Small Press Poetry and Indies

A moveable feast of blogs and websites dedicated to poetry as literary form necessarily lacks an authoritative critical hub, which is an excellent thing. Current literary critique lends weight to fictional work and celebrity biography as ‘cultural’, thus levelling newspaper inches at some phantasmagoric hybrid audience of child/woman now perceived as the Irish  literary market.

Those of us who have left the nursery and have achieved literacy may require less saccharine fare. The following is a list of some indies and small-press publishers that caught my eye in 2013.

Indies for working poets fit well alongside small press publishers

pickled bodysouthwordstingingPIcrannogbb2pbsAnnette-Cover-1-212x300

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Poets that are much missed 2012-2013

The-Outnumbered-Poet (2) 150px-Human_Chaindkofi

Talking about Books Ireland losing its Arts Council grant  is unseemly

Talk about Books Ireland losing its Arts Council grant
Talk about Books Ireland losing its Arts Council grant

Commentators are employed by newspaper editors, they all talk about the same books in one form or another across multiple newspapers, which I no longer care to buy. Heaven forfend that an editor would employ someone to review, edit and discuss poetry. Newspaper editors and list-contributors play their part here by blurring the lines between culture and entertainment, coming out with some type of lifestyle fiction based in the simple and unchallenging precepts of accessibility, simplicity and passivity.

Books Ireland lost its Arts Council grant and was threatened with closure, as this is Ireland, protest was confined to a few letters in the paper and a Facebook group. Well done to those who protested, many just sat down and counted their lottery cash, not thinking of Irish writing as a diversity. Books Ireland has a new publisher and will recommence publishing in January 2014.

Poetry that caught my little eye in 2013


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mick1 meehankfszinger

Left to Right

Disposable crap sells Newspapers , fact

couchPoetry is clearly not a disposable form, like so much semi-literate fiction destined for B movies or for chat-couches on daily tv. It is a literary form that requires the reader to drop off their passivity and complacency. This presents a difficulty to the general editor, who relies on passive consumption as many of us rely on oxygen.

The drop-off in newspaper purchases is only matched by the immense growth in blogs and websites that fill the void left by this magnetic pull to homogeneity expressed in an approach to arts that is based in arts as entertainment/arts as product.

Anti-poetry is now culture in Ireland’s market-driven media.


The issues of the day provide fodder for the chattering classes in much the same manner as fast-food fills an endless hole and thereby generates obesity. Fiction and gossip are the disposable trans-fat of the entertainment world. But like trans-fats they glut, and end up distorting the shape of the body, in this instance the body of Irish literature. The shape of literature in Ireland is becoming simplistic and disposable and indistinguishable indeed from Hello Magazine! It has morphed into fiction and chick-lit comestibles, the easy hitters.

Contemporary Irish Arts : anyone can get an artist exemption

rosannaI suppose that someone has to pimp poetry and to blog about what goes on at the nether end of the literary spectrum, whilst awaiting for decent reviews and discussion on arts , as opposed to fashionable edutainment. Literally anyone can apply for and get tax exemptions for their artwork, go on and apply.

Poetry Ireland deleted the PI Forum from their servers in 2013

PISince I started blogging about poetry in 2008, I have noted more international poetry editors opening out magazines and writing spaces to the committed poet. Although in Ireland, Poetry Ireland has been busily closing down their 2000-2013 poetry forum which housed an area for peer-review of original work. Poetry Ireland announced this in short-form and then proceeded to delete a lot of original work from their servers. I await with bated breath their new web-development ideas.

In the meantime, I suppose that Irish poets can use groups on Facebook or Linkedin and consign their copyrights to Mark Zuckerberg who may be more sensitive to the provision of working spaces than PI. The Irish editor appears to be less generous about creating accessible archives and working-spaces to the emergent writer than his international counterparts.

revivalRevival Literary Journal ceased operation this year of 2013, as did Doghouse Books in Kerry. Books Ireland was recently threatened with closure after the Irish Arts Council pulled their grant. Books Ireland has a new publisher, but these issues go largely undiscussed as really there is no place where poetry is discussed in Ireland. Just as we, a poetic nation (apparently), have no Poetry Foundation. Our colleges do not adequately index our poetry history, or provide accessible archives to the reading public.

Poetry in Ireland is paltry feast left to the wit and wisdom of individual publishers and bloggers who must construct a cloak of holes and moths to illuminate Irish poetic work. There is no provision made or the poetry reader that is centred in a semblance of respect for poetic form, or for its growing variety.

Avant-garde is a dirty word in Ireland, like grief, sex, or poverty

kate and mollyskylight 471 frontmickagain

anuirish pagesmickeyegillian

Left to right

Irish Poetry Imprints and Websites


Apparently Poetry has little significance to those who collate end of years lists. Poetry tokenism is become a joke. I would rather not read some attempts at poetry book review unless they are in poetry journals. Having often wondered at newspaper editors’ tendency to dislike poetry , I came to the conclusion that it is down to two issues, money and ignorance.

When the literary arts are approached as product, as opposed to artistic process, a whole lot of crap floats up. Poethead is about poetry as process, and likes to show poets working.


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