I run a small not-for-profit poetry press working on a cost/plus basis. I charge the poet the cost of printing plus a minimal amount for expenses and contingency. There are no contracts with the Littoral Press and the copyright remains 100% with the author. I only publish work that I consider to be of the highest quality. Unfortunately this means that there are far more rejections than acceptances, but don't let that stop you from submitting. For further details click on the About Us button.
Journey Down the Stour 211 pages - £11.99 - includes more than 70 black & white photographs
Please read the Blog on this website for more details
Finding the River Horse - poems - Neil Leadbeater: Littoral Press - 75 pages £7.99
The Incomplete Dangler - Fifty years of Sea and Freshwater Fishing - Mervyn Linford:
Littoral Press 260 pages illustrated throughout with b/w photographs £9.99
Singing for Mr Bear - poems - Maggie Freeman: Littoral Press 65 pages £7.95
The Willow Pond - A 1950s Childhood in Southeast Essex - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 268 pages £11.99
Reflections - Twelve months, twelve moods along the Chelmer/Blackwater Navigation - Mervyn Linford:
Littoral Press 168 pages - illustrated throughout with colour photographs - £13.99
Bullshit & Bootlace Ties - Basildon Boys, Southend Girls - A Teenage Extravaganza - Mervyn Linford:
Littoral Press 268 pages £12.99
Everyday Objects, Chance Remarks - poems - Derek Adams: Littoral Press 60 pages £8.50
A Tilt in the Year - poems - winner of the Littoral Press full collection poetry competition 2017 - Jennie Carr: Littoral Press 74 pages £8.50
Double Vision - poems - Mervyn Linford & Clare Harvey: Littoral Press 48 pages £6.50
Equinoctial - poems - Judy Gahagan: Littoral Press 59 pages £6.99
Hearting Spread with a Slow Hand - poems - Jill Elulalie Dawson: Littoral Press 63 pages £6.99
Chorus and Coda - poems - Adrian Green: Littoral Press 104 pages £6.95
A Short Poetic Anthology - poems - Luis Benitez/Buenos Aires: Littoral Press 87 pages £9.99
Credo - poems - Mervyn Linford: Mica Press, Wivenhoe, Essex 62 pages £9.00
Dialogue for One - poems - Jill Wallis: Littoral Press 56 pages £7.50
Collected Poems Volume One 1984-2010 - Tom Bryan: Littoral Press 78 pages £9.00
Collected Poems Volume Two 2011 - 2019 - Tom Bryan: Littoral Press 61 pages
Collected Poems - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 319 pages £11.99
Lavenham to Leigh-on-Sea - Country ways/Coastal Waters - a country journal - Mervyn Linford:
Littoral Press 92 pages illustrated with b/w photos £9.99
Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey - poems - Neil Leadbeater: Littoral Press 53 pages £7.99
Notes from the Fields - Wethersfield, Finchingfield and the Bardfields - A Country Notebook - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 317 pages &12.99
The East Seaxe - a book of poems and full page black and white photographs celebrating the coast and the countryside of Essex - Robert Hallmann & Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 113 pages £9.99
Scenes from the Interior - a novella - Judy Gahagan: Littoral Press 136 pages £8.99
Refuge - a novella - Judy Gahagan: Littoral Press 90 pages £7.50
Basildon New Town - A Memoir 1952-1969 - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 179 pages -
illustrated with more than 90 black & white photographs £12.99
Two Tree Island - poems & prose - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 124 pages illustrated b/w photos £7.99
Hippocrene - Anthology chosen from the best poems entered for the Littoral Press full collection poetry competition 2017 - 12 poets - including 12 full colour plates by the artist Janet Green: Littoral Press 110 pages £12.50
Talking to the Bees - poems - Mervyn Linford: The Brentham Press of St Albans 50 pages £4.50 plus £1.50 P&P
