2002), again for plainness and great chopping line breaks and sculpted verses of joyous un-PC acceptance of sex just as it comes and kicks against public policy, like the Latin poets at their most crisp.
Jonathan Main (bookseller, The Bookseller Crow): After much thought the two novels that I have enjoyed the most this year are: All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld (Cape) and Pacific by Tom Drury (Grove Press).
Steve Mitchelmore (Britain's first book blogger): Miguel de Beistegui's Proust as Philosopher (Routledge) and T. J. Clark's Picasso and Truth (Princeton) changed for good my relation to both writing and the visual arts, which is not a common occurrence. Both are sensitive to the spirit and detail of the works themselves while also maintaining a focus on the philosophical horizon. Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle: Book Two / A Man in Love (Vintage) does this for life itself and suggests why critical writing – even in the guise of autobiography – appears to me the most vital genre.
Stefan Tobler (publisher at And Other Stories): ‘Strange Tracks’, Modern Poetry in Translation, no. 1 2013, the first under Sasha Dugdale's editorship, for introducing me to Toon Tellegen's poetry, especially 'An Essay'. I'm looking forward to these poems appearing in a new Carcanet collection soon. And there's a great interview with Tellegen and his translator Judith Wilkinson.
Two other books I'd mention, of many that have been extraordinary reading this year: Bluets by Maggie Nelson (Wave Books) and Selbstporträt mit Zwerg by Volker Sielaff (Lux Books). A US and a German import. Both very much of import, it feels to me.
David Winters (co-editor in chief, 3:AM Magazine): Jason Schwartz’s John the Posthumous (OR Books) was perhaps the most pioneering work of English-language fiction published this year. Simon Jarvis’s latest long poem, Night Office (Enitharmon), was characteristically dense and difficult, but deeply rewarding. Two recent reprints of neglected yet seminal short story collections – Dawn Raffel’s In the Year of Long Division (Dzanc) and Gary Lutz’s Partial List of People to Bleach (Future Tense) merit special attention. In translation, László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below (New Directions) was a landmark that I wish I’d had the time (and courage) to review.
Meike Ziervogel (writer and publisher, Peirene Press): Hill of Doors by Robin Robertson (Picador) – a stunning poetry collection by one of the best living poets. The brutish, the human and the divine. If you only read one book over Christmas, it should be this one.
The Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot (University of Nebraska Press) – anyone interested in the art and mystery of reading and writing, should go on a journey of discovery with this book.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Penguin Classics) – On the surface this classic novella might be about colonialism. But ultimately it's about the dark and haunting power of language.
Monday, 2 December 2013
Odd, that ‘like’ button on Facebook. Does one ‘like’ Titus Andronicus? And if so, what exactly is it that one is liking?
Peter Blegvad, one of the three judges who awarded Dan O’Brien’s War Reporter this year’s Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, described his experience of reading the book thus: ‘It was painful, I didn’t like it, but I sensed it was probably crucial.’ Thomas E. Ricks, in a US blog post on the book today, writes: ‘This is a book you read because you have to, not because you want. Even as I settled down in the living room to read this, I began to find reasons not to – I disliked the cover, even more the blurbs. (I mean, invoking Wallace Stevens?) By the time I got to the title page, I felt a little antsy and didn’t know why. I think I probably was a bit scared, unconsciously, of what I was getting into. I have worked hard to leave all that behind and I now lead a peaceful life. Even my dreams are pretty good nowadays.’
Ricks is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported on US military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. He knows war photographers: ‘some of the scariest people I’ve ever met … These sometimes are people who have grown too comfortable with looking violent death in the face, at some cost to their souls.’ About the book, he has a caveat: ‘Not all the poems are good, or are even poetry.’ Some lines describing Canadian peacekeepers torturing a captured youth felt, he says, ‘more like a human rights report than a poem’. But this was after he’d pushed through his antsiness and started reading, and ‘Soon I thought, this might be the best book ever written about war photography.’
Not ‘book of poems’, just ‘book’. War Reporter is in the ‘best books of 2013’ list picked by the staff of the US magazine Slate: ‘War Reporter is visceral, disturbing, at times consoling, and always honest. O’Brien’s work is an incredible achievement. Anyone who cares about how we go to war – and how we return – must read it.’ This is their politics and foreign affairs editor choosing, not their literary editor.
The poems tumble, surge, they have momentum. ‘Meditative’ is not their way. (For the Guardian review, see here.) Yet I know someone who’s had the book for months and still hasn’t finished it: one poem at a time, then do something else before coming back.
