41 Green Street
Current publishing and design projects at Five Seasons employ three different printing processes.
We continue to publish occasional individually-designed books of poetry, graphics, essays and translation — which are printed by offset litho. The two latest titles are Bureau of the Lost and Found by Michael Henry and Lingerings of the Large Day by Clive Bush.
For the Five Seasons Broadsides series we have now revived our letterpress office.
Some of our publisher-customers require high-quality design and typesetting combined with digital printing. For these customers we are now sending our press-ready files to a supremely good digital printer.
Glenn Storhaug, editor and publisher
Five Seasons Broadsides - new series
The first four broadsides in the new series were printed by the giclée process on heavy mouldmade pure cotton watercolour paper (330 x 483mm / 13” x 19”) in signed and numbered editions of 40 copies @ £20. Broadsides Two, Three and Four are still available, but there are only a few out-of-series unsigned copies of Broadside One @ £10. For any or all nine broadsides (inc. the reappeared Snyders), inland first-class postage and packing: £7.00 (US: £10/$16. Enquire if tracking/insurance required). The broadsides are despatched in large custom-made ‘square tubes’ which minimize the curling caused by ordinary postal tubes.
From Number Five onwards, we are handsetting metal type and printing (with no photopolymer plates) the broadsides in our new letterpress studio (after 20 years without inky fingers). Sometimes we combine letterpress text with graphics printed by other processes, eg giclée, silkscreen or litho.
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Number Seven: Sylphs by Anthony Mellors and Penny Hallas
A new poem by Mellors, demanding 30pt rather than our usual 24pt Bembo metal type. Each broadside combines letterpress text with a giclée-printed painting by Penny Hallas. (Somerset pure cotton paper, 330 x 483mm / 13” x 19”.) 45 copies numbered and signed by author and artist. UK £30 / US $47.
This new version of Sappho’s poem, contrasting love for Anaktoria with distaste for military heroics, was offered by Alan Halsey to Five Seasons a century after the outbreak of WW1 – also a century after the first publication of the Sapphic fragments painstakingly reconstituted from scraps of papyrus found in the Egyptian desert. The letterpress-printed poem is accompanied by a giclée-printed reproduction of the original papyri now in the Bodleian Library. (Discontinued Velin Arches Crème cotton paper, 320 x 450mm / 12.5” x 18”.) 50 copies numbered and signed by the author. UK £30 / US $47.
Sent first to Five Seasons, this new poem in memory of the poet’s wife Carole uses ‘beetle-kill pine’ as a central image. Consequently the illustration is handprinted directly off a piece of beetle-kill pine which took many months to find. (BFK Rives cotton paper, 450 x 320mm / 18” x 12.5”.) The first 50 copies have been numbered and signed by the author. Signed copies: UK £95 / US $150. Remaining copies numbered 51 to 140: UK £45 / US $70.
(See below for our two earlier Gary Snyder broadsides (published 1984 and 1996), a few copies of which are available again thanks to the discovery of a forgotten cache.)
Number Four: Halse by Frances Presley
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.
Number Two: UFO by Geraldine Monk
Hilarious, haunting, colourful exploration of the UFO acronym.
Number One: open your mouth by Andrew Brewerton
A letterpress edition of 300 numbered copies published in 1996. (BFK Rives cotton paper, 570 x 385 mm / 22.25” x 15”.) 20 ‘lost’ copies are now available for the first time. UK £60 / US $94.
O Mother Gaia by Gary Snyder with a wash drawing by Alan Halsey
A letterpress-combined-with-litho edition of 65 copies published in 1984. (Whatman rag paper, 540 x 350mm / 21.25” x 13.75”.) 9 ‘lost copies’ now available for the first time. UK £55 / US $87.
Michael Henry’s latest collection is an illuminating quest for identity. The first two parts chart a ‘genealogical gold rush’ following a surprise discovery of German forebears, a secret that had lain buried during two world wars. Henry pens an endearing portrait of his father, a surgeon, who is the gateway to this new found ancestry. The themes of loss and discovery, identity and knowledge run through the whole collection. Henry unfolds his world with his signature eye for detail, a gentle sense of humour and a vital intimacy that immediately draws the reader in.
In Bureau of the Lost and Found Michael Henry’s poetry resembles W. G. Sebald’s prose in its rich understanding of the invisible connective tissues of individual lives and national cultures. A lover of the little things and the larger significance alike, he wears his erudition lightly in these wonderfully sensitive, even-humoured poems. His writing is a reminder of the fine humanity poetry should always be capable of expressing.
This is Michael Henry’s fifth full collection. Reviewing After The Dancing Dogs (Enitharmon Press) in The Guardian, Charles Bainbridge wrote:
‘Henry’s poems are quiet, fragile, written off the cuff, sustained by fragments of lived experience . . . when he gets it right the effect is exhilaratingly direct.’
This exhilarating and wide-ranging new sequence celebrates what Walt Whitman saw in the English Civil War as ‘the breaking of the conventionally poetic’ and the beginning of the ‘light of the new, and of science and democracy’.
Cive Bush’s last book of poetry was Pictures after Poussin (2003). Robert Creeley was ‘impressed and held by the flawless music . . . a very deft and effective rhetoric altogether.’
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.
A paperback reprint is available via Dr Jean Gooder at Newnham College, Cambridge
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
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.
See sample spread
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.