The Fobbing Horse - From Suffolk Punch to Cyberspace - a poem for the Plotlands:
book length autobiographical poem by Mervyn Linford: Littoral press 186 pages -
illustrated throughout with b/w photographs £9.99
Two Essex Poets - poems - Frederic Vanson & Mervyn Linford: The Brentham Press of St Alabans -
72 pages £4.95 plus £1.50 P&P
Dawn's Tinder Box - poems - Mervyn Linford: Littoral press 100 pages £7.99
The Judas Deer - poems - Mary Blake: Littoral Press 92 pages £7.99
Selected, New and Unpublished Poems 1980-2006 - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 400 pages £9.99
Migrations to Solitude - poems & prose - Michael Molyneux: Littoral Press 138 pages £6.99
Bright Moon, Still Heart - poems and essays - Michael Molyneux: Littoral press 112 pages £7.99
The Night is my Woman - poems - Michael Molyneux: Littoral Press 56 pages £7.50
Metaphysics in the Forest - poems - Andrew Hawthorne: Littoral Press 76 pages £7.50
The Beatitudes of Silence - a spiritual journey through the seasons in irregular sonnets -
Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 64 pages £6.50
Autumn Manuscript - poems/pamphlet - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 50 Pages £3.50
The Wheel of Weathers - poems/pamphlet - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press -
a poem and a b/w photograph for every month of the year £3.99
The Weather Man - prose - a spiritual journey through the year - Mervyn Linford: Littoral Press 144 pages £8.99
Fields of Asphodel - poems - Mary Blake: Littoral press 70 pages £8.50
Toad Lichen - poems - Caroline Ackroyd: winner of the Littoral Magazine poetry pamphlet competition March 2006 Littoral Press 36 pages - Out of Print.
The Coggeshall Chronicles - A Writer's Year in the County - Essex & Beyond -
Mervyn Linford with 12 b/w lino cuts by Penelope Cline: Littoral press 234 pages £9.99
The Woods of Ashridge - poems - Mary Blake: Littoral Press 79 pages £7.99
Nature Study - poems - I P Taylor: Littoral Press 77 pages £8.99
The Dengie Diaries - Country Journal - Littoral Press 272 pages - illustrated with b/w photographs - £11.99
All That Jazz and Other Poems - Adrian Green 83 pages £9.00: Littoral Press
I started of with the intention of only publishing the poetry of nature and the spirit. I felt that poetry that concerned itself with environmental issues was under represented by the majority of poetry publishers and wanted the help those poets whose nature/spiritual work deserved to be in the public domain. I now publish poetry on any subject but still like to publish the best nature/spiritual work submitted.
Although I have be published by a number of other small presses and in many magazines and periodicals I also publish my own poetry and prose with the Littoral Press. I feel that this gives me greater editorial freedom even if the kudos of being published by another publisher may be lacking. For those of you thinking of self publishing remember that if it was good enough for authors like George Bernard Shaw and Beatrix Potter initially, then it's good enough for you!
Sutton Hoo Sequence
I therefore regard a ship burial as just as much a poem as Beowulf
Martin Carver, Excavator of Sutton Hoo, 1998
Not the obvious place
for a ship
if it was meant to travel -
a mound on a hill of gravel.
Was archaeopteryx aiming to fly
when it hopped a little
and hung there
in the suddenly solid air?
Either way, it reached us.
We all make hoards -
37 gold coins
a coronation mug
six unused trout flies
a Brownie camera
a stick of chalk
make up some stories.
A hundred iron strands
twisted tight and welded
wrapped like a pupa
it was lethal in the hand.
Red garnets, blue glass
and ivory, a fistful
around the blazing steel.
The bodies are just the earth's
idea of bodies, they heave into
anagrams of resurrection.
Said to be gallows folk
this shoreline Golgotha,
in a recovered codex.
