Why are the87press crowdfunding?
The COVID-19 landscape has placed the culture and arts scenes of the UK in a crisis. We understand that the Arts Council has been left to pick up the huge responsibility of funding the wide variety of arts and culture projects and organisations in the UK. The87press, however, has been met with 2 rejections by the Arts Council on what we feel are incomprehensible and ever-changing grounds and criteria.
Our first 2 years of activity were mainly funded through our Director and two small Arts Council grants. The87 is extremely grateful to the Arts Council for their support in our initial 2 years. But COVID has impacted our operations significantly, at a time when we are expanding, growing, and adjusting to an increasingly virtual/online poetry landscape. Our Director has been out of regular freelance work for the majority of this year due to the impacts of COVID-19. Our Head Editor also had COVID-19 and as a result has left their employment to allow for recuperation. The87, however, was able to use a bridging Arts Council emergency grant to help out freelancers and precariously employed artists/writers over the first UK lockdown and produce 5 books. Unfortunately, the87 lost a valuable source of regular income without events and the impact on sales due to the closure of independent bookstores in the lockdown climate. During the second lockdown, the87 sent free books to students who were isolated in halls of residence as well as donating to a local foodbank in South London. We want to continue with these local, national, and international community focussed actions.
We are an altruistic press in need of an investment of £65000 – 1300 x £50 donations – to help us grow and sustain our work over the next 12 months. This money will actively benefit 80 artists. We present it to you, the people, to see if this something you would support in any way you can. Your money will be spent on curating artists for our online series, printing costs, design and typesetting of books, paying our two full-time staff as well as our freelance videography team who help maintain a free access to our digital archive of events. We are offering a wide variety of subscriptions, books and tote bags, in return for donations between £10 and £200.
In 2021 we want to produce 7 poetry collections and a collected edition of creative-critical essays. We will also curate 10 events and 12 online publications. We will produce an additional 3 events, 2 in partnership with Camden Arts Centre and 1 in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts. We will also be continuing our educational outreach to help inspire, mentor, and work with the next generation of writers and publishers through workshops at Roehampton University, King’s College London, University of Sussex, Boston University (Online) and Loughborough University.
Since our inception in 2018, the87press has advocated for a model of publishing that attends to diversity, innovation, fair payments for authors and staff, accessible events and free online content. We have published to date 14 books, hosted 16 events, and published 28 pieces as part of our online Digital Poetics series. We have also curated a Marxism lecture series, collaborated with Camden Arts Centre on events, participated in educational workshops at Roehampton University and Nottingham University. We've also spoken about our work and our publications at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Coast is Queer Festival, and Goldsmith's University. We also collaborated with Asylum Studios in Suffolk in February 2019 to curate a poetry reading in response to an exhibition of Gyan Sharma's art; Gyan is a neurodiverse artist based in London. This crowdfund will see us continue our print and online publications, collaborate with more universities, as well as host public events with Camden Arts and the Institute of Contemporary arts in addition to our regular online/in-person events series.
We are a small press with big aspirations who put diversity into action with a team ethic of radical inclusivity. We are publishing home for people who don't have access to the world of publishing, debut authors from underrepresented backgrounds, experimental writers whose work deserves a platform to promote its aesthetics without limiting or restricting the work. We continue to prove distributors and the middlemen of the publishing industry wrong, grassroots literature is unique in its contribution to the creative engines of the UK. Since our inception we made the decision to work exclusively with independent stores and use our online shop to help us maintain accessibility for a growing international readership. We don’t have a distributor, we self-distribute using local and international postal services, proving that timely deliveries are possible outside of an Amazon model. We use a small local printer who have been working in the bookmaking industry for 30 years and have helped us since our inception to produce the quality books we are renowned for.
In times of financial hardship we keep our book prices down, at £10 maximum per book. We want to be an active part of a collective grassroots publishing movement which proves that there is an alternative way of 'doing publishing.' Your continued support at events and your continued interest in purchasing and reviewing/sharing the books we publish have made us believe it is possible. We are a community focussed company seeking to continue our work and mature into an established press. We want to continue doing what we do best: bringing you some of the most exciting and new UK-based cultural productions.
What follows is a comprehensive account of the books we are producing and the authors/artists we are working with. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and, we hope, for donating to our cause.
