There’s a brief interview with writer and publisher John Lucas, in Nottingham’s Leftlion here . It’s a good read, conveying John’s passion for writing, publishing, cricket and music, in no particular order, and capturing a little of his direct and down to earth manner, his forthright, informed and uncompromising views, his quickness of mind, joyful independence and wicked sense of humor. It’s a brief article so doesn’t touch on John’s vast knowledge of literature; mention pretty nearly any writer to him in any genre and John will have an informed opinion on the merits or otherwise of their works.
I met John Lucas in 2012 at a poetry reading in Nottingham. It was the first time we had ever spoken and John said he had enjoyed my pamphlet, ‘Gopagilla’, and asked if he could have my home address.
I thought this was unusual in the age of e-mail, but duly wrote my name, street and post code in John’s well thumbed notebook. A week or so later I received a handwritten note on hand-stamped paper asking if I had any more poems as John would like to bring out a collection with his publishing company, Shoestring Press.
The resulting collection of poems came out in November 2013, and was launched in London, at the Lumen in Camden Town, and in Nottingham. I’ve still got some copies- please see the link at the top of the page if you would like one. And you can read one of John’s poems in the Guardian newspaper, here.
Shoestring make beautiful books, and have a very busy publishing schedule. Because of his reputation and the reputation of the press, John manages to sell lots of books without using the internet.
I once accused John of being a twentieth-century publisher to which he swiftly replied ‘oh, eighteenth century, please.’
Despite his suspicion that the internet is no place to sell poetry, I understand that John has recently been persuaded to try out a paypal button on the website for one of Shoestring’s new titles-a collection of short stories by David Belbin. It remains to be seen if he will be convinced of its value!
I’m delighted to know and work with John, and to be in the company of so many fine writers. My new collection of poems is scheduled for publication by Shoestring press in 2017.