Introduction


[Image : Holm Fen}
Which figures in our first published volume 'The Lovers Meeting'

The particular focus of the first three books we have published in handmade limited editions, is that of overt sensuality in Clare's poetry, revealed through both his knowledge and understanding of other poets, such as Ovid, and through his own undoubted experience of love and sex and the women in his life.  These books are:

The Lovers Meeting (2013) 
The Poet in Love (2014) & 
In the Shadows (2015).

In all aspects of production a handmade book is conceived and planned as a work of art, as well as a conveyor of knowledge. The content, the images, the text, the papers, the cover materials, the style of binding are all intended primarily to enhance and add to the experience of discovering more about Clare's work.

The second and continuing publishing effort is to produce high quality paperback volumes at an affordable price.  There are two aspects to this work.  The first is to publish Clare texts are are either unpublished or little known.  To date there are two of these:

Hidden Treasures (2016) & 
Memoirs of Uncle Barnaby (2017).

The third and continuing series is of modern Chapbooks. Historically a Chapbook was normally octavo in size (A5) and is made up of one or more full sheets of paper (a Folio) on which 16 pages of text were printed, which were then folded three times to produce eight leaves. Each leaf of an octavo book thus represents one eighth the size of the original sheet.  These eight leaves are also known as ‘signatures’. So our Chapbooks being 32 pages in length are two signatures long, or 16 octavo (A5) sheets.

Each Chapbook covers a single aspect of Clare's work in brief, and currently consists of 6 books:

Drinking with John Clare (2016)
Helpston's Fountains (2017)
With the Gipsies (2017)
Playing Games with John Clare (2017)
Accursed Wealth (2017)
Trees - In a Strange Stillness (2018)
Walking with John Clare (2018)

Each of these volumes is further described via the 'Pages' list on the left-hand side of this page.

--- oOo ---

'In the Shadows' makes the trilogy complete.

It seems somehow to have been a long time in gestation, but in March 2015 we collected "In the Shadows" from The Fine Book Bindery who have again lovingly created them for us.  Every copy of the limited edition is handmade and hand-finished.  The cherry cover is offset by a grey spine with a gilt title.  This is the third volume in our trilogy.

The three books taken together explore the sensuous nature of Clare's early (pre 1820 poetry in the main) from his own verse and prose.

Book One - The Lovers Meeting - (from 1818) is a reworking by Clare of Ovid's first century erotic poem.   It seems to us very much with Patty in mind. 

Book Two - The Poet in Love - is the very real story of Clare's meeting, courtship of Patty Turner, and then her subsequent pregnancy and their marriage in 1820.

Book Three - In the Shadows - is the story of Clare's largely illusory relationship with Mary Joyce ranging over his whole life.

Both 'Poet' 'and "Shadows' contain newly discovered Clare works and little known poems rejected by his publishers.


The reviews of the books were wonderful, here is Ronnie Blythe :

"I read, and re-read 'The Poet in Love'... it is a delight; beautifully presented and even revolutionary in its demand that we should look at Clare 'passionately and practically'. You have re-instated Patty... and you have dethroned Mary Joyce. The book makes us look at Clare in a fresh way, and this is no easy matter considering the stream of Clare criticism. Anne Lee's illustrations are fascinating - a kind of poetry in themselves."

"So beautiful, such treasures for my John Clare bookcase. They should lie on a table where everyone can see them, pick them up and delight in them. The end-papers themselves are a treat... they really are very beautiful." (Of 'The Poet in Love' and 'The Lovers Meeting)

And from Professor Eric Robinson on 'The Poet in Love': "No one can read this book without learning much of Clare's courtship of Patty during these formative years. It is a very strange story, but it reveals much of the essential character of a poet who had at last been recognised as a very great writer. Roger Rowe and Anne Lee have made an important contribution to Clare studies. And I am pleased to know that more is yet to come from their joint efforts."

Other reviews can be found on our 'reviews' page.

Each book is signed and numbered and is available from me.  Simply send me a message me via my own or the John Clare Poet facebook page, and I will get back to you.

Each book measures 11" x 8"

THE COST?

"The Lovers Meeting' is £25 


"The Poet in Love" is £30 

"In the Shadows" is £30 


Reductions for multi-copies:


(TLM & TPIL) - £50

(TLM & ITS) - £50

(TPIL & ITS) - £55

or for all three - £70


---oOo---

The launch of 'The Lovers Meeting'

The video that was made by the Peterborough Telegraph on the launch of "The Lovers Meeting". Three and a half minutes where Anne and I introduce the book. Still available from me at £35. We have yet to have anything but good reviews, some embarrassingly ecstatic - click on our 'Reviews' page on the right-hand side of this page.

Click here to view : 

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/community/news/new-edition-of-john-clare-poem-published-video-1-5912424

To witness the process of how a book produced by The Fine Book Bindery is made, you can view a recent slideshow on their website.  Our first three books -- "The Lovers Meeting" - "The Poet in Love"  - "In the Shadows" -- have and will be made in exactly this fashion, but we have chosen not have edge guilding, case-making or vellum with our books (I wish!).  It's a wonder to behold to see such skilled craftsmen and women creating a work of art!

http://www.finebinding.co.uk/FOLIOSOC/rubai.html#javascript

The first eight lines of 'The Lovers Meeting'


               [Clare's original manuscript from 1818]

                       Hot was the noon in summers sultry hour
                       The sun then raging with meridian power
                       When I more burning with the scorching heat
                       Of hot desire — lay hid in close retreat
                       Beneath the covert of a secret shade
                       Flush'd “with expectance of the lovley maid”
                       Sweet was the spot no one throughout the grove
                       Was better suited to the sports of Love


                  [Alongside these words, Clare has written in pencil 'Old']

Why are we 'ArbouR EditionS'?


[Anne's photo was taken in Holme Fen in late summer 2013]

To the wild wood shielded sweet
Where the branches branches meet
Verdant on the morning sceen
Oer the carpets spreading green
& the holly branches spread
Spreads an arbour oer my head
As the woodland paths divide
Sweet to put the boughs aside

(from "Just as mornings rosy lass")

Genesis (II)

          Pages being folded and stitched.... and our endpaper for "The Lovers Meeting".