|From left to right: William Palmer, Hazel Frew, |
Deirdre Shanahan, and Samantha Wynne- Rhydderch
Saturday, 22 February 2014
Thursday, 23 January 2014
If you were unable to be at the launch and want to buy copies you can get them from the LRB shop or Five Leaves Bookshop if you are in reach of Nottingham or directly from this blog.
We are keeping open until the end of February our special launch offer of a set of all four pamphlets each signed by the author at £15 instead of £20. Just use the Paypal button here to order.
Monday, 23 December 2013
Monday, 18 November 2013
In the latest issue of Le Monde Diplomatique, a French journalist, Jean-Baptiste Malet, writes a disturbing article about the reality of work practices in Amazon's distribution centres based on his new book En Amazonie. Infiltré dans le 'meilleur des mondes'. The reality he describes does indeed sound like Brave New World. Malet's title alludes directly to the French translation of Huxley's novel Le meilleur des mondes a phrase taken of course from Voltaire's Candide.
Rack Press has some experience of Amazon's "soft power" as have many small poetry presses who about a year ago suddenly found their titles listed on Amazon as "not available" when they were very much available, in print, and in some cases the ink was not yet dry. I protested to Nielsen Book Data who supply the information to Amazonia whenever you register for an ISBN. Nielsen said that they could not and would not do anything because they could not interfere with the commercial practices of Amazon, even though they were damaging the commercial interests (yes, yes, I know that's a joke given our turnover) of Rack Press. Defending Amazon, Nielsen said that "not available" meant just that. It meant that Amazon couldn't be bothered any longer to source small press publications not that it was saying they were out of print. I fear this subtlety will be lost on most internet surfers who will conclude that the titles are truly not available as a result of being out of print.
OK, I said, then can we be removed from Amazon. We sell almost nothing through them, we prefer to sell through our own website or ace bookshops like the London Review Bookshop in London, and if all they can do is tell the world our publications don't exist we'd be better off without them. No way, said Nielsen, we "cannot" (a phrase one hears a lot these days) stop supplying Amazon with this ammunition against Rack Press. Have a nice day.
I then tried, with no success, to recruit some other small publishers in doing something about this but they showed no interest. Are people frightened of Amazon?
Today I tried a new tack. I registered as a seller of one of my own books with another small press that had fallen victim to the "not available" virus and added that it was also available direct from my publisher and was therefore very much "available". Like a flash Amazon came back and withdrew my seller listing which, they said, had "violated" their policy. Actually I was just being a bit cheeky. I am a Scouser, dammit. Amazon, however, takes the offence of lèse-majesté very seriously and smacked me down.
I was warned that any mention of a website or a phone number on a seller's listing was "prohibited" and that my listings had been closed down. They will have me back, they say, if I remove all "prohibited language" from my listings. Relax, guys, I won't be back with any kind of language whatsoever. Naturally all these threats were sent from a robot that "does not accept" replies so I cannot communicate with them. Once again, they are technically correct to say that they can maintain the monopoly of the sacred Amazon Payments System on their own website, but a wiser organisation would have seen the point I was trying to make and got into dialogue with me. What do they think they are gaining by antagonising tiny poetry presses and their readers?
Did I say, have a nice day?
Thursday, 14 November 2013
|Ian Parks author of |
The Cavafy Variations
In a very positive review of a good range of poetry pamphlets, the TLS reviewer described Get Real! as a "bravura display of finely controlled outrage" and of The Cavafy Variations it says Ian "captures the measured, graceful voice and quiet humour on which so much of Cavafy's poetry depends in a way that makes us feel we are hearing it properly for the first time. This, you feel, is exactly what these poems would sound like if they had been written in English. It is to be hoped Parks will return to Cavafy."
The occasion of such an extensive review of poetry pamphlets is the announcement next week (19 November) of the winners of the Michael Marks Awards. Rack Press is one of five shortlisted for the publisher's award category.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
|A rich autumn harvest of poetry announced|
The five of us will be present and correct at the British Library on 19th November to hear the winner announced and best of luck to everyone.
There is also a shortlist for Pamphlet of the Year which we won last year with Róisín Tierney's Dream Endings and 150 pamphlets were submitted to produce a shortlist of six: David Clarke, Kim Lasky, Kim Moore, Ben Parker, Neil Rollinson, and Chrissy Williams.
Poetry pamphlet publishing would therefore seem to be in a very healthy and vigorous state and we are all grateful to the Michael Marks Award for this annual recognition of the richness and diversity of this branch of poetry publishing.
Monday, 7 October 2013
We are pleased to announce two Autumn readings from Rack Press including an appearance as part of the Bloomsbury Festival on 19 October at the London Welsh Centre in Gray's Inn Road, Bloomsbury where five Rack Press poets will take part in a panel on Dylan Thomas starting at 5pm to 6 and then they will read from their own work from 6-7pm.
The poets are:-
The poets are:-
- John Powell Ward, poet and former editor of Poetry Wales
- Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, poet whose last two collections have been shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year and whose new Rack Press pamphlet will be published in January
- William Palmer, poet and novelist who spent his childhood in Montgomeryshire who also has a new Rack Press pamphlet out in January
- Martina Evans, poet and novelist, author of Petrol, Through the Glass Mountain and Midnight Feast
- Katy Evans-Bush, poet and blogger, whose latest book is Egg Printing Explained
On 7 November at the Lamb in Lamb's Conduit Street, also in Bloomsbury, four more Rack and Melos Poets will be reading at 7.30:-
- Róisín Tierney
- Nicholas Murray
- Michèle Roberts
- David Harsent
And in early January the new series of Rack Press pamphlets for 2014 will be launched. More details about all these events will appear here.