41 Green Street
Selected Five Seasons titles are distributed in the USA by SPD Inc
Six years after its last independent publishing activities, and eight years after the closing of its last fine-edition letterpress office, Five Seasons resumed its role as publisher of individually-designed books of poetry, graphics, essays and translation.
For recent titles including remarkable and often very substantial new collections/selections from Frances Presley, Clare Holtham, Paul Matthews, Alan Halsey, Paul Merchant, Gavin Selerie and David Hart, plus broadsides by Andrew Brewerton, Geraldine Monk, Allen Fisher and Frances Presley, see below. For all available publications see titles in print.
Glenn Storhaug, editor and publisher
An Alphabet for Alina by Frances Presley
An alphabetical sequence with a poem and drawing for each letter. Full of delights and surprises as described in the back-cover endorsements reproduced on the right.
ISBN 978-0-947960-65-0. £9.95 plus £3.00 postage Order information.
The Road from Herat by Clare Holtham
Clare Holtham, who died in February 2010, was a notable poet, photographer, linguist and explorer to whom nothing was alien. She ran film festivals; she was a successful systems analyst; she married an Uzbek chieftain in Afghanistan; she studied genetics and homoeopathy; she spoke Persian . . . But a brief description does not prepare the reader for this unusual collection. Far better to read Roger Garfitt’s introduction to the book.
The Observer Poetry Book of the Month
The University of Cambridge Research Features website provides a fine portrait of the author, complete with video and sound recordings.
ISBN 978-0-947960-66-7. £9.50 plus £3.00 postage Order information.
Slippery Characters by Paul Matthews
As described on the cover, this is the first Paul Matthews collection from Five Seasons Press since the much-praised and reprinted The Ground that Love Seeks first published in 1996.
Thoughtfully designed and generously proportioned
ISBN 978-0-947960-64-3 Published 1 March 2011 at
Five Seasons Broadsides - new series
Publications in the new series of Five Seasons Broadsides (the last in the old series was Gary Snyder’s Boat of a Million Years, 1996) are all printed by the giclée process on heavy mould-made pure-cotton watercolour papers, 330mm x 483mm (13” x 19”) in signed and numbered limited editions of forty copies. They are available at £20 per copy plus £4.50 postage for mailing between flat boards or in an extra-wide-diameter tube.
Number One: open your mouth by Andrew Brewerton.
The estimable Andrew Brewerton (of whose Raag Leaves for Paresh Chakraborty I made a not unhallooing fuss some months ago) is the first poet to be published in a new series of broadsides from force-of-nature Glenn Storhaug’s excellent Five Seasons Press. The poem, a gloriously slippery, sexy, tuneful extrusion from certain fragments of Psalm 81, is thus published on a single large sheet of toothsome paper with a phantom lipstick kiss endorsing its message: think ‘Poems on the Underground’, but way, way upscale and a fair bit more sensually alive than you'll normally see on the Northern line. I'm excited to see what else emerges in this series; this is the loveliest imaginable beginning. At any rate, keep an eye on Five Seasons: evidently their relationship with Arts Council England may be at an end, and subscriptions will therefore be sought for future publications. Chris Goode Thompson’s Bank of Communicable Desire
Number Two: UFO by Geraldine Monk
Monk’s poetry sprawls and mutates, digresses and deviates, circulating around its subjects in a non-linear fashion. . . . Monk’s in a league of her own. Simon Turner Horizon Review
Number Three: Proposals 6 by Allen Fisher
Proposals 6 is one of 35 sets, each comprising a poem, an image and a commentary -- a convention deriving from such books of emblems as those of Andrea Alciati in sixteenth-century Italy.
‘A proposal is an act towards the doing or making of something. A poem is something that is made (“moulded”, fired) but which works . . . in part as a question the answer to which is constitutionally absent (“whatever is not”). It is a “usefulness” that “doesn't work” in the “simple” sense: “usefulness” “estranged”. In being “estranged” it is fired, “becomes viable”: Tao Te Ching, Grace Hartigan, “Proposals 6”. . . . The Proposal is both the “wall all around” and the “bowl”. The “void” is found in the reading and looking, as evidenced here.’ (From a commentary by Stephen Benson)
Number Four: Halse by Frances Presley
In preparation: broadsides by Gary Snyder, Harry Gilonis, Anthony Mellors / Penny Hallas. (We are currently discussing with Gary Snyder which new text will be featured on this third Snyder broadside to be published by Five Seasons. Like the previous two, O Mother Gaia (1984) and Boat of a Million Years (1996), this broadside will be printed letterpress.)
