Persephone | Heaven in a book store

Thonet chairs, a poster of Sonja by Christian Schad, books wrapped in brown paper and pink tissue, a basket of greetings cards, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, real flowers, a walnut wood desk and thousands and thousands of beautifully published books. This is my heaven.

Located on Lamb’s Conduit Street near Holborn, is the Persephone Books store and office. With the familial smell of furniture polish and new paper, the shop appears as though it has just popped out of a scene from a novel by Dorothy Whipple or Agnes Jekyll.

Persephone ‘prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women’. The words of each revived novel are enveloped between the folds of a dove-grey jacket and the ‘fabric’ endpaper that resembles something from the late William Morris era. Each book is accompanied by a decorated bookmark and a preface by well-known female writers.

Everything that I want to achieve is embodied within the store. A place without pretense and dedicated entirely to fabulous, female fiction. I urge you to visit!


Postcards from Clacton-on-Sea

We don’t often talk about poetry on here. We really should. I love it, I always have, I always will. I like the old stuff, the new stuff and just about every beat of iambic pentameter in between.

In 2009 I came across Luke Wright who, for some reason, caught my attention and hasn’t set it free since. Below is one of his most recent poems (Jan.14th 2012). When I went to University, I told everyone I was from London, even though I now live in a city close to it. It is partly true as London is where I was born and raised until the age of 3. But really ‘I’m from London’ was just the easier option. Feeling like a traitor now….

The London/Essex Dilemma


If anybody asks me, I’m from London
never Essex, rarely Hornchurch, London
East end, it’s the beating heart of London
got the tube, in my book mate, that’s London
drink my pints and sow my oats in London
sweat and earn and sleep and piss in London
Shakespeare wrote his sonnets here in London
half the world was governed here in London
Richardsons and Krays sliced throats in London
buzz of fourteen million in London
cloak of anonymity, that’s London
sweat of seven thousands boozers – London
heat of bodies packed in tight, that’s London
greatest city in the world is London.

So really mate, why choose to be from “Essex?”


Well firstly friend, I see you like your hist’ry
but really Krays and Shakespeare, come on mate
that’s tourist stuff and as for boasts of empire
what’s next, a little ode to Wills & Kate?

See, pride in where you come from starts with hist’ry
so you should know, I hate to break your heart,
traditionally old Hornchurch is in Essex
and London was a fair slog from these parts.

You’re bowing down to roads and tubes and planning
you’re letting them dictate your past to you
but Essex is the county of rebellion
two fingers to smoke, that’s what we do.

John Ball, Wat Tyler, working men revolting
Essex, it’s the county of the free
that monkey they call Mayor in the blonde wig
you have him mate, he’s not to do with me

It’s not all green, green grass and Little England
it’s room to breath away from the machine.
It’s not all loads-a-money/TOWIE/Blingland
that’s London seeping up the a13.

So keep your smog and sad serrated sky
I’m Essex and I’m Essex till I die.

Images: Press shot of Luke Wright for Cynical Ballads, Postcards from Clacton copyright Leo Cinicolo