The Practical Visionary by Chris McCabe & Sophie Herxheimer

Hercules Editions are delighted to announce the publication of The Practical Visionary by Chris McCabe and Sophie Herxheimer.

Poet / writer Chris McCabe and poet / artist Sophie Herxheimer have created a series of original poems, collages and etchings around the visionary work of William Blake and on the psychogeographical terrain of Blake’s Lambeth. The project is inspired by and celebrating the bi-centenary of Blake’s last writing in his notebook of 1818, in which appeared first drafts of ‘The Tyger’ and the first version of ‘London’.

The unique printworks have been created at Slaughterhaus Printmaking Studios in Lambeth, just a short walk from where Blake lived on Hercules Road.

This limited signed edition of 300 is beautifully presented and available to buy here.

ISBN 978-0-9572738-8-7        48pp       Price £10

The Singing Glacier launches at MMU

 

 

Back in May, Helen Mort’s new Hercules Editions book, The Singing Glacier, was launched at a special event at Manchester Metropolitan University as part of the Writers at Manchester Met series, hosted by the Manchester Writing School.

The evening was introduced by Dr David Cooper, senior lecturer in English at MMU, who spoke about the university’s increasing emphasis on writing and place in recent years, and how the book is a part of that commitment to the relationship between writing and place.

Tamar Yoseloff spoke next about seeing the performance for the first time and how Helen’s poem had stayed with her and had later thought it was a shame that the text wasn’t available to sit down with and enjoy, so she was thrilled when Helen got in touch and asked if Hercules would be interested in publishing it.

Helen then spoke about the genesis of the project and the incredible experience of the three-week journey to the Arctic. Over footage from the original film, Helen recited the first in the sequence, ‘Glacier Song’, then going on on to read further poems from the book.

Hercules were thrilled to be able to launch the book to so many people engaged with the themes and style of the book, and we’d like to thanks James Draper, Manager of the Manchester Writing School.

You can find more details and buy the book here.

Ormonde in the News

Following the publicity surrounding the Windrush scandal, in The Guardian, Colin Grant writes about five essential books that focus on the Windrush generation. Amongst V.S. Naipaul and Sam Selvon, Grant also recommends Hannah Lowe’s Ormonde, Published by Hercules in 2014.

Grant writes “The Windrush story has become a foundation myth, but in Ormonde, Hannah Lowe reminds us that there were other ships too – one of which, the SS Ormonde, ferried her father, Ralph (aka Chick) to England in 1947. Her tender collection of poems conjures some of those on board the ship (boxer, chef, Chick). Taking the passenger list as a starting point, she reimagines their journeys and the inner voices of hope and anxiety that accompanied them. It is a feat of extraordinarily loving creativity.” 

You can read the full article here.

The injustice of the treatment of the Windrush generation that has come to light over the last few weeks has shocked and appalled us. We’re proud to have played a small part in ensuring the story of generations of these citizens continues to be told.

The Singing Glacier by Helen Mort

Hercules Editions are pleased to announce the publication of The Singing Glacier by the award-winning poet Helen Mort.

This illustrated chapbook is the culmination of a two-year project to create a multimedia work based on the stunning and fragile landscape of southeastern Greenland.

This unique combination of film, music and poetry has successfully toured around the country, and is now entering a new form, in a beautiful physical edition of the work.

The Singing Glacier will be launched in London on 10th May at the London Review Bookshop and in Manchester on 31st May at Manchester Metropolitan University.

We’ll be posting more information about the launch events soon, so watch this space!

In the meantime, we are running an Indiegogo campaign to produce this beautiful book. Please visit our funding page to contribute to this unique project, and sign up for a range of rewards, including an extra poem signed by the author and a place on the upcoming workshops that we’ll be announcing soon.

Jacqueline Saphra and the T.S. Eliot Prize

Last month we were delighted to see Hercules author, Jacqueline Saphra give an amazing reading in the Royal Festival Hall to a rapt audience. She was reading from All My Mad Mothers, published by Nine Arches which was nominated for the T.S. Eliot prize for the best poetry books of the year. We caught up with Jacqueline afterwards and asked her about the experience:

Photo by Adrian Pope

“The T.S. Eliot shortlisting was a breathtaking surprise and an absolute joy. The prize wasn’t even on my radar because until this year, only the established and larger publishing houses have been listed. I’m obviously thrilled for Jane Commane at Nine Arches Press and thrilled for all the other Nine Arches poets, very fine ones. Jane’s an inspirational grafter, as most small publishers have to be. My books have been published only by those editors on the fringes and I know how hard they work. Ocean Vuong, a brilliant poet, had a team of publicists, copy editors and designers behind him. I had Jane; and what a brilliant job she’s done. My experience with Tamar Yoseloff, another inspirational grafter, at Hercules Editions, has been very similar: plenty of direct contact with my editor from the start and a close feeling of connection with fellow poets like Ruth Valentine, whose wonderful Rubaiyat for the Martyrs of Two Wars was published in the same year as A Bargain with the Light.

