Poems by David Betteridge
Drawings by Bob Starrett
£5.99 (plus £1.50 p&p) 48 pp ISBN 978 1907 464164
Slave Songs and Symphonies is an ambitious, beautifully crafted collection of poems, images and epigraphs. It's about human history, progressive art and music, campaigns for political freedom, social justice and peace. Above all it's about the class and cultural struggle of workers 'by hand and by brain’ to regain control and ownership of the fruits of their labour.
David Betteridge’s poems are leftist, lyrical, and learned, infused with sadness and compassion for the sufferings of our class, the working class. They are also inspired by visionary hope, and a strong belief that our class-divided society and culture can be transformed by radical politics and good art – and by radical art and good politics.
Bob Starrett’s drawings are much more than illustrations. They dance with the poems, commenting on them as well as illustrating them. They are like Goya’s drawings in their dark, ink-black truthfulness and their intimate knowledge of suffering and Blake’s 'mental fight'. Like the poems, they express and resolve the struggles they depict.
Slave Songs and Symphonies tells the story of how slave songs become symphonies – and helps makes it happen. It is not just about class and cultural struggle – it is class and cultural struggle.
Poems by Fred Voss
£5.99 (plus £1.50 p&p) 48 pp ISBN 978 1907 464102
I want to change the world, I want to strike the spark or kick the pebble that will start the fire or the avalanche that will change the world a little.
- Fred Voss
Everyone can see the growing inequality, the precarious and low paid nature of employment, the housing crisis in our cities, the divisions and inequalities between social classes, the problems of obesity, drink and drugs, and the sheer everyday struggle to pay the bills for many working people. In this situation, Fred Voss is like a prophet. He is warning us of the consequences of the way we live, he is telling truth to power, and he is inspiring us with a positive vision of a possible – and desirable – socialist future.
- Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union
Poems by Kevin Higgins
£5.99 (plus £1.50 p&p) 48 pp ISBN 978 19074641889
The Minister for Poetry Has Decreed is political poetry of the highest order, telling truth to power and poking fun at it at the same time, artistically deploying a profoundly moral sense of justice and truth to expose lies, evasions, greed and sheer stupidity.
Kevin Higgins, like Bertolt Brecht, has a gift for exposing the hypocrisies and deceits which are inevitably generated by a political culture which ignores, denies or seeks to legitimise the legalised robbery that passes for capitalist economic arrangements. And like Brecht he does it in a wickedly simple, accessible, entertaining style.
“Ireland’s accomplished political poet and satirist”,
- Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times
“I read this twice. Now, will make a coffee and read it again.”
- Gene Kerrigan, The Sunday Independent
“Likely the mostly widely read living poet in Ireland”,
- The Stinging Fly magazine.