by the87press

Simmering of a declarative void
Rob Kiely
the87press - 13.00€ -

"This is a book of poetry that looks, really looks, at malign societal shapes and holds its stare. In the rhythmic scenes that are drawn like grotesques, we see the glistening, puke redolent props of normal life and its ‘bee-white’ regresses; we see an immersive performance art piece featuring a live job interview; the historical transfigurations of a bridge; we see MINT. CATS…Like all good, quick wit the ‘whatness’ of before and after spit back at each other. Thank goodness for this radical poetic satire, with line-breaks that bite into systems’ supposed inevitables; ‘an advert is / for what happens anyway’. The voice is not cold and cynical, but cunning and frangible, always kindling new ways to kick to pieces the the amygdala trick, if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life!, and to kill the cop in your head. The crafted lyric sloshes between ballad forms, to Bill Griffiths-like textual play of talented sounds and nasty phrases that make you make observations, notice your feelings. In the excellent final poem of first water, ‘IN IT’ the speaker says, “my landlord is nervous when / we meet / at the centre of that nervousness / is a precious oil / I must extract”. This book is written with something like that oil, something like the toxins of meeting points; worker debt, worker time, worker body. I read this and wondered to the simmering, declarative void of myself, can a poem destroy admin!? Perhaps, but only on the basis that both a poem and an admin contain instructions to remember that someone existing after you has to do this too." – Holly Pester, author of Go to reception and ask for Sara in red felt tip

Robert Kiely is current Poet-in-Residence at University of Surrey. simmering of a declarative void is his first book, soon to be followed by a critical essay, Incomparable Poetry, from punctum.

Verity Spott
the87press - 13.00€ -

"The brilliant Verity Spott has a new book out, called Hopelessness and published by the 87 Press. The work defies categorisation: Verity is a poet, and this book is certainly poetry, but large parts are in prose form and towards the end it even takes on the structure of an absurdist play. There seems to be a loose narrative, and even recurring character voices, so I’m tempted to call it a short experimental novel, in the vein of Kenneth Patchen’s The Journal Of Albion Moonlight (a personal favourite). Ultimately though I’d just call it a book; one full of words that are profound, moving, silly, sad, challenging and beautiful in equal measure. Even though it’s still a boldly experimental piece, in some ways Hopelessness feels like the most accessible thing Verity’s done. Without wanting to sound condescending, it’s also the most mature. You don’t get much more universal than death, love and loss, and these seem to be the main themes explored here. Another is language itself, the way it defines and limits our experience, and the way that we’re constantly at the mercy of words and phrases as they’re deployed by the authorities, the media, and eventually our own thought processes. Dissenting voices continually talk over one another throughout Hopelessness, often sampled from outside sources, or parodies thereof: Sappho, MR James, traditional hymns and folk songs, Hollywood movies, talk radio, tabloid newspapers, dreams and demagogues. Through it all there’s a painful lesson about how loss can make us bitter and hard, and how by refusing to move forward we become empty caricatures mouthing meaningless clichés to wound and hurt. But grief and loss can also teach us about love, if we let them, and there is so much grief and love in this book. Verity continually rearranges reality (that is, language) as if searching desperately for a way out, but in the end, as always, there is just life, love, and death. Hopelessness is a bravura performance, wholeheartedly recommended." — Ben Graham

Verity Spott is a poet from Brighton. Verity is the author of several books including Hopelessness (the 87 Press), Click Away Close Door Say (Contraband Books), We Will Bury You (Veer Books) and Poems of Sappho (in translation, Face Press). From 2018 to 2019 Verity was Poet in Residence at the University of Surrey. Verity teaches poetry in Brighton with The Creative Writing Programme and (alongside Kat Addis) with the Hollingdean Wednesdays project where they hold a poetry reading and writing group in Hollingdean Community Centre. Verity's poems have been translated into Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and German and their book Hopelessness has been translated into French and published by Même pas l'hiver. Verity plays cello in the improvised tune duo Benzo Fury and the free jazz trio In Threads. Since 2006 Verity has run the monthly poetry, performance and music event Horseplay.

The Bow
Mira Mattar
the87press - 13.00€ -

The Bow is a collection steeped in the pains and pleasures of impermanence. Mattar’s densely populated poems lyrically dart between entangled histories and contested presents, immersing the reader in the fleshy undercurrent of contemporary life. Writhing with sensitivity and tumult, this is a work of slippery power. – Momtaza Mehri

Taking on false conceptions of mistaking “a walled garden for the world,” Mira Mattar proves the always new and always ancient tools of poetry help us love the world as it is, not as it was, and not as we wished or hoped. These poems destroy lies to buzz around us no more. – CAConrad

Mira Mattar writes fiction and poetry. She is an independent researcher, editor, and tutor. She is a Palestinian and Jordanian from London, where she lives and works. Her novel, Yes, I Am A Destroyer was published in 2020 by Ma Bibliothèque and her chapbook, Affiliation, was published in 2021 by Sad Press. The Bow is her first collection of poems.

