Friday, 7 July 2017

This week at Valley Press, #62: 'The Eagle'

Dear readers,

I must start by thanking everyone for the outpouring of kind words after our last email. I've included another Helen Cadbury poem at the end of this post, in a different genre; a childhood anecdote in fact (showing the great storytelling skill everyone's been talking about in the past week, along with a 'Twinkle' of humour).

After a few requests, I turned last week's poem, 'The Dance', into an image which can be easily shared on social media (find that here). The family have asked that donations in Helen's memory go to Accessible Arts and Media, York, a brilliant organisation which Helen chaired for a number of years – details here.

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Elsewhere at Valley Press, Helen Burke's twenty-month wait to see her Collected Poems is almost at an end – hardback copies arrived in the VP office on Thursday (see picture above). An ebook is also available now. The hardback, after all this effort, is priced at £30... but we realise that is a touch steep, so for the next few weeks you can all have 20% off using the discount code BIRDIES.

In other new releases: Mountain Stories is "officially" published today, and should be appearing on bookshop shelves across the UK. For those who've already ordered, I hope you find it as intriguing and entertaining as we did. A sample can be found here, if you've not yet read anything from our new Chinese translation series. We're working on the second volume at the moment; I have the final manuscript in my hand.

This week also saw the release of our third audiobook publication. We invited Norah Hanson over to Scarborough to record her latest collection Sparks, using the brilliant studio/production setup at Tom Townsend's Village Records. We did take after take of each poem until they were perfect, and the results are available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes now for just a few pounds – less than a posh coffee! Give it a try.

If free entertainment is more your style, VP authors Sue Wilsea and Nora Chassler recently visited the Valley Press office, and graciously agreed to film video interviews, answering the questions from TV programme 'Inside the Actor's Studio'. (In the video, I credit them to James Lipton, but have since learned he borrowed them from a man called Pivot... who in turn lifted them from Proust. So more literary than you'd think.) You can see Sue's video here and Nora's here.

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I'm about to embark on an email holiday for a few weeks, starting Sunday – I'll be keeping one eye on the workings of Valley Press though, and still doing the occasional meeting/event (so don't panic if we've got one booked!) The next few newsletters will be from enterprising interns and other VP staff, so look out for some lively new voices in your inbox. Enjoy those, and the poem below – see you in August.

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

The Wrong Label

by Helen Cadbury, from Forever, Now (published November 2017)

The Christmas I unwrapped an Eagle annual
there was Dan Dare, all black lines, strong jaw,
the Mekon, slime-green, repulsive, sucking me in.
Each comic strip a rush of danger, thrill of speed.

Minutes in to this new-found joy, a cry went up,
my brother sat with a Twinkle annual in his lap.
I fought my case, ruined Christmas with my argument,
and lost. These things happen, simple mistake.

I flicked the pages of Twinkle, where fat-faced
children smiled pink-lipped smiles, cherubic.
I was having none of it. I spent the afternoon
plotting how to make the Eagle mine.

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