The old man leant
his christened ear to the wall
of the mound, he recalled
the roystering of warrior kings:
he heard the drip,
drip of rainwater
eroding the the great
the creak of decaying
timbers, the snap
of a lyre string
as the gut
Cameron Hawke Smith: From the Anthology of competition poems Hippocrene
Planting Potatoes During Chernobyl
The seed went in two days
before the clouds of Chernobyl
Shiva-danced over the Strath.
We joked about tubers
glowing in the dark.
It rained for six weeks.
The leaves grew to lovely sheen.
Tiny flowers lured bees and butterflies.
Roots swelled Edzell Blues, skins of livid heather.
Kerr’s Pinks, soft carnation hue, marble-fleshed.
All perfect, as new potatoes.
Leave them for maincrop?
Eat and run? Dig before
the roots turn to slush, cells run riot?
Let them grow.
Death and potatoes
go a long way back in my family.
Our old Irish men in North America
would not risk potatoes again.
They planted maize
because the sun could cure what the soil could not.
In that newer world, death was above ground,
in the clear living light.
Tom Bryan from Collected Poems Volume One 1984-2010
EROSION (ST KILDA)
In the end it wasn’t famine.
Though, by the God they feared
it had come close enough.
Nor was it tetanus,
taking babies with the appetite
of a folk-tale ogre.
The weather they had endured,
their ruggedness akin
to the Soay sheep
that cropped the rough pastures
above Village Bay.
Ferocities of wind,
iron-clad beatings of rain,
now drifting deep and thick,
could not defeat skin lagged
against this landscape’s lore.
When the gales paused,
people got wind of Canada, Australia,
life on the mainland.
Who would be left to climb
the Stacks for solan geese,
fulmar oil or puffin eggs
when Hirta felt the heartbeat
of the modern age?
On the horizon, the mailboat,
unarmed yet dangerously loaded
with word from émigrés,
weakening the St Kildan resolve,
like tongues of sea
testing the resistance of rock
and scattering spoil
onto empty beaches below.
Solan geese (Gannet)
Richard Whiting from the competition anthology Hippocrene
I closed the curtains on evening, saw you
a silhouette topping the telegraph pole.
brown beech screech
Now I hear your soft hoo - disturbingly close -
the drawn pause, the long hollow tremolo.
wood hollering hoot
You swoop from oak to oak, further and further
away across the fields calling your territory in.
hill hooter jenny howlet
You claim your old names brown hoolet:
jinny yewlet billy hooter
you tell me of daybreak, your first post
your last before sleep.
Jennie Carr winner of the 2017 Littoral Press full collection poetry competition.
Black-tailed Godwits – Mersea Island
Three godwits –
three black-tailed godwits
standing at the tide’s full edge.
One - on one leg:
head tucked in beneath a wing -
The others – busier with worms and molluscs –
and all such things secreted in the ooze beneath their feet
are almost black
silhouetted in the heat of late September
and the sun-shot, glittering, shatter of the sea
Bladder wrack and eelgrass
seep into the senses with the smell
of oyster smacks and cockle spits and brine
and early, but expected, from the east
the darkening skeins of those dark-bellied geese
who write their cursive script across a sky as wide as winter.
Mervyn Linford from Credo published by Mica Press of Wivenhoe, Essex.
What a waste
(for Ian Dury)
There’s a feeling, like the memory of a Kursaal ride,
an old wind, a cold wind that stirs inside.
Rolling in like the wind off the estuary tide,
down a dead flat, mud flat, eight miles wide.
somewhere, somefing, somehow sighed,
what a waste - what a waste,
Ian Dury died.
Snazzy little geezer wiv a spazzy stick.
A concrete mixer voice, rough and fick.
Takes the stage, like a fief on the nick.
Hard bard, art tart, don't giva shit.
somefing, somehow, somewhere sighed,
what a waste - what a waste,
Ian Dury died.
Words of an angel, dressed wiv a mallet,
mixed wiv spit from a painters palette.
Raw sound, foot down, pushed to the limit,
escaped from the cage of an old cock linnet.
somehow, somewhere, somefing sighed,
what a waste - what a waste,
Ian Dury died.
