Thursday, 26 October 2017

"...Goose Fair Night on the shelf in Foyles, between Pessoa and Plath": Kathy Pimlott on publishing her pamphlet with the Emma Press

Over the course of our call for pamphlet proposals, we'll have some of our existing pamphlet authors writing about their experience of having a pamphlet published with us. First up is Kathy Pimlott, author of Goose Fair Night

I’d had quite a few poems published in magazines and the next step seemed to be to try for a pamphlet. But I wasn’t sure that my poems fitted together into a coherent whole, let alone a theme. I was invited to read a longish set, twenty minutes or so, at the Torriano in London and so had to give more thought than usual to how that should be structured, how one poem followed on from another. That set became the basis for the submission I made to The Emma Press’s open call in summer 2014.

I chose to submit to The Emma Press because I’d had a poem included in their anthology Best Friends Forever, edited by Amy Key. I admired their style, the all-round quality of their publications and, especially, Emma Wright’s tenacity and drive on behalf of her books. There are so many small presses who publish lovely pamphlets but The Emma Press is one of only a few who have the resources – and I mean mostly energy here – to promote their catalogue.

The whole process of making the pamphlet which began in spring 2015, was pretty painless. Emma and Rachel Piercey are both extremely respectful and diplomatic. We had one initial meeting at which I was very nervous, convinced they were going to change their minds. From then on, I worked with Rachel on the editing via email. She made useful comments, usually in the form of questions, which resulted in some small but telling changes. I did the initial ordering and then we finessed it together, just trying to balance one poem against the next in terms of weight, subject, style, bookended by what, for me, are the two key poems. During this process I wrote three more poems which were included.

They asked me for a title and I supplied a few possibilities (and the reasons why none of them were any good really). It was Emma who chose Goose Fair Night, and I’m very glad she did. The process of making the cover took a little longer. Here’s the thing. I do think that, as it’s the press that’s taking the financial risk and doing any marketing, it is, rightly, their decision to choose a cover that will draw attention and sell. Emma sent me various iterations which were all attractive but didn’t catch the sexy danger and electricity of Nottingham’s Goose Fair. We were being extremely polite with each other because we’re both jolly nice women. Then Emma saw some photographs of the fair, I think, and had a complete rethink which resulted in the beautiful final cover and she even found space for one of her earlier sketches of friends having a rollicking time.

Emma worked really hard in promoting the pamphlet. She is always quick to respond to suggestions and to chase opportunities. We had a London and a Nottingham launch. I was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham and got quite widely and well-reviewed. It’s hard to explain just how overwhelming it was to see Goose Fair Night on the shelf in Foyles, between Pessoa and Plath. On a practical note, Emma sends detailed royalty statements and prompt payments. I feel like a valued member of the Emma Press family. I’m always thrilled to hear about their successes as a press and with individual publications.

Since Goose Fair Night was published in spring 2016, I’ve been writing mostly around the theme of place – two places in fact – Seven Dials where I’ve lived forever and an allotment site. I’m interested in ownership – how we own the land, how it owns and makes us. Several of the poems have been published in magazines, on-line and in another Emma Press anthology and I’m now looking at submitting for my next publication. I’m not sure yet whether this will be one, possibly two pamphlets or a collection. I’m also well into an 18-month course with the Poetry Business Writing School and was lucky enough to get selected for the Ledbury Festival Voice Coaching residential. Through a reading at the Vortex Jazz Club, I was asked to give a course of one-to-one mentoring sessions to a beginner poet, which I did by Skype as she lives in San Francisco. I’ve also had critical readings and reviews published, which is a new departure for me.

Being published by The Emma Press gave me a beautiful pamphlet and a new confidence in my work. I’m proud to be in their catalogue.

Goose Fair Night is available to order on our website. You can also find out more about our call for pamphlet submissions here.

No comments:

Post a Comment