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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.
IF YOU WISH TO PURCHASE ANY OF MERVYN LINFORD'S BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BELOW THE PRICES POST FREE ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. PLEASE SEND CHEQUES PAYABLE TO MERVYN LINFORD TO 15 HARWOOD PLACE, LAVENHAM, SUFFOLK CO10 9SG : FOR THE PURCHASE OF BOOKS BY ANY OF THE OTHER AUTHORS PLEASE EMAIL ME IN THE FIRST INSTANCE BECAUSE IF I DON'T HAVE COPIES MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THE AUTHOR'S WILL AND I CAN REDIRECT YOU ACCORDINGLY.
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 Now available in Blackwell's Bookshop - Oxford
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
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 £9.00
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 2018
Before Dusk - Barbara Strangward Littoral Press 2018 50 pages £7.00
From George to George book length poem about George Eliot and her Husband by Margaret Eddershaw- 53 pages £7.50: Littoral Press
Mapping the Borders - Rose Flint - Littoral Press 2019 100 pages £9.00
Journey down the Stour 211 pages - £11.99 - Littoral Press 2018 - contains 70 plus b/w photographs
Please read the Blog on this website for more details
"The Angler's Other Eye" - 156 pages - £10.00 - includes 42 black and white photographs - Littoral Press
The Saxon Shore - 59 pages - £7.99 - includes an hour-long Cd of the poem - Littoral Press
Natural Histories - Richard Whiting - 52 pages - £7.99 - Littoral Press 2019
Penn Fields - Neil Leadbeater - Littoral Press 2019 £8.50 86 pages
Poems for the Planet - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2020 A4 Format £12.50 196 pages
Poems in Shadowtime - Judy Gahagan - Littoral Press 2020 £7.50 - 50 pages
Hinterland: a poetry collection by Grace Gauld - 74 pages - £9.00 - Littoral Press 2020
The Killing of the Crystal Tigers, poems for the young and the young at heart illustrated in colour:
Poems Mervyn Linford - Colour Illustrations Jan Green - Littoral Press 2020, £12.00, 94 pages
The Years Fulfilled - Collected Poems 1941-2001 - Dorothy Gibson - Littoral Press 2021 - £7.50 - 89 pages
Essex Imagined - Verse & Visions - Poems & Paintings - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2021
- £11.50 - 65 pages
Poems Sketched upon the M60 - Sam Hickford - Littoral Press 2021 - £7.50 - 49 pages
The Clear Daylight - Peter Branson - Littoral Press 2021 - £8.50 - 81 pages
Before we Breathe - Jackie Biggs - Littoral Press 2021 - £8.00 - 54 pages
Beltane to All Hallows - summer and autumn in the Essex & Suffolk countryside - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2021 - £9.99 - 182 pages - illustrated with b/w photographs
Meanderings - Paper Mills to Collier's Reach - a book length illustrated poem about a seasonal journey along the Chelmer/Blackwater Navigation - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2021 - £9.00 - 81 pages
Advent to Passiontide - winter & spring in the Essex & Suffolk countryside - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2019 - illustrated with full colour photographs - £12.50 - 230 pages
Reading Between the Lines - Neil Leadbeater - Littoral Press 2020 - £8.50 - 83 pages
Bridge Across The Stour - Volume One Autumn - Country Journal - Prose, Poetry, B/W Photographs - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2021 - £9.99 - 174 pages
Bridge Across The Stour - Volume Two Winter - Country Journal - Prose, Poetry, B/W Photographs - Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2022 - £9.99 - 160 pages
Smudge - poetry collection by Dominic James - Littoral Press 2022 - £8.50 - 61 pages
The Gloucester Fragments - Poetry Collection by Neil Leadbeater - Littoral Press 2022 - £8.50 - 72 Pages
Back Country - Poetry Collection by Kathleen McPhilemy - Littoral Press 2022 - £9.00 - 92 pages
Selected Poems 1968-2014 by Nicholas Tapp - Littoral Press 2022 - £8.50 - 109 pages
Bridge Across The Stour by Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2022 - £9.99 - 197 pages
Bridgre Across The Stour by Mervyn Linford - Littoral Press 2022 - £9.99 - 150 pages
I started off 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 to 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 been 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!
