The Emma Press & an Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse*

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The thought of creating my own publishing house fills me with massive excitement and jitters. It's such a beautiful idea, choosing what pieces of literature, poetry, whatever to send out into the world and how you want it to be presented. You can give people the chance to have their work read, people who might be quickly overlooked by the big publishing houses focused on huge income and readership. When I heard about The Emma Press at a talk I attended during Birkbeck's Art's Week, I immediately fell in love with what Emma and Rachel were doing with their business. Business feels like such an ugly word to me and doesn't feel right to describe the stunning things they produce. 

In Emma's own words, the press is 'dedicated to producing beautiful, funny books' and she wants to 'publish the kind of writing that makes people laugh and cry and text extracts to their friends because it inspires such a strong response in them'. This is right up my street. She founded her press in 2012 and co-edits the works she chooses to produce with her friend Rachel. She designs and illustrates all of the books herself, giving them a beautiful, handmade look that reminds you that real people are behind the creation of the books you lay your hands on. So many publishing houses have resorted to such a clinical, corporate look for their books as they line up on shelves. It's a shame because literature has such a vast variety, it shouldn't all look the same. 

Emma was kind enough to send me a copy of their popular 'Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse'*, a title that never fails to make me giggle. This anthology was smartly published around the recent boom in erotica (thanks 'Fifty Shades of Grey'...) and showcases the poetry of nineteen poets from around the world. It shows that eroticism 'isn't just about sex: it's about anticipation, desire, intimacy, and romance', and that sexuality is nothing to feel shameful about (remember all those people openly reading 'Fifty Shades' on the tube?) My favourite piece from the anthology is Amy Key's 'Tight Dress' which details the thoughts that can pass through your head during a hook-up (Is my bed made? Who undresses first?). It's a beautiful way of showing how self-conscious we can become doing something that should come naturally and I keep finding myself reading it over-and-over because the imagery is so distinct. 

If you get the chance, I'd recommend with my whole heart The Emma Press. Their books are beautiful and give you the chance to discover new writers and poets with every single one of their publications you pick up. There's even the opportunity if you're a writer or poet to submit pieces for their pamphlets and anthologies. You can follow The Emma Press on Facebook here, or Twitter over here if you like. 

Happy reading! M x

Products marked with a (*) have been sent to me, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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