Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Newsnight Review

Well, I almost was: the covers for The Ambulance Box, The Opposite of Cabbage and Ian Gregson's How We Met filled the screen momentarily as a clip from Salt's Just One Book video was played. Priceless advertising! Chris got a few seconds on the campaign, on which you can read the latest here.

You can watch the programme here for the next seven days. It was great to have an edition of Newsnight Review dedicated to poetry. Simon Armitage spoke a lot of sense, to my mind, but most of the panel came over well. The hip-hop artist, whose name escapes me, also impressed me. A pity we didn't hear or see any of his Shakespeare work.

I have to say, hooray for the licence fee! We wouldn't have had a poetry season without it, would we?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Salt Latest

The Just One Book campaign has hit the Guardian books blog here! And that's not all folks: Chris Hamilton-Emery will be on Newsnight Review this Friday. The campaign is working -- 800 orders in the first four days, bringing in £17,000, which is six weeks' cash for Salt -- but Chris, Jen and their stalwart helpers are far from out of the woods yet, so let's keep it up.

Not bought your one book yet? Here's a quick list of Salt poetry titles I've particularly enjoyed over the past few months:

And here are several more still waiting to be read:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Portal

Chris and Jen are marvels. Cash crisis or no, they have just launched Salt Contemporary Writers, the new Salt author portal, a typically stylish web resource with a page for every one of their authors. Here's mine. It seems that they never cease to innovate and push forward. That's one of the reasons why we -- all readers and writers of poetry and fiction, not just the folk on their list -- need Salt to survive.

Another Review!

Another review! It seems to be my collection's weekend for reviews, especially ones with a HappenStance connection: Matt Merritt has just posted a wonderfully thoughtful, warm and generous appreciation of The Ambulance Box (the first link above). I'm indebted to him.

Matt and I will be reading with Rob A Mackenzie and James W Wood at Word Power Bookshop in Edinburgh on Saturday 20th June 2009 12.00 noon - 1.00pm. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Increase Your Poetry Emissions!

The good news is that Salt's "Just One Book" campaign is beginning to make a difference. It has even been picked up by the Bookseller, but Chris and Jen are far from out of the woods yet and we need to keep it up. I intend to make a few suggestions for your one book over the coming days/weeks but, meanwhile, here's that spoof advert. (I would embed it, but it overlaps the sidebar if I do. The Ambulance Box appears at about 0:16.)


The previous two posts collide in Helena Nelson's generous review ofThe Ambulance Box and Rob A Mackenzie's The Opposite of Cabbage over on the HappenStance blog. It's my first blog review! (Although I've already gained a five-star Amazon customer review!) There are also reviews in the pipline or promised from Matt Merritt, Tony Williams and James W Wood for ONE Magazine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well Done Nell!

Huge congratulations to Helena Nelson on HappenStance press being shortlisted for the publisher's award in the inaugural Michael Marks pamphlet awards. It's much deserved, as Nell has done a huge amount to boost the publishing careers of numerous poets and the world of poetry chapbooks in the UK, not only through her own quality productions but through the magazine Sphinx, the only publication dedicated to reviewing poetry pamphlets. Here's hoping she goes on to take the prize. But whatever the outcome, it just makes me even more proud to be associated with HappenStance.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just One Book

Everyone has been hit in some way by the downturn, with the arts suffering a predictable squeeze as Government and business belts tighten all over the place. According to Jane Holland, the UK has lost or is going to lose several poetry presses. It's a dire time for poetry -- indeed, for literature in general -- in these islands.

Salt, publisher of my collection and very many fine books, is facing a financial crisis. Chris and Jen have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect the press. Their three-year funding ends this year: £4,000 is due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but they can't apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt's operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April's much improved trading, the past twelve months have left Salt with a budget deficit of over £55,000.

It's proving to be a very big hole and they're having to take some drastic measures to save our business. Earlier today, it seemed that all the books scheduled for publication this year would have to been shelved, but Chris and Jen, in their seemingly infinite determination and ingenuity, have found a way to rescue this front list. It still involves considerable scaling back.

Salt is far from out of the woods, if that's not a mixed metaphor. But we can all help it to survive. Chris tells us how below ...


1. Please buy just one book, right now.

We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop
or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store (UK and International or USA) and help us keep going.

2. Share this note on your Facebook and MySpace profile.

Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it's just one book, that's all it takes to save us. Please do it now.

With my best wishes to everyone,
Chris Hamilton-Emery

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