This Week in Arts - Platypus Press by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

Platypus Press (two books) – THIS WEEK IN ARTS VOL.5

Platypus Press is an independent publisher that has been on the back of our heads for a moment now. This This Week in Arts follows another volume highlighting The Emma Press, and let us assure you that the coup de cœur is made of the same intensity.

We picked two books to justify and report this excitement: a poetry anthology entitled Islands Are But Mountains and a collection of thirteen short stories by Sam Reese entitled Come the Tide.

NB: all the pictures used for this article are courtesy of the publisher. Considering the current health situation, we wouldn’t have risked the life of a postman for the sake of literature, as precious as literature is right now. As for reading and not taking fancy pictures, Kindle saved the say once again.

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A few words about our book picks:

Islands Are But Mountains (poetry anthology)

Islands Are But Mountains - Platypus Press
Picture courtesy of Platypus Press

Islands Are But Mountains is the greatest poetry anthology we had our eyes and full attention on since the early Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities series. 

If pretentious poetry holds you back from reading more poetry, Islands Are Mountains will be perfect for you. The poems comprising this anthology are smart, vivid, rich, and most importantly, down to earth without blending with the mundane and the ordinary.

Bliss and pain, sweet nostalgia and regrets, attention and disappearance, they all mix without confusion, but not without taste. Do not expect tortured spirits or unrelatable accounts. Expect words from souls who lived stories that are too loud to be kept quiet.

This anthology also offers major side effects, such as empathy development, self-awareness and humility.

She returns with a shock:
waking in a reclining chair,
wondering
how she found herself there.

(…)

Every traveller needs a rest stop,
a space to lay their head.

Today,
she takes her pause with me;
her face smiling as she sips
milk and sugar,
warmth and tea.

Nadine Aisha Jassat, excerpt from The Time Traveler

Sam Reese, Come the Tide (short stories)

Come the Tide by Sam Reese
Courtesy of Platypus Press

We didn’t expect to find an astonishing equivalent to Annabel Bank’s Exercises In Control so quickly. Maybe, dear reader, have you been confronted with the sad reality fed by most books of that kind: collections of short stories are often rambling collages waiting for better days. That is not the case here.

With Come the Tide, Sam Reese excels in character depth and in the delicate art of balancing focus and distance. Beyond that, environments are key to the mastery of Reese’s craft. Such environments are constructed with a rare relevance, projecting the readers into the scenes, and making them feel like they could interact with the story and change its course. Author Miranda July has known commercial success thanks to this mastery, and we wish Sam a well-deserved walk down this very same path. 

The most pleasant and impressive virtue of Sam Reese is his taste for providing extended context. Context provides a richer experience for the reader, and after the book is closed, experience is all that remains and echoes.

Tonight, I found it hard to sleep; we had chosen a room that was close to the beach—easy surfing for him, for me, the sound of waves at night. They roar in my ears, and I feel the sand beneath his fingernails, against my scalp. But when his waters ebbed, the heat of his body felt oppressive. When his legs rolled onto mine, I tensed and recoiled. In the end, as I had before, I asked him to tell me a story.

Sam Reese, excerpt from Tasting Notes

BONUS: Slowculturians tend to be jazzheads according to our non-scientific and totally invalid, non peer-reviewed study. But that’s not a reason to not enjoy Sam’s Blue Notes.

Islands Are But Mountains.

Platypus Press, available now.

From language and love, to distance and death, Islands Are But Mountains—a fresh and enthralling new anthology from Platypus Press—brings together thirty-five of the most daring and urgent voices in contemporary poetry from across the United Kingdom.

Featuring poems from: Rachael Allen, Anthony Anaxagorou, Raymond Antrobus, Dean Atta, Charlotte Baldwin, Khairani Barokka, Emily Blewitt, Leo Boix, Natalie Linh Bolderston, Rachel Bower, Nancy Campbell, Joe Carrick-Varty, Mary Jean Chan, Jenna Clake, Sarala Estruch, Carrie Etter, Rowan Evans, Dai George, Harry Josephine Giles, Remi Graves, Caroline Hardaker, Sara Hirsch, Ian Humphreys, Omotara James, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Meena Kandasamy, Bryony Littlefair, Nick Makoha, André Naffis-Sahely, Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton, Alycia Pirmohamed, Nina Mingya Powles, Stephen Sexton, Jennifer Lee Tsai, and Jemilea Wisdom-Baako.

Sam Reese, Come the Tide

Platypus Press, available now.

In thirteen wistful and haunting stories, Sam Reese traverses the sweeping plains of memory, transforming their hidden landscapes into something familiar. A woman searches for the mysterious place of her birth. An apartment becomes a forest, a bottomless lake a graveyard. A search can return you home again, and a painting can cradle more than just its own history. The tales in Come the Tide, both real and imagined, are circling birds, soaring and diving to find that thing we’re all seeking: ourselves.

About Platypus Press

Platypus Press is an independent publisher of poetry, fiction & narrative non-fiction based in England. The company was founded in 2015 by Michelle Tudor and Peter Barnfather.

Here are links to their newsletter and their literary magazine, wildness.

Written by  Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

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