All 5 entries tagged The Heaventree Press

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February 02, 2007

The Heaventree Press in Poetry Wales

Writing about web page

See below this extract from Kathryn Gray on poetry and its publishers. Note that the David/Jonathan Morley confusion strikes once again.

“Not all poetry publishers want to tussle with the big boys or even make any money out of their enterprise. Coventry is the home of the Heaventree Press, a community publishing house headed my David Morley, Director of the Warwick Writing Programme at Warwick University and which includes Wales’ own Zoe Brigley as an associate editor. Heaventree clearly has an eye for talent; they published a sample of Jen Hadfield’s work in Heaventree New Poets 2 back in 2004. Hadfield is a highly respected young poet who has since brought out a first collection with Bloodaxe, Almanacs . There’s ever the danger that talents will move on to ever more ‘visible’ presses – it’s a problem which effects smaller and larger independents, as proven achievers are snapped up by others who may or may not eb able to promise them more.

“Nothing wrong with this is in principle; it’s all part and parcel of poetry’s ecosystem, is healthy and, above all, ensures a feel of creative continuity in the poetry world. It’s self-eveident, however, that it must be difficult to watch your new talent grow into their genius under the auspices of another. But, when you are free of these issues – being ‘not for profit’ and posessing clear creative’ aims’ rather than ‘personalities’ to justofy your existence – you can bring on important work that doesn’t tick teh boxes of fashion or, necessarily, easy accessibility. The press has recently published collectiosn by Jamaican Kei Miller and the young experimental poet Malgorzata Kitowski which come complete with endorsement from leading names.

“More crucially for their ‘visibility’, they’ve achieved something of a coup by getting established names Mario Petrucci and David Dabydeen on board too, offering ‘limited edition’ pamphlets of their work. With Arts Council funding secured, as well as a generous community publishing award, I’ll be watching with interest to see how their mission statement develops over the next few years.”

November 13, 2006


Michael Woodford

Saturday 18th November 2006, 5pm.

Lecture Theatre H051, Humanities Building,

Library Road, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


Medbh McGuckian is the pre-eminent female poet among the extraordinary flowering of ‘second-generation’ Northen Irish writers that included Paul Muldoon and Ciaran Carson. Her first major collection, The Flower Master (1982), which explores post-natal breakdown, was awarded a Rooney prize for Irish Literature, an Ireland Arts Council Award (both 1982) and an Alice Hunt Bartlett Award (1983). She is also the winner of the 1989 Cheltenham Prize for her collection On Ballycastle Beach. She has written a study of the car in the poetry of Seamus Heaney, entitled Horsepower Pass By! (1999), and has translated into English (with Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin) The Water Horse (1999), a selection of poems in Irish by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.

“I don’t think anyone can really be Irish in Ireland. It is such a dreadful place. It’s blood-sucked, you feel like you’re walking in blood.” – from a 1988 interview.

The scientist and poet David Morley has published several award-winning volumes, including Mandelstam Variations, Clearing A Name, Releasing Stone and Scientific Papers. As a writer of Romany origin, he uses the lore and language of Britain’s Gypsy tribes to chilling effect, his poems suggesting dark permafrost lying like a slumbering vagrant beneath the clipped hedges of English society. In his role as Lecturer in Creative Writing and director of the world-renowned Warwick Writing Programme, he won a National Teaching Fellowship Scheme award in 2006. He will read from his collection The Invisible Kings, forthcoming from Carcanet.

“I don’t know what has happened to me. I imagine I have gone too far away from Catstycam or the Bowland Fells, and find it hard to retrace my steps from the steppes of the Midlands. These days I cannot bear teaching in a seminar room and there is nothing that can be done, no cure for the roomed falsehood, except to shout ‘Up! Up!’ to the students and take them for a walk, even if that walk is no hike but merely a stroll around the campus woodlands or a short passage to the library and back. Most everybody probably finds this crazy, or drearily romantic, rather than what it is: physical and psychological shearing-away. It always works; even in the rain: we write and imagine better as we take some action, if we shear-off from the expected route – or non-route in the case of a small dowdy room. One can imagine the walk from Humanities to the Library as fifty steps along the spine of Swirral Edge.” – from David Morley’s blog,

This reading is free, though guests are encouraged to buy a copy of Avocado magazine, which also features work by the noted poets Robin Robertson, Robert Minhinnick, Michael Gardiner and others. The event has been programmed as the conclusion to a Humanities Research Centre doctoral conference on the intersections between Scottish, Welsh and Irish literatures and Postcolonial Theory, organised at the University of Warwick by award-winning PhD researchers Zoe Brigley and Jonathan Morley. See for more information on the conference and how to book.