List of Books and Authors
1. Edith Azam trans. Stuart Bell, 'Bird, Me' (May 2021)
26 verse poems in which the poetic voice addresses an elusive hybrid figure referred to as ‘Hannah’. At times, Hannah is described as a bird, at others she may be a self-created facet of the narrator’s inner world. Tantalising, never fully graspable, Hannah may also represent the complexities in the creative process of writing poetry (‘Eat me, uccellina’): a source of ongoing attraction and desire. Azam’s collection explores same-sex desire and longing, and the exoticism of language. The original French verses feature short phrases in Italian, Spanish, and English, whilst elsewhere Azam subverts spelling and grammar, morphing the fixity of words. The poetic voice writes from a fixed point, sitting on the banks of the river Seine in Paris, conflating the water’s movement with the psychic comings and goings of the haunting Hannah, part muse, part memory.
Édith Azam was born in 1973 in the southern French region of Occitanie. She worked as a schoolteacher for three years before devoting herself to full-time writing. Her collections include Mercure (2011), Caméra (2015), and Pour tenir debout on invente (2019), co-authored with Liliane Giraudon.
Stuart Bell is a literary translator. His previous publications include the French novels They Stole Our Beauty (2019) and The Softest Sleep (2020). He is currently editing a collection of essays for The 87 Press under the working title Moving Arts: Enduring Impressions (forthcoming in 2021).
2. Kat Addis, 'Space Parsley' (October 2021)
Space Parsley is a queer return to Petrarch that boldly goes where every poet has gone before. It breaks open the selves that are left behind, claims some for my own, and discards many others. Petrarch’s tossing and turning vibrates my own bed and wets my cheeks, but in the boring echo of his vanity, his attention-seeking cries, I make a little still space in which to play with myself, perhaps with you. A space without boundaries, an attention unsolicited. This book recognises the hopelessness of Petrarch’s desire and my desire, his faith and my faith, and it responds with its whole unfaithful heart to his call for pity, but not for him. It fries Petrarch. I unpacked the boxes in 37 of Petrarch’s dusty rooms and parsed the contents, only to find them secretly repacking themselves. That was funny. In the end I found a room of my own, perhaps the 30th. I decorated it with common things: vegetables, birds, needles, sweets. I met other people there: Sappho, Nisâyî, Anne Conway, Louise Labé. They told me that love is space, doubt, attention constantly distracted. They said contact - the kind we seek - is a dance of a thousand turns, mille rivolte. All along Venus hung low in space, winking at me, offering me herbs.
Kat Addis is an artist and PhD candidate (at NYU) in renaissance literature, currently writing a dissertation about slavery and race in early modern European epics. This is Kat’s first full-length book of poetry. Previous poems have been published in The Chicago Review, ZARF, Tears in the Fence, Stand Magazine, and PELT vol. 4: Feminist Temporalities, a publication by the Organism for Poetic Research. Kat makes experimental costumes and fabric installations which have appeared recently in the Devil’s Dyke Network’s Pleasure Garden Festival, performance art by Sophie Seita, music video by Dominic Sen, and [Space] Gallery in London. Kat also makes poetry/video art, often collaboratively with Joseph Minden, which has been shown by Urban Foxes Collective, London, NYMASA, New York, and Puderraum, Berlin.
3. Moving Arts, ed. Stuart Bell (June 2021)
A collection of 11 essays written by academics, writers and thinkers, Moving Arts: Enduring Impressions celebrates the artistic and cultural works which have inspired, and continue to inspire, this volume’s contributors as scholars, teachers, and writers. The chapters celebrate the ‘moving’ power - personal and political - of works which engage with questions of identity, race, self-and-other relations, and sexuality. These highly personal chapters span a multitude of artists, particularly writers of colour, through exploration of their applications to neurodiversity, BAME and LGBTQ+ communities, and feminism. The works explored are diverse in origin and heritage, spanning personal and political culture from South Africa to Trinidad, India to France, Nepal to The United Kingdom. These include biography, autobiography, novels, short stories, plays, painting, and film.
Rowland Abiodun is Professor of the History of Art and Black Studies at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts. His publications include: Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking the African in African Art (2014), What Follows Six Is More than Seven: Understanding African Art (1995), and the co-authored Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (1989) and Yoruba Art and Aesthetics (1991).
Stuart Bell is a literary translator and editor. His previous publications include the novels They Stole Our Beauty (2019) and The Softest Sleep (2020). He is currently working on translating the collection Bird, me (forthcoming with The 87 Press) by contemporary French poet Édith Azam.
Amrita Dhar grew up in Kolkata and the mountains of West Bengal and Uttaranchal. She currently lives in Ohio, where she researches and teaches on poetry, early modern literature, and disability studies. She remains an active traveller of mountains and writes on world mountaineering literatures.
