etruscan books was founded in 1996, and has published concrete, Gaelic & modernist poetry with an ear for the lyric & the made up word. The press gives attention to spatiality, experiment and the text. Our books are carefully edited, and still sewn on good papers. etruscan books is run by the poet Nicholas Johnson. etruscan books grew out of the Six Towns Poetry Festival (1992-97) in Stoke on Trent.1 Many of our titles are sold at the London Review of Books Bookshop, distributed by Central Books, and they are also available direct from the publisher. etruscan books represents a continuum of the ethos of bookmaking by presses like Fulcrum, Goliard, Triagram & Grosseteste. Our first publication was by Edward Dorn and the writers we publish include Carlyle Reedy, Seán Rafferty, John Hall, Bob Cobbing, Brian Catling & Brian Coffey.
etruscan books has curated tours, readings and festivals across the British Isles, including a residency at Arnolfini, Bristol for the exhibition Black Mountain: Starting at Zero, 1935-1957. This featured James Kelman, B.M.Bottomley, Alice Notley and Tom Raworth, amongst many. etruscan books runs the Black Huts festival of writing, film and music in Hastings Old Town.2 Artists who have already taken part include Shirley Collins, Philip Crozier, Mark Jenkin, Helen Macdonald, Alasdair Roberts, Meg Bateman, Andrew Kötting and Jessica Pujol Duran amongst others.
1. The poet Roy Fisher was a subtle and dedicated patron to the festival. Flora MacNeill and Kevin Coyne sang there, the film maker Timothy Neat filmed the final festival. Staffordshire Moorlands’ hero King Doug, lord of the Roaches read his War Correspondence there, but Burslem writer and painter Arthur Berry declined a reading as he had agrophobia. Poet Alan Halsey met Geraldine Monk at a tribute to David Jones.
2. American writers like Robert Creeley, Carl Rakosi and Edward Dorn read there; Ahmed Balabdaoui, Robin Blaser and Tina Darragh gave their debut British readings there; Bill Griffiths, Barry MacSweeney and Maggie O’Sullivan read there; Scottish poets Hamish Henderson, Meg Bateman, Tom Leonard, Sorley MacLean and Gael Turnbull returned often to what MacLean called “the most companionable festival.”