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UK, Irish & International poetry in English

catalogue 2014


Mary O’Donnell

SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE Intergalactic, these poems travel from outer space via the moon to coffee tables at a luxuriously considered pace. In doing so they crackle with precision, dance between love and horror, curiosity and wonder. The narrators are as diverse as their subjects, their tones ranging through wry, wistful, lusty and political. This vibrant collection, building on the rich strengths of The Ark Builders, also serves as a generous introduction to her work to those yet to discover her expansive visions and powerful voice.

FORTHCOMING £8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1908376-57-2 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1908376-58-9 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Ilya Kaminsky

DANCING IN ODESSA Surreal enough to be true, these poems waltz through encounters within families and without. The people depicted are in equal measure brutal and tender, in narratives that are strangely innocent, compelling and convincing. The poems draw on archetype and myth, as well as Russian literary figures, in tightly realised domestic settings that invigorate them with a contemporary relevance, with humour and torment, and, all the while, music. Dancing in Odessa was published in the US by Tupelo Press in 2004 and won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine.

FORTHCOMING £8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1908376-12-1 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1908376-13-8 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Brian Johnstone

DRY STONE WORK A grounded yet playful collection from an assured poet, flexing his muscles into newer territory. As well as the deep lineage of rural landscapes that populated previous collections, here Johnstone treats us to an extended trip to the circus, where the glitz and thrill of the big top and its stunts are peeled back to allow us into the physical and emotional rigour that forms the show’s framework. Elsewhere poems transport you more literally through music, movie and TV history, around Europe and into the distant past, again balancing between illusion and the tension that supports it in the more mundane real world. And throughout, the tone and language also plays an ingenious balancing act between the structured, the rhyming and the informal. This is a personal and expansive collection, honest and exploratory. FORTHCOMING £9.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1908376-05-3 £12.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1908376-06-0 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Michael O’Neill

GANGS OF SHADOW Gangs of Shadow Michael O’Neill

When Michael O’Neill senses ‘gangs / of shadow’ half-beckoning from twilit water, the moment is eerily alluring as well as scary. Fusions of feeling recur throughout a book that has something of the ‘dash’ and ‘darkness’ praised in ‘Louis MacNeice’, along with a strong responsiveness to the physical and visual experience of living. Formally adventurous and alert to change and movement, combining memorable phrasing with a reaching towards the unsayable, Gangs of Shadow brims with imagery of past, present and future; its poems ‘seek to bear witness, and above all sing’.

FORTHCOMING £8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-64-4 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-82-8 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Róisín Tierney

THE SPANISH-ITALIAN BORDER As the title suggests, this is a book that contorts the world we know, oddly fluid and yet grounded in subjects that range from rural Ireland to sub-maritime journeys to Spain, from unheard of languages to ghost dogs. Wherever Tierney takes us she reveals desire, a search for connection with people and place, that if found isn’t necessarily intense, or long-lasting. The playful tone of many of these poems dances lightly over careful construction and crafted precision. Through acute observations and litanies, there are echoes of song and chants that pull you innocently through to often shocking climaxes. However, never lost underneath all these poems is a genuine celebration of life and its peculiarities.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1908376-34-3 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1908376-35-0 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Jackie Wills

WOMAN’S HEAD AS JUG This collection is about women’s experiences of work, the city, menopause and ancestry. The poems have a touch as deft as the seamstresses and other craftspeople who populate the book. They are funny, political and lyrical. Wills shapes the metaphorical and physical terrain of the female body in an original, essential way. In one section, the poems are weighted with the visceral routine of daily life, in another, short poems fly with disruption; physical and emotional changes lead to unease and wonderment.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-83-5 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-84-2 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Michael Hulse

HALF-LIFE From the killing of a child in Australia to national day celebrations in Switzerland, from the agonies of Syria to yacht-building in Germany, from the world’s tallest building in Dubai to a statue of the Virgin in Mexico City, Michael Hulse’s new poems track the endangered state of our ideals – and find new strength by engaging with death’s place in life, and understanding the power of children to embody our hopes. From an acclaimed master craftsman, Half-Life shows Michael Hulse’s poetic imagination at its most passionate and searching.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1908376-19-0 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1908376-20-6 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


C. K. Stead

THE YELLOW BUOY C. K. Stead is one of New Zealand’s foremost literary figures. A distinguished poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist and emeritus professor of English of the University of Auckland, he has been a figure in New Zealand literature since the 1950s and is the only living writer to hold the Order of New Zealand. In this, his fifteenth collection of poetry, he journeys in time and space from Croatia and Colombia to Karekare and the Côte d’Azur. Literary figures appear from NZ and beyond – Allen Curnow and Hugh Kawharu, Frank Sargeson and Barry Humphries, Robert Creeley and Katherine Mansfield. Alongside glimpses of fantails and elegies for friends, The Yellow Buoy also includes translated versions of poems by Eugenio Montale, Carlo Vita and Philippe Jaccottet.

