Port – new book launch

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“A port is never over … A harbour is where voices call back”

Port, the new anthology of writing from Dunlin Press, launches in November at the Poetry in Aldeburgh festival in Suffolk and at the Small Publishers Fair in London.

The 274-page book includes specially commissioned poetry and prose from 38 contributors, and features 20 photographs and illustrations. Geographically, the anthology reaches all corners of the UK and beyond – from giant container ports to small fishing villages, while the breadth of writing and experience in the volume is as diverse as the ports themselves.

In Port, we find a picture of pre-fame John Lennon on a Harwich quay, which leads to a story of wartime Kindertransport. We hear of the “echoing hum of machinery” and the legacy of Irish famine, and find out how port landscapes can be described as sites of “exclosure”.

We discover the port as an ‘instrument of enterprise, symbol of siege’, and trace the trafficking of illicit cargoes that shadows the routes of legal trade. We find the links between UK ports and places of personal departure, and survey the maritime maps to see how the ships that come to our ports from “the Arabian Gulf sit it out / till the price of oil rises or falls”.

We hear about Romanian refugees “sneaking into and finding air pockets in shipping containers”, and learn about ‘The Block’ – the solitary confinement units in immigration detention centres. We hear stories of hardship, of the twists and turns of history – but we also see how people, and nature, weather life’s storms, and how ports become places of possibility and potential, where people “eradicate the barriers of distance and time”.

Many thanks to all our contributors:

Nick Allen, Rosemary Appleton, Matei Bejenaru, Tessa Berring, MW Bewick, Michael Brown, Alison Campbell, Vahni Capildeo, Sarah-Clare Conlon, Tim Cooke, Seth Crook, Moira Garland, Rebecca Gethin, Caroline Gill, Jason Gould, Fee Griffin, Janet Hatherley, Julie Hogg, Sarah Jasmon, RG Jodah, Ella Johnston, Charlie Lambert, Gary Liggett, Chris Maillard, Jessica Mayhew, Beth McDonough, Petra McQueen, Martin Newell, Kerri ní  Dochartaigh, Golnoosh Nour, Mark Ranger, Elizabeth Lee Reynolds, Anna Sergi, Bryan Thomas, Alex Toms, Lydia Unsworth, Rob Walton, David Williams.

Port‘s first launch will be at the Poetry in Aldeburgh festival, on Friday 8 November at 4.45pm in the Peter Pears Gallery. We’re sharing the event with our good friends Coast to Coast to Coast – so the book’s sub-title of ‘Words from the edge of land’ will be fitting. The event is FREE, but booking is advised. Details here.

We have a second launch event a week later, as we’ll be present with a stand at the Small Publishers Fair, held at the Conway Hall, London, on 15 and 16 November. On Friday 15, we’ll have a short set of readings from Port at 4pm in the Green Room.

In December, we are also set to have a launch in Colchester, Essex, and readings from Port contributors in Manchester. More details to follow.

Port is available to pre-order via our online shop, and can be ordered through your favourite independent bookseller from 8 November.

New handmade book: ‘Out-siders/’

Outsiders Dunlin Press handmade chapbook

‘pioneers / as plants
/ even to relate /
memory as resist-
ance / points the
compass / cease /
human-initiated /
currents /’

Out-siders/, a handmade chapbook, is the latest work to be published by Dunlin Press. The limited edition concertina-format pamphlet, printed on textured gesso and archival papers, is a continued exploration of the liminal spaces, waste ground, brownfield and edgeland flora that we surveyed in last year’s book, The Orphaned Spaces.

The A7 concertina format is, in effect, reversible, and its full title is Out-siders/ Hybrid / Province.

Reverse of Outsiders, handmade chapbook from Dunlin Press

With words and images from Ella Johnston and MW Bewick, Out-siders features remnant text, as well as landscape and ikebana-inspired photography, from the places and flora that we encountered through our continued research into orphaned spaces. Outsiders is in some ways a seasonal update, or perhaps an overspill or a further iteration of an original impulse. 

Words and images by Ella Johnston and MW Bewick

Let’s take a brief step back. That initial impulse for The Orphaned Spaces was to create a small, handmade and deconstructed work of words and images. As the ‘waste ground’ project grew, however, so did the size of that book. The Orphaned Spaces was published in summer 2018 as a paperback and as a limited edition, made-to-order box set. We still, however, had words and images left over, and were continuing to collect more. Out-siders/ is a small, creative, and experimental outlet for those ruderal gatherings.

Words and images by Ella Johnston and MW Bewick

This summer, while we work through our next large project, Port, for an autumn publication, it has been wonderful to be able to return to the craft of making pamphlets by hand.

Words and images by Ella Johnston and MW Bewick

As Out-siders/ is intended as an interstitial project, a limited number of only 20 chapbooks are available.

Words and images by Ella Johnston and MW Bewick

Each has been been printed and made by hand here at the Dunlin Press studio.

Words and images by MW Bewick and Ella Johnston

Out-siders/ can be purchased exclusively from the Dunlin Press shop.