Natalya Din-Kariuki is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. Her research examines the literary and intellectual history of the early modern period, with a focus on travel writing, cosmopolitanism, and rhetoric and poetics. She has a secondary interest in contemporary literature. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the London Review of Books, the Guardian, Asymptote, and elsewhere.
Madhu Krishnan is Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures at the University of Bristol. She is author of Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications (2014), Writing Spatiality in West Africa: Colonial Legacies in the Anglophone/Francophone Novel (2018) and Contingent Canons: African Literature and the Politics of Location (2018). She is currently working on an ERC-funded project, Literary Activism in sub-Saharan Africa: Commons, Publics and Networks of Practice.
Isabelle McNeill is Philomathia Fellow in French and Film at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. She is the author of Memory and the Moving Image: French Film in the Digital Era (2010) and is writing a book on the cinematic rooftops of Paris as well as making video essays. She is part of Tactics and Praxis, a group exploring intersections between academic work and creative practice.
Maryam Mirza was born and raised in Pakistan, received her PhD from Aix-Marseille University and, in 2018, joined Durham University as Assistant Professor in World Literatures in English. Her first monograph Intimate Class Acts (2016) was published by Oxford University Press, and she is currently working on her second monograph, provisionally entitled Resistance and Its Discontents in South Asian Women’s Fiction.
Adam Roberts was born in Colombia. As a film-maker his work has been shown at Whitechapel, Hayward, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Maxi Gallery Rome, and BFI Southbank. With Joanna Hogg he founded ‘A Nos Amours’ which curated a retrospective of the films of Chantal Akerman, and published The Chantal Akerman Retrospective Handbook. His book, Lamentation: In the Stuart Croft Archive, is published by Ma Bibliothèque.
Laura Seymour is a lecturer in Seventeenth-century Literature at Birkbeck, a role which has involved grappling with CS Lewis’s other, academic, writings on the Renaissance. Her research and publications examine early modern disability, performance, and cognition. Her poetry has appeared in several journals, including Poetry Review, Poetry London, MsLexia, Magma, and South, and in a collection from Cinnamon Press. She is currently working on a new creative writing project, 36.
Kirsten Tambling is a Research Associate at King’s College London, currently working on the project ‘Shakespeare in the Royal Collections’. She has previously worked as a research assistant on the exhibitions: ‘Painter’s Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck’ (National Gallery, 2016), ‘Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer’ (The Queen's Gallery, 2015-6) and ‘Canaletto and the Art of Venice’ (The Queen's Gallery, 2017).
Emma Wilson is Professor of French Literature and the Visual Arts at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Corpus Christi College. Her recent books include Love, Mortality, and the Moving Image (2012) and The Reclining Nude: Agnès Varda, Catherine Breillat, and Nan Goldin (2019). She has written an introduction to Anne Goscinny’s The Softest Sleep translated by Stuart Bell and published by The 87 Press in 2019.
4. Mira Mattar, Sleeping with the Window Open (October 2021)
Sleeping with the Window Open is Mira Mattar's first book of poems – a collection exploring gendered violence, sexuality, British-Arab identity and politics, friendship, solitude and rest.
Mira Mattar writes fiction and poetry. She is an independent researcher, editor, and tutor. She has read her work throughout the UK and internationally, most recently at Lotte LS’s ‘No Relevance’ in Great Yarmouth alongside Adelaide Ivanova; at the 87 Press’s Camden Arts Centre event (online) with Bhanu Kapil, Peter Gizzi and Sascha Aurora Akhtar; and at Desperate Literature’s short story prize 2020 for which she was shortlisted. Her work has been published in Tripwire, Datableed, Zarf, Tenebrae and elsewhere. She co-edited Anguish Language: Writing and Crisis, a collection of essays, poems, images and collaboratively written texts responding to the 2007/8 socio-economic crisis and she produced the first critical anthology on Chris Kraus, You Must Make Your Death Public. Her first novel, Yes, I Am A Destroyer will be published by Ma Bibliothèque in September 2020 and her first chapbook, Affiliation, will be published in 2021 by Sad Press. Mira is a Palestinian/Jordanian born in the suburbs of London, where she continues to live and work.
5. Sarona Abuaker, Why So Few Women On The Street At Night (October 2021)
Why So Few Women On The Street At Night is a queer phenomenology of collective Palestinian futurisms and memory building. Sarona uses mixed media such as visual cultures, essays and poems, to approach territories as different as Turtle Island, Brockley and Palestine.
