Tuesday, 29 April 2014

May we have the next dance (poem)?

The lovely thing about running a small press right now is the versatility of the concept of 'publisher'. The traditional requirements of the job are diverse enough as it is – editing, designing, marketing, etc – but in this brave, new, impossibly noisy digital age, it would be strange to ignore all the other ways publishing can be developed.

My window display for Biddle Sawyer Silks
As The Emma Press, I plan launch parties and tours, host poetry readings, manage the growing community of supporters, create poetry postcards to reach a wider audience still, and I've started making videos of poets reading their work. I've set time aside in the summer to make ebooks; I'll whip out my sewing machine the moment I hear the words 'window display'; and I've got a whole page of blog ideas which I need to write and post somewhere. My interpretation of the role is skewed unabashedly towards my personal interests, and this extends into the books I choose to publish – which is the long way of saying: I really like dancing, so we're going to do a book of poems about dance!

The Emma Press Anthology of Dance is the next in our series of themed (but not Ovid-inspired) anthologies, following on from The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood and Fatherhood (May 2014), and Best Friends Forever (Dec 2014). It will be edited by Rachel Piercey and myself, and rules for submissions are similar to previous calls, except now you have to be a member of the Emma Press Club. I'm tremendously excited to be publishing a book about dance, and I can't wait to see how people respond to the brief.

Six anthologies in, I'm developing a sense of the challenges as well as advantages of our genuinely open submissions policy. We have to create the best book we can from the poems we receive, and while we can indicate the character of the book we want to produce, we can't control how people respond. I quite wanted to have a lot of poems about historical and fictional parents in our Motherhood and Fatherhood anthologies, but the response was overwhelmingly personal and first-person. I thought we'd get enough poems about emigration to fill our Homesickness and Exile book, but instead we had more about a general sense of alienation and detachment. So, for the Dance anthology, I've resisted the urge to write an exacting brief, as well as the urge to construct an image of what the finished book will feel like. I want it it be joyous and to somehow evoke the exhilaration of dancing, but as for the specifics I am more than happy to be pleasantly surprised.


The Emma Press Press Anthology of Dance is open for submissions until 1st June 2014. Read the full specification here.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of a book of dance poems.
    I am an artist/ poet- and my new form of expression has recently moved to dance (yoga dance/dance walk). I started on a Dance Walk journey in the past year in Japan where I live. Just wanted to share my link too in the spirit of poems and dance. Thank you and best wishes from Japan,