Poetry Centre wins nationally recognised award for publishing

Friday, 10 December 2021

Ignition press

Oxford Brookes University has won a nationally recognised award for its excellence in giving emerging poets the chance to showcase their work through published pamphlets.

ignitionpress, a poetry pamphlet press that is run by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, was awarded the prize in the ‘Publisher’ category at the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets on the 7 December. This category recognises an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form, taking into account the publisher’s philosophy, aims, plans, design ethos and marketing strategy, as well as the quality of the poetry. 


ignitionpress was launched in 2017 by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, and publishes original work from emerging poets in pamphlets. 


A poetry pamphlet is a short collection of published poems, sometimes grouped around one theme, through which new poets frequently produce their first substantial work or more established writers seek to reach new audiences. They are often handmade and saddle-stitched, but ignitionpress pamphlets are different, bound like a book with a proper spine and coloured endpapers. A striking abstract cover design was developed with local designer Flora Hands of Carline Creative, and inside the pages are set by Luke Allan from Studio Lamont, who, as a poet himself, has a careful and sympathetic approach to the text. The pamphlets are printed by Seacourt, a highly sustainable Oxford-based printer.


As part of the award, ignitionpress will receive £5,000.


Dr Niall Munro, Director of Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, and Senior Lecturer in American Literature, said: “I am incredibly proud to see ignitionpress being recognised with this award; it really is testament to the very hard work of my colleagues in the Poetry Centre: Claire Cox, Les Robinson, and Alan Buckley.


“I also want to thank our poets, who entrusted us with their work - it has been a privilege to publish it. The award will help us to develop even further, as we aim to ignite more emerging poets’ careers.”


Commenting on the nomination, the judges said: “It’s remarkable that a press focused on emerging talent has made such a powerful impact on this year’s judges. More than half of ignition’s pamphlets this year were debuts and – from the emotional intensity of Kostya Tsolakis’ Athens adolescence in Ephebos to Zein Sa’dedin’s evocation of the neighbourhoods on the seven hills of Amman in Staircase – these pamphlets have a unity that belies their rich diversity. Whether it’s down to the iconic design which lends a seriousness to the pamphlet as a form, or the high level of dedication to developing and mentoring the emerging poets it publishes, the result is a press that publishes tight, well-worked and vital early collections that sit together as well as they stand apart.”


The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets were set up by Marina, Lady Marks in 2009, and are annual awards to celebrate poetry pamphlets published in the UK. They aim to celebrate the pamphlet form and offer the chance for both up-and-coming and more established poets to have their work showcased on a national level. 


The awards are held in collaboration with the British Library, The Wordsworth Trust, Harvard University and the Times Literary Supplement.