Sarona Abuaker is a poet, artist, and educational outreach worker. Her poems have been published in Berfrois, and the87press’ Digital Poetics series. Her mixed-media essay 'Suture Fragmentations - A Note on Return' will be published in December 2020 with KOHL: A Journal for Body and Gender Research. She is based in London.
6. Karen Sandhu, Young Girls (October 2021)
Young Girls is a poetic response to artworks by Amrita Sher-Gil.
Karen Sandhu is a poet and artist. Her poems are forthcoming in Women’s Visual Poetry Anthology (Timglaset Editions, 2021), and previously published in the following magazines and anthologies: Magma (2020), Writing Utopia (Hesterglock Press, 2020), Nemeses (HVTN Press, 2019) and Para-text (2019). Her work has been commissioned by the Sir Denis Mahon Foundation, and she has collaborated with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Flat Time House and Camden People’s Theatre (London), Arnolfini (Bristol) and Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris).
7. Luke Roberts, Wet Heck (October 2021)
Wet Heck collects 75 stray poems by Luke Roberts, published and unpublished between 2011 and 2020. His first full-length collection since False Flags (2011).
Luke Roberts is the author of Rosa (2019), Sorbet (2018), To My Contemporaries (2015) and other works of poetry. He is the editor of Desire Lines: Unselected Poems, 1966-2000 by Barry MacSweeney (2018), and the author of Barry MacSweeney and the Politics of Post-War British Poetry: Seditious Things (2017). He lives in London.
8. James Goodwin, Fleshed Out For All The Corners Of The Slip (October 2021)
A poignant debut collection of poetry and essays engaged with philosophy as much as social life, sound, composition, literary criticism, and philopoetics. It is written by one of the most important emerging Black British writers today. Goodwin works within rhythms associated with Grime and Dub as well as Black Study.
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.
Digital Poetics and Events
Each month we will put out an online publication and each artist will receive a commission fee of £250 for their work. We will also be hosting our regular poetry reading series at the Roebuck in South London or online via zoom depending on the COVID situation. We will invite 4 speakers to each of these events and pay each speaker £125. This fee is important as many poets are expected to do readings as free labour. This is something we want to change, with your support.
List of Artists for Digital Poetics
Adam Gallagher is an artist from and based in London. He self-publishes a series of pamphlets called E.A.R.F. and co-founded the Free Cash radio project. He has recently exhibited at Auto Italia South East, Piper Keys, 3236rls and Lima Zulu and performed at the South London Gallery, ICA and Somerset House. He is also one third of the group The Unwelcome Collection who have shown recently at Peak and performed in club spaces Ormside Studios and M.O.T.
Sulaïman Majali (b. 1991, London) lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Majali is an artist and writer interrogating spatio-temporal logics of the enduring colonial and subsequent incarcerations of histories and their entangled futures. Contextualised in an age of anxiety, collapse and multiplicities, the work looks through a diasporic optic to “the fold and the crease” as conceptual and poetic methodology, to think and speak divergence, collaterality and peripherality as political and spiritual exigencies. Exhibitions and events include: a dream for scheherazade, EVERYTHING HAPPENED SO MUCH, 66th International Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (2020). WHAT’S AHEAD, WHAT’S KNOWN, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland (2020). saracen go home, (solo exhibition), Collective Gallery Edinburgh, Scotland (2019). Pixelated Peripheries // مساحات مبكسلة, Arab Cultural Centre, Haifa, Palestine (2019). something vague and irrational, Celine Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland (2019). assembly of the poets, a reading as part of EARTH HOLD, Qalandiya International Biennial, Serpentine Galleries, London, England (2018). Mene Mene Tekel Parsin, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, England (2017). Towards an archive, 8th Cairo Video Festival, Cairo, Egypt (2017). this garden, this performed home that incessantly grows, V&A Museum, London. this scattering of minds; like seeds, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna/Transmission Gallery. as if we were strangers; that strangeness was ours, CCA Glasgow. Sulaïman Majali was shortlisted for the Margaret Tait Award 2020/21 and is currently resident at Talbot Rice Gallery/Edinburgh College of Art and Internet of Things: Another World is Possible, Darat al Funun/The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, Jordan. Majali’s upcoming solo show false dawn will show as part of the postponed Glasgow International Biennial 2021, Studio Pavilion, HAL, Glasgow, Scotland.
