Launch of Swims by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

26th September at 18:30–20:30, Tamesis Dock, Albert Embankment (opp no 9), between Vauxhall and Lambeth Bridge, London, SE1 7TP.

Join Penned in the Margins on the water of the Thames to celebrate the debut poetry collection from Elizabeth-Jane Burnett. A lyrical celebration of wild swimming, Swims will be official launched aboard Tamesis Dock in Lambeth. Join us from 6.30 for a reading by Elizabeth, drinks and your chance to pick up a copy of the book.

A long poem taking many forms, Swims begins and ends in Devon, moving across the waterways of England and Wales: from urban pond to open sea. The poet swims among fishermen on Grasmere, reimagines the body as bottle cap in the Channel, and clambers down the bank of the river Ouse with words scrawled on her swimsuit.

As political as they are personal, these meditations are conceived as environmental acts that probe the relationship between landscape, memory and the self. A sinuous, innovative debut, Swims reminds us of the power of swimming to transform the human spirit, registering what the water gives to us and what it takes away.

“These poems flow and sing through salt and sweet water, connecting time and place and spirit in an electric gesture of natural unity. Swims is a wondrous, perfect thing.” –

Free entry, but please RSVP to

You can also watch Elizabeth reading from Swims for us at The Other Room here.


2 events at Kensal Green Cemetery Dissenter’s Chapel

Celebrating Erich Fried / The Ecchoing Green / Landscape learn : Growth and Decay – all at Kensal Green Cemetery Dissenter’s Chapel

Three unique events taking place in the first half of July, each in the remarkable grade II listed Dissenter’s Chapel of Kensal Green Cemetery in West London. 391 Ladbroke Grove. London W10 5AA. Entrance via Cemetery door on Ladbroke Grove.

July Thursday 13th : The Ecchoing Green with Chris McCabe, Tom Jeffreys and SJ Fowler.
Time: 7:00 PM – Free entrance

This event will celebrate Chris McCabe’s ongoing publication project with Penned in the Margins, following In The Catacombs and Cenotaph South, with new work responding to Kensal Green Cemetery. // This event will see the launch of Worm Wood, Old Oak, a new piece of short fiction by SJ Fowler, published by Sampson Low, written about the Cemetery and its impending neighbour, the Old Oak development. // This event will explore Tom Jeffrey’s Signal Failures, published by Influx Press, which provides, through a walk along the proposed route of HS2, a wide-ranging critique of humanity’s most urgent failures. – An evening of readings and discussion with three of the UK’s most interesting presses, poets and writers.

July Saturday 15th : Landscape Learn – Growth and Decay 
Time: 12:15–15:30 Tickets £10 on Eventbrite

Landscape Learn is a new prototype for learning and engaging with the landscapes around us. Landscape Learn will use the seasonality of nature to structure our approach to adaptive and immersive learning. A pioneering new project from J&L Gibbons.

Growth and Decay will explore how our identity and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to the socio-geographic context of our lives. Co-hosted by Poet SJ Fowler​, the Kensal Green Cemetery, forms a distinguished and biodiverse context for a discussion on health and wellbeing in a changing city. ​We will walk through Kensal Green Cemetery, and look back to look forward with Museum of London​ osteologist Jelena Bekvalac who specialises in reading the bones of dead Londoners. Neuroscientist Dr Andrea Mechelli of King’s College London​, Michael Smythe of Nomad Projects​, Jo Gibbons and Neil Davidson, Urban Mind​ collaborators will discuss citizen science and realtime collection of data on state of mind in the city. Dr Tereza Stehlikova’s​ film pieces of a disappearing neighbourhood will be screened in the Dissenters’ Chapel.

All events are part of Worm Wood, an exhibition and residency in Kensal Green Cemetery Dissenter’s Chapel throughout the summer by Tereza Stehlikova and SJ



Dagestan: SJ Fowler

Dagestan is a place we go to fight for money. A place where we are paid to be filmed, and perhaps be killed.

Dagestan is an thrilling new play by poet and martial artist SJ Fowler, set in the shadowy world of global security. Enter the minds of military contractors to uncover a culture of violence, gallows humour and moral uncertainty.

