Category Archives: Event

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.

Jacqueline Saphra nominated for TS Eliot prize

We are thrilled that Hercules author Jacqueline Saphra has been nominated for this year’s TS Eliot prize, for her collection All My Mad Mothers published by Nine Arches Press.

Last month we launched Jacqueline’s A Bargain with the Light: Poems After Lee Miller which is receiving wonderful feedback and Jacqueline will be doing a workshop on The Sonnet Sequence on 25th November and you can book a place here.

We’re delighted for Jacqueline and her well deserved nomination and can’t wait to see her read at the prize reading event at the Southbank Centre on 14th January.


Hercules Editions at the Poetry Book Fair

Hercules Editions are delighted to once again have a stall at Free Verse, the Poetry Book Fair, which takes place at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL on Saturday 30th September from 11am-6pm. You’ll be able to buy our books, or come and talk to us about the press and our forthcoming projects.

We’re also thrilled to say that publisher Tamar Yoseloff will introduce a reading in the main space in the evening from the authors of two of our 2017 titles: Ruth Valentine’s Rubaiyat for the Martyrs of Two Wars and Jacqueline Saphra’s A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller. Come and see us, have a chat, buy a book, hear some poems, share a drink.



Hercules Winter Workshops announced

Hercules Editions are pleased to announce their winter workshops to tie in with the launch of recent titles – Rubaiyat for the Martyrs of Two Wars by Ruth Valentine and A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller by Jacqueline Saphra.

Saturday 21st October 2017
The rubai (rubaiyat is the plural) is a traditional Persian form, introduced (and adapted) into English by Edward Fitzgerald in the nineteenth century, and by other writers since. During this workshop, we’ll look at Persian (in translation) and English rubaiyat. We’ll consider what kind of subject matter may suit it, and practise some of the skills it needs. By the end, you’ll have at least one stand-alone rubai, and a short sequence: your own rubaiyat. If you want to start using traditional verse forms, or you just want to expand your repertoire, this workshop is for you.
10:30am – 4:30pm, The Poetry School 79-83 Lambeth Walk, London, SE11 6DX.
Please note The Poetry School is the venue only – bookings must be made in advance through Hercules Editions. Concessions are available for 60+, full time students and those in receipt of benefits. If booking a concessionary place please bring proof of status on the day.
Saturday 25th November 2017
The sonnet sequence is a beast of a thing:compulsive, addictive, thrilling, mind-bending, with a momentum all of its own. In this workshop you will face the beast head on, join forces with it, and begin to write a crown or heroic crown of sonnets. Is there a big theme you’d like to tackle in your writing? Here’s your chance to do it justice. Do you dread the blank page? With a sequence, one poem leads to another. Through looking at examples and writing exercises, this workshop will start you off on a journey that will keep your pen moving and your poetic mind inspired for a long, satisfying time.
10:30am – 4:30pm, The Poetry School 79-83 Lambeth Walk, London, SE11 6DX.
Please note The Poetry School is the venue only – bookings must be made in advance through Hercules Editions. Concessions are available for 60+, full time students and those in receipt of benefits. If booking a concessionary place please bring proof of status on the day.

Save £25 on the full price when you book for both workshops together.

A Bargain with the Light launch events

A Bargain with the Light is a tribute to one of the most extraordinary figures of the 20th century.

At its heart is a heroic crown of sonnets, accompanied by an introduction by the art historian Patricia Allmer, an essay by Jacqueline Saphra charting her journey through Miller’s story to the writing of the poems, and iconic photographs by and of Miller, courtesy of the Lee Miller Archives.

Monday 18th September

Join us for a very special launch event at the Cinema Museum, with a reading by the author, accompanied by images from the book.

6.30pm – 8.30pm

Readings at 7.15pm. Free drinks.



The Cinema Museum

2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road)



SE11 4TH




Saturday 23rd September

Join us for a book signing with author Jacqueline Saphra at the Imperial War Museum, where a major retrospective of Miller’s work was held in 2015.


The Imperial War Museum

Lambeth Road