Fleshed Out For All The Corners Of The Slip
James Goodwin
the87press - 13.00€ -

This major new work is thought, spirit and sense (in every sense) ‘fleshed out’ in ‘all the corners’ by being unmade – as poetry, as music, as (black and white) images, and as attention to the interconnected circuitries the One has with the social, historical and environmental ‘to / link us outside’. These elements are no sooner embodied than they slip, shift, carousel and spin away. As Goodwin puts it: ‘no longer a bodily reference to an individual subject’s presence; not obliterated but made into an element, air or breath, as black poetry’s condition of im/possibility for, and refusal of subjecthood.’ Hence it is that this poetry achieves ‘flightacross precipitous intransigence’ (Will Alexander), perhaps flights of manifestations of spirit, ‘ghostly crowned / apogees’, like duppies, which is to say, sacred. Hence too the work’s urgent task to avoid ‘thingification’: the conscription and exploitation of thought &/or body for neo-colonialist, which is to say, neo-liberal ends. Goodwin eschews identity politics for a phenomenology that is more properly radical in both the etymological sense of the term – rooted and vital to life – as well as situated within a history of experimental black thought which, simultaneously, rejects normative traditions of meaning, signification and value. Both meanings are central to the anti-racist core of this important work – ‘when i don’t know you but you must know who i am’ – in a poetry that’s as breath-taking as it is breath-making. ‘Inexpressibly full with what words can do’.

— Emily Critchley, author of Home (London: Protoype, 2021), Arrangements (Shearsman Books, 2018) and Ten Thousand Things (UEA: Boiler House Press, 2017)

James Goodwin is a poet doing a PhD in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London with a thesis on the blacksociopoetics of marronage, breath, sacrality and emanation. His pamphlet, aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends, was published by Face Press; and his debut book, Fleshed Out For All The Corners Of The Slip, is forthcoming with the87press. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry.

Why so few women on the street at night
Sarona Abuaker
the87press - 13.00€ -

In Sarona Abuaker’s extraordinary debut collection, “images, graphs, charts, statistics, maps, bank statements from the home of origin &/or showing the said home of origins” perform a version of skin that shakes until it is no longer something another person could touch. Is this erasure, a metamorphic performance, or the moment, in fact, in which the body is disappeared? In one searing instance, Abuaker attends to somatic memory as something made available only by severance, a physiological and political act: “release memory/ muscle/heart/if you cut open the chest/you will see the blockages/cross lines/coronary/green azygous/armistice/ partition/seizing seizing seizing.” Here, syntax performs the cut and becomes the texture, the wound, the very thing that must be sutured now. As the poet writes: “resistance sometimes looks like constraint.” Perhaps the same could be said of recovery (aftermath) as well. Why so few women on the street at night is another brilliant offering from the87press. – Bhanu Kapil

Sarona Abuaker is a poet, artist, and educational outreach worker. Her poems have been published in Berfrois, MAP Magazine, and the87press’ Digital Poetics series. Her mixed-media essay Suture Fragmentations – A Note on Return was published in December 2020 with KOHL: A Journal for Body and Gender Research. She is based in London. Why so few women on the street at night is her debut collection (the87press, 2021).

Beefy's Tune (Dean Blunt Edit)
Dhanveer Singh Brar
the87press - 13.00€ -

Dean Blunt is one of the most important British artist of the current century because he fundamentally does not care about Britain. His importance makes it shocking that such little critical attention has been paid to his work. His indifference explains it.

Dhanveer Singh Brar’s ‘Beefy’s Tune (Dean Blunt Edit)’ looks to initiate a conversation that needs to be had about Dean Blunt, about Britain (through Blunt’s indifference to it), and about Blackness in Britain (through the depth and complexity of Blunt’s feeling for it). Using the 2016 album ‘BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow’ as a means of navigation, Brar hears Blunt in order to access the long contested dream of Britain’s disappearance that was conducted under the name of Black British Arts. Partial (in the sense of his relation to Blunt) and partial (in the sense of unfinished), ‘Beefy’s Tune (Dean Blunt Edit)’ see’s Dhanveer Singh Brar give the dream a grammar, if not a name.

Dhanveer Singh Brar is a theorist and scholar who teaches in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. His is a member of Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective and Lovers Discourse. Brar’s second book ‘Teklife, Ghettoville, Eski: The Sonic Ecologies of Black Music in the Early Twenty-First Century’ will be published by Goldsmiths Press/MIT Press in Spring 2021

"To encounter BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow through Dhanveer Brar’s ears is to see Babylon through his eyes, and to sense Britain—to uncover with 'accuracy, brutality and beauty' the complexities of its meaning—through the social music, social vision and social feel of those who refuse the Britishness that is withheld from them. Brar discerns Dean Blunt’s rightful place in a cultural field where critical discourse and sonic dream are fundaments of a dub university curriculum whose various approaches show the absolute necessity and generativity of stealth, flaw and the resistance to category. Blunt’s “love letter to the blackness of Hackney” deserves the most rigorous, gentle, erudite attention. Happily, Dhanveer Brar is here to provide it." – Fred Moten.

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