Saturday, April 26: Poetry into Prose, a workshop

Poetry into Prose is a workshop, run by published poets and novelists Kate Rhodes and Claire Dyer, is for anyone interested in writing beautiful prose. The session will be tailored to suit both experienced writers and beginners, and will focus on practical exercises designed to show how employing some of the tools and techniques used by poets can make your prose stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Saturday 26th April 2014
14:00 – 15:00 at The Chequers
Ticket price: £5.00 each

Claire Dyer is the author of Eleven Rooms, a poetry collection that explores contradictions inherent in ideas of the permanent

This work shop is part of the  Chipping Norton Literary Festival  which runs from  24-27 April, 2014.




Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Leave a comment

April 26, 2014, 9:30am: 6 mile walk along the Holy Brook: Come on a historic walk of Reading!

Join us on April 26, 2014 for a guided walk with Geoff Sawers explaining the history and origins of the full 6 mile length of the Holy Brook – the unique and secretive waterway that has been hurrying through and under Reading for many centuries.

Meet at Theale Station at 9.30 am Sat 26th April (there is a train from Reading, via Reading west, that gets in at 9.20).

Consider a copy of Two Rivers Press’ The Holy Brook, or a Granator’s Tale






Posted in Events, Geoff Sawers (artist) | Comments Off

Sunday April 13, 2014: Harris Garden open days start!

How well do you know the parks in Reading? Come discover Harris Garden.

Harris Gardens open days start Sunday 13th April.

Jenny Halstead’s An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden will be available for sale.




Posted in Events, Jenny Halstead (author, artist) | Comments Off

April 11, 2014: Launch of Ian House’s “Nothing’s Lost”

Join us for the launch of Ian House’s Nothing’s Lost.

When: Friday 11th April.  At 7pm there nibbles and drinks and buying the book time. Free for all!

Anyone who wants to stay for Poets’ Cafe is more than welcome (if you buy a ticket).   8pm doors, 8.30pm poetry

Where: Poets’ Cafe, South Street Arts Centre. 21 South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU

Cost:  £5/£4.




Posted in Events, Ian House (poet) | Comments Off

April’s Book of the Month – 20% off!

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, every month we are discounted one of our books by 20% for the whole month; all the others are discounted 20% on the 20th of the each month!  Lots of 20s…..!!!

Down by the River: the Thames and Kennet in Reading is April’s book of the month.  It tells the stories of those who worked on the rivers: millers, bargemasters, lock-keepers, fishermen and boat-builders. And later when the rivers became places of recreation the focus is again on local people enjoying swimming, angling and rowing, individually and in galas, competitions and regattas.

Carefully and thoroughly researched and generously provided with maps, drawings, and contemporary photographs, many not seen before, Gillian Clark writes with local people in mind. This book will interest local and family historians, as well as those with an interest in river activities.

“Gillian Clark is to be congratulated for writing such an interesting and informative account of life on the Thames and Kennet. It is a „must read‟ for anyone with an interest in either the Thames or the Kennet.” ~ Rosemary Stewart Beardsley

Posted in News | Comments Off

March 31st to April 25th: See the exhibit on our 20 years of publishing in Reading

From March 31st to April 25th, 2014, there is an exhibit of the history and output of Two Rivers Press located just outside the council chamber in the Civic Offices.

Address: Civic Centre, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AE, United Kingdom
Phone:+44 118 937 3797
Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Posted in Events | Comments Off

24 March – 5 April: Photographic Exhibition “Looking Back at Reading”

Take a trip to Reading Central Library in Kings Road this week for their exhibition:  ”Looking back at Reading.”  Over 90 photographs by photographer, Terry Allsop, will show you a Reading as you may, or may not, recognize!.

Some of the photographs on display also appear in his book, “Newtown: A photographic journey in Reading, 1974.”

For those of you interested in Reading’s history, consider visiting Reading Forum -> Retro, online.




















Posted in Events, News, Terry Allsop (author) | Comments Off

Arts of peace revised cover 20 MarchThe Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poems by Adrian Blamires (poet) Peter Robinson (poet, editor)

April 3, 2014: Launch of Terry Cree’s “Fruit”


Join us for the launch of Terry Cree’s Fruit.

When:  Thursday 3 April at 7.30pm.

Where: The Conference Room at Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke.






Posted in Events, Terry Cree (poet) | Comments Off

Cover Birds appears on the online newsletter of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

There are almost as many books about birds as there are types of birds.  So, it is wonderful when our book Cover Birds by Robert Gillmor gets a little mention on the BTO’s website.

Looking for a present for the birdlovers in your life? Consider this unique title!






Posted in 2013 News Archive, News, Robert Gillmor (author, artist) | Comments Off

Reading_DectectivesReading Detectives by Kerry Renshaw (author)

Two Rivers Press 20th Anniversary Special Online Offer – 20% off “From the Abbey to the Office” til 1 April, 2014

This year Two Rivers Press celebrates its 20th anniversary.   To celebrate, each month we will give a 20% discount on one of our books, if you purchase your copy, or copies from us online.

March’s book is From the Abbey to the Office.

Reading is the source of the oldest polyphonic song in English, is associated with the rise of the British novel, was a source of inspiration for our greatest war poet and is the birthplace of England’s finest comic writer of the 21st century.

This book follows the traces of those writers who had some connection with the town and is illustrated with portraits of writers and their locations

Order your copy here and save 20%.

Posted in Dennis Butts (author), News | Comments Off

20% discount on all books ordered online on the 20th of each month of 2014!

Two Rivers Press is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year:  20 years of publishing in Reading, about Reading, for Reading!

Thank you Reading for helping us make reach this 20 year mark! In celebration, we are offering a special discount:

20% off the price of every one of our books ordered via our website, on the 20th of each and every month in 2014!

Browse our catalogue and treat yourself to titles for yourself, your family and your friends.  We have something there for the poet, the gardener, the sports enthusiast, the bird lover, the train lover, the one who loves the architecture and history of Reading.   Take a look.  Buy a book.  Save 20%.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, News | Comments Off

Review: Jean Watkins’s Scrimshaw reviewed!

“This first collection is the work of an experienced poet who combines emotional wisdom with technical finesse, and is beautifully presented by Two Rivers.”

So says Rosie Johnston in her review of Jean Watkins’ Scrimshaw which appears on the online cultural magazine,

Read the whole review here.


Posted in 2013 News Archive, Jean Watkins (poet), News | Comments Off

Fox_TalbotFox Talbot & the Reading Establishment by Martin Andrews (artist, author)

Fruit_LOWRESFruit by Terry Cree (poet)

Nothings_Lost_FrontCoverNothing’s Lost by Ian House (poet)

Two Rivers Press 20th Anniversary Special Online Offer – 20% off “Reading: A Horse-Racing Town” til 1 March, 2014

This year Two Rivers Press celebrates its 20th anniversary.   To celebrate, each month we will give a 20% discount on one of our books, if you purchase your copy, or copies from us online.

February’s book is “Reading:  Reading: A Horse-Racing Town.”

Horse-racing? In Reading? We’ve all heard about Newbury and Ascot, but few people know that at various periods between 1705 and 1906 there were six racecourses in Greater Reading.

To take advantage of February’s special offer to buy Nigel Suttcliffe’s account of horse racing in Reading, click here.



Posted in News, Nigel Sutcliffe (author) | Comments Off

3 February – 28 March 2014: Exhibition “26 Words: Exploring the DNA of Language” at University of Reading


Come join us for “26 Words: Exploring the DNA of Language”:  an exhibit of the culminination of a project started in April 2013, when the writers’ group, 26, teamed up with lettercutters, calligraphers and type designers from Letter Exchange to create limited edition art works springing from the letters of the English language.

Members of each group were paired off into 26 partnerships, with each randomly choosing a word to represent by inserting a knife in a dictionary. The result was an extraordinary collection of words: from acidulate to zaffre, via dig, undulate and connected. The list included the familiar and the unfamiliar, the everyday and the exotic, with every word evocative in its own way. Each pair was asked to explore ideas through these single words, their meanings and their visual expressions. And a 27th pair was asked to collaborate to combine all the words into one work.  (For a peek at some of the artwork click here, and for stories of the collaborations between artist and writers click here. ”Wave” by Rob Self-Pierson & Sally Castle  is shown above

3 February to 28 March 2014
Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
University of Reading
2 Earley Gate
Reading RG6 7N .

If you miss it in Reading, the exhibit will move on to  Sunderland, Bruges, Snape and Hereford through 2014.