£10.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1908376-14-5 £13.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1908376-15-2 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Michelene Wandor

NATURAL CHEMISTRY An astonishing musical quality resonates throughout Michelene Wandor’s new collection, full of echoes and recapitulations tying the epic range of material together. From fairy tales to the Bible, Jerusalem to Hollywood, Cromwell to the Suffragettes, cafés to graveyards, the reader is taken to iconic times and landmarks, to breathe in the herbs of history. This is a world where whipped cream is not innocent, just as William Morris wallpaper has significance. Here chance encounters constantly push at what communication, language and, ultimately, poetry can do. As rich in emotional truth as intellectual risk, this collection always provides enough space for the reader to enter its playful, if unsettling, symphony and engage wholeheartedly.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-53-1 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1904614-54-8 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Cliff Forshaw

VANDEMONIAN Cliff Forshaw’s Vandemonian focuses on Van Diemen’s Land and its inhabitants – human and animal, newcomer and Aborigine – to piece together a fragmentary history of Tasmania. A skilful mix of folklore, legend and painstakingly researched historical fact, Forshaw’s sixth collection is both absorbing and evocative, confirming him not only as a distinctive poetic voice but also as a compelling story-teller.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-26-5 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1904614-26-5 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


FAST TALKING PI

Fast Talking

PI

SELINA TUSITALA MARSH

Selina Tusitala Marsh

Selina Tusitala Marsh

FAST TALKING PI Selina Tusitala Marsh’s often angry, celebratory, vigorously enquiring, story-telling, singing, lamenting, weeping, and ever-vital, poems fling the reader into a sphere that will be unfamiliar to most: the sensibility of a New Zealand New World urban-cultured, but also ancient tribal, poet of amazing energy. Many of these poems accumulate immense momentum over several pages and deposit the reader gasping at the end. Marsh is ‘an academic, a literary critic’ of Samoan, Tuvalu, English and French descent – but she is also a campaigning incarnation of the Life Force. A relentless affirmer, she takes no prisoners during this book’s campaign against staid, proper, restrained, refined poetic conventions which are also too often a refuge of a racist, patronising, repressive and exploitative Establishment.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-35-7 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1904614-77-7 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Alvin Pang

WHEN THE BARBARIANS ARRIVE When the Barbarians Arrive comprises poems from three published collections together with a body of new and uncollected poems by one of Singapore’s most exciting and visible poets of the post-1965 generation. Ranging from unsentimental love poems to sharply satirical writing and audacious medleys, here are poems wry and shrewd, intelligent and sensitive, generous and playful, yet full of paradox; poems that pry, celebrate and unsettle. This is Alvin Pang’s first full-length UK publication.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-98-9 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-99-6 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Astrid Alben

AI! AI! PIANISSIMO Astrid Alben is a new and original voice in English poetry, serious and uncompromising. Innovative and energetic, this is Alben’s first collection. There are surprises at the turn of every line. Her poems spit themselves like cherry stones through the windows of their words and bounce out into the world, finding and striking new targets in ways that only good poems can do. Intensely visual, erotically charged and linguistically adventurous, they explore with deft humour and poise the ways we rub along together both as lovers and travellers across the shifting borders of multi-media, international life, where belonging is difficult but the impulse to connect remains as powerful as ever.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-72-9 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-73-6 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Lorna Thorpe

SWEET TORTURE OF BREATHING ‘Don’t still, my beating heart’, Lorna Thorpe writes in this, her second collection. It’s a sentiment that reverberates throughout a book that deals with her close brush with death following a cardiac arrest, and the psychic death that preceded it. The central section is a series of poems about people who died before their time, but Thorpe is still here to tell her tale and she concludes with a section that shows her feeling her way back to life in poems that celebrate the sensual pleasures and chaos of love and living. Plain-speaking and engaging, Thorpe’s distinctive voice is carved out of the defiance and vulnerability of a survivor who isn’t afraid to laugh at herself.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-80-4 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-81-1 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Christopher James

FAREWELL TO THE EARTH Dust to dust, that much we know. But it’s what happens in between that counts. In Christopher James’ mercurial second collection, Seamus Heaney breaks down in a lane; John Lennon haunts the Great Wall of China while an archaeologist is exhumed sometime in the distant future. This is where the living and the dead intermingle like passengers waiting nervously for a flight. Reaching from the Humber to the Thames; Cromer to Kathmandu, it’s a dizzying and unpredictable world tour that veers in and out of reality like a plane passing through a cloud. In the shadow of environmental disaster and the possibility of dragons, there are more mundane dramas to face too: moving house, family secrets, marriage proposals that do not go to plan, and children woken in the night by rain.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-70-5 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-71-2 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Tony Curtis

FOLK The poems in Tony Curtis’s new collection are woven out of his fascination with the everyday, the quirky, the downright extraordinary, poems wrapped up in love and death, friendship and memory, madness and music – from the blind man singing in a field, to his three Cistercian uncles singing plainchant. There are folk at the heart of everything Tony Curtis writes. He is a born storyteller, and these are poems crafted by a poet with a wonderful ability to express great depth of feeling with deceptive simplicity.

