Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Carcanet Press launches audio book series

Would love to see a version of this happening in Aotearoa. Let’s start with Bill Manhire’s Lifted (VUP, 2005)! I am posting Steven Toussaint reading a breathtakingly good long poem this week – Imagine if we could listen to his whole Lay Studies (VUP, 2019).

Go here for details of Carcanet’s series.


Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 7.40.16 AM.png

We’re pleased to share the news that we have teamed up with Colin Still of Optic Nerve to produce the first in an exciting new series of audiobooks, featuring unabridged recordings of collections read by the poets themselves.

The first title to be released is Jenny Lewis’s feminist recreation, Gilgamesh Retold, originally published as a Carcanet Classic in October 2018 and is now available as an audiobook on all major platforms, including Audible and Deezer. Forthcoming titles include Jane Draycott’s award-winning translation of the Middle English narrative poem, Pearl, and Martina Evans’ much-acclaimed poem for two voices, Now We Can Talk Openly About Men.

Michael Schmidt, our founder and editorial director, said, ‘We’re lucky to have poets who are also wonderful readers and who bring so much formal understanding to their work. The readings enhance and extend the print text. We are going to go to audio with books which are wholes and where the poet reader adds value and scale to the work. We are also very lucky to have a long historyof working with Colin Still, whose Optic Nerve audio publications of poets reveal how brilliantly he can produce poets and help them bring their work alive on the ear.’

Gilgamesh Retoldis a versatile and inventive recreation of Gilgamesh – fast-paced, capturing the powerful allure of the world’s oldest poem.

The Poetry Book Society said of the book:‘These innovative tales are full of cosmic creation, dramatic battles, gods andgrief. Lewis’ evocative and exhilarating poems bring Gilgamesh to life for a wholenew generation, discovering the resonance of ancient Mesopotamian myths inrecent Middle Eastern conflicts and its enduring relevance today.’

You can read Jenny’s account of recording the poem over on the Carcanet Blog – ‘I had no idea it was so difficult’, she writes, but ‘Colin was the perfect coach, gently encouraging me and helping me to find the right tonal qualities for various passages’. Read it here.

You can pick up a copy of Gilgamesh Retold on all major audiobook platforms, including Audible, iTunes, Scribd, Google Play and Kobo.




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s