Derek Adams MA from Everyday Objects Chance Remarks - Littoral Press
In the room are faded daffodils
They live only in their shadows
Tinted yellow, as earthbound spirits
Hang their bones with jaundiced flesh;
Or semblance of it. Eyes make up
The filtered light with memories,
Of questions left unanswered,
Books discarded half-way through.
How small the room seems
Now in the solitude of night,
It is tinted shades of quiet
And the ticking of a vast clock.
(Previously published in Psychopoetica 31 and Chorus & Coda published by Littoral Press)
A sample chapter of Journey Down the Stour by Mervyn Linford
Valley of Artists
This is a valley of artists. The wide East Anglian skies and the quality of the light have attracted many famous names. Two were born here of course: Gainsborough in Sudbury and Constable in East Bergholt. Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury where now stands his statue and the Gainsborough House museum and gallery. He was baptised in 1727 and he died in 1788. His great love was ‘landskip’ (landscape) painting but unfortunately at that time it was not profitable so he had to concentrate on portraiture. Along with Joshua Reynolds he became one of England’s greatest portrait artists. Towards the end of his life he said: “I’m sick of portraits, and wish very much to take my viol-da-gam (stringed instrument) and walk off to some sweet village, where I can paint landskips and enjoy the fag end of life in quietness and ease.” He was famed for his speed of execution and the lightness of his brushstrokes when painting. Also for his observations of nature instead of the more formalised painting of the time. In his most famous painting ‘Mr and Mrs Andrews’ he gets as much of the landscape into the picture as possible. The painting shows Cornard Wood, close to Sudbury. If you look closely you can also see Little Cornard church and St Peters in Sudbury itself. The neat and parallel rows of corn in the picture show that this is a thoroughly modern painting of a thoroughly modern farm that utilised the controversial and revolutionary seed drill invented by Jethro Tull. The Andrew’s estate, Auberies, was actually sited on the other side of the Stour Valley at Bulmer Tye in Essex.
John Constable was also a very modern painter. What he painted for the most part was a working environment observed from nature and not just in the studio. This was very unusual for the time. The ‘Hay Wain’, barges, horses, locks and mills were all grist for his modern palette. Painters like Constable and Turner were not truly appreciated in their own time. The Royal Academy was very critical of their works. Yet in France they were admired- not to say acclaimed - and in fact the later impressionists cite both of them as major influences. If you see some of Constable’s really free work such as ‘A Windy Day on Hampstead Heath’ – at least that’s what I think it’s called – you’ll see what I mean. It’s all atmosphere. You’re not just seeing a work of art; you’re actually ‘feeling’ the weather, experiencing a real, blustery moment in time.
John Nash lived and painted in the Stour Valley. His house was called Bottengoms and is situated down the end of a lonely track close to the village of Wormingford in Essex. His friend, the writer, Ronald Blythe – famous for his 1960s book on village life ‘Akenfield’ – still lives there. I love Nash’s work. Like his brother Paul Nash he had a very unique style. You couldn’t mistake his work anywhere. If he couldn’t get outside to paint or draw because of the weather he would sit indoors and use the windows as a frame for his pictures. And very effective they are too. I know of very few artists who can paint or draw snow and ice in as chillingly realistic a manner as John Nash.
Cedric Morris, artist and plantsman, was born in Swansea in 1889 but chose the country life in 1929 and moved to Pound Farm in Higham, Suffolk. Along with a colleague he opened the East Anglian School of Art in Dedham, Essex, in 1937. One of his early and most notable students was Lucian Freud. Sadly the school in Dedham was destroyed by fire along with some of his works. Within a year they were open again in a rambling ‘Suffolk Pink’ farmhouse at Benton End near Hadleigh. He was said to have had a distinctive and somewhat primitive post-impressionist style and painted, portraits, very decorative still life’s of flowers and birds and, of course, landscapes. He died in 1982 at the ripe old age of 93.
