Category Archives: Everyone

Support a small publisher

Small publishers have found the last 18 months or so particularly gruelling, none more so than Holland Park Press run by the wonderful Bernadette & Arnold Jansen op de Haar. The company publishes literary fiction and poetry, with special emphasis on bringing the work of Dutch authors to the English language market.

Earlier this year they launched a campaign to ‘Adopt a Book & Rescue a Small Publisher’ with some success, but not sufficient to maintain their business.

Sadly the desire to keep publishing has placed a heavy toll on them and they’ve now had to to move out of their premises BUT they still plan to keep HPP going. They have a great selection of books in English & Dutch and some in ebook format, so the site is well worth purusing. There’s also a blog, magazine articles and, if you live in the Stroud area, you’ll find them at the Shambles market on 12 & 13 November (more dates on their website).

It would be a great loss to see HPP go, so while Bernadette & Arnold are still fighting we can all help them.

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Time is called a great poet

Saddened this week to see the death of Brendan Kennelly on Sunday (18/10), aged 85, at a nursing home in County Kerry, Ireland. He was a much loved and distinguished Irish poet and broadcaster, publishing more than 30 books of poetry. For 30 years he was Back in 2010 he was given the Irish PEN Award for his contribution to Irish literature. Irish President Michael D Higgins said of him that he had ‘forged a special place in the affections of the Irish people’.

I was delighted to meet Brendan, sadly only the once, back in the 1960s when he visited Leeds. He was a friend and collaborator with fellow poet Rudi Holzapfel, who I was working with at the time in his antiquarian book business. Looking through my own archive of Rudi’s work, I find I’ve got three books containing work from both of them:

the rain, the moon – Brendan Kennelly and Rudi Holzapfel (Published 1961) This is a limited edition hardback signed by Brendan Kennelly, Rudi Holzapfel and Donald Carroll – who wrote the intro to the collection.

Poems – Brendan Kennelly and Rudi Holzapfel (Leeds 1963)

The Dark About Our Loves – Brendan Kennelly and Rudi Holzapfel (John Augustine & Company)

In his collection Now (Bloodaxe Books, 2006) Brendan writes a meditation on time through a fascinating sequence of little tree-liners. This is a theme he has returned to over more than years. A short piece like this can barely do him justice as there is so much that can be said of his outstanding work. Now, very sadly, time has caught up with him. He will be greatly missed.

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Cake Forks, Coffee Perculators, Sherbert Lemons & Pear Drops

Just finished Nigel Slater’s excellent ‘Eating for England’. It’s not a new book – published by Fourth Estate 2007 – but is hugely enjoyable and very readable. I spent most of the time reminiscing over all the things I remember from my childhood that he catalogues. Lot’s of ‘I remember…’ and ‘did you have…’.

Because it’s not an A to Z of our relationship with food, it drifts from one wonderful, or otherwise, memory to another with such diverse items as Black Pudding, Murray Mints, Ribena, Dairylea and Branston Pickle.

What comes across is a wonderful catalogue of things we’ve forgotten, or would like to forget. His summary of our attitude says it all: ‘the French cook with their senses, the Italians with their hearts, the Spanish with their energy, the Germans with their appetite. The British, bless them, cook with their wallets.’

Whether you remember Fry’s Five Centres or not, read this book for a trip down memory lane. Highly recommended.

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