Posted in Events, Sally Castle (artist, letterer) | Comments Off

Praise for Gillmor’s Cover Birds

A review of Robert Gillmor’s newest book, Cover Birds, appears on page 2 of the January 2014 newsletter of the Oxford RSPB.   Chris Bignal’s review is  both a tribute to the work of Gillmor and a personal trip down memory lane. As for the book, well “Any bird lover will enjoy this small work of art…” says, Mr. Bignal.

Cover Birds, describes the author’s long and close involvement with the Reading Ornithological Club (ROC), now the Berkshire OC. His art has adorned covers of annual reports for many years and the book is illustrated with many of the actual covers.

Bird lovers and stamp lovers may also find Robert Gillmor’s book, Birds, Blocks and Stamps of interest.



Posted in News, Robert Gillmor (author, artist) | Comments Off

Three first collections reviewed! Read more!

It is a wonderful thing to start the new year with positive reviews of three collections published in the Two Rivers Press, First Collection Series.   Belinda Cooke reviews Kate Behrens’ The Beholder, Claire Dyer’s Eleven Rooms and Jean Watkins’ Scrimshaw in issue 51, of The North

Kate Behrens, The Beholder

“This is a collection that has already earned a great deal of respect and it deserves a wide readership.”







Claire Dyer, Eleven Rooms

“For Dyer place is important because places is where we begin and end and where we make all our connections with those we love.   By way of carefully crafted poems with tight, cohesive patterns of syntax, she explores this theme in a very individual and unusual way.”



Jean Watkins, Scrimshaw

“This collection…includes a number of poems which have a sparkly ‘stand alone’ quality about them….All such poems add to the already rich collection.”




Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Jean Watkins (poet), Kate Behrens (poet), News | Comments Off

Christmas shop with us at Reading’s Christmas fairs! December dates….

A poetry book and/or a book about some amazing aspect of Reading makes a wonderful gift for a friend, a family member or for yourself!

Come support Reading’s only local publisher at one of the following Christmas fairs:

Aunt Elsie’s Christmas Do
Thursday 5 – Saturday 7th December in Reading Market Place.
Big Marquee, warm and cosy, refreshments, beautiful decor, fun atmosphere and unique stuff to buy. Do come along! As well as our most recent books, we’ll have some of Susan Gillmor’s historical prints of Reading to sell and some of Sally Castle’s prints

St Luke with St Bartholomew’s Christmas Fair
Saturday 14th December10.30am -1pm, in St Luke’s, Erleigh Road,

Bulmershe School Winter Fayre
Saturday 14th December, 2pm – 4pm.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Thursday, 5 December 2013: Launch of Simon Armitage’s Stanza Stones

Stanza Stones, a collaboration between Pip Hall, Simon Armitage and Tom Lonsdale, will be launched in London on Thursday 5 December, 6:30PM.

Simon Armitage’s reading of his new sequence of poems ‘In memory of water’ from Stanza Stones will be followed by a discussion of the book with letter carver and c0-author Pip Hall and,  landscape architect and co-author, Tom Lonsdale.

The launch will be at Enitharmon’s new gallery & bookshop in Bloomsbury, 10 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL

Tickets are £5; wine and other refreshments will be provided.

You can book your ticket here.

About Stanza Stones, from the Enitharmon catalogue:

The newly drawn Stanza Stones Trail runs through forty-seven miles of the Pennine region, some of the most strikingly varied landscape in the world. The terrain bears the deep scars of industrial exploitation, as well as those less obvious: the signs left by a hundred local generations are carved into the region’s abounding rocks. Simon Armitage was born and raised here, in the village of Marsden, and in 2012 he was commissioned through the Ilkley Literature Festival to write site-specific poetry. Armitage composed six new poems on his Pennine walks and, with the help of local expert Tom Lonsdale and letter-carver Pip Hall, found extraordinary, secluded sites and saw his words carved into stone. This book is a record of that journey, containing the poems and the accounts of Lonsdale and Hall.

The many layers of stone and sediment found beneath the surface of the rock reflect the drama of the landscape itself. Covered in decades of industrial soot and grime, the colours released by the carver’s tools will likely never return to shades of black and grey, but become a small reminder of the changes that our natural environment undergoes, and the marks, small and large, of humankind. 

Posted in Events, Pip Hall (artist, letterer) | Comments Off

A secret, a secret! Monday, 2 December 2013!

We want to share a little secret but you’ll need to read to the end of this post to find it!

Wokingham’s Living Advent Calendar runs from 1st to 24th December each year.

Each evening at 6:15 pm from 1st December to Christmas Eve, a different venue around the town will host a FREE performance lasting approximately 15 minutes.

A community project, it works with local businesses, charities, performers and individuals to present these performances to the public. Each venue is paired with a local performer (or groups of performers) and a charitable collection is taken, which is at the end of the 24 nights split between a number of named Charities.

Join us for music, dance, drama and more this Christmas season! But you’ll have to wait and see what each evening will bring, all performances are secret until the night!

For a list of the venues click here.

 And now for the secret!

Two Rivers Press poet, Victoria Pugh,  is part of the Wokingham Living Advent Calendar and will be appearing at Wokingham Library on Monday 2nd December 6.15-6.30 pm, giving a reading which includes a poem set in the Mad Stad, along with happy and sad poems, and possibly even some singing.

Posted in Events, Victoria Pugh (poet) | Comments Off

26 November 2013 – 31 January 2014: Exhibition “26 Words Exploring the DNA of Language”

Two Rivers Press artist, Sally Castle, recently participated in an interesting creative exercise, explained by Tom Banks, at Design Week:

26 writers and visual artists explore ‘the DNA of language

Writers collective 26 has teamed up with artists to explore what it calls ‘the DNA of language’ in a new exhibition which looks to explore the meaning of words as a visual expression.’

As you would expect, 26 writers were paired up with 26 visual artists, and then in a slightly ritualistic act, each pair together inserted a knife into a dictionary to select a word of each letter of the alphabet at random.

‘We call it a successful experiment in seeing how creativity can be released in a single word,’ says 26, which has ended up with a set of intriguing interpretations in 2D and 3D that consider things like etymology, definition, more abstract expressions, and of course what these things might look like..

The full article and images from the exhibit are here.

26 Words will be exhibited at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1, from 26 November – 31 January 2014.  Weekdays from 9am-8pm, 26th Nov – 31st Jan, with some exceptions. Please call ahead to check availability.

Please go and see if you can find Sally’s beautiful lettering on display.

This exhibition will tour from November 2103 to November 2104:  London, Reading, Sunderland, Bruges (Belgium), Suffolk, and Hereford.  Dates, times and locations are listed here. 

Posted in Events, Sally Castle (artist, letterer) | Comments Off

Watch TV! Monday, November 25, 3:15pm, TRP artist and letterer, Sally Castle, on Countdown

The staff at Two Rivers Press will be gathered around the television to watch Sally Castle, one of the artistic cornerstones of the Press,  compete on Countdown.

Tune in with us to watch Sally “engage in a battle of wits, competing against the clock in games of lexical dexterity and numerical agility.” Selina Scott will be the Dictionary Corner guest.

Where:  BBC Channel 4

When:  3:15pm, Monday, November 25

Posted in Events, Sally Castle (artist, letterer) | Comments Off

Friday, October 25, 2013: Poetry Cafe at Torbay Poetry Festival with Susan Utting and Jennifer McGowan

Nothing to do this weekend?  Consider the Torbay Poetry Festival. What could be better than a  weekend full of poetry in Torbay’s beautiful ambience. With twenty-five events, poetry will fill this weekend: listen to poetry readings; learn more about writing poetry at workshops; listen to poets talking about poetry and, above all, ask questions!

  •  When:   October 24th – 28th, 2013
  • Where: Torbay, of course
  • What:  Ahhh, it is a long list of 25 events, some absolutely free, some which require tickets.  Best to read all about then on the events listing on the festival website.

Our very own poet,  Susan Utting will be reading at the Reading Poetry Cafe on Friday, October 25th.  Tickets:  £6.00/£5.00.  Book now!

Posted in Events, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Tuesday October 8, 2013: Foraging and Wild Cooking with Duncan MacKay

Are you mystified by mushrooms? Learn how to identify what is edible and tasty, and what not to eat.

Tuesday 8th October, TRP author, Duncan MacKay is giving a talk about foraging and wild cooking at the Central Library in Reading, with a month by month guide.