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)
The Gum Tree
If ever I had the inclination to hug a tree,
it would be this one -
standing there in its solitariness,
the nude bone of its trunk
changing shade throughout the day
from bright white to blue or grey
according to the disposition of the clouds.
Standing there with the smoothness
of wishbone, knucklebone, stone.
Towering over the Tongan Way,
as night fell, illuminating the place
like a long straight moon, a totem of light
signifying the way home.
Grace Gauld - from Hinterland
For details of my poetry collection Credo published by Mica Press
and my latest prose work The Incidental Marshman published by Campanula Books
please click on the Links button above
Credo, by Mervyn Linford. Mica Press. 62pp., £9
Mervyn Linford’s ninth collection of poems, Credo, is a bold statement of faith in the natural world.
Linford’s main viewpoints are the shorelines, salt marshes, mudflats and tidal creeks of Essex. Anticipating the claim that these places are unprepossessing, he writes in ‘Indistinguishable (Marsh Road – Burnham on Crouch)’ ‘Who could love/such a landscape?’ For a celebrant of the natural world, love is a haunting, an imaginative involvement in the life of the land. That poem’s title, and the titles of several poems of place, give precise locations: ‘Wet & Westerly (Bradwell Waterside)’, ‘November the Fifth – Two Tree Island’, ‘Black-Tailed Godwits – Mersea Island’, and the promissory precision of the titles is fully realised in the keenly observed detail in the poems, details that includes variations in the quality of light in the landscape.
In the opening lines of ‘November the Fifth – Two Tree Island’ he writes
the sea – like silver foil –
refracts the fallen sunlight from a tide
that sears the mudflats.
The birds in ‘Black-Tailed Godwits – Mersea Island’ are seen ‘silhouetted in the heat of late September/and the sun-shot, glittering, shatter of the sea/in smithereens.’ In contrast to the luminescence of these two poems, he writes lyrically of a level light in ‘Esox Lucius’ (the Latin binomial for pike)
How calm this river glides:
the willow-herb, the willows, autumn light –
where green as jade the water holds the sun
And he captures the absence of light in the playful virtuosity of ‘Soundless’: ‘Mist across the meadows/amputates alders:/leaves oaks in mid-air − /cuts cattle in half.’
The natural world of Credo ranges from land and sea to the skies. ‘Through the Leaves – Through the Branches’ ends with the lines ‘I can see the planets and the stars/held after midnight, like the fruits of darkness’, and in ‘Spate – Liston Mill – River Stour’ he speaks of ‘a firmament so deep and drenched with stars’. Through this encompassing vision and a profound imaginative involvement in the life of the land, Linford is, in a pure and simple sense, a visionary and mystical poet. He himself is aware of this condition when he writes of sunlight on a mill pool in ‘Miracle’
Who said that miracles don’t happen –
that epiphanies and other forms of mystic revelation
are dreams and wishes?
Miracles exist only when a person has the capacity for the miraculous, and it is this capacity that allows Linford to apprehend the spirit as well as the topography of a place.
These lines from ‘Miracle’ are prompted, I believe, by a religious as well as a creative impulse. Linford’s religious impulse, a non-doctrinal twenty-first-century variant of animism, appears in the title poem, ‘Credo’, where he writes of ‘these religious littorals of light’; ‘Gothic – Thames Estuary’ ends in ‘the sanctity of stone/in dawn’s cathedral’; and he speaks of watching an ‘aspect of creation’ and realising ‘a joy/that’s unexplained’ in ‘Black-Headed Gulls – Sudbury’. His explicitly religious poems, ‘Il Est Né’ and ‘Epiphany at Chartres’, lack a Christian presence and seem merely dutiful.
His love poems, too, lack a presence: the loved one is less substantial than the contexts in which she appears; her presence is displaced by features of the natural world; she is not seen as a subject of adoration. In ‘Golden Shower’ he speaks of ‘each cruel event’ and sees the loved one not in her own right but ‘in every flower/in every star’; ‘Song & Dance’ speaks of the end of love, and perhaps the end of life
where darkness snuffs
the snowdrop and the rose
and rooks are silent.