The stage version of the material from which this book is made, Dan O’Brien’s The Body of an American, inaugural winner of winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize and winner of the 2013 PEN Award for Drama, will be on at the Gate Theatre, London, from 16 January to 8 February. More details and booking info here.
Details of the four new CBe titles for February and March 2014 – May-Lan Tan, Things to Make and Break; Will Eaves, The Absent Therapist; Agota Kristof’s memoir The Illiterate (trans. Nina Bogin) and a re-issue of her novel The Notebook (trans. Alan Sheridan) – are now on the website, where the books can be pre-ordered. Click the links and see.
At present, there are no new titles planned for after March. The website will stay live, orders will be fulfilled and emails replied to, titles in print will continue to be sold – bless Inpress, bless Central Books – and please do carry on buying these books. But as for more of them, it’s time for a break.
After six years – November 2007 to now – there are 33 titles in print (plus one now with Faber and one with Bloomsbury). The extras have included bookish events in many places (from the now-gone Colony Room in Soho to Shakespeare & Co in Paris), and the pop-up shop last July, and the setting up in 2011 of the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair (which looks set to be an annual event). But here I am now in a classic bind that will be familiar to many others – more work than I handle solo with due competence, no money to pay anyone else (let alone myself).
Possibly, CBe will get back on track, but with some reconfiguring. Entering Year 7 of this thing, I wonder if I’m simply having a seven-year itch. The break in itself is not a bad thing: small presses come and go, it’s a thing that they do.
Meanwhile, huge thanks to the readers and buyers of the books; and for the record, here’s the list, year by year. That I’m as proud to have published Erik Houston’s novel (2007) or Andrew Elliott’s poetry (2013) as any of the books that have attracted more attention and sales goes, I hope, without saying.
Stefan Grabinski, In Sarah’s House, trans. Wiesiek Powaga
Erik Houston, The White Room (out of print)
Jack Robinson, Days and Nights in W12 (1st edition; out of print)
Jennie Walker, 24 for 3 (McKitterick Prize; now published by Bloomsbury)
Gert Hofmann, Lichtenberg & The Little Flower Girl (trans. Michael Hofmann)
Greg Loftin, Saxon: the screenplay
Francis Ponge, Unfinished Ode to Mud, trans. Beverley Bie Brahic (shortlisted for Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation)
Elise Valmorbida, The TV President
Andrzej Bursa, Killing Auntie and other work, trans. Wiesiek Powaga
J. O. Morgan, Natural Mechanical (Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, shortlisted for Forward First Collection Prize, PBS Recommendation)
Christopher Reid, The Song of Lunch (filmed by the BBC with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman; now published by Faber)
Jack Robinson, Recessional (out of print)
Nicky Singer, Knight Crew (staged as a youth opera at Glyndebourne)
Fergus Allen, Before Troy
Gabriel Josipovici, Only Joking
Tony Lurcock, Not So Barren or Uncultivated: British Travellers in Finland 1760–1830
David Markson, This Is Not a Novel
Marjorie Ann Watts, Are they funny, are they dead?
Jonathan Barrow, The Queue
Nancy Gaffield, Tokaido Road (Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, shortlisted for Forward First Collection Prize, PBS Recommendation)
J. O. Morgan, Long Cuts (shortlisted for Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Poetry Award)
D. Nurkse, Voices over Water (shortlisted for Forward Prize)
Jack Robinson, Days and Nights in W12 (new edition)
Apollinaire, The Little Auto, trans. Beverley Bie Brahic (shortlisted for NCBA Award)
Beverley Bie Brahic, White Sheets (shortlisted for Forward Prize)
Joaquin Giannuzzi, A Complicated Mammal, trans. Richard Gwyn
Miha Mazzini, The German Lottery, trans. Urska Zupanec (IMPAC Dublin longlist, 2014)
Dai Vaughan, Sister of the Artist
The Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann, ed. André Naffis-Sahely and Julian Stannard
Fergus Allen, New & Selected Poems
Alba Arikha, Soon
Andrew Elliott, Mortality Rate
Tony Lurcock, No Particular Hurry: British Travellers in Finland 1830–1917
Todd McEwen, The Five Simple Machines
J. O. Morgan, At Maldon
D. Nurkse, A Night in Brooklyn
Dan O’Brien, War Reporter (Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, shortlisted for Forward First Collection Prize)
Will Eaves, The Absent Therapist
Agota Kristof, The Illiterate, trans. Nina Bogin
Agota Kristof, The Notebook, trans. Alan Sheridan
May-Lan Tan, Things to Make and Break