Muses and Bruises - Poems by Fran Lock, Collages by Steev Burgess
£8 (plus £1.50 p&p) ISBN9781907464256.
Culture Matters, an imprint of Manifesto Press, has published a new collection of poetry by Fran Lock. The poems are accompanied by collages by Steev Burgess.
Fran lock is an activist, writer and illustrator, and one of the finest political poets around. Like John Clare, Lock evokes the troubling, often agonising effects of capitalist society on personal and social identity.
Her feminist and socialist poetry weaves psychological insight and social awareness into themes of poverty, mental health problems, sexual abuse, domestic violence and political struggle. Vivid, lavish and punchy, it combines a deep sense of anger and injustice with vulnerable empathy and compassion.
The poems in this collection revel in richness and in strangeness. They are about the unlikely places where working class women find beauty and meaning, and the unlikely materials from which they are composed.
The fragmented yet coherent collages of Steev Burgess complement and enhance those meanings perfectly. The images dance with the poems, singing together about muses and bruises, fantasy and reality – grind and grime with a lick of glitter.
Bring the Rising Home! Poems by Mike Jenkins, with paintings by Gustavius Payne
£9 (plus £1.50 p&p) ISBN978-1-907464-22-5.
Culture Matters, an imprint of Manifesto Press, has published a new collection of poetry by the Welsh socialist poet Mike Jenkins. The poems are accompanied by full colour paintings by Gustavius Payne.
In May 1831, miners and others took to the streets of Merthyr Tydfil, protesting against wage cuts and unemployment generally. The protest spread and soon the whole area was in rebellion – the red flag was flown as a symbol of workers' revolt for the first time. The social and economic conditions which sparked the Merthyr Rising are never far from Mike Jenkins’s poetic imagination, but there are also poems here about drunks, jailbirds, footballers, a mining disaster, and Northern Ireland.
Weaving through both poems and images are themes of individual isolation and alienation, and the urgent need for collective action to change the conditions of working people. Mike Jenkins’s vivid, lyrical poems are accompanied by full colour paintings by the Welsh socialist painter Gustavius Payne, whose bold, striking, and deeply sympathetic paintings complement the poems perfectly.
The message is clear: isolated, people are powerless, but together they are strong. They need to organise into trade unions, join a socialist party and challenge the ruling class. Here is a poetic and painterly union of two socialist Welsh artists who, in their own brilliant, artistic way, are bringing the Rising home.
Lugalbanda: Lover of the seed
£4.99 (plus £1.00 p&p) ISBN9781907464232
A new version by Doug Nicholls, this book, published under the Manifesto Press/Culture Matters imprint, is a fund-raiser for the Free Ocalan campaign. It brings to the attention of modern readers a poem written 5,000 years ago but still with incredible relevance to us today.
The imprisoned political leader Abdullah Ocalan draws attention to the first Sumerian civilisation built between the Tigris and Euphrates, in the troubled lands today covered by Iraq and Syria. This civilisation was forgotten for over 2,000 years, buried under sands, but when it was rediscovered it was realised that the Sumerians had brought to humanity agriculture, architecture, the first writing, the first schools, the first written poetry, the first laws and many other notable inventions.
This delightful and surprising story of the exploits of Lugalbanda and what powers he chooses as a reward for looking after the chick of a monstrous bird in the mountains, is a joy to read, so distant yet so near, and also compels us to think about some profound truths in our own world.
A fantastic read for young and old and whether you have read poetry before or not. The author’s notes on the poem will surprise and challenge you as they extract layers of meaning from the poem.
International Women’s Day by Alexandra Kollontai
£2.50 (plus £1.50 p&p) ISBN978-1-907464-21-8
Following the Russian Revolution, International Women’s Day was established as a national holiday and Alexandra Kollontai became head of the Women’s Department and People’s Commissar for welfare and led the campaign to improve women’s living conditions, eradicate illiteracy and establish a new legal and social framework for women’s liberation. International Women’s Day is now celebrated throughout the world and its close links to the revolutionary struggles of the 20th century become more relevant as systemic crisis grips the capitalist world.
Manifesto Press publishes this reprint of Alexandra Kollontai’s writing on International Women’s Day as part of its
programme to mark the centenary of the October Socialist Revolution.