Poetry Month, Day 23*: Dan O’Brien Recommends CB Editions

April 23, 2013

Charles Boyle and his one-man operation CB Editions in London came to my attention because he was willing to publish me. What drew him to my work is what I find so compelling and refreshing in Boyle’s small but potent catalog (which includes a few pseudonymous books by Boyle himself—I won’t tell you which): a passion for the genre-crossing, or genre-defying, writing.

The two CB books I read first—and they knocked my socks off—are J.O. Morgan’s Natural Mechanical, an epic poem of an Isle of Skye childhood, and Jack Robinson’s Recessional, an angry, poignant, humorous collection of prose poems (or micro-fictions?) paired with the author’s photographs about life in Shepherd’s Bush in the first days of the Great Recession. Prose poems paired with photographs that accrue like a novel, poetry with the unity and heft of biography. No wonder Boyle has sympathy for a playwright who writes poems about a journalist.

A deeply gifted writer himself, Boyle had years of experience in publishing and as an editor at Faber & Faber before starting CB Editions in 2007. He and his press has the courage—and the challenges too, Boyle would add—of the idiosyncratic, the iconoclastic, the passionate and honest voice.

Dan O’Brien

*Throughout Poetry Month 32 Poems will use this space to praise presses, journals, and readings series that bring poetry to us in a special way. Our hope is that we can point new fans in their direction and publicly thank editors and curators for their work. Check in with us again tomorrow for another poet’s recommendation.

Dan O’Brien’s debut poetry collection War Reporter is forthcoming in September 2013 from Hanging Loose Press in Brooklyn and CB Editions in London. O’Brien’s poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Poetry Review, Missouri Review, North American Review, White Review, and elsewhere. His play The Body of an American about combat journalist Paul Watson recently won the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama. He will teach playwriting this summer at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. (Photo by David Bornfriend)

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