Another Stour Valley artist was Alfred Munnings – the famous horse painter. He was born in Mendham, Suffolk in 1878. He was also famous for his outspoken and derogatory views on ‘modernism’. Apart from horses he painted rural scenes – especially those involving gypsies. As a war artist in the First World War he painted the ‘Charge of Flowerdew’s Squadron’ known as ‘the last great cavalry charge’ at the ‘Battle of Moreuil Wood’. He died in 1944 at Castle House Dedham, Essex. The house is now open as a museum and gallery.
Sitting at my study window musing on the Stour Valley and its many artists, the light, the racing clouds and the reflections and refractions of the river, highlight just what it was they were looking for – wide skies and brilliant light. The Impressionists went south to Provence and our boys came to the Essex/Suffolk borders - and why not? Thinking about light I am reminded that it is Good Friday. Why ‘Good’? Aren’t we talking about the Crucifixion? It has other names: Great Friday, Holy Friday, Black Friday and Passion Friday for instance. It’s only good in the sense that the outcome of the Crucifixion is the Resurrection – meaning that we’re all saved because of Christ’s death and resurrection. According to ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’ ‘good’ means ‘holy’. Both Christmas and Shrove Tuesday were known as ‘The Good Tide’. It’s close to my own thoughts on the matter. I felt the ‘Good’ might be a corruption of ‘God’. Well it’s a thought! Good Friday superstitions say that it’s a good day for planting potatoes and parsley and that leftover hot cross buns stay fresh forever because they are marked with the cross. Good Friday comes early this year – March 29th. Close to March the 25th – the ‘Annunciation’ also known as ‘Lady Day’. It is said to be unlucky for Good Friday to fall on ‘Lady Day’ – “when the Lord falls in Our Lady’s lap”. It was also the first of the ‘Quarter Days’ when legal contracts between tenants and land owners and farm workers began and ended.
Despite the houses on my side of the river the pheasants still come across to feed on the seeds the small birds spill as they utilise the feeders. There are a couple of cats on this side of the river which is a bit of a worry. Once or twice I have seen the small black cat with tails hanging out of its mouth – voles and mice no doubt. One day there was actually a pheasant’s wing lying in the grass. Reg, our King Charles spaniel seemed very pleased with himself as he trotted around with the offending article clasped between his grinning teeth. I like cats, my partner of 33 years standing has two beautiful examples. But when you think of how many millions of them there are in the country and how many millions of birds and small mammals they kill every year it’s frightening. They must have an enormous effect on the natural environment. I should explain. My partner doesn’t live with me. She lives in Leigh on Sea in Essex. We’ve always lived together apart – if you see what I mean. I spend most weekends with her by the sea and she comes to stay with me by the River Stour whenever she has the time or the inclination. We both feel that we have the best of both worlds - the seaside and the countryside. We also have another dog to care for – a cross German shepherd cum collie left to her when her ex-husband died. Katy as she’s called is getting on in years but is settling down quite nicely. Although much bigger than Reg for all her growling and grumbling Reg is the boss. Given the chance he even pushes her out of her bowl when she’s feeding. He’s pushing his luck as well in my opinion. The old Colchester to Cambridge railway bridge that crosses the river a 100 yards beyond my study window is part of the Stour Valley Walk. Today being a holiday sees a succession of ramblers and cyclists moving across it in either direction. It’s cold, the afternoon clouds are building up and there’s even talk of more snow. It’s all very bracing but dry and no doubt very enjoyable for all involved. I must get ready for my 50 mile trip down to Leigh on Sea for the weekend. Next Wednesday we’re off to a hotel in Calais for six days. No doubt the weather in Northern France will be much the same as it is here – perhaps slightly colder being a continental climate.
LITTORAL PRESS IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE PUBLICATION OF
TOM BRYAN'S COLLECTED POEMS VOLUME TWO