As far as the Eliot experience goes, I loved that in the run-up there was a publicist spreading the word about poetry (I believe in expanding our audiences), and I really enjoyed the interviews I did on Radio London and Sky News. I can honestly say the night of the readings was one of the best of my life as well as one of the most extreme. I was asked to read first in the second half and found myself suffering from a kind of adrenaline-induced hypothermia – I just couldn’t get warm – before I went on to read. Later Bill Herbert, the Chair of the judges joked to someone that they’d almost had to wrap me in silver foil! Once I was up there I was fine of course: the performer in me kicked in, supported by very audible cheers and whoops from the audience. I had rehearsed a great deal and been excellently coached by my friend the wonderful poet Miriam Nash. The experience of reading to a packed audience at the Festival Hall – around 1500 people I believe – was astounding and unforgettable. I felt very present throughout (which is not always the case), despite the enormous space – or maybe because of it.

Now I just want to do it again! I’m counting the number of readings – from both books – coming up in the next few months and looking forward to performing more – the poems take on new life when they’re read out loud to any audience, small or large. As to the future, I’m hoping that the doors are now open to more independent presses, not just the usual suspects and that we’ll see more nominations of books from other small publishing houses in years to come.”

Photo by Adrian Pope

We’re delighted to say that there are more opportunities to see Jacqueline read from her Hercules chapbook A Bargain with the Light coming up.

Saturday 3rd of March 

Poetry at The Room

33 Holcombe Road, Tottenham Hale N17 9AS

With Martyn Crucefix, Graham Buchan and Nandita Ghose

£5 on the door

Saturday 10th March

Jacqueline will be reading at WOW Bites: Saturday Afternoon

as part of the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival

Tickets from the Southbank Centre’s website

A Bargain with the Light is available to buy from the Hercules Shop

Hercules at Poetry in Aldeburgh

Last month Hercules Editions had the great pleasure of hosting an event at the Poetry in Aldeburgh festival. The event was a joint celebration and reading of the two books published earlier this year Rubaiyat for the Martyrs of Two Wars by Ruth Valentine and A Bargain with the Light: Poems After Lee Miller by Jacqueline Saphra.

Hercules editor and author of Formerly, Tamar Yoseloff hosted the event in the pop-up gallery space under the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh, and attendees were treated to readings from both books, conversations with the authors and delightfully themed edible treats, including marzipan breasts and devilled egg eyes to celebrate Lee Miller’s surreal recipes.

The books are available from the Hercules bookshop, and Bargain with the Light is also available from LRB Bookshop, the Imperial War Museum Bookshop and the Photographer’s Gallery bookshop. Both books would make great stocking fillers!

Our thanks to Poetry in Aldeburgh for inviting Hercules Editions to be a part of such a wonderful festival.

We’ll be announcing more exciting events in the new year.

 

Ruth Valentine Workshop

Hercules are delighted to announce details of a workshop on WRITING POLITICAL POETRY with Ruth Valentine

 Outraged at the state of the world?  Distraught at the human disasters?  Determined to make a difference?  ‘Poetry makes nothing happen,’ said Auden, but we might disagree.  The question is how to write politically committed verse without it becoming simple propaganda or doggerel.

We’ll look at political poems that work, and some that don’t, and think about the differences, in form as well as content.  There will be prompts from print- and photo-journalism to help you find a new angle, and a chance to explore the material in various poetic forms.  By the end of that day you should have at least one poem in draft, that you can polish and send out to change the world.

Saturday 27th January from 10:30am to 4:30pm

at The Poetry School 81 Lambeth Walk, London, SE11 6DX

Please note The Poetry School is providing the venue only – booking must be made in advance through Hercules Editions. The fee for the workshop is £65 / £55 concessions. Bookings can be made through PayPal via the Hercules Editions shop.