Poets for Corbyn gets 5,000 downloads in first week

Poets for Corbyn gets 5,000 downloads in first week

A collection of poetry inspired by the left wing Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn has achieved 5,000 downloads in its first week.

Altogether 20 poets including Michael Rosen, Pascale Petit, Nicholas Murray and Ian Pindar have submitted 20 poems for the free e-book Poets for Corbyn, which was published by online magazine Berfrois on August 19th, and produced by the publication's editor Russell Bennetts.

The e-book has already received over 5,000 downloads from the Berfrois website in its first week following the online magazine’s twitter campaign under the hashtag #PoetsforCorbyn which helped to market the collection.

According to Bennetts, the editor and founder of Berfrois, the book was put together as a “gesture of support” for Corbyn’s campaign to become the Labour leader. 

Bennetts told The Bookseller: “My aim with the book was to signal support for Corbyn in the leadership race. I think we managed that. Whether it increased the number of votes for him is another matter.

“The book has inspired a wide range of reactions. Some have dismissed it as Corbyn worship, but I doubt these critics have read the book properly. Others have understood it as a decent, stand-alone book of poems beyond the Corbyn aspect.”

Bennetts compiled the book by asking his favourite left-leaning poets for contributions, he said, adding that he was inspired by W. N. Herbert and Andy Jackson’s New Boots and Pantisocracies. 

Erin Belieu’s ‘Poem of Philosophical and Parental Conundrums Written in An Election Year’ particularly resonated with Bennetts, due to its “mix of the political and the personal,” he said. “This was something that I had hoped to achieve with Poets for Corbyn overall,” he said.

He added: “I’m not aware that Corbyn has read the book yet. I hope he enjoys it if and when he does.”

One of the poems, ‘For the Love of God’ by Nick Telfer, consists solely of the words “No Blair” repeated 21 times in a black and white grid.

Readers are offered the choice of three covers designed by Evan Johnston to download, including covers featuring Corbyn’s beard and the bike for which Corbyn is well known.

Last year, Berfois published Relentless, a book of satirical verse ostensibly written by the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.