£9.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-74-3 £12.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-75-0 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


D. M. Black

CLAIMING KINDRED Claiming Kindred is the Scottish poet D. M. Black’s first full collection since the publication of his Collected Poems 1964-87 nearly twenty years ago. He published widely in the 1960s and 1970s, including a volume in the first Penguin Modern Poets series (with Peter Redgrove and D. M. Thomas). In this new collection he has moved on from his earlier preoccupation with narrative to a concern with portraying many different states of feeling. In a wide range of poetic styles and registers, these poems embody emotion with directness and idiosyncrasy.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-46-0 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-47-7 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Joel Lane

THE AUTUMN MYTH The Autumn Myth is a reality check on the myths and dreams that permeate our world. It attacks the culture of political and corporate mendacity in modern Britain, and goes on to consider the more ambiguous myths that sustain our personal lives. These poems explore the human experience of time, the lessons of grief and illness, the messages of the urban landscape and the evocative power of music. They look beyond a fractured society governed by lies towards a more creative use of imagination as a way of connecting. The title poem suggests that global warming has eradicated autumn. Lane’s third collection celebrates an October of the mind, a revolutionary glow.

£9.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-76-0 £12.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-16-3 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Richard Gwyn

SAD GIRAFFE CAFÉ Sad Giraffe Café is a collection of prose poems which together form a shifting progressive narrative. There are three recurring themes: an imaginary and sinister kingdom, a young wanderer named Alice, and a shape-shifting, time-travelling, first person narrator. The poems seem to be devoid of past or future, existing in an unstable, and at times apocalyptic present. They are peopled by strangers and lodged in an ‘elsewhere’ which is also somehow familiar. They have the feel of dreams masquerading as real events, or else of real events masquerading as dreams.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-45-3 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-48-4 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


James Byrne

BLOOD / SUGAR James Byrne is editor and co-founder of the poetry magazine The Wolf. Blood / Sugar is his second collection and sparkles with wit and irony. “James Byrne is a phenomenon and Blood / Sugar is astonishing. Here is a unique mytho-poetic in which the self moves in and out of focus. This is smart poetry. But one should not for a moment think that the intellectual rigour diminishes the vitality of the work. It does not. It sparkles with wit and irony. It is alive. “With razor-sharp wit, an acute intellect and a superb facility with language, these poems are both culturally and intellectually ‘learned’, but also rhetorically and lyrically confident. Byrne is a complete original.” – John Kinsella.

£9.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-28-6 £12.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-29-3 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk also available in all major ebook formats bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Brian Henry

QUARANTINE: :CONTAGION Narrated by a man dying of the plague, Quarantine is a book-length poem that explores sexuality and subjectivity as well as the viability of narrative itself. Lying in a field beside his dead wife and son, the narrator describes the events leading up to his and his family’s death. The poem is ostensibly set outside London in 1665, during the bubonic plague, but the motives of the narrator eventually cast doubt onto his story, as does the fact that plague victims often become delirious and may lapse into a coma before death. After the narrator finishes his story, Quarantine undoes itself in Contagion, which mirrors ‘distortedly, and in reverse’ the narrative.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-73-9 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-13-2 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Michael Hulse

THE SECRET HISTORY Michael Hulse’s deeply moving new collection is a sustained meditation on the meaning of home. The marriage of imaginative scope and emotional directness that Sean O’Brien observed in Hulse’s writing has never been so compellingly displayed as in these tender, highly-charged poems. The Secret History shows an acclaimed craftsman at the height of his powers.

£9.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1906570-24-8 £12.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-25-5 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Mary O’Donnell

THE ARK BUILDERS Transition from past to present and beyond lies at the heart of Mary O’Donnell’s sixth collection, with its images of women in art, in the grip of cosmetic obsession, in old age and in love. The redemptive ark of the title is capable of carrying all comers on board, both animal and human, from the modern city in its night turmoil, to the rural and ancestral, all undergoing change. O’Donnell attends to the nature of love, loss and continuity, and provides an insight into the complex energies of a struggling global ecology. The rhythms of her own country, Ireland, are keenly observed as it lives out its modern role, partly in flux, partly still aware of ancient connections to land and language. This is a collection from a poet at the height of her powers.

£9.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-58-6 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Brian Johnstone

THE BOOK OF BELONGINGS The Book of Belongings reads like an archaeology of the lost, its pages carefully uncovering and observing what has vanished, died or been abandoned. Visiting former theatres of war, remote landscapes of Scotland, France and Greece, pre-war classrooms and the nightmares of childhood, these poems are not afraid to gaze long and hard at what has been deliberately concealed, erased, or dismissed as worthless – the past with all its demons, its sad domestic litanies. Brian Johnstone writes with an enviable facility, often from unusual perspectives, eliding time and space, letting geography merge seamlessly into history and, in so doing, gives vanished histories a voice.

£8.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1904614-75-3 £11.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1906570-15-6 10% discount and free P&P in the UK from www.arcpublications.co.uk bulk orders: info@arcpublications.co.uk | 01706 812338


Arc Publications publishes contemporary poetry from new and established writers from the UK and abroad, specialising in the work of international poets writing in English and the work of overseas poets in translation. www.arcpublications.co.uk

Catalogue 2014: UK, Irish & International poetry in English  
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