Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Meet the Emma Press editors: Rachel Piercey

The Emma Press is introducing a new element to pamphlet submissions: authors get to choose the editor they would like to read their submission in the first round. This doesn't mean that you have to have this editor if your book is chosen, and nor does it guarantee that your chosen editor will be the one who reads your manuscript in the first round, but we will try our best.

We've put together profiles of all four Emma Press editors, to help you decide which editor might look most favourably on your manuscript. We do recommend that you read all four profiles and give them some thought, but don't agonise over your decision – if the editor reading your manuscript thinks it's good but might appeal to another editor more, they will pass it on to them.

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Hello, I’m... Rachel Piercey.

Mandatory editor selfie
in front of bookcase
Here's a bit about what I’m hoping to find: Samuel Johnson said the aim of writing was to enable readers ‘better to enjoy life, or better to endure it’. I’m hoping to find poems and pamphlets which manage both, which navigate between consolation and transcendence. I’m also keen to find poems which pay close attention to their network of sounds. I’d love to discover some new writing for children, too – something well-crafted, engaging and empowering.

Three of my favourite books are... God Loves You by Kathryn Maris, Public Dream by Frances Leviston and High Windows by Philip Larkin.

I wish I’d published... White Hills by Chloe Stopa-Hunt. I love these mythic, mysterious, profound poems. Stopa-Hunt’s voice is contemporary, direct and urgent whilst drawing on archaic language and sentence structure. It’s a mesmerising combination, and gives White Hills a timeless quality.

I wish I’d written... Falling Awake by Alice Oswald. I am currently musing on how to write about nature myself. The poems are almost painfully emotive, without being sentimental, or using nature as a translucent metaphor to talk about human experience. Oswald has found the language to make nature fully present.

I’ve got a soft spot for... poems about joy. And half-rhyme.

I’m less keen on... poems that set up and explore a conceit but don’t take it any further.

Recently I edited... a whole range of wonderful pamphlets! Rakhshan Rizwan’s vivid, impassioned debut Paisley; Julia Bird’s warm and filmic semi-biographical, semi-autobiographical Now You Can Look; and Simon Turner’s dashing arrangement of experimental riffs, Birmingham Jazz Incarnation. I like a collection to have fire in its belly, whatever the source of that flame.

My advice to anyone thinking of submitting is... to think carefully about ordering your selection. Look at it as a journey – what experience do you want the reader to have? And on the practical side, don’t underestimate the power of a clean and readable presentation!

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This round of pamphlet submissions ends on 10th December 2017. See the Emma Press website for guidelines.

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