Hercules and Athena


While projects of Etruscan Books still gestate in Devon, we have relocated to a large workshop in Hastings. The address below.

Over the next 3 years Etruscan is to publish a range of book works.
These include various poetry and prose works.
Our two most recent books are:

[Cover of And Stood on Red Earth All A Round by Nicholas Johnson]

Nicholas Johnson
And Stood On Red Earth All A Round

A compendium of texts, including Pelt, Haul Song, The Lard Book, Pine Apple and Show.

192 pp, including a DVD of The Lