It’s always a special day here at Maytree HQ when we reveal a new cover – the promise of a wonderful collection of poems lovingly presented in one of our unique cover designs – the perfect antidote to this strange world we find ourselves witnessing.
Every cover is special but non more so when you invite a favourite artist to create a work uniquely for the project. For unfolded we asked the brilliant Alice Parker – who many will remember created the image for the award winning, The Collective Nouns For Birds – to respond to some of Olivia’s poetry.
Alice chose a particular favourite poem of ours and created the wonderful enigmatic image, Unstil.
Unfolded by Olivia Dawson will be released in September. Look out for more information very soon and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to get news of all our new releases, offers and submissions direct to your inbox Join our mailing list
We are delighted to announce the release of our second special Three Trees Edition, Because of the War by Aziz Dixon.
Available worldwide from the 26 June 2020, Because of the War is a poignant debut featuring a moving collection of poems in which the poet explores his own response to war whilst championing peace and love. This is quite simply a beautiful and, at times, heartbreaking book that both challenges and questions our history and future.
The cover features the stunning image, Remembrance by Marsden based photographer, Ian Ladbrooke. The photograph was taken at the Marsden Memorial placed on Pule Hill – also home for Simon Armitage’s Snow Poem – and features two local characters who had completed the steep climb to pay their respects. We’re delighted to have been able, through the wonders of social media, to have traced both these gentlemen and look forward to presenting them and their families with copies of the book when it’s safe to do so.
During the writing of the book, Aziz also worked with composer, Nathan Pallotto to create a new work for the Leeds Lieder Festival.
The poem Remont features as a centre point in the book and we’re delighted to be able to share both the Music and the score with you below. You can find out more about Nathan from his website nathanpallatto
Because of the War is now available both direct from Aziz and online from our store.
Aziz will be hosting an intimate online launch on Saturday 4 July – please contact Aziz direct via his Facebook page if you’d like an invite to the celebration AzizDixonPoet
To find out more about our Three Trees Editions take a look at our previous post Three Trees Edition
Hooded crow cracks open
a walnut skull. Stray dogs
trip the watchmen who work
on the road. Gang-woman
harangues the three
who dig. Six look on,
drag on a fag, as the driller
cuts the water supply.
This place rebuilds itself
between genocides. Today
it is sunny. Nobody
bombs the blocks in this street,
leaves us without food
or water for months.
Rust on the sill
ghosts the lock.
Stairs long since rotted
into the chalk. Soil whispers
through gaps in your memory.
Corrugated iron slips
where the fox had her cubs.
Your Midas bottles still in crates
hug the walls, prop the ceiling,
vintage labels curl, crumble.
These wines your grave goods,
treasures for a civil service
warrior, now lost
in pre-digital archives.
About the Author
Originally a student of archaeology, Aziz turned for inspiration to natural and historic landscapes, particularly Pennine and Welsh. More recently he has been drawn to the landscapes of the heart, and to a search for meaning in patterns of family behaviour.
Because of the war is his first published collection.
It’s always an exciting time here at Maytree HQ when we release a new cover out into the world but even more so when it features artwork by one of our favourite artists that we’ve been keeping under wraps for the last eight months.
For Jonathan’s cover there was certainly a case of a wind change after a butterfly had flapped its wings somewhere. We had known from an early stage, possibly as soon as we had received Jonathan’s manuscript, that we wanted to use Suzi Thompson’s artwork on the cover. Both David and Amanda are huge fans of Suzi’s work and have had the privilege of visiting her at her South Yorkshire studio as well as indulging in some prints which are strongly represented at galleries local to Maytree’s home.
The decision to use Suzi’s work was way back in those heady free days of summer 2019 so in many ways the idea was firmly put to the back of our minds whilst other work took priority. That was until the Marsden Jazz Festival in October when Jonathan made the journey across the Pennines and also stumbled into those same galleries and was introduced to Suzi’s work. We’d already had the go ahead from Suzi so imagine our delight when Jonathan began mentioning how much he enjoyed her work – we’re rubbish at keeping secrets so had to let him know that his new found favourite artist was also going to be his cover artist. I think we made a poet very happy that day. Fledge features the artwork, Edgelands. We had to crop the original version a tiny bit so that it would fit so here’s the original version:
Fledge will be released on the 31 July 2020. It’s a wonderful evocative collection with it’s heart set firmly in the natural world. A delightful read for summer 2020.