See sample spread
Lives of the Poets by Alan Halsey
Thanks to support from patrons and subscribers, Alan Halsey’s
During the last eight years selections from this Great Work have appeared in pamphlets and magazines in Britain, America and Japan. It had long been the ambition of Five Seasons to publish the complete opus (including the contributions from Martin Corless-Smith) with the attention to detail and quality that the text deserves. The end-result has already met with enthusiasm for the quality of the paper and binding, the pleasing way in which the head and tailbands match the two colours in which the text is printed and so on. But however well-designed the bottle it is the wine we’re here for, and Halsey is the Master Maker. The sample spread shows one of the 191 Lives (ranging from Chaucer to Lionel Johnson) opposite one of the eighteen engravings which illustrate the book.
Fragments of biographical information spark against one another, giving sudden unexpected illuminations. It’s a beautiful collection, and beautifully produced by Five Seasons (with a nod and a wink to Halsey’s genially subverted model, Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the English Poets). Has old-style narrative biography just had its “Roll over Beethoven” moment? Charles Nicholl
The eloquence and subtle textuality the reader of Halsey’s writing has come to expect have ample opportunity to spread out across the lovely pages of the present volume. Laura Moriarty ‘A Tonalist Notes’
A way of continuing the devilishness of Finnegans Wake. Language without slack. A perfect contagion of quotables. The book itself is ravishingly designed. John Latta ‘Isola di Rifiuti’
ISBN 978-0-947960-59-9. 192 pages, 235x185mm, cloth with textured dustjacket. £25 plus £4 postage.
Monochords by Yannis Ritsos
October 2007. A new translation by Paul Merchant, co-published by
Ritsos (1909-1990) was one of the four most acclaimed poets of twentieth-century Greece, alongside Cavafy, Seferis and Elytis. Paul Merchant, as translator, first collaborated with Ritsos in the 1960s. His superb translations were read by Ted Hughes on BBC radio in 1970. Merchant continued to work on Ritsos texts and has at last made available for publication his translation of ΜΟΝΟΧΟΡΔΑ, a sequence of 336 poems, each of them one line long. Here are some random examples:
Sunshine. The café. A bicycle. Broken windows. 
How can the flag and the poem be twins? 
A good relationship with your mirror? With the world, too. 
Grape harvesters and horses in the ocean. Bravo, comes the call from the balconies. 
Darkness always behind my pages. That’s why my letters shine so brightly. 
Outside the shuttered house, the four winds, smoke, chairs. 
As Paul Merchant observes in his revealing introduction, these are ‘miniature encapsulations by a master of the art of brevity’. But it is the way in which they interact with each other that so vividly evokes a history and culture, and provides a key to the work of a great poet. In this fine production, each of the Monochords is given the space and attention it demands.
Some Business Of Affinity by Paul Merchant
Shortlisted for the 2007 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.
The discrete sections and interspersed single poems in Some Business of Affinity serve as chapters in the life of a poet who has responded to an uncommonly wide range of languages, histories and cultures—with rare skill and a keen sensitivity to their contemporary relevance. The major sequences include responses to Catullus, Hokusai, John Dee and the Cherokee Trail of Tears; among his interpretations are a version of the classic Chinese/Japanese ‘Eight Scenes’ and an exploration of ‘translation’ itself (involving inspired exchanges of image for text with Oregon artists Dale Rawls and Steve Tilden); Merchant’s reworkings include his recoveries from Coleridge’s Notebooks plus a revealing Horatian envoy; and his translations haul a burden of gold from the Latin of Catullus, the medieval Welsh of Dafydd ap Gwilym, the Modern Greek of Yannis Ritsos and the Ancient Greek of Aeschylus’s war play The Persians.
Roy Fisher’s praise of Salt Water Island (Five Seasons Press 1983) is even more apposite to the larger-scale Some Business of Affinity: ‘. . . a poem where everything depends on the quality of the poet’s attention to a wide range of fragmentary evidences of life: borrowed voices, memoirs, private observations, a personal “civilization” that pitches artistic tenacity against carnage. The clear, sustained urgency of the poem’s intricate movement leaves that quality in no doubt.’
