Longbarrow Press is a Sheffield-based independent poetry publisher with a reputation for work that explores the intersections of landscape, history and memory. Since the launch of our first publications in 2006, we’ve developed an eclectic programme of events, including poetry walks, exhibitions and collaborations with musicians and filmmakers, alongside a growing online archive of field recordings based on our visits to canals, chapels and sea caves in Yorkshire and beyond. Our parallel journey in print has also unfolded with an emphasis on innovation, with titles ranging from maps, acetates and matchboxes to our current series of acclaimed hardback books. An ethos of craft and care informs this preoccupation with ‘the book as object’, and helps to ensure that the format of publication is always a sympathetic response to the poem (rather than an object imposed on the poem).
The layout of each Longbarrow publication is inseparable from the editorial process; the margins, typeface, spacing and point size are integral to the composition of the book. I involve the poets at each stage of the process, making them aware of any proposed changes and inviting them to contribute ideas. The main objective is to present the form of the poem as sympathetically as possible; sometimes, the form (and therefore the composition) of the poem changes in response to the typesetting, as was the case with Mark Goodwin’s collection Steps. Mark conceived of each individual page as a landscape in itself, and this is how the book was (re)built from typescript to designed page. There’s often a collaborative element to the jacket artwork and design, too – it’s a two-or-three-way conversation between the poet, the artist and myself. There are continuities of design, and tone, throughout the books, but each one is created from scratch, rather than through the imposition of a ‘house style’, or the intervention of an external agency.