Category Archives: News

Announcing ‘Hammersmith’ by Sean O’Brien, with introduction by Owen Hatherley

Hammersmith Bridge photographed by Sean O'Brien
Hammersmith Bridge as seen in the book

We are thrilled to announce that Hercules Editions will be publishing Hammersmith (buy it here), a new chapbook by the award-winning poet Sean O’Brien, in May 2016. We’ve been fans of Sean’s work for years, so this is a particularly exciting project for us. Hammersmith is focused around the first two cantos of a longer poem exploring the West London region, where his parents met just after the war. Sean’s poem is a meditation on place, memory and nostalgia, informed by the voices of John Snagge, Richard Widmark and the Irish immigrants who filled the pubs along the riverside. He is already known as a poet of urban landscapes, having chronicled his hometown of Hull and his adopted city of Newcastle. He is also a poet of water, those ‘blue contested spaces’, and of rivers in particular, from the real Humber to the mythical Styx.

The poem will be accompanied by photographs taken by Sean during his perambulations around the area, and an essay on his thoughts about the project. There will also be an introductory essay by the architectural critic Owen Hatherley, whose new book, The Ministry of Nostalgia, has just been published.

There is an Indiegogo campaign for the project, which will enable our sponsors to see their names in the book, and to receive special offers, including an extra poem not included in the book, and an exclusive limited-edition print, both signed by the author. You can view the campaign here:

There will be two events to celebrate the publication of the book. The first will be a reading at the Newcastle Poetry Festival (with Linda France and Colette Bryce) on Thursday 5th May (, the second will be a London launch at the Auriol Kensington Rowing Club, on the river at Lower Mall just next to Hammersmith Bridge, on Monday 16th May. Watch this space for more information on both.

And here’s a link to another poem from Sean’s recent Picador collection, which was a Guardian Poem of the Week:

Another Hammersmith photo by Sean O'Brien
Another Hammersmith photo by from the book

Poems from our Claire Crowther, Sue Rose and Hannah Lowe workshops now online

• Click here to see the poems resulting from Claire, Sue and Hannah’s workshop days.

Following on from the success of our walking / writing / street photography workshop in October, we held three more sessions led by our brilliant Hercules authors. The venue was the lovely Travelling Through Bookshop, one of our favourite places on Lower Marsh: an engaged and talented group of poets gathered in the downstairs café to exchange ideas and images.

To read the full story, and some of the great poems that resulted, visit our workshop showcase here.

And don’t forget that we will will celebrate the work created in these sessions on the 18th of March, when the participating poets and workshop leaders will gather again at Travelling Through for a public reading of their poems. The event begins at 6:30, and entry is £5, which includes a free drink. More details here:

Below is a slideshow of images from the workshops.

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Hercules Editions chapbooks – now in top bookshops!

We are absolutely delighted to have not one but two displays of Hercules Editions chapbooks currently on show in West End bookshops. We are Foyles’s small publisher of the month in the poetry section at the Charing Cross Road branch. And over at the London Review Bookshop, our publications greet customers as they go down the stairs. We were thrilled when LRB buyer John Clegg said it was ‘especially exciting’ to be stocking our books; he described the press as ‘super-lively’ on the LRB blog. We support the efforts of both shops to keep poetry on the shelves and to get poetry books into the hands of readers!

A 'shelfie' of the Hercules display in Foyles
A ‘shelfie’ of the Hercules display in Foyles …
... and keeping good company in the LRB bookshop.
… and keeping good company in the LRB bookshop.

‘The Last Laugh’ panel discussion with Claire Crowther: report and video

Watch the video here.

The audience perusing the exhibits
The audience perusing the exhibits

To celebrate the launch of Claire Crowther’s silent film-inspired book Silents, Hercules Editions, in collaboration with the Cinema Museum, organised a screening of FW Murnau’s famous silent film The Last Laugh. The event took place on Saturday 1 August 2015, and attracted a packed audience of over 50 film-and-poetry lovers, who were free to wander the exhibits before settling into the atmospheric auditorium. Prior to the screening, Claire Crowther and fellow poet and film buff Simon Barraclough took part in a panel discussion about The Last Laugh and silent film in general with BFI curator Bryony Dixon, an expert in the genre. Many thought provoking points were raised, and half way through Claire even found inspiration for a new poem. If you’re interested in hearing what the panel said, there’s a video of their discussion on YouTube here. And if you want to know more about the film and the speakers, read the flyer, reproduced below (click to see it larger). We also recommend keeping an eye on future events at the wonderful Cinema Museum, whose website you’ll find here.