Words and photography by Ella Johnston and MW Bewick

Port: an update, and a thank you

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Thank you to everyone who has sent in submissions for our upcoming book, Port. We’re in the thick of reading through them all and can honestly say that the response has been fantastic. We will be able to let you know whether we’ve accepted your writing very soon.

The selection process for a book like Port can be a tricky, but always fascinating, process. It’s here that the book becomes the book – it’s where it takes shape, where its inner logic and poetry are revealed.

We know from our first book Est: Collected Reports from East Anglia, that creating such an anthology isn’t only about choosing the best writing, or about choosing a selection of writing where each piece complements and adds to the others. It’s both of those things, of course, but it’s also about achieving geographical range.

Here we are in the silver mud of estuarine East Anglia, but how many pieces did we receive from Scotland or Wales? Are the southwest and northeast represented? Did anyone write about London and the Thames? Who brought us postcards from further afield?

The process of turning a book into a ‘Dunlin Press book’ also means we work hard to fill any potential gaps, wearing our editorial and journalistic hats and hauling in any other work we think might add to the whole.

And then we turn to the design. We never hand over our manuscripts in Word to a typesetter who prepares it for print. Each Dunlin Press book is carefully crafted in our own little studio, with typeface, artwork and illustration, layout and format created uniquely for each title.

Hopefully all this is evident in the finished publication.

Which is a way of saying that making a Dunlin Press book takes time, so thanks for bearing with us. Though we say it ourselves, Port is going to be brilliant.

Ella and Martin

Exhibition: Off the Rails, Wivenhoe

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Dunlin Press has created an exhibition of artworks that are currently on view at the train station in Wivenhoe, Essex. The project is part of the town’s ongoing Off the Rail project, which sees a continuing series of artworks being displayed at the station. Railways have often featured in Dunlin Press’s books and, of course, Wivenhoe is our home town, too – so it’s a fitting place to be.

The exhibition is untitled and is part of an ongoing investigation into liminal spaces, edgelands, brownfield, and sites of altered use, which informed our recent book The Orphaned Spaces, and other work.

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On Platform 2 you can see five posters developed from artwork in our books The Orphaned Spaces and Est: Collected Reports from East Anglia. In the station building there are a further two images, adapted from work in Alex Toms’s Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher.

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There are also a limited number of A4 sheets illustrated with A Dunlin Press Guide to the Railways of East Anglia, as well as some Dunlin Press postcards.

If you’re heading into Wivenhoe (and who wouldn’t want to do that?!) do take a look.

The artworks are on view until 6 April.

And thanks to Off the Rails and Matthew Linley for inviting us.

 

Writing from East Anglia: the box set

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Take a closer look at our Tales from the East box set, which celebrates writing from East Anglia.

Since the launch of our first book, Est, Collected Reports from East Anglia, in 2015, Dunlin Press has been a champion of writing from East Anglia.  Our commitment to publishing fresh and original writing from the region has continued over the years with the publication of two books by East Anglian-based poets, MW Bewick in 2017 and Alex Toms in October this year.

We’ve created a special edition curated box set containing all three books. We’ve also added some extra surprises that will only be revealed when you buy the box set.

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In Est: Collected Reports from East Anglia, contributors including filmmaker and novelist Chris Petit, ‘Hookland’ author David Southwell, poets Wendy Mulford and Martin Newell, and a host of other writers, create a kaleidoscopic vision of an East Anglia.

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Est is a unique collection of prose, poetry and reportage that spans the Wash to the Thames and the Fens to the German Sea. The texts merge psychogeography, social history, personal memoir and travel writing with discourses on local fable, art, archaeology and conservation. The collection explores the salt marshes and creeks, the sand and shingle beaches, the remains of Roman and Anglo-Saxon dwellings, the giant skies, interior geographies and, perhaps most of all, human histories, to paint an enigmatic picture of East Anglia today – while referencing more than 260 places in the region.

EST: COLLECTED REPORTS FROM EAST ANGLIA £9.99 DUNLIN PRESSThe book has received critical acclaim. Here’s just some of the kind words people have said about the publication…

‘Strange, reflective, memorable and odd as the region itself’
Libby Purves, Country Life

‘Books like Est must be able to be written again by the next generation’
Caught By The River

‘Uniformly excellent… well-edited, well designed, and unbreakable’
Ken Worpole, author of The New English Landscape

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Scarecrow is the debut poetry collection of poet and Dunlin Press co-founder MW Bewick. The poems transfigure contemporary landscapes of the city and the countryside in an unsettling flux of fractured narrative time and atomised human agency. Here, a panorama of gleaming towers and blood-red cranes mirrors another of overgrown flora and shorelines collapsing into the sea.

SCARECROW, MW BEWICK, DUNLIN PRESS

At the book’s heart is the figure of the scarecrow – a monad, feet cemented, ragged legs flailing, unable – or unwilling – to act as the world rushes by.  At turns wistful, angry, and touched with remorse, this inventive and thought-provoking volume brings together registers of folk, baroque and the surreal to confront a 21st-century sense of existential crisis.

