Posted on Leave a comment

New Poetry from Two Rivers Press, 2022 and 2023

Click here for our latest poetry books

Over the last decade Two Rivers Press has built a reputation for its high-quality poetry list of beautifully designed books with attractively various jackets. To celebrate this founding artistic aspect of our ethos, we have published an Illustrated Classics series of reissues: Tideway by Jane Draycott, Christina the Astonishing by Jane Draycott and Lesley Saunders, with artwork by our founder Peter Hay, and Peter Robinson’s English Nettles and Other Poems, illustrated by Sally Castle.

We are always delighted to publish first collections such as Katherine Meehan’s Dame Julie Andrews’s Botched Vocal Cord Surgery and Other Poems which explores loss in a range of oblique and wry modes. A number of poets are publishing their first Two Rivers Press book, such as Robin Thomas with his The Weather on the Moon, Alistair Noon, whose Paradise Takeaway is a travel poem about revisiting his family home in the UK, and Ruth O’Callaghan, whose Where Shadow Falls also has a distinctive leavening of wit and humour.

In James Peake’s second book, The Star in the Branches, and Kate Behrens’ fourth, Transitional Spaces, we find each extending the range of their warmly received previous collections. Other returning writers include This Thing of Blood & Love by Lesley Saunders, her fifth with us, Kate Noakes with her London-based poems and others in Goldhawk Road, Steven Matthews with his third collection, Some Other Where, his most wide ranging and searching to date, alongside Rosie Jackson’s passionate Love Leans over the Table. We’re also delighted to welcome the distinguished poet Tim Dooley to our list, publishing his latest collection Discoveries. Since releasing James Harpur’s The Examined Life in 2021, we have become his publisher and copies of his back catalogue (The White Silhouette, Oracle Bones, A Vision of Comets, Angels and Harvesters, and The Dark Age) are available to order through our website.

Continuing our support for translation, we feature Tim Dooley’s wonderful rendering of Philippe Jaccottet’s In Winter Light as well as a selection from the great Japanese poet Noriko Ibaragi, Your Own Sensitivity, which we hope to publish as translated by Andrew Houwen and Peter Robinson. And finally, to celebrate our poetry editor’s seventieth birthday in 2023, we publish Peter’s new collection, Retrieved Attachments. It is an enormous pleasure to be bringing out these beautiful and differently uplifting books, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

February: James Peake, The Star in the Branches & Lesley Saunders, This Thing of Blood & Love
April: Tim Dooley, Discoveries & Kate Behrens, Transitional Spaces
June: Jane Draycott and Lesley Saunders, Christina the Astonishing, Jane Draycott, Tideway & Peter Robinson, English Nettles and Other Poems
October: Robin Thomas, The Weather on the Moon & Philippe Jaccottet, In Winter Light trans. Tim Dooley

February: Kate Noakes, Goldhawk Road & Peter Robinson, Retrieved Attachments
April: Steven Matthews, Some Other Where & Rosie Jackson, Love Leans over the Table
October: Alistair Noon, Paradise Takeaway, Ruth O’Callaghan, Where Shadow Falls, Katherine Meehan, Dame Julie Andrews’s Botched Vocal Cord Surgery and Other Poems & (to be confirmed) Noriko Ibaragi, Your Own Sensitivity: Selected Poems trans. Andrew Houwen and Peter Robinson


Further information about our poetry titles can be found on our poetry bookshop page here

Posted on 1 Comment

Two Poems by Kitty Hawkins

On Inadequate Road Resurfacing in Berkshire


The cherry blossom
is teetering, Addington’s
edges extending.


Pavements: tentative
enduring, cautious trellis
molasses tarmac.


Arthritic layers
lamenting, gnarled and buried
putrid ambience.


A mountainous crown
compressing, cloaks of divots
rhythmically splinter.


Happiest Woman in the World

It is unbearable to think about the snow
or unopened books.

It is unbearable to think alone
grit enclosing, I urge my eyes to run.

It is unbearable to think at all
muffled between desk and door.

People gather in Palmer Park.
I slump at the window, and repeat –


Kitty Hawkins received two awards for her undergraduate poetry collection, Acoustics, at the University of Reading. In 2022 she won the ‘Magdalena Young Poets’ award, and her work can be found on Kitty is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Posted on Leave a comment

Robert Gillmor

Robert Gillmor 1936–2022

We were saddened to hear of the death of Robert Gillmor last week, an artist, author and ornithologist that we will always feel immensely grateful for having worked with. It all started, for us, back in 2010 when Elaine Blake, Curator at Reading Museum, asked if we’d be interested in publishing a book to accompany an exhibition she was putting on of artwork commissioned from Robert by the Royal Mail for a series of stamps (Birds, Blocks and Stamps: Post & Go Birds of Britain). We jumped at the opportunity, though with some trepidation as we’d never published an art book before and it was a little daring to start with one by such a well known artist.

From the first meeting, which took place at Robert and Sue’s home in Cley, Norfolk, we knew the project was going to be a delight to work on as well as a success. Working with Robert turned out to be an invitation into his home – meeting Sue, enjoying home-made soup in their conservatory before clearing the crumbs away to pore over the most astounding linocut prints, marveling at the workmanship and receiving a demonstration of his trusted 1864 Albion Press in his studio. A subsequent meeting to discuss a second book (Cover Birdsthe story of Robert’s formative bird-watching and print-making years, illustrated with the covers he designed for the Berkshire Ornithological Club’s annual bird report from 1949 – when he was just 13 years old – onwards) took place at a cousin’s house as a half-way point and also included a delicious home-made lunch, by which time we felt like family friends. This privilege extended over more than a decade as we got to know Emily their daughter, also an accomplished artist, and were included on Christmas card lists (always one of Robert’s wonderful birds) and newsletter mailings.

I struggle to find a word to describe this generosity of spirit. ‘Hospitality’ is part of it, but it’s something more, encompassing a sense of easy naturalness in a relationship based on accepting people for who they are. It strikes me that this same ability to see and accept the essence of a person is what makes Robert’s work so appealing. In his designs, he endowed all his avian subjects with what ornithologists call ‘the jizz’ – the very character and personality of the bird. Something in Robert recognised and drew out the joy in an animal, and he did the same with people. It’s our turn now, to commemorate the joy in him.

Sally Mortimore, May 2022

Robert Gillmor obituary by Stephen Moss


Posted on Leave a comment

The Shady Side of Town Walnut

Since The Shady Side of Town was published five years ago, it’s a sad fact that several of the trees depicted in it have been lost. The Betchworth Oak was felled, as was the Caversham court Bhutan pine, and one of the Lime trees there. The Coley meadows willow pollard got burnt. The George St Lombardy poplars were hit by storms and worst of all the mighty Black Poplar in the Coley meadows snapped during Storm Ciara in February 2020. With Ash die back and building development around town hundreds of other trees have gone or may go soon. We need to pay attention and do what we can to keep Reading green!

The author of Shady Side, Adrian Lawson, and illustrator Geoff Sawers are both strong advocates for the protection and enhancement of our urban green spaces and royalties from the book have been given to the Ethical Reading Trees for Reading scheme, which works with local businesses to fund the planting of new trees in town. We were delighted to learn that this money has now been used to plant a Walnut tree at County Lock. It’s a magnificent specimen already and work to put a stone plaque marking it is underway.

If you are involved with a local business, please do consider getting your company to contribute to the Trees for Reading scheme. And if you are interested in volunteering, maybe you could help with the work of the Reading Tree Wardens which is another fantastic local group.


Ethical Reading Trees for Reading Scheme

Reading Tree Wardens

The Shady Side of Town