Time: 7.30pm.
Tickets £4/£3 to library members.
For tickets email

Posted in Duncan Mackay (author), Events | Comments Off

Friday, 4 October, 2013: TRP poets at Swindon Poetry Festival

Susan Utting, Adrian Blamires and Ian House will be reading at the Swindon Poetry Festival’sUp the Junctions! A metaphorical day trip of poems and places along the M4 corridor“.

Their slot is at 3pm – 3.45pm: Having a cake with You, with Susan Utting and friends, Ian House, Anna-May Laugher, Adrian Blamires, and Susan Roberts.

Tickets are £6.20 for one event or £12.40 for all day.

Venue: The Platform, Faringdon Road, SN1 5BJ

Tickets: Tel 01793 466454

Posted in Adrian Blamires (poet), Events, Ian House (poet), Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

TODAY – National Poetry Day – ONE DAY SALE – 25% off all poetry titles and…a poem for National Poetry Day: Time For Time by Peter Robinson

We love poetry.

We know you love poetry, too.

To celebrate National Poetry Day, today, October 3, 2013 we are offering a one day only, 25% discount on each and every one of our 31 poetry titles.

Click here to go to our poetry catalogue.

Please select “National Poetry Day 2013 offer” from the drop down menu found at the bottom of each catalogue entry page (hint: the little arrow just to left of the word Order).

The discount will only apply to orders placed between 00:01-24:00 on Thursday, October 3, 2013.

Don’t miss your chance to do some advanced Christmas shopping, or to treat yourself!

And now, a treat….a brand new poem for National Poetry Day:

Peter Robinson takes his inspiration for this new poem from the announced closure of HM Prison Reading. HM Prison Reading was formerly known as Reading Gaol and was the place in which Oscar Wilde was incarcerated and which was source of inspiration for his Ballad of Reading Goal. It will close by the end of 2013.

Peter Robinson

‘… a trial cannot end like a play.’*

Along the banks of the Kennet canal
you see bare walls, its central tower,
barred windows from where inmates hear
trains arrive and leave through Reading station …

Time, though, isn’t ‘dragging on’.
‘Inside, time goes quickly,’
or so the young offender said
at their guided reading circle.

I’d been shown C. 33’s cell
and sunflowers by an exercise yard;
but routine making time go quickly,
that’s what most arrested me —

and comes back now the gaol’s to close,
be made an arts hub with a theatre,
or so we’re told, outside those walls,
all along the banks of the Kennet canal.

* The last phrase of ‘Reading Gaol’ by Peter Robinson in Reading Poetry: An Anthology (Two Rivers Press, 2011), discussed at a reading group in the prison led by Sue Colbourn, Project Worker for The Reader Organisation, in October 2012. Oscar Wilde signed The Ballad of Reading Gaol (also available from Two Rivers Press) with his cell number: C. 33.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Events, News, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | 1 Comment

Poetry with cake! Tuesday, October 1st and Friday, October 4th 2013

Poetry with cake – what could be better? Both available at Hot Gossip Cafe in Henley next week as part of the Henley Literary Festival.

Gill Learner will be reading on Tues 1st Oct and Jean Watkins on Friday 4th Oct. 7-9pm. Tickets are £6 available from the cafe.

Posted in Events, Gill Learner (poet), Jean Watkins (poet) | Comments Off

Review: A.F.Harrold’s The Point of Inconvenience reviewed in South 48

The Point of Inconvenience maps the decline and death of Ashley Harrold’s late mother. There is pathos and dignity in his writing. The poems are deeply felt, often lyrical, but there is also whimsy and particularly humour to be found in his descriptions of everyday life as a carer. Here he is after a visit to his mother when music for her funeral had been discussed:

message flew between our phones,
I read it, laughed, was proud of how
ten minutes with the radio
had thrown up Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

(Come Hear The Band)

Harrold does not flinch from exploring his own thoughts and the taboos
that surround terminal illness :

You sleep in the middle of the day.
The sun might as well be the moon.
I anticipate you waking again,
the muggy swell of nausea, of living beyond
your means,
and I look at the pillow, that simple snuffer.


His mother’s illness leaves Harrold looking after her dog and home. Her
garden echoes her decline :

Colour fades as leafy things spring up.
The human patterns grow rare…
…The pond evaporates,
a damp ring-mark on stones, a daily sinking.

(Summer Neglect)

In this collection, fifty-three poems trace the decline and death of Harrold’s mother. The final long poem marks the despair and anguish he must now endure… and life without her. Brilliantly, through the use of dozens of euphemisms, Harold exposes our inability, linguistically, to come to terms with
death :

…She’s passed away, gone out the room,
drawn the curtains…
She’s snuffed it, clocked off, left the
She’s flown out of the high window of the
old meadhall,
out into the unknowable night from whence
she came.
Your mum is dead, get over it.

(Get Over It)

This review, by Patrick B. Osada, appears in South 48.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, A.F. Harrold (poet), News | Comments Off

Review: Ian Caws reviews Eleven Rooms by Claire Dyer

Ian Caws writes that “…the poems in Claire Dyer’s first collection resonate with emptiness and surfaces…There is a perpetual underlying echo of transience…the poems are about a brush rather than an encounter with the world. They create an enlivening experience for the reader..”

Read the full review in South 48.

SOUTH poetry magazine has earned a special place on the poetry scene. It pioneered a unique system of selection aimed at giving all poets the best possible chance of getting published. SOUTH is now in its 22nd year of publication.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

Review: AF Harrold’s Point of Inconvinience reviewed in The North

This extract is from a review, by Wendy Klein, of A.F. Harrold‘s collection The Point of Inconvenience which appears in ‘The North’.

‘Poignant, honest, and reflective, A.F. Harrold’s memoriam to his mother avoids Onegin’s inherent callousness. In shudderingly accurate poetry, the poet confronts the mixture of anger, boredom and desperate sadness created by lingering death, on both his mother and himself. using all his skills, this highly versatile poet, who also writes children’s literature, plus acting as a compere and performance poet, examines every stage of an unexpectedly lengthy and painful death…..Poem by poem, he unpacks the emotional strain involved in observing the suffering of a loved individual close up….’
‘…clever, full of heart, and not a word wasted.’

Posted in A.F. Harrold (poet), News | Comments Off

Friday, September 27, 2013: Two Rivers Press poets at Pangbourne Hall of Sound

Please come and listen to and meet Two Rivers Press poets, Susan Utting, Jean Watkins and Claire Dyer

These lovely ladies are doing a reading at Pangbourne Hall of Sound (Pangbourne Village Hall) this Friday 27th September at 7.30 pm.

To read about The Hall of Sound please visit their website.

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events, Jean Watkins (poet), Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Review of The Art School Dance – A Memoir, by John Froy

This is a review by Jane Seraillier of The Art School Dance – A Memoir, by John Froy

The Art School Dance – A Memoir, by John Froy

“Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards” (Kierkegaard).
In John Froy’s evocative memoir of his art school years, we do not have the luxury of “understanding backwards”. Reconstructed from old diaries and letters, and written in the present tense, we endure with him the lostness, the self-mistrust, the confusion of those painful years between the ages of 18 and 22. We ‘look over his shoulder’, as it were, and ponder the hand that life has dealt him, with all its complications and compensations. Complications: divorced parents – two homes – stepfamilies – a mother whose struggles with alcohol and depression find strong echoes in John himself. Compensations: a deep love of nature (particularly the landscape of his beloved summer home, Colham) – gardening – birdwatching – and the unsung heroes who help him through those early difficult years – his rock-like, kindly step-father Frank, who ensures stability and routine even when family relationships become chaotic and terrifying, and his tutor/counsellor at Falmouth School of Art, Lionel, with the twinkling eyes, who encourages him to look deep into “the wellspring” – his childhood, and write down his daily and past-remembered experience.

The memoir is also a chronicle of the times, with their brand new freedom to hitch-hike around Europe, throw oneself into sexual relationships, sample mood-altering drugs … the reader who also lived through the 60s and 70s is drawn to compare his or her own experience. And to compare it with the present, also: what would today’s teenagers make of the books John surrounds himself with, and the hours and hours he spends on his art, looking intently and with deep seriousness at what is before him, and trying to record it?

Here is a rare opportunity to absorb oneself for a while in another person’s inner and outer life – in this case, that of the art student John Froy, as, in fear and trembling, he finds his way towards his future self – the adult he will become.

Jane Serraillier

Posted in 2013 News Archive, John Froy (poet), News | Comments Off

Successful events at Waterstone’s for Heritage Open Days, Reading

Two River Press authors, Adam Sowan and Geoff Sawers fascinated audiences at Waterstone’s, Broad Street, Reading with history nuggets about the Reading train station and the Broad Street Chapel, which today is Waterstone’s!)

