Indie poetry publisher Nine Arches Press is releasing its 100th book in January, with another 12 collections of poetry following in 2021.
The Midlands-based press will release a limited edition of acclaimed poet Jacqueline Saphra’s 100 Lockdown Sonnets, a journal that chronicles the personal and political upheavals and tragedies of the coronavirus pandemic in a sequence of sonnets charting the lockdown experience.
Her poems will be printed in a limited number of just 100 hardbacks and will be available in January as a not-for-profit special edition, with all proceeds going to charity. World rights were acquired direct from the author.
Nine Arches was awarded additional Arts Council England funding this year, which has enabled it to adapt and continue its work throughout the pandemic. Initiatives include taking its live events and publicity online, especially through its series of author launches, streamed live on YouTube.
Jane Commane, editor and director at Nine Arches Press, said: “2020 has been a challenging year for many independent publishers, but we’re looking ahead and moving into 2021 with an extraordinary list of poets and books and with hope, determination, and a renewed sense that readers especially are seeking adventurous, thought-provoking and pertinent new poetry to help make sense of the chaotic world around us. We place our poets and their valued audiences and readerships at the heart of our work as an independent publisher, and it’s ever more important to continue to do so.
“Our digital events have played a key part of this throughout the pandemic, and we are keen to continue to bring new voices in poetry to our readers’ attention as well as to their bookshelves and screens – and we look forward to a time when we can return to audiences in person, too.”
Following the Saphra title, February will see publication of The Oscillations by Kate Fox, poet and broadcaster, which also touches on personal experiences of the pandemic and looks at experiences of distance and isolation through a refracted lens of neurodiversity.
The publisher will lead into spring with Ultimatum Orangutan, a collection focused on environmental crises, disability, and colonial legacies by acclaimed poet and academic Khairani Barokka.
This is followed by three debuts from poets who were previous selected poets for Nine Arches’ Primers mentoring scheme – Katie Griffiths in April with The Attitudes, Lewis Buxton in May with Boy in Various Poses, and in June, Cynthia Miller with her collection Honorific.
Established poets will also return with new collections, including Angela France with Terminarchy in July, following her book and multi-media poetry show "The Hill" (2016). Poet and disability activist Daniel Sluman will publish single window in September, “a unique book of hybridity and experimentation, exploring the realities of disabled experience”.
Autumn will also see Shaun Hill, "a queer writer exploring post-capitalist ways of being", publish his debut warm blooded things. A debut collection of queer eco-poetry, This Fruiting Body, will be published in October with newly-appointed Bristol City Poet Laureate Caleb Parkin, followed in November by Be Feared by Jane Burn, a poet and illustrator based in the northeast.
The year will close in November with a further instalment in Nine Arches’ creative writing handbook series, with poet Ian Humphreys editing Why I Write Poetry, essays and writing exercises that highlight how poets got started, what motivates them to keep going, and offering their best advice to aspiring writers.