Hercules Editions – small and mighty

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On Thursday night I attended the launch of a small book, The Heart Archives, by Sue Rose (a poet with a published collection to her name and another due later this year). Sue has photographed things meaningful to her and accompanied them with a series of sonnets, many relating to her own family. The poems have a sweet rhythm and a deep undertow, with mortality lurking in the background. Each is titled with a number in reference to the heartbeats recorded by Christian Boltanski and played continuously for his installation, Les Archives du Coeur. Sue’s book is one of two published by Hercules Editions (http://herculeseditions.wordpress.com), a press that came about to fill a need – the combination of photos and poetry.

DSCN4805The other book, Formerly, records disappearing London in photos by Vici MacDonald and poetry by Tamar Yoseloff. If you have ever wandered those streets of the city that have lost favour or are due for ‘redevelopment’, you will recognise in the photos the traces of the people who once lived and thrived here. The poems are sharp, bright, funny and heartbreaking. I love the verbal high jinks within them and the way they capture the flavour of what has now  disappeared (http://formerlysonnets.wordpress.com).

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One poem and photo, The Rose, took me back to my time as a struggling sculptor when my flatmate and I rented two bedrooms and a studio in The Rose and Crown in Deptford (long since demolished). The Studio was in the old strip bar (complete with appropriate murals). One of our bedrooms had to be given up to the Great Dane (who lived there too) to occupy with her puppies. I remember one day being told to stay away from the bar for a few days as Mick would be out (of prison) tonight. The barman then hid the rifle that used to hang above the bar. Exciting times!

13 thoughts on “Hercules Editions – small and mighty

  1. They would be fascinating books. The Rotterdam street and house that I was born in still exists and thanks to Google Earth I can look it up, even stare at the front door.
    The house that I lived in Australia with my parents is a monstrosity, clad with aluminium siding with another storey perched on top. A true MacMansion.

  2. A past with much colour.
    I have often thought of taking photographs of views which open up when buildings are demolished, but I have never got round to it. When the new buildings go up, these views can are lost.

  3. Formerly sounds excellent. I don’t think any of my old homes have such colour as the Rose & Crown. I have never been ousted by a Great Dane or threatened by Mick. What a quiet life I’ve led. It’s good to record the places as a social history. Even better to write poetry about them.

  4. With regard to the question about author, it is the book by Diane Burstein. My husband is from Thames Valley and we have a nice book, Thames, by Peter Rackford, though it is a biography and not much of a photo book. We have a photo book of the Thames titled The Country Life Picture Book of The Thames by Gordon Winter (1982). Lots of color photos that by today’s standards of photography look very strange.

  5. The Rose and Crown, now that should make a great short story, Hilary. Can’t claim to ever have had a Great Dane kick me out of bed but did share with a greyhound as a child. There was also the time I woke up with wet feet and looked down at the end of the bed. Demon, the Cat, had dropped a litter of kittens and my feet were awash in afterbirth. LOL. Curt

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