‘Silents’ by Claire Crowther out now

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Just a heads up to all our followers that Silents, by the award-winning poet Claire Crowther, is out now. Crowther  is constantly breaking new ground with her innovative and genre-defying style, and in Silents her subject is early cinema, a strange and wordless shadow world populated by witches and vampyres, and impresarios such as Edison and Artaud. The book is illustrated by stills Crowther has selected from the Ronald Grant Archive, a fascinating collection of film memorabilia housed in an old Lambeth workhouse. A foreword by the author explores her fascination with the dark archives of cinema history, while an essay by the writer and broadcaster Kevin Jackson places these films into the larger context of modernist practice. The book can be bought from our shop, here. And a big thanks to all our Indiegogo supporters for their contributions.

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Spreads from the book

Ormonde events at Brixton’s Black Cultural Archives with Hannah Lowe & Mike Phillips

To be held at Brixton’s beautiful new Black Cultural Archives (above), a poetry workshop on family history by Ormonde author Hannah Lowe, followed by a discussion on Jamaican migration history with Windrush historian Mike Phillips, chaired by Colin Grant | 29 Nov 2014 |

Reconstructing History – A Creative Writing Workshop with Hannah Lowe

10:30am to 1pm, 29 Nov 2014 | £15 / £12 concessions
• Poets who use personal heritage in their work will be examined as a starting point for writing about family histories and ancestors. Hannah Lowe will encourage members to write a poem exploring their own memories, anecdotes, heirlooms and / or photographs. Participants are asked to bring a family object with them as inspiration.

Discussion: Hannah Lowe and Mike Phillips

3pm to 5pm, 29 Nov 2014 | £10
• In this discussion, chaired by Colin Grant, Hannah Lowe and historian Mike Phillips explore the first wave of Jamaican migration history, considering the potency of the Windrush story and its ongoing allure.

Booking details:

Both events are on Saturday 29th November 2014 at the Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton, London SW2 1EF. Tickets may soon be booked through the BCA website at

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Hannah Lowe named a Next Generation Poet

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With great pleasure we announce that Hannah Lowe, author of the upcoming Hercules Editions chapbook Ormonde, has been named as one of the 2014 Next Generation Poets.

Organised by the Poetry Book Society, this prestigious award occurs just once a decade, in recognition of the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. The society’s list is described as “a rare chance for adult poets who are still building their careers and developing their audience to gain widespread recognition”, and has identified many fine poets: in 2004 it featured the likes of Alice Oswald, Owen Shers, Gwyneth Lewis and Tobias Hill while 1994’s list included Simon Armitage, John Burnside and current poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be included on the 2014 Next Generation list, and to have this kind of support and endorsement,” comments Hannah Lowe. “It’s wonderful to be among so many poets I admire, and to follow-on from the wonderful poets named in previous lists, many of whom inspired me to write.”

Lowe’s next publication will Ormonde, a collection of poems and archive material charting the 1947 journey of Jamaican emigrants on SS Ormonde, one of the SS Empire Windrush’s lesser-known forerunners (upon which her father was a passenger). The book will be published by Hercules Editions in early November 2014. There are more details here.

Hannah Lowe with son Rory, at this year’s Poetry Book Fair. (Photo © Vici MacDonald 2014)
Hannah Lowe with son Rory, at this year’s Poetry Book Fair

About the award

Poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan was chair of the judges, along with poet and playwright Caroline Bird; Robert Crawford, from the New Generation Poets list; Paul Farley, from Next Generation Poets; and the poet Clare Pollard. McMillan said: “New and developing poets are the lifeblood of poetry, an art form that constantly renews and reinvents itself, and I’m excited and proud to be involved with Next Generation Poets 2014, a signpost and a roadmap to a potentially marvellous poetic future.”

This announcement of the 20 Next Generation Poets is accompanied by an extensive events programme starting in September 2014, taking place at bookshops, libraries, festivals and arts venues, and culminates in a celebration at a major London venue, to which all the poets will be invited, in March 2015. The full Next Generation list reads: Tara Bergin, Emily Berry, Sean Borodale, Annie Freud, Rebecca Goss, Emma Jones, Luke Kennard, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Hannah Lowe, Kei Miller, Helen Mort, Daljit Nagra, Heather Phillipson, Kate Tempest, Mark Waldron, Sam Willetts and Jane Yeh; further details of the award are here.