Petero Kalulé (@nkoyenkoyenkoye) is a composer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. Their collection of poems Kalimba was published by Guillemot Press in May 2019. Their second book, a collaborative experiment in river-reading co-written with Clarissa Álvarez is forthcoming with Guillemot press.
Rajesh Kumar (Mishti) is a sound artist and music producer whose work focuses on the limits and liberatory potential of identity, spirituality and embodiment through experimental strains of contemporary dance music. His debut EP 'Matters of Ascension' (with Thammudu) was released on independent record label TT (fka Tobago Tracks).Kumar will contribute a sound poetics piece for our digital poetics programme.
Shiri Shah is an emerging poet and short storyteller focusing on poetic prose. Alongside expressing gender, sexuality, and histories as a makeup artist and club night personality. They have performed short stories in Barcelona and around London. Shiri hosts a quarterly literary night centring underrepresented writers called “Untitled” and dances for HUNGAMA, an LGBT club night. Shiri will contribute a poem for the digital poetics series.
David Grundy is a poet and critic, currently a British Academy postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Warwick and previously a teaching associate at the University of Cambridge. His first book, A Black Arts Poetry Machine: Amiri Baraka and the Umbra Poets, was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019. David co-runs the small press Materials and the magazine Splinter. Books of poetry are: Whatever You Think the Good Home (Punch Press, 2014), The Problem, The Questions, The Poem (Tipped Press, 2015), To the Reader (Shit Valley, 2016), and Relief Efforts (Barque Press, 2018).
Kay Gabriel is a poet and essayist. She's the author of Elegy Department Spring / Candy Sonnets 1 (BOAAT Press, 2017). With Andrea Abi-Karam, she's the co-editor of We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat, forthcoming fall 2020). She's received fellowships from the Poetry Project, Lambda Literary, and Princeton University, where she recently completed her PhD. She's part of the editorial collective for the Poetry Project Newsletter and an organizer with the Abolition Library Commons.
Fred Spoliar is a poet and education worker living in London. Recent poems can be found in publications including algia, datableed, erotoplasty, PIGS, and tentacular.
Sophie Seita is a writer and artist who often thinks about how text and the act of reading can be embodied and/or translated into movement, material, and space. She’s performed or exhibited her work at [ SPACE ], La MaMa Galleria (NYC), Printed Matter (NYC), Bold Tendencies, the Arnolfini, JNU (New Delhi), Raven Row, Parasol Unit, Art Night London, Kunsthalle Darmstadt (Germany), Queer Art Projects, and elsewhere. She’s the author of, most recently, My Little Enlightenment Plays (Pamenar, 2020) and Provisional Avant-Gardes (Stanford UP, 2019), and the editor of The Blind Man reprint (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017). In 2020-2021, she’s one of 9 artists on the Constellations artist development programme run by UP Projects and Flat Time House; which is focused on collaboration, experimental pedagogy, community-oriented practice, and public art projects. She’s working on a couple of collaborations at the moment, one with the musician Naomi Woo in the form of a speculative gardening society; the other with the performance artist Kate Clayton about intergenerational dialogue.
Danny Hayward is a poet and writer based in London. His books of poetry include People (Mountain Press, 2013), Pragmatic Sanction (Materials, 2015), and I/II (Shit Valley, 2017). More recent work has appeared in Senna Hoy, alongside Patrizia Vicinelli and Dorothée Volut. His essays on poetry, art and politics have been published in Mute Magazine, Commune, and Art Forum. A book of essays on contemporary British poetry is forthcoming with Punctum Press in 2020.
Laurel Uziell is the author of T (Materials, 2020) and will contribute a poem to the series.
Your donations will help us fund two small salaries (£18K Gross) for our Director and Head-Editor. In addition we will pay our three freelancers (graphic designer/typesetter and videography team) at the highest rate of pay (£250/day) in accordance with the Artists' Union rates.
Kashif Sharma-Patel is a writer, poet and editor at the 87 press. They work at the interface of sonic, visual and written cultures with particular reference to queer and racialised experimental work. Kashif has published and performed poetry across a number of platforms with a full-length collection forthcoming on the 87 Press in 2022. They also write music, art and literary criticism for Artforum, The Quietus, AQNB, Poetry London and more.
Azad Ashim Sharma is the director of the87press and the author of Against the Frame (Barque Press, 2017). His second poetry collection entitled Boiled Owls is forthcoming. His poems have also been published recently by Stand Magazine, the Asian American Writers Workshop and Gutter Magazine.