Fri 16 October – Sat 17 October at the Rich Mix, London.

Produced by Penned in the Margins

Chris McCabe: Speculatrix

Thursday 27 November, 6.30pm

The Priory Church of St John
St John’s Square
London EC1M 4DA

Free but booking is essential as capacity is very limited and if you turn up without a reservation you will not be admitted.

Step back in time as you descend into the twelfth century crypt of the Clerkenwell Priory for a very special book launch. In the deep atmospherics of the ancient church of the Order of St John, poet Chris McCabe introduces and reads from his stunning new collection Speculatrix. Book your place early for what promises to be an unusual and magical event in one of London’s most mysterious spaces.

In his most daring collection to date, Chris McCabe delves into the shadowy recesses of London history, bringing forth unsettling anachronisms and revealing the city as a perilous place to exist.

Taking its name from the term for a female spy, Speculatrix is at once the voyeur and the observed. Fame and death are McCabe’s subjects, sifted and strained through his poems’ urgent rhythms. At the heart of the book, a sequence of wild, neurotic sonnets tears at the corpus of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre to conjure a visceral landscape of decay and financial collapse. Extending the collection beyond his trademark urban locale are startling poems for the loved and departed: from the artist Francis Bacon to the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Barry MacSweeney. In Speculatrix McCabe has pulled out all the stops, showing why he is considered one of British poetry’s most exciting and pioneering spirits.

Caroline Bergvall: Drift @ Southbank Centre

Caroline Bergvall brings her extraordinary new collaborative work DRIFT to London’s Southbank Centre (Purcell Room) as part of Poetry International. 17th July, 18:00 start.

Presented by Penned in the Margins with Sound and Music

Drift takes you on a journey through time and space, where languages mix, where live percussion meets live voice, where the ancient cohabits with the present. Ancient tales of exile and love re-emerge to shadow today’s lives and losses.

Internationally renowned performer Caroline Bergvall teams up with experimental Norwegian percussionist Ingar Zach and Swiss visual artist Thomas Köppel and together they invent a language of extremes: from the ancient pool of English and Nordic poetry to the lyrics of pop songs and damning human rights reports into contemporary sea migrants’ disaster. The 3D treatment of the texts by Köppel transforms the narrative into a dense, abstract canvas of drifting language mass, enhancing the hypnotic quality of the work. It also acts as a reminder of the endless changes undergone by the English language in its many histories.

Drift was originally commissioned for the festival lost.las.gru by Gru/Transtheatre, Geneva.


Tour details:

In the Catacombs

Opened in 1837 and inspired by the Pere Lachaise in Paris, West Norwood became known as the Millionaire’s Cemetery. But within its opulent grounds there are twelve buried names whose currency is language: these are the dead poets of West Norwood.

In the first instalment of a project to map the Magnificent Seven, Chris McCabe takes us off the main track of London writing and asks why the works of Hopkins, Tennyson and Dickinson are still read above those buried in this suburban enclave of South London. Join McCabe on the hunt for a great lost poet, as he walks the winding Gothic paths of the Cemetery and makes an unexpected discovery underground in the catacombs. The stories of those loved and dismissed by Charles Dickens are carefully uncovered; those who influenced Lewis Carroll and Winston Churchill; and those whose burial in the common ground has not been enough to silence them.

A startling and original work of literary detection, In the Catacombs is written in a hybrid form – part literary criticism, part Gothic fiction- and places West Norwood Cemetery and its dead poets back into the foreground of the London psyche.

Out now on Penned in the Margins.

Hannah Silva at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Hannah Silva will perform at The Other Room’s sixth birthday event in April 2014, but is in Manchester sooner than that to launch her new collection Forms of Protest. Details below via Penned in the Margins:

Thursday, December 5th, 2013, 6:30 pm | £6/£4

Three of the UK’s most exciting voices launch new collections in a night of cutting-edge modern poetry from award-winning independent literary publisher Penned in the Margins. Blackburn poet Melissa Lee-Houghton celebrates the launch of her second book, Beautiful Girls: a raw and powerful account of mental illness that has been awarded a PBS Recommendation. Hanna Silva, widely acclaimed for her innovative vocal performances, launches her debut collection Forms of Protest and Siddhartha Bose launches Digital Monsoon, where dreams trigger extraordinary visions of an apocalyptic London populated by the ghosts of a multicultural city. Hosted and introduced by Tom Chivers of Penned in the Margins Buy tickets here.

Enemies: the Selected Collaborations of SJ Fowler

Out now from Penned in the Margins, featuring Tim Atkins, David Berridge, Cristine Brache, Patrick Coyle, Emily Critchley, Lone Eriksen, Frédéric Forte, Tom Jenks, Samantha Johnson, Alexander Kell, David Kelly, Sarah Kelly, Anatol Knotek, Ilenia Madelaire, Chris McCabe, nick-e melville, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Matteo X Patocchi, Claire Potter, Monika Rinck, Sam Riviere, Hannah Silva, Marcus Slease, Ross Sutherland, Ryan Van Winkle, Philip Venables, and Sian Williams.


You Call Him Doctor Jones!

Sat 22 October
7pm – 1am

The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street
London E1 7EX

Join a host of poets, performers, musicians and comedians for a monkey-brain-packed adventure through 30 years of Indiana Jones. Expect Indy trivia quizzes, prizes, an impromptu archaeology seminar and giant boulders. There will be a professional eyelid painter so you can flutter a message to our own in-house Dr. Jones (with only minor risk of exposure to tomb-raiding Nazis). Bring along an object for the Museum of Antiquities, try your hand at brass-rubbing and guessing the weight of the Golden Idol, find out what Marian Ravenwood really thought of Jones, and be careful not to drink the blood of Kali Ma. If that’s not enough whip-cracking Indynerd action for you, the entertainment will be followed by our stylish Obi-Wan Club DJs until late.

Produced by Penned in the Margins in association with Bad Dates


Poetry & performance from Jack Underwood, Kirsten Irving, Siddhartha Bose, Tom Chivers, Julia Bird, Chrissy Williams, SJ Fowler & Patrick Coyle

Music from Gwyneth Herbert

Comedy from Rich Sandling & Tom Bell

Performance publishing by Ladies of the Press*

Obi Wan Club DJs til late


The Museum of Antiquities
Guess the weight of the Golden Idol
Lego Indiana Jones
Eyelid painting
Brass rubbing
Eyeball soup & special cocktails


£6.50 on the door
£5 advance from

Iain Sinclair, John Wilkinson, Emily Critchley & Rob Stanton

Indie literary press Penned in the Margins presents a summer solstice celebration of alternative poetry and experimental language, headlined by cult London writer IAIN SINCLAIR.

Iain is joined by US-based poet JOHN WILKINSON, one of the most influential experimental writers of his generation, plus new Penned in the Margins authors EMILY CRITCHLEY and ROB STANTON.

* Rob will be launching his debut collection, The Method

The event takes place in The Nave – a beautiful and atmospheric converted church and performance space in the Islington / Hackney borders. There will be a bar and a bookstall.

Doors open at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £6 online / £7 on the door

Buy now to avoid disappointment:

Shad Thames, Broken Wharf

From Chris McCabe:

“My play for voices has just been published by Penned in the Margins, it’s called Shad Thames, Broken Wharf and was performed at the London Word Festival in March this year. It’s a beautifully made mini-book of 48 pages that comes in a limited edition box (200 made) with a free-gift of an item from the Thames (fitting the theme of the play), including Victorian claypipes, pottery, a McDonalds toy, a champagne cork and what looks to me like a horse’s tooth. The play will be performed again at the Bluecoat in Liverpool on the 4th of December. More info and to buy on Penned site here:

And there’s background text to the whole project here:

Penned in the Margins

“Independent poetry press Penned in the Margins is now open to submission of manuscripts. Our authors include David Caddy, James Wilkes, Sarah Hesketh and George Ttoouli. This year we published the anthology City State: New London Poetry, featuring new work by Chris McCabe, Heather Phillipson, Steve Willey, Ahren Warner and many more. Our individual collections have been Highly Commended by the Forward Prize, featured on Newsnight and reviewed in Poetry London, Poetry Salzburg Review and Mslexia.”

More here.