MW Bewick is a writer of poetry and fiction. He works, and is widely published, as a journalist. He lives in Wivenhoe, Essex.

SCARECROW, MW BEWICK, DUNLIN PRESS

Writing contemporaries have been enthusiastic in their praise for Scarecrow. Here are some choice snippets…

‘A seriously good poet – fierce, political, able to capture industrial and post industrial landscapes with precise and sometimes painful imagery, tender about the natural world – love it!’  Kate Foley, poet

‘If I ever write anything half as good as Scarecrow or have something that lovely looking published, I’ll be bloody happy’  David Southwell, author Hookland Guide

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Our final book is the latest release from Dunlin Press, Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher by Alex Toms.

In her debut collection of poetry, Alex Toms introduces us to a troupe of curious characters to explore themes of love, womanhood and sex. At the centre of this collection is the eel catcher, a shadowy figure who lives on the fringes of everyday experience. The eel catcher weaves willow traps, and tales of folklore and magic, evoking an East Anglia inhabited by poachers, witches and ghosts.

Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms

In her poems, Toms skilfully summons the uncanny, and out of it draws a slithering sense with which we are all familiar. Here are all the snares of life, and also perhaps, a spell that could set us free.

These wonderfully evocative poems are accompanied by specially commissioned individual paper-cut illustrations and bespoke photography.

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As this book is so new, it’s currently out for reviews. However the Alex’s collection has already impressed fellow writers, with poet Martin Newell commenting, “These poems are not just clever, they have depth and originality. I hope it’s a big success”.

Alex Toms is a repeat winner in national poetry competitions and in 2015 was Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year. She is widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies.

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You can buy the box set at our Dunlin Press shop.

New book! Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher

Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press
Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press

Dunlin Press are delighted to launch Alex Toms’ debut poetry collection, Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, at The Wivenhoe Bookshop on Thursday 11th October 2018.

In this stunning, otherworldly collection of poetry, Alex Toms introduces us to a troupe of curious characters to explore themes of love, womanhood and sex. At the centre of this collection is the eel catcher, a shadowy figure who lives on the fringes of everyday experience. The eel catcher weaves willow traps, and tales of folklore and magic, evoking an East Anglia inhabited by poachers, witches and ghosts.

In her poems, Toms skilfully summons the uncanny, and out of it draws a slithering sense with which we are all familiar. Here are all the snares of life, and also perhaps, a spell that could set us free.

 Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press
Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press

The poems are accompanied by specially commissioned individual paper-cut illustrations and bespoke photography.

Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press
Lessons for an Apprentice Eel Catcher, Alex Toms. Published by Dunlin Press

Alex Toms is a repeat winner in national poetry competitions and in 2015 was Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year. She is widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies. Find out more about the launch here.

The Orphaned Spaces: Still Lives

The Orphaned Spaces, still life booklet (c) Dunlin Press
The Orphaned Spaces, Still Lives booklet

Our latest book, The Orphaned Spaces, collates a number of different styles of photography and illustration, in different sections detailing the flora and fauna discovered on real areas of edgeland, brownfield sites and waste ground. Still Lives is one such section.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

Yarrow, ragwort, plantain, mallow… these are the plants we often overlook, but do much to define the ecology of our wilder spaces. In The Orphaned Spaces, we greet them with photography, fine art, illustration and prose.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

Taking the form of an A5, 148-page book and/or made-to-order box setThe Orphaned Spaces is an illustrated exploration of overlooked areas of natural beauty – edgelands, ex-industrial, derelict and brownfield sites, and the sometimes rare flora and fauna that is found there.

More than a nature book, it is a rumination on life, loss and time, through the prism of liminal spaces captured in moments between dilapidation and regeneration.

Hand-stitched still lives booklet
Hand-stitched Still Lives booklet, The Orphaned Spaces.
The Orphaned Spaces, still lives section.
The Orphaned Spaces, still lives section.

Originally the botanical still life photography was intended for our own personal research purposes. As part of our artistic process, we often make visual records when putting together our publications. We find visual research very effective in distilling a mood, capturing sometimes overlooked idiosyncrasies of a place or object; it’s generally a good resource to draw from when writing or illustrating.

As we’ve mentioned previously, The Orphaned Spaces started off small and has grown into a larger continuing project, as well as the book and limited edition box set.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

The botanical photographs were created with plants and flowers gathered in the spring and summer from various edgelands and brownfield sites we visited over the course of our research. Inspired by Japanese ikebana, the plants were arranged starkly (sometimes with the help of wire and tape) on a plain, neutral background, to look like they are growing in isolation, and shot quickly.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

The book and box set feature an edited selection of these photographs, however we are also amassing a growing library of images, now with various pioneer plants and botanicals gathered in autumn and winter. Perhaps these will lend themselves to an exhibition at some point in the future.

You can buy The Orphaned Spaces book and box set at our Dunlin Press shop.