July 05, 2005

New Heaventree Publications

The new issue of Avocado is now out. For only £2, you can read:

  • fiction by Vanessa Cross, Chan Ziquain, George Ttoouli and David Dabydeen,
  • an interview with the poet, Jack Mapanje,
  • a feature on Algerian poet and publisher, Amari Hamadene,
  • international poetry from a number of other poets including Warwick University's own Batsheva Battu,
  • Midlands poetry,
  • articles and reviews.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in buying a copy.

Also available are new pamplets by Malgozata Kitowski and Milorad Krystanovich. Further details of these will be posted shortly.

January 28, 2005


Writing about web page

The new edition of Avocado is now available featuring new poetry. prose and reviews. Features included are as follows:

*'An Irishman in Coventry'-John Hewitt in the West Midlands.

*Interview with Julie Boden

*Michael Hulse on Matt Nunn

*Poems by Merryn Williams, Andy Brown and Paul Groves

For more details follow the link above which will take you to the Heaventree website and catalogue.

January 05, 2005

The Heaventree Press

Writing about web page

HEAVENTREE is a new poetry press that already shows immense promise. ~The Guardian

The Heaventree Press, Winner of the Raymond Williams Prize for Community Publishing 2004 is a not-for-profit West Midlands based independent publisher, specialising in anthologies and pamphlets of new literature. Set up by local young poets as a community venture, Heaventree is dedicated to promoting arts in coventry and the surrounding area.


Heaventree began germinating in April 2002, after a conference at the University of Warwick called “The Crisis in Poetry Publishing.”
The ‘crisis,’ a word some of the debaters did not feel appropriate, was in poetry sales for new or unestablished writers. Most of these writers are published by small presses with low budgets for marketing. Sales were bad, many publishing houses relied on Arts Council funding for a few years, before disappearing. Poetry is unprofitable, but that's not a shock to anyone.

Poetry is everywhere. There are hundreds of magazines, events, many national and some international festivals, workshops all over the country and thousands of books of poetry coming out every year. But the flood of poetry has made it hard for commercial publishers to make a living out of poetry.

The backlash is that major publishing houses have closed off their lists to poetry, especially new poetry. Most major houses who continue to publish poets stick to the established names, effectively creating an elite core who will make it onto the shelves in major bookstores, while excluding others.

Meanwhile, the specialist poetry audience has slowly expanded as new readers come to love poetry, but the number of people who might read poetry occasionally, just for pleasure, has been dwindling. Is it a lack of media coverage, marketing finances, or similar business slang? Is it that poetry is all a waste of time? The Crisis debate did not provide an answer. They left that to the audience.

So why, in this apparently hostile climate, did we start a poetry press dedicated to new writing? Simple: if sales are falling, it doesn’t mean people no longer want poetry. It means they are not being given the poetry they want. Why should they pay more for poetry because commercial publishers want to make a profit?

Our solution is to give the poetry to the public, where we can, for as little as possible. We are doing our best to produce books and magazines at an affordable price, drawing in funding and subsidies. Where we do make some profit, we will channel the money back into providing more poetry, art, literature and music for Coventry and the West Midlands.


In December 2002 we received an initial start-up grant from The Prince’s Trust for our magazine, avocado , now a regular commercial product. The first issue came out in February 2003. Our first anthology, Phoenix New Writing, was published in July 2003, funded by The Phoenix Initiative, Coventry Council’s regeneration project. It has since won the Raymond Williams Community Publishing Prize for the excellence of its contents and production.

Other recent publications are Saffron Tea, an anthology of British South Asian poetry; Jungle, a short piece of fiction by David Dabydeen; Half Life: poems for Chernobyl by Mario Petrucci; I Have Crossed An Ocean, an anthology of international writing from the Coventry area; and the first volumes in a series of new poetry pamphlets. More details about the books are available on other parts of the website.

We have other projects lined up, or in progress, including working with the refugee communities in Coventry; piloting a series of creative writing workshops for local young people that will fuse poetry, music, animations and performance; organising a new Black Poetry Festival in the city. Again, please surf the website for more details on these and other projects.

We also run a regular open mic night at The Tin Angel café, Spon Street, in Coventry, on the first Tuesday of every month. It’s a good place to come and meet us and find out more about what we do. Bring your short stories, poetry, a guitar and a song, even a short stand-up routine, to share as well.


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