Read their books!
All Change at Reading: the railway and the station 1840-2013

Broad Street Chapel & the Origins of Dissent in Reading

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Adam Sowan (author), Geoff Sawers (author), News | Comments Off

Successful launch of The Art School Dance A Memoir by John Froy and Foreigners, Drunks & Babies by Peter Robinson

On Sunday 15th, 12-2pm, Two Rivers Press hosted a literary lunch at the Great Expectations Hotel & Bar on London Street. Two of our authors launched their new books: Foreigners, Drunks & Babies by Peter Robinson, and The Art School Dance by John Froy.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, John Froy (poet), News, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

Art_School_Dance_CoverThe Art School Dance A Memoir by John Froy (poet)

Sunday, 15 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Author tea at Malmaison, 2-6pm

Meet the author, Adam Sowan,  over tea at Malmaison Hotel,  Sunday, 15 September, 2013,  2-6pm

Adam Sowan signs copies of his book: All Change at Reading: the railway and the station 1840-2013 which features the building that houses Malmaison, Reading – formerly the Great Western Hotel.

Buffet-style afternoon teas in the hotel lounge for the special price of £10.   Booking is advised.

Malmaison Hotel
18-20 Station Road
Reading, RG1 1JX
Tel: 084469 30660

This event is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

Posted in Adam Sowan (author), Events | Comments Off

Sunday, 15 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Book launches and lunch,12-2pm

Sunday 15th, 12-2pm, a literary lunch at the Great Expectations Hotel & Bar on London Street. Two of our authors launch their new books: Foreigners, Drunks & Babies by Peter Robinson, and The Art School Dance by John Froy.

Great Expectations Hotel & Bar
33 London Street
Reading RG1 4PS
Phone:+44 118 950 3925

This is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

Posted in Events, John Froy (poet), Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

Saturday, 14 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Author, Adam Sowan, on Reading Station 12-2pm

Meet local author, Adam Sowan, as he launches his latest book, All Change at Reading: the railway and the station 1840-2013.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel gave Reading an inconvenient station with but a single platform; after four major rebuilds it now has fifteen.

Find out more and chat to Adam who has written other popular books about Reading including ‘Believing in Reading‘ and ‘Abattoirs Road to Zinzan Street‘.

Book launch and signing alongside a small display of railway memorabilia.

Saturday, 14 September 2013, 12:00PM – 2:00PM
Further details: 0118 9581270.

This event is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

Posted in Adam Sowan (author), Events | Comments Off

Friday, 13 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Geoff Sawers on the history of Broad Street Chapel. 6.30pm

Broad Street Chapel & the Origins of Dissent in Reading 

Friday, 13 September 2013, 6:30PM
Tickets are free of charge

Geoff Sawers tells the story of the very building in which this Waterstone’s is located. He will talk about its life and origins, from the Lollards of the 1400s, through Puritanism and persecution in the 1500s and 1600s, respectability in the 1800s, decline in the 1960s and its restoration to the bookshop it is today. Followed by book signing and refreshments.

Booking required. Further details: 0118 9581270.

This is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

Posted in Events, Geoff Sawers (author) | Comments Off

Boundary Map – Beating the Bounds by Geoff Sawers (artist)

Cover_Birds_Cover_finalCover Birds by Robert Gillmor (author, artist)

Claire Dyer’s novel, The Moment, to be published September 12, 2013

Our very own poet, Claire Dyer, will see her novel, The Moment, published September 12, 2013.   It is all very exciting, indeed!

The book, in paperback and electronic formats, is available directly from the publisher, Quercus.

From the back cover:

Paddington station, eight am, rush hour. As the crowds ebb and flow, time suddenly stands still for two people: Fern and Elliott, ex-lovers who parted twenty-five years before and never expected to see each other again.

But here they are, face to face, and the connection is as powerful as it was the day they first met at university. But their lives have moved on – to marriage, children, divorce, regret and unanswered questions about the night that drove them apart.

Both will be travelling back through the station in exactly twelve hours that same day. They swap numbers and agree to meet. As the day progresses, both wrestle with their shared past and their separate present. And as the Paddington clock chimes eight that evening, their future will be decided.

“Beautifully, vividly, emotionally written, with perfect form and pace.” Hilary Boyd, author of Thursdays in the Park 

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

June 27, 2013: Paris Lit Up Open Mic – featuring Claire Dyer

If you happen to be in the beautiful French capital, Paris, on June 27, 2013,  it is your chance to attend a poetry reading (in English) and feel oh so very artsy!

Come listen to and meet our poet, Claire Dyer, as she makes debuts her collection, Eleven Rooms, for a Parisian audience.

When:  June 27, 2013 @ 20:00 – 23:00
Where: Culture Rapide, 103 Rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris

For more information please see Paris Lit Up.





Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Friday, 21 June, 2013: Book launch and poetry reading with Jean Watkins at the Poets’ Cafe


Two Rivers Press is delighted to invite you to the launch party for Jean Watkin’s first collection,  Scrimshaw,  on Friday, 21 June, 2013 at 7pm.

Then,  stay for the Poets’ Cafe, where Jean, as this month’s special guest,  will read from her collection.  She’ll be surrounded by the usual open mic.

All are welcome ! Come, read, listen, buy a book, go home!

When: 7pm for the launch; 8pm doors open for Poets’ Cafe, Friday 21st June

Where: Poets’ Cafe,   McDevitt’s Studio. South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU

Cost: Launch  free; Poets’ Cafe £5


Posted in Events, Jean Watkins (poet) | Comments Off

15 -16 June, 2013: Whiteknights Studio Trail

Over 30 permanent members will exhibit their work in studios, museums and workshops dotted around the University area of Reading. Amongst the media being exhibited this year will be etching, screen-printing and printmaking, photography, textiles, painting, beadwork, glass and hand-crafted furniture. The artists will be available for demonstrations or a chat throughout the venues this weekend.

The Whiteknights Studio Trail is a wonderful way to celebrate this area of Reading and acquaint yourself with the fabulous MERL (Museum of English Rural Life) and University of Reading, indeed some judicious shortcuts across the university grounds will take you to the Fine Art Department whose students are joining us on the trail this year, and nearer to venues 15 and 14.

Your trail might follow jewellers or textile artists for example or perhaps you will take potluck – all the venues will have our distinctive Logo on markers outside. A PDF of the indispensable and iconic guide is available on this page and hard copies will be posted through the doors of local residents and on display in libraries as well as many public buildings through out the area of Berkshire.

Various Reading buses serve the area – routes 9, 19, 20, 20a, 21 and 144 take you to the centre of the trail whilst buses 5,6,13,14 and 17 take you very close. Further details can be found at Reading Buses

Free parking provided by the university can be found off Pepper Lane. See map in pdf brochure linked below.

Refreshments will be served at venues 3, 16 and 22 – Progress Theatre, Redlands School and MERL. So this June hit the trail and bring your friends and family!

A complete brochure of the Whiteknights Studio Trail is available as a pdf here.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Scrimshaw_CoverScrimshaw by Jean Watkins (poet)

Thursday, 13 June 2013: Claire Dyer reads at Artwords, Swindon,

Claire Dyer will be the guest poet at Artswords in Swindon on Thursday, 13 June 2013.  Come hear Claire Dyer read from her new collection “Eleven Rooms“.

When:   8:00 pm – 10:30 pm, Thursday, 13 June 2013

Where: The Great Western Hotel, 73 Station Road, Swindon, SN1 1DH

Cost: tickets on the door BG Poets members £3, non-members £5

Join in and perform for 5 minutes to a friendly, welcoming audience. Or just sit back and enjoy the performances.

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

11- 12 June, 2013 Two River Press poets at A Week of Good Poetry, Bath, UK

10 – 15 JUNE

 As part of  A Week of Good Poetry – Bath Poetry Cafe, which starts 10 June, 2013, Claire Dyer, Lesley Saunders and Susan Utting will be holding talks and readings.

Please download the brochure for the full event here.

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events, Lesley Saunders (poet), Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Sunday, 9 June, 2013: Poetry at MERL, part of the Reading Poetry Festival

Two Rivers Press is delighted to invited you to a late afternoon poetry gathering at The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) event with poets, AF Harrold, Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting, Tom Phillips, Jean Watkins, and Claire Dyer (MC will be Adrian Blamires).  This is part of the first annual Reading Poetry Festival.

Where:  MERL, Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX

When:  5pm

Cost:   Free admission!   NB: Although this is a free event, it does need booking in advance as places are limited (click the link).

There is plenty of other poetry going on during the festival, so do check out the listings.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

June: Two Rivers Press artist, Sally Castle at Gallery Fifty Five

During the month of June, come see the works of Two Rivers Press artist, Sally Castle at Gallery Fifty Five. Sally has been with Two Rivers for 15 years and has designed/illustrated 30 books. It is her illustrations and lettering that have given Two Rivers Press its distinctive look.

Posted in Events, Sally Castle (artist, letterer) | Comments Off

Review: Phillips’ Recreation Ground reviewed in The London Magazine

Tom Phillips’ newly published collection, Recreation Ground is reviewed by David Cooke in the June/July 2013 issue of The London Magazine.

Tom Phillips has waited a long time before publishing this collection, but the wait has been worth it. Recreation Ground is a fully achieved volume in which history and its slogans loom large and the ‘documented dead look down’ on private lives. Without strain or posture these poems are elegantly poised and cadenced. Plain spoken and musical, they have the intellectual and emotional depth that is only to be found in work of the highest order.

Copyright © The London Magazine 2013

For the full review please see the June/July 2013 issue of The London Magazine.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, News, Tom Phillips (poet) | Comments Off

5 – 9 June 2013: Reading Poetry Festival

Reading Poetry Festival will be held from the 5th to the 9th of June and brings together a range of poets from all over the British Isles and Europe for a series of public conversations, talks, readings and creative encounters. The poets include Iain Sinclair, Mark Ford, Dorothea Smartt, Leontia Flynn and Esther Jansma, as well as poets associated with Two Rivers Press, and experimental and small press poetries in and around London. There will also be a Children’s Poetry Day with workshops and an audience with John Hegley as well as a poetry exhibition entitled ‘STUFF: The Look of Poetry’ and another called ‘A Poetic A-Z of Reading’.

Booking: Because of limited space, some festival events in the Festival require booking in advance.

Cost:  Some events are free to everyone. All events after 6pm are free.  Where charges apply, payment for booked events is required in advance. Anybody who is able to provide a valid student number when booking is able to do so for free.    Please check the listing for individual event details.

Come meet Two Rivers Press poets, Tom Phillips, AF Harrold, Susan Utting, Lesley Saunders,   Claire Dyer and Jean Watkin at this year’s festival.



Posted in Events | Comments Off

An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden Launched at Private View at MERL

May 24 2013

Although not quite the balmy May evening we had envisaged when planned last November, the warmth came from within and the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) buzzed for the launch of Jenny Halstead’s hot-off-the-press, book,  “An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden“.  It was very exciting.  Visitors started arriving well before six o’clock and the exhibition was packed with people keen to acquire their very own copies of the book signed by the author and artist.  Artists, academics and garden lovers were there. No music just the sounds of Prosecco popping and happy people.  Someone said later, it was so friendly with everyone discussing the work to one another and enthusing.  We had calculated 90 visitors but 138 (counted by MERL clicker) came, wine had to be replenished and glasses re-washed!!

When asked to describe the evening author and artist,  Jenny Halstead said “I was too busy to fret. The exhibition was up and everything worked:  the sketchbook work shown on a continuous loop, the iPad with sound.   The book itself arrived just the day before (a bit too close for comfort!!).  Cards were printed and on display, plants arrived for courtyard, pop-up banner and posters all in place. So hoped it would all be OK and it was!!!   

Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell,  started the speeches and I followed, then Trevor Pitman Chairman of the Friends of the Harris Garden, then Sally Mortimore of Two Rivers Press with the book and finally Adrian Blamires reading his sonnets. It was great. I flew home!!!”

The Private View was held Thursday 23 May 2013 at 6pm at MERL.

For more about Jenny and her year as artist in residence at the Harris Garden please click here.

MERL will host an exhibition of Jenny’s works from her year as  artist in residence at the Harris Garden, An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden,  from 24 May to 30 June, 2103.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Jenny Halstead (author, artist), News | Comments Off

Friday, 31 May, 2013: Claire Dyer reads at Pangbourne Hall of Sound

An evening of acoustic music and poetry, featuring Claire Dyer at Pangbourne Hall of Sound.

Where:  Pangbourne Village Hall, Station Road (A329), Pangbourne, RG8 7AN

Time: 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm

To reserve your discounted ticket, email Paul on

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Foreigners drunks & babies Front CoverForeigners, Drunks and Babies: Eleven Stories by Peter Robinson (poet, editor)

24 May – 30 June, 2013: Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) exhibition “An artist’s year in the Harris Garden: Jenny Halstead”

This exhibition will present the product of Jenny Halstead’s artistic residency at the University of Reading’s Harris Garden.

Jenny’s paintings and sketchbook studies take us through the seasons, moods and development of the Garden over the duration of a year from October 2011.

For information on the exhibit and opening times of the museum please visit the MERL website.

An artist’s year in the Harris Garden, a book published by Two Rivers Press accompanies the exhibition. (£12.95, 978-1-901677-87-4, Format: 200×200 64pp)

A year in the life of a garden. From the stillness of winter, unfurling through spring and summer to the contentment of autumn, this imaginative interpretation of a specific space – a twelve-acre garden within an urban university campus – exposes a secret oasis, full of surprises.

This book presents the personal vision of the Artist in Residence at the Harris Garden in the University of Reading. Jenny Halstead captures the seasonal changes, portrays the stages of its renovation, and celebrates its enthusiastic workforce, especially the many volunteers. Accompanied by a history of the garden and an account of its restoration, these paintings and sketches encapsulate a place in time.

Available from the MERL shop or to order from Two Rivers Press.

Posted in Events, Jenny Halstead (author, artist) | Comments Off

Monday, 20 May 2013: Claire Dyer at Coffee-House Poetry at The Troubadour, London

20th May, Coffee-House Poetry at The Troubadour, 263-267 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9JA. Telephone: 020 7370 1434.

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

4 – 6 May, 2013: TRP artist, Sally Castle, at Henley Arts Trail

Come see the works of Two Rivers Press’ own Sally Castle at the Henley Arts Trail this May Bank Holiday weekend. Sally works on a wide variety of projects including illustration, lettering and lino cut prints which are regularly exhibited. There will be demonstration/work in progress and workshops for visitors.

When: 4 – 6 May: 10.00 – 18.00
Where: 2 Wisteria Cottage, Ruscombe Lane, Ruscombe, RG10 9JP
Directions: A321 from Henley to Twyford. At traffic lights turn left into London Road. Take right hand fork to Ruscombe, and Wisteria Cottage is 200yds on left, before Buratta’s at the Royal Oak.

The Henley Arts Trail is an open studio event taking place around Henley on Thames and Twyford with 150 local artists involved.For information on the other artists participating please visit the Henley Arts Trail website:

Henley Arts Trail

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Launch of Claire Dyer’s collection, Eleven Rooms, covered by The Reading Chronicle

On April 25th, The Reading Chronicle reported

A POET whose words “gleam and glitter” on the page marked the launch of her new anthology with nearly 200 fans.

Claire Dyer was at Waterstone’s in Broad Street on Thursday, April 12, to promote her new book of poetry, Eleven Rooms, which has been two years in the making.

(from Poet’s way with words wins fans)


Wow!  Nearly 200 poetry lovers at a launch at Waterstone’s makes Claire Dyer’s launch of Eleven Rooms the most well attended Two Rivers Press launch so far this year.   We are delighted by so much community participation!



Posted in 2013 News Archive, Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

Sunday, 28 April, 2013: Claire Dyer at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival

Come meet Two Rivers Press poet, Claire Dyer, at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival. Hear her read from her new first collection, Eleven Rooms.

When Sunday, 28 April, 2013: Claire Dyer at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Interview/Review: Claire Dyer and her debut poetry collection, Eleven Rooms

From Get Reading, 17 April 2013.

Eleven Rooms captures transient moments
Reading poet Claire Dyer launched her debut poetry collection last week.

Sophie Harrison chats to the poet about her work.

Reading poet Claire Dyer had double cause for celebration last week. Not only was the talented writer launching her debut poetry collection at a glitzy party at Waterstones on April 11, but she was also celebrating her birthday.

Claire, who has lived in Reading for more than 20 years, says it was certainly a week to remember.

“We suddenly realised, Eleven Rooms, 11th of April and with it being my birthday too…” she says, trailing off in thought. It is her appreciation of uncanny moments like this which illustrate exactly what Claire’s poetry is all about.

“I write about the transient moments in life and the illusion of permanence,” Claire tells me.

“Recently I was driving to Norfolk and a wind farm appeared on the horizon in the mist. It was like a choreographed ballet and so I wrote a poem about that moment.”

Claire says her love of writing poetry has developed over the last 10 years.

…Much of Claire’s inspiration for her work comes directly from Reading. Only Archeology, Strada Broadstreet, and The Tree Harvesters, are just a few of her poems that are inspired by the local area.

She is also a member of Reading Writers and, as chair of the group, her enthusiasm is impossible to miss.

“There is an amazing poetry scene in Reading. The group is really vibrant and covers all different genres of writing, from science fiction to erotica!”

So does Claire have any advice for aspiring poets? “Read, read, read. And go to poetry readings. There’s a difference from what is written on a page to what is read out, so go and hear poetry being read.

“The journey to being published is not easy, but it is a hugely satisfying and exciting one!”

Eleven Rooms is out now, published by Two Rivers Press. Claire’s novel The Moment is due for release in October.


Posted in 2013 News Archive, Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

Celebrating Sally Castle, Two Rivers Press artist and calligrapher

When Sally Castle designed her first book for Two Rivers Press, she could not have imagined that fifteen years after Rimbaud’s The Drunken Boat hit the booksellers’ shelves, she would be completing her thirtieth book cover for Two Rivers.  And Peter Robinson’s Foreigners, Drunks and Babies, out now, coincidentally celebrates her sixtieth birthday!



During Sally’s association with Two Rivers Press, she has redesigned the press logo by combining her own letters with rubber stamp prints of Peter Hay’is logo, used on books and publicity for the Press, is now available on canvas tote bags.

All Sally’s designs and illustrations for Two River’s poetry and local interest books, including eleven drawings of Reading’s places of worship for Believing in Reading, are founded upon extensive research, built up by experimentation and the development of sketchbook ideas.  Leaving no stone unturned, one early book, Gridlines, used architect’s plans complete with builders’ marks and other research has included trips to the British Library, for the lettering in Sumer is Icumen in and investigating the physiognomy of the brain for Cloud Camera.

Sally is currently using linocut prints or mixed media collage for final illustrations and often experiments and develops her artwork further for exhibitions and galleries. This summer Sally Castle’s work can be seen on the Henley Arts Trail 4/5/6 May, the Whiteknights Studio Trail 15/16 June and from 8 June at Hartley Witney’s gallery fifty five.

More information on Sally’s work can be found on her own website, or on  Further details of her current exhibitions can be obtained on, and


By Susan Rose

Posted in News, Sally Castle (artist, letterer) | Comments Off

19th April, Poet’s Cafe, South Street, Reading

Claire Dyer joins other local poets and reads from her newly published first collection, Eleven Rooms

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Thursday, 11 April, 2013 Launch Claire Dyer at Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading, 7.30pm

You are cordially invited to join us for the launch of Claire Dyer‘s much anticipated first collection, Eleven Rooms.

When: Thursday 11 April, 2013, at 7.00 pm for 7.30 pm (Carriages at 9.00 pm)

Where: Waterstones, 89A Broad Street, Reading RG1 2AP

Nearest parking: Broad Street Mall, Reading RG1 7QE or The Oracle, Riverside Car Park, Reading RG1 2AG; Reading Station: Five minutes’ walk.

RSVP: Yes, please. RSVP or t: 0118 958 1270

Free admission. Everyone welcome!

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Jane Draycott wins second place in National Poetry Competition 2012!

All of us at Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate our poet, Jane Draycott, on her success in this year’s National Poetry Competition. Jane won second prize with her poem, “Italy to Lord”.

Established in 1978, the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious poetry contests. Winners include both established and emerging poets: Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Harrison, Ruth Padel, Philip Gross and Jo Shapcott.

For more about this year’s winners, to read their poems and to see the rules about entering next year’s competition, please visit The Poetry Society here.

Posted in Jane Draycott (poet), News | Comments Off

Review: At Poor Rude Lines a review of A.F. Harrold’s The Point of Inconvenience

John Field, has posted a review of A.F. Harrold’s new poetry collection, The Point of Inconvenience on his blog, Poor Rude Lines. He makes comparison to the poetry of Larking and writes:

The Point of Inconvenience, A. F. Harrold’s collection of epistolic poems, is addressed to his late mother…Harrold unsettles us to great effect…in the collection and never lets go of his insight that death and dying are as much about the renegotiation of relationships as they are about physical processes…his poetry is bare yet, at the same time, symbolically rich.

To read the review in its entirety please go to the March 24th post

Posted in 2013 News Archive, A.F. Harrold (poet), News | Comments Off

Harris_Garden_Cover_finalAn Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden by Jenny Halstead (author, artist)

25 March, 2013: Two poems from Claire Dyer online today

A treat, a treat….two poems by Claire Dyer can be read here today!

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

All Change front coverAll Change at Reading: The railway and the station, 1840 – 2013 by Adam Sowan (author)

5 March – 25 June 2013: A Poetic A-Z of Reading: an exhibition at Reading University Library

This exhibition celebrates a variety of creative activity through the lens of Reading town as busy commuter hub. It brings together manuscripts, books, maps, pamphlets, artworks and a number of poetic alphabets from the University of Reading Special Collections and private collections. The exhibition is one of two organized to coincide with the first Reading Poetry Festival, 5-9 June 2013.

Poetry Publishing in Reading 1951-2013
Cabinet 1 illustrates the range of poetry publication taking place in Reading over the last 60 years. The Arts School, University of Reading, published handset volumes for over a decade during the 1950s. Whiteknights Press volumes were designed in Typography through the 1970s and 80s. Two Rivers Press, founded in the following decade, continues to publish poetry in collaboration with artists and typographers.


The Case of Two Reading Poems

In Cabinet 2 Reading is the inspiration for two short poems written by Peter Robinson during 2007, the year of his settling in the town. The first, with its illustration by Sally Castle, was inspired by an electricity substation on Erleigh Road. The second, again illustrated by Castle, was in part prompted by an alphabet painted on the wall of St Peter’s School, Earley.

Poetic A-Zs: Road, River, Rail
Cabinet 3 offers a sequence of ‘guides’ to literary Reading. Here, local history, architecture and green spaces bear traces of different places, literatures, and sources. Poetic re-interpretations of Arthur Rimbaud and Eugene Montale draw lines between Glasgow, Paris, Milan and Reading. The printed page is juxtaposed with poems on walls and stones; sculpture with poetry and etching. Archival materials and letters move into surprising orientations as poetry takes shape as map, photograph, advertising, graffiti and visual art.

This exhibition is curated by Natalie Pollard and Peter Robinson, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Reading.

Posted in Events, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

Tuesday 19 March 2013: Two Rivers Press poets at Oxford Brookes

Where: The event will be held in the Music Room of Headington Hill Hall (see map)

When: 6pm – 8.30pm

Refreshments will be served.

Tom Phillips lives in Bristol and is a freelance journalist, playwright, and currently completing a creative writing PhD on travel writing at the University of Reading. Recreation Ground is his first full collection of poems, drawing on two previous pamphlet publications:

Kate Behrens lives in Watlington and came to the attention of poets in the Two Rivers Press stable with her arrestingly quiet readings at Reading’s Poets’ Cafe. The Beholder is her first collection:

Peter Robinson, poetry editor for Two Rivers Press and Head of English at the university, moved to Reading six years ago after working for 18 years in Japan. His illustrated limited edition, English Nettles (2010), and his full collection, The Returning Sky (PBS Recommendation in 2012), are concerned with the reverse culture shock of that return.

Posted in Events, Kate Behrens (poet), Peter Robinson (poet, editor), Tom Phillips (poet) | Comments Off

March 18, 2013: Oxford Brookes selects poem by Tom Phillips as poem of the week

This week’s poem is ‘Life After Wartime’ by Tom Phillips, and comes from his collection Recreation Ground, published by Two Rivers Press. Click here to read it.

Last week’s came from Kate Behrens’s collection, The Beholder (read it here) both come from Two Rivers Press, and are scheduled to coincide with an exciting reading by these two poets and the Press’s editor, Peter Robinson, (Tuesday 19 March 2013) at Oxford Brookes.

The reading will take place at 6pm in Headington Hill Hall, and all are welcome. There is no charge, and refreshments will be provided! For more details, visit this page.

Posted in News | Comments Off

Thursday, 14 March, 2013: For foragers and foodies – Duncan Mackay discusses Eat Wild at 7pm

Author, Duncan Mackay, discusses foraging for food right here in Berkshire county and regales us with tales from Eat Wild. Join us!

Where: Wokingham library, Denmark Street, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 2BB

When: 14 March at 7pm

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Thursday, 28 February, 2013: Poet Claire Dyer on Radio Berkshire at 2pm

Tune in to Mike Read’s Talking Entertainment show on BBC Radio Berkshire to hear Two Rivers Press poet, Claire Dyer. She is likely to mention, and perhaps read from, her much anticipated first collection, Eleven Rooms.

Eleven Rooms, explores contradictions inherent in ideas of the permanent. The poems hold on to what’s transient: the moment of a girl on the back of a boy’s motorbike – a moment with no start and no end, the exquisite pain of watching children grow up and away, the flex and flux of relationships, and what death takes from us. In these poems, houses and rooms embody this paradox: they are stripped of furniture, demolished and replaced. Yet the idea of the house lives on, while what happened within its walls remains unalterable fact.

2pm on Thursday, 28 February, 2013 on BBC Radio Berkshire!

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Review: Adam Piette reviews Susan Utting’s Fair’s Fair

This review of Susan utting’s collection Fair’s Fair appears on issue No. 9 of Blackbox Manifold, on online forum with a slant towards innovative poetry that has prose, narrative, or sequences in its sights.

Susan Utting’s collection from Two Rivers Press is more mainstream – but certain emphases recur which link up to the cerebral Jarvis theatre and Farrell’s language energies: turning on what is glimpsed at the edge of things. ‘Warhol Blonde’ starts off with the aperçu that Warhol’s work has valency as a form of image-making which takes hold of the mind at unconscious levels, there where the mind refuses to remember, not remembering the things done to people by acts of representation: ‘What you don’t remember is the way/she fades to smudge’. Warhol’s art reduces phenomena not just to the media surface of the reproducible industrial artwork. It also conjures into being a back-space where things become shadows which might acquire the status of ‘forgotten’ mental events thanks to the amnesiac effect the artworks are designed to have: ‘it’s what you see you had / forgotten: all that shadow, / its hide and seek, its chill.’ The words, too, of Utting’s poem play hide and seek, do not clarify, have a chilling effect: for they imply that the poem too is there with purposes the lazy or attentive reader cannot master, or analyze, or even enjoy. It is there to sponsor forgotten affect, and may be treacherous in ways no seeking after shocks can quite capture. At times a collection catches fire with just one poem, as here: a tremendous thing to have pulled off

Copyright © 2012 by Adam Piette, all rights reserved

The review is by Adam Piette, co-editor of Blackbox Manifold, Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Sheffield, and author of Remembering and the Sounds of Words, Imagination at War, and The Literary Cold War

Posted in News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Friday, 1 March, 2013: Claire Dyer at The Independent Bath Literary Festival

Come to The 2013 Independent Bath Literature Festival and hear Two Rivers Press poet, Claire Dyer, read from her new collection, Eleven Rooms.

Click the brochure image on the left to browse and book tickets for over 150 events coming to Bath for 10 days in March. With a fresh new look for Bath Festivals this year celebrates James Runcie’s fourth and final programme, which features a host of illustrious authors and thought-provoking events, including J.K. Rowling, Hilary Mantel, P.D. James, Kate Mosse, Pat Barker, Harriet Walter, Darcey Bussell, Sandi Toksvig, Robert Fisk, Gavin Esler, A.N. Wilson, Allan Little, Ben Goldacre and many more.

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events | Comments Off

Poem of the Week in The Guardian: Otterspool Prom by Peter Robinson

Monday 18 February 2013

Two Rivers Press is delighted that the poem “Otterspool Prom” by our poetry editor, Peter Robinson, has been selected to be The Guardian’s Poem of the Week.

Carol Rumens writes, “Robinson’s sonnet to Britain’s early spring sunshine, with kites flying over the river Mersey, is casual, vital and graceful.”

You can read the poem and a review of the collection, The Returning Sky, online here.

Posted in News, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

From the review archive: Reading Poetry reviewed “…one of the most thoroughly enjoyable books of poetry…”

This review was so lovely we thought we would share it with you again and point to the reviewer Dr. Todd Swift’s blog on which it first appeared way back in 2011.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Review: Reading Poetry
I have received, recently, one of the most thoroughly enjoyable books of poetry I have read of late – Reading Poetry: An Anthology. From Two Rivers Press, and edited by Peter Robinson, it puns on the fact that this is actually a very local anthology, of poets writing from and about the much-maligned town of Reading (home to Ricky Gervais). Robinson observes that Rimbaud had an address here; Jane Austen was schooled here; Wilde was gaoled here.

What makes the anthology so refreshing is that it isn’t grandiose in its claims – this isn’t the best of anything. Indeed, Robinson’s introduction is a model of true modesty. These are simply poems by Reading-based poets, each prefaced with a poet’s commentary on how this place has or hasn’t impacted on them. As it turns out, Reading, for all its small-town Englishness, has a thriving poetry community.

The poems – mostly in the Larkin line – are well-written, observational, clever, and amusing. I was moved by their calm, lyrical approach. Included are the poets Paul Bavister, Jane Draycott, A.F. Harrold, Kate Noakes, Gill Learner, Susan Utting, and Adrian Blamires, among others. Not a bad poet in the lot. This collection reminds us of what is great about English poetry, despite its foibles, spats, conservative twinges and celebrity culture – its continuity, its depth of field, and its constant surprising relationship to wherever it happens to find itself.

Any reader outside of England wanting a glimpse into what living in a less-than-metropolitan city over here is like, and how poets get on with words day to day, should get this exemplary beautifully-made collection.

Dr. Todd Swift is an internationally-recognised poet, editor and anthologist. He has published eight full poetry collections, and edited or co-edited numerous international anthologies of note. He is Director of Eyewear Publishing, and Senior Lecturer at Kingston University, UK.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, News | Comments Off

Eleven_Rooms_CoverEleven Rooms by Claire Dyer (poet)

Poem of the week: Lesley Saunders’ ‘Fairchild’s Mule’

January 28, 2013 – Lesley Saunders’ poem ‘Fairchild’s Mule’, from her collection Cloud Camera, is this week’s poem on the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre.

To read the poem please visit:

Posted in Lesley Saunders (poet), News | Comments Off

Celebrating our very own poetry editor: Peter Robinson



Our poetry editor Peter Robinson’s many and various contributions to contemporary poetry are celebrated in the latest issue of the Sheffield-based Blackbox Manifold. ‘Peter Robinson at Sixty’, edited by Adam Piette, contains a group of Peter’s early poems from the 1970s, and three recent, previously unpublished pieces. There is an interview with John Kerrigan, memoirs by Alison Blair-Underwood of the Cambridge Poetry Festival and Aidan Semmens of co-editing the magazine Perfect Bound, an account of commissioning the poem ‘Ekphrastic Marriage’ by Peter Swaab, and a selection of passages from the correspondence with Adam Clarke-Williams between 1977 and 1982. There are poems dedicated to Peter by Peter Carpenter, David Cooke, Conor Carville, Tim Dooley, Roy Fisher, Isabel Galleymore, and by three other Two Rivers Press poets: Kate Behrens, Adrian Blamires and Tom Phillips. The tribute is rounded off by a review of Peter’s latest collection, The Returning Sky (2012), by Ian Brinton.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, News, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

The Point of Inconvenience front coverThe Point of Inconvenience by A.F. Harrold (poet) Sally Castle (artist, letterer)

Monday, 21 January, 2013: Duncan Mackay talks about Bizarre Berkshireat 7pm

Author, Duncan Mackay,  entertains with tales of Bizarre Berkshire.

Where:  Mortimer library, 27, Victoria Road, Mortimer Common

When: Monday 21 Jan at 7pm

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Review: Susan Utting’s “Fair’s Fair” in The North 49

Extracts from David Cooke’s review of Susan Utting’s in The North 49

Fair’s Fair is dedicated to the memory of ‘Sue and Ron of the Blue Ball Inn’… In ‘Lament for Susie Green’, the poet has composed a litany in which we get an endearingly down to earth portrait of a character who might have stepped from one of Beryl Cook’s canvases:

No more the wicked tongue, the lizard skin shoes,
the cerise and black, no more the oyster and blue;

no more the filthy look, the thruppeny bits, no silver
or bronze, no more sixpence suspenders, no lash glitter.

No more the cochineal bottle, no bitters, no sauce, no
salt-pinch, no ice-chink, no backchat and no maraschino;

In ‘Under the Blue Ball’, the winner of the 2007 Peterloo Poetry Prize, it is the legendary inn itself which is memorialised:

Here’s where curmudgeons guard seats by the fire,
the inglenook regulars tapping their pipes out
where roll-ups and full strength have kippered the walls,

where bluebottles buzz in with stable lads steaming
like horses; where bets are laid, arrows thud, dominoes clatter
and cribbage gets rowdy with one-for-his-nob of a Friday.

Like a genre painting in the manner of Cook – or Breughel – this is a poem in which the words themselves clatter and buzz.

Fair’s Fair is obsessed with the notion of time. In ‘Giving Up Mirrors’, its opening poem, Utting hints also at the possibility of ‘giving up time’, as if by taking off a watch or refusing to wind a clock it might be possible to stop time passing. However, in ‘October’ the progress of the seasons is poignantly evoked: ‘Each morning a fresh windfall to gather/and light growing precious, shifting/in time with the clocks.’  Moreover, the classical simplicity of its concluding stanza is in marked contrast with the more exuberant pieces:

                          Here are promises, too:
the thrill that will come at the end of a year
turning itself to the now of a memory, warm
in the house of the heart, quick in the blood,
close as the touch of an old love.

Elsewhere the poet changes perspective, although she is often at pains not to define too closely the details of each relationship. In ‘The Line’ a mother and daughter ‘are small enough to slip inside/each other’s shoes’ and ‘are stitched together at the heels by a long thread ’, while in ‘Drinking with Sarah’ we catch glimpses of intimate moments and learn that ‘what matters is inconsequential talk’. In ‘Learning to Read’, we observe a child on ‘the top deck of a bus’ when suddenly something clicks and she starts reading everything in sight: ‘Soon they were everywhere,/easy as peasy, shapes for the taking…’. This is a poem in which language itself and its ‘flibbertigibbets of mouth music’ take centre stage.

Finally, mentions should be made of some beautifully rendered, yet quietly ambiguous poems such as ‘The Sisterhood’, ‘Needlework’ and ‘The Rules of Fire which evoke and subtly challenge our notions of home and domesticity: ‘I come from a line of clever-fingered women, proud/make-do-and-menders…’. Fair’s Fair is a meticulously ordered collection in which the individual poems reflect and reinforce each other. It is also an accessible and highly memorable celebration of life and language in which Utting strikes an impressive balance between exuberance and control.





Posted in 2013 News Archive, News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Caversham_Court_GardensCaversham Court Gardens: A Heritage Guide by Friends of Caversham Court Gardens (author)

December 10 2012: Poet Victoria Pugh takes part in the Wokingham Living Advent Calendar

On December 10th, 2012, Victoria Pugh, local poet and Two Rivers Press author, performed a number of her works as part of Wokingham’s 2012 Living Advent Calendar.

There were funny poems, a Christmas poem, a shopping poem, a sad poem and a poem about ivy, all and all very seasonal.

She started with an altered version of the carol“Deck the Halls” that had the crowd in fits of laughter between singing their Fa-la-la-la-laas. She then went on to a number of her other works including: “Viewpoint” and “Evergreen”.

You can watch  Victoria read her poem about shopping, “Romance and Reality”,  here.

Posted in 2012 News Archive, News, Victoria Pugh (poet) | Comments Off

Thursday, 6 December, 2012: a Dickens bicentenary celebration: Hampstead Arts Festival, 1pm

Join us for a  Dickens bicentenary celebration with readings by Diana Bishop, Piers Plowright, Valerie Sarruf & Stephen Tucker.

When: Thursday, 6th December 2012 @ 1.00pm

Where:  Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead
London NW3 1LT

Fee:  £8 (tickets available online from the Hampstead Arts Festival site).

For more information please visit the Hampstead Arts Festival site.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Thursday – Friday, 29 November – 1 December 2012: Aunt Elsie’s Christmas Do

Two Rivers Press is delighted to invite you to do your Christmas shopping and celebrating with us at Aunt Elsie’s Christmas Do.

WHEN:  29 November 12-8pm, Friday 30 November 10-6pm, Saturday 1 December 10-6pm

WHERE: Aunt Elsie’s Marquee, Market place, Reading, UK

Come and join us for a special Aunt Elsie style handmade Christmas where you can meet makers, designers, upcyclers and vintage sellers and find the perfect unique Christmas gift or even just enjoy mulled wine or a cup of tea whilst meeting some of Reading’s artists.

Two Rivers Press authors Adam Sowan (Believing in Reading: Our places of worship), Terry Allsop (Newtown: A photographic journey in Reading 1974), Duncan Mackay (Eat Wild and Bizarre Berkshire)and Geoff Sawers (Broad Street Chapel and the origins of dissent in Reading) will be there to chat, sign books and share secrets  on Saturday afternoon from 2pm on.










Posted in Events | Comments Off

Monday, 26 November, 2012: Terry Allsop on BBC Radio Berkshire at 2pm

Be sure to tune on and listen to an interview with Terry Allsop, author of Newtown: A photographic journey in Reading a photographic, on BBC Radio Berkshire with Audrey French 2.00pm Monday 26th November, 2012.

Posted in Events, Terry Allsop (author) | Comments Off

November 12th, 2012: Susan Utting poem is Oxford Brookes’ Poetry Centre’s weekly poem

Susan Utting’s poem Naked, from her collection “Fair’s Fair“, is Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre‘s  ‘weekly poem’ this week!



Posted in News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Review: Susan Utting’s Fair’s Fair reviewed in Magma 54


In the November 2102, issue of Magma Poetry (The Visible and the Invisible), issue 54, on page 13, there is a review of Susan Utting’s poetry collection, Fair’s Fair.

The reviewer, David Morely, writes:

“The strengths of Susan Utting’s Fair’s Fair are its clarity, craft, her ear for cadence and an intense poetic logic.”

But Mr. Morely has some constructive criticism as well.   Read the whole review in Magma 54 or purchase a copy of the collection and judge for yourself!





Posted in 2012 News Archive, News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

14 November, 2012: Redlands School Christmas Fair

Come visit the Two Rivers Press stand and do a little holiday shopping at the Readlands School Christmas Fair.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

BBB_CoverBikes, Balls & Biscuitmen: Our Sporting Life by Reading Museum Tim Crooks

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: Poets Claire Dyer, Susan Utting and AF Harrold at Warfield Arts Week, 7:30pm

On Tuesday 30 October at 7.30pm Warfield Arts Week presents an evening of poetry with Patrick Osada and friends:
Claire Dyer
Jean Watkins
Susan Utting
Tony Turner
Richard Palmer
Richard Woolmer
Rosemary Muncie
AF Harrold
free entry+open mic session
Come and join us, enoy the poetry, read one of your own poems at the open mic.
At The Brownlow Hall, Warfield RG42 5RH (next to The Plough and Harrow on the A3095 Bracknell/ Maidenhead road)
For full details of Warfield Arts Week, visit

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Saturday, 3 November, 2012: Secret Market, 10am – 6pm

So what’s it all about then?

The Secret Market is a pop-up market, selling arts, crafts, an eclectic mix of things, vintage clothes, music, records, furniture and collectibles. Our aim is to create a vibrant market where you can buy direct from sellers and makers on your doorstep. All are welcome.

What can you expect?

Lots of loveliness, Books, Clothes, Records, T-shirts, Vintage hairstyles, Cake, Oddities, Flowers(tba) Hand made items and much more. Bring a friend.   Here is who will be there selling their wares.

What:  a place to meet and buy holiday gifts from  artists, designers, makers and recyclers of beautiful old things!  And to be served cups of tea!

Where:  first floor of 42 Market Place, Reading

 When:  10-6pm.



Posted in Events | Comments Off

Thursday, 25 October 2012: From microscopes to cloud cameras: the poetry of science at Oxford Museum of the History of Science, 7pm

Two Rivers Press invites you to a poetry and science event in Oxford on Thursday 25 October, at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science (Broad Street) – a wonderfully atmospheric venue.

The Museum of the History of Science houses an unrivalled collection of historic scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford.

The evening will start at 7.00 pm with a talk on the links between poetry and science by Dr John Holmes of Reading University, followed by Lesley Saunders reading from ‘Cloud Camera’, and at some point there’ll be a chance for Q and A and open discussion.

For more details visit the museum website.


Posted in Events | Comments Off