New Reality Street books

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 Under: Reality Street
It's been 15 years since Reality Street published O'Clock by Fanny Howe. It's hard to believe the press has been going that long (in fact, for 17 years in total). But anyway, it's high time we published another book by Fanny, and here it is, out this week and soon to be mailed out to Reality Street Supporters.

Emergence doesn't contain much that is completely new - what it is is a complete reimagining of some of Fanny's poetry originally published in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and now out of print, presented in a way that tracks the development of her poetic and spiritual thought. There is some lovely stuff here, and it's a good introduction for anyone new to her work.

I've known Fanny since the early 90s, and reading her poetry and prose never fails to surprise and delight. Check out her novels, even if you don't like novels. The writing is apparently more transparent than that of her sister, the equally redoubtable Susan, but in fact has hidden subtleties and weirdness (John Ashbery has spoken of her "strangely hushed but busy landscape", a wonderfully apt phrase). 

The Howes are the daughters of the late novelist and theatrical impresario Mary Manning Howe, whose name crops up repeatedly in the first volume of Samuel Beckett's letters, which I have been devouring recently - she was a close friend of his. There is something of Beckett about Fanny's writing, if you can imagine "God" really substituting for "Godot". I was going to write about Beckett this week, following a visit to the De La Warr Pavilion in nearby Bexhill to hear John Tilbury perform his music and Sam's words, but I'll return to that later.

Simultaneously with Fanny's new book, Reality Street is publishing a first book by US poet Jim Goar. Contrary to most people's prejudices about small presses publishing their mates in tight-knit, paranoid cliques, I am always glad to publish new writing by people I haven't come across before, and Jim falls into that category.

The manuscript of Seoul Bus Poems was sent to me a couple of years ago out of the blue, and I loved it. The openness and apparent casualness of this sequence, written mainly on buses in the South Korean capital (yes, this book does what it says on the tin), seemed a cover for complexities that only emerge slowly. 

Jim is now back in his family home in North Carolina after a sojourn at UEA in Norwich, and a spell in Thailand, but I hope he will be back in the UK before long. At this time, it's unlikely he will make the launch of these two books on 22 June at The Blue Bus, 94 Lamb's Conduit St, London WC1, but I'm glad to say Fanny Howe will be there, and will be reading alongside Tom Raworth - who may also read some of Jim's poems.

In : Reality Street 

Tags: "fanny howe" "jim goar" 
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Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at