Many of our regular readers will be familiar with Jonathan’s work, particularly as a reviewer but for those who have missed out you can find out more from his entertaining blog northern jim
Suzi is represented by galleries across the UK and also has a wonderful website and online gallery which you can find here
In case you didn’t hear our exciting news from the weekend, Maytree Press is now not only home to some of the most wonderful poetry pamphlets available but also officially the home of award winning poetry.
For a small press just over a year old we were absolutely thrilled to see two of our books on the shortlist for best poetry pamphlet at the recent Saboteur Awards but imagine our amazement when one of them actually came home with the top prize.
Amanda Huggins’ wonderful debut, The Collective Nouns for Birds featuring cover art by Leeds University student, Alice Parker was crowned the 2020 best poetry pamphlet which, considering that we only launched the book in February, is an incredible result.
Commiserations to Pauline Rowe, whose heartbreaking collection, The Ghost Hospital equally deserved top prize but unfortunately on the day only one title could win – thankfully it was a Maytree one!
We were, of course, saddened not to be at the awards supporting our poets. Had things been different, Maytree had been booked to be there throughout the day celebrating our books and publishing journey so to have a winner would have been a nice end to the day – perhaps next year.
As a reminder, we can only continue to publish these award winning collections if people buy them. Please take a look at our shop where you’ll find all our books available with free postage together with some great offers. We don’t keep your details and you won’t receive any marketing or spam.
In other news, let’s now raise another glass to (fingers crossed) a future award winner:
First Kiss is the fantastic debut from Cara L McKee and if you enjoyed The Collective Nouns for Birds then you will love this collection.
Poems of love, loss, coming of age and independence, Cara vividly explores memories of adolescence and young adulthood with writing that is both accessible and enriching.
Originally from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, Cara now lives on the West Coast of Scotland.
First Kiss is release world wide on the 22 May 2020 – you can join Cara for a on-line launch via her Instagram page – more information here
The time has come – check whether your favourite made it onto the festival mix-tape.
Play loud at 17.45 and together, in our minds, let’s meet on the ledge. Enjoy!
Here’s the list:
Intro: Pink Floyd v David Bowie
I Wanna Be Adored – Stone Roses
Starman – David Bowie
Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Touch the Sky – Kanye West
All You Good Good People – Embrace
Sorted For Es and Whizz – Pulp
Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
Jolene – Dolly Parton
No Surprises – Radiohead
Meet Me On the Ledge – Fairport Convention
Any Colour You Like – Pink Floyd
Mixed by DeC – from the kitchen 2020.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our virtual launch of Green Fields over on the Poetry Village during week – here’s a fitting end from one of our editors with a few memories of better times.
In the End (festival party)
The garden is tiered
and falls away from the house
towards the one road
that leads both in and out.
As bright as any ocean
against the sky blue,
the trees that we planted
are now shaped by
storms, their shadows
part of the land.
Together we paint signs:
Green Fields, Shangri-La,
and Cirque du Soleil,
that point our guests
past lavender, rosemary
and thyme and on towards
the shelter of leaf-light
and the Maytree hedge
that offers shelter
from so much unknown.
Then the fire is lit:
Ian downs a Pot Noodle cup
full of local ale;
Wendy paints the moon
and stars above a child’s eyes
as Michael recites poetry
to a small but appreciative crowd.
Later we find Zak,
half asleep and seeking something
he’ll never find at the bottom
of Gardenia’s best Tupperware.
Three months from now
the good souls will stand shoulders
with him at the crematorium.
They’ll wear black.
And all this is pretend.
Hushed voices circle past trees
towards stars eclipsed
by distant city lights.
The dawn will soon cast a mix
of pinks, blues and a new green
over the tiered garden washed
clean with summer dew.
Then the birdsong: first a solo,
tentative, before a chorus
of call and response.
The sky still holds a moon.
Only sometimes can we feel
the Earth’s dizzying spin.