And yet, perhaps ironically, ‘Old Man’s Fancy’, a poem in which the loved one appears, or disappears, among bluebells, anemones, bees and nettles, is one of Linford’s most lyrical. His lyricism is apparent throughout the book; Credo sings.
James Aitchison, October 2017
The Incidental Marshman by Mervyn Linford
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater
The full title of author, poet and pantheist Mervyn Linford’s latest book is ‘The Incidental Marshman: From Mucking Creek to the Broomway’. A marshman is the name given to a person who lives in marshy country, an inhabitant of a specific area of marshland. It’s a term I had not come across before but Linford, having moved from the bombsites of Canning Town in the East End of London over sixty-seven years ago to the freshwater fleets, dykes and creeks in the Essex coastlands, more than fits this definition.
At the start of this book, which is part poetry and part prose, Linford pitches his readers into a distinctive landscape that is marked (some might say marred) by oil refineries, pipelines, flare-stacks, standpipes and landfill sites. Some might regard this as an unlikely place for poetry, especially poetry that relates to the natural world, but Linford is perfectly at home here drawing endless inspiration from creeks, guts, gulleys, saltings and marshes in the coastal environs of Essex: strange worlds that are neither land nor sea. Despite what Linford terms as ‘our eleventh-hour inability to face the environmental and climate facts’, there are success stories to be found within these pages. The Thames, for one thing, is far less polluted than it used to be.
Linford’s powers of description make this a memorable read: a single daffodil is described as ‘a bright idea’ and Spring is ‘a green idea.’ The sun is ‘a burning question in the west’. A little egret is ‘a circus performer on stilts’ as it teeters on the edge of the tide and brent geese ‘bob about on the waves like burnt corks’. Reading this book, you can almost smell the oyster smacks, cockle spits and brine coming off the sea.
Never one for towns, Linford is happiest when he is communing with nature: ‘the curlew’s lost and lonely call speaks to the soul whereas the sound of traffic and aircraft doesn’t. Somehow it’s where we came from.’
The book is a fund of information. Linford’s knowledge of his local area is encyclopaedic. If you want to know where the Peasants’ Revolt began, why a pub called ‘The Dun Cow’ on Canvey Island changed its name to ‘The King Canute’ or the name of the plant that used to be seen on the back of the old thruppenny bit, the answers are all here.
Key events are described such as The Great North Sea Flood, interesting insights are given on the possible origins of Dutch Elm Disease and an account is given of the life cycle of the European eel. Always one to document the vicissitudes of our English weather, the Great Storm of October 1987 is given some prominence in a chapter on Southend-on-Sea when ‘Michael Fish went ex-directory’.
We catch the author’s surprise and delight in coming across masses of the relatively rare golden samphire below a seawall in Hole Haven, sense his wonder at seeing a phosphorescent bloom of plankton out in the estuary, marvel at his description of sand martins massing for migration at Paglesham and share the joy of patience rewarded when he finally comes face to face with a short-eared owl quartering the banks of Two Tree Island.
Linford’s love of fishing is all pervasive. Many fish swim through the pages of this book: eel, rudd, roach, perch, tench, flounder and skate are all there in phenomenal numbers just waiting to take the bait on the end of our line. He writes extensively about the shellfish trade at Old Leigh and the oyster fisheries at Paglesham.
I never knew that Essex had so many interesting place-names. As well as Mucking there is Messing followed by places with names such as Fobbing, Sutton-with-Shopland and Ballards Gore. In many cases, Linford gives us their derivations and sometimes he writes poems which play on these names.
The book ends at the Broomway: a public right of way across the foreshore at Maplin Sands. When the tide is out it provides access to Foulness Island. The Broomway is named after the ‘withies’ or ‘brooms’, bundles of twigs attached to short poles, that were used to mark the route. The track is extremely dangerous in misty weather as incoming tides can flood across the sands at high speed obscuring the direction of the shoreline.
This book is complemented with many colour photographs taken by the author to illustrate the local geography. With his wealth of knowledge and at times, irrepressible sense of humour, Linford leads us on an inspiring journey that is accessible, informative and enjoyable. Fully recommended.
The Incidental Marshman
By Mervyn Linford
Released – 1 June 2022
First Published in The Poet