Over the course of our call for pamphlet proposals, we'll have some of our existing pamphlet authors writing about their experience of having a pamphlet published with us. Here I've interviewed Jack Nicholls, author of Meat Songs!
My pamphlet’s called Meat Songs, and it concerns the peculiar and miserable relationship humans have with animals. A lot of the poems are pretty prosey and speak in the voices of animals: a headlouse has its say, for example, along with the most-caught fish in Britain, a famous severed pig’s head, two dead dogs in a lake, a carton of mince, and a whole other rank menagerie.
I’d been a fan of the Emma Press for yonks and particularly loved Amy Key’s anthology of poems on female friendship (Best Friends Forever) and Camille Ralphs’ STONKING pamphlet Malkin, on the Pendle witch trials. I keep a copy of this pamphlet by my bed and regularly jealously seethe at, kiss and applaud it, as well as occasionally re-reading it. It empathetically resurrects the voices of the victims, gleefully employing creative spelling, anachronism and, among other devices, Morse code. It rules. Malkin made me realise that as well as works of out-and-out beauty, the Emma Press might be on board with grisly conceptual projects too.
What did you enjoy about working with the Emma Press?
Working with the Emma Press was every bit as fun and cool as I suspected it would be. Rachel and Emma publish stuff they’re thrilled about, and so the editorial work we did together felt like collaborating with friends on a project you’re all stoked about. My email chain with Rachel was thorough, extensive and extremely colour-coded. They care, loads, about the work they’re putting out, and not only is this reflected in your finished pamphlet being better than you thought it could ever be, you end up with working practices that make you a better poet than you thought you could be, too.
What would you want to see the Emma Press publish next?
The Emma Press stuff I’m always most excited to read comes from poets writing about topics they’re clearly passionate about, so I’m eager to see that continue with the new batch. I would selfishly like those topics to be about Hammer Horror movies or Krazy Kat, but I begrudgingly concede that people submitting probably have their own ideas. On a completely different tack, I’ve spent a lot of time working with children with special educational needs, and would love to see more kids’ poetry with them specifically in mind—poems for children who find it hard to follow rhyme, or prefer concepts to be explained methodically at the beginning of the book, for instance.
Either way, I’m excited for what’s coming next from the Emma Press. Please, nobody submit a pamphlet about animal voices though. It’s all I’ve got.