Le Fanuís Ghost by Gavin Selerie
This playfully erudite evocation of family and culture draws history into the present with wit and ingenuity. Layered and looped, the voices of Swift, Sheridan, Joyce and others recreate the drama of the Irish/English divide.
‘The effect is oral, brash, sparky, and yet grounded in a deep knowledge and love of the highest poetic tradition. Le Fanu’s Ghost reveals, in a highly original way, the wonderful cross-pollination of high and low, notorious and neglected, oral and literary, Gaelic and Faery lore, Ireland and England, and will give great pleasure to readers.’ Marina Warner
‘Gavin Selerie’s non-fictional-fictional genealogical poetic quest into the life, friends and relations of the Anglo-Irish author . . . Every contingent sound-bite of information has been arranged to perfection.’ Susan Howe
‘A remarkably rich kaleidoscopic collection of connections, puns and verse, quotations and inventions, genealogy and ingenuity, connecting Swift, Sheridan, Joyce and many others—their families and their fictions—and using typographic as well as literary and linguistic tricks, so that the reader is never sure of what century he is in, or whose voice he is reading or whether he owes it to scholarship or wit—mostly both. A very handsome puzzle-book in substantial sewn paperback.’ Books Ireland
Running Out by David Hart
A spirited new collection from a poet too inventive and wide-ranging to be contained in a slim volume. Since Setting the poem to words (1998) David Hart has worked on public writing—including hospital and festival residency poems, a libretto, poems for the changing centre of Birmingham where he lives—and has worked privately developing his own poetic ways and means. His sequence from a week in Poland takes on public and private themes, as do two other sequences here, one a response to Rilke, the other an attempt at least to play-act writing from inside Beethoven’s final years.
‘David Hart is very much his own poet, quietly distinctive. And he’s a shape-shifter too.’ Les Murray
‘The most original poet to emerge in recent years, he writes with a light, unsparing touch, with a courage that manages to look casual.’ Roger Garfitt
Michael Hamburger has already said of the Beethoven sequence Work, the work: ‘It is a most powerful and illuminating poem, with an intensity that reminded me of Beckett in places.’
272 pages sewn paperback 234x156mm
Marginalien by Alan Halsey
‘His grasp of language, or the many layers and interiorities that make a text work, is about second to none.’ Paul Green, Chicago Review
‘A poetry of passionate and stoical resistance.’ Robert Potts, The Guardian
A beautifully produced large-format 416-page book collecting together all Alan Halsey’s longer poems and sequences, as well as prose texts and graphics, from 1988 to 2004. Most of the contents have only been published previously in various international anthologies, sought-after limited-edition booklets, or heard at one of the author’s readings in Britain, Europe or the US. Each book has a deftly-incorporated CD featuring 208 Memory Screen graphic images with PC/Mac software for auto-slide-show and interactive viewing. The text-only version of Memory Screen is included in Marginalien, and the complete set of ‘text-graphic’ prints is being exhibited for the first time at the Bury Text Festival (1 April to 1 June 2005) where the book will be launched at the festival’s opening. (www.textfestival.com)
ISBN 0 947960 34 1
The Feather-list Extracts by Charles Johnson
‘Not least, watch how words work here, how language gate-crashes thought, how thought is taken for unexpected walks with language, and how, if there is a gene for wry humour, it is surely showing itself here.’ David Hart
‘. . . lean and mean . . . witty and intimate and cold and heart-rending and so many things all at once’ Jennifer Compton
This long overdue collection of Charles Johnson’s work over the last twelve years is edited and introduced by fellow West Midlands poet David Hart. Johnson has devoted so much time to promoting and publishing the work of others in his award-winning Flarestack booklets (over 60 so far) and his poetry quarterly Obsessed with Pipework, that his own very distinct and engaging voice has been heard by far too small an audience.
ISBN 0 947960 37 6
Five Seasons has received financial support from Arts Council England for many years and regrets this is no longer forthcoming. We will now publish by subscription and the publisher warmly invites patrons and subscribers (who will be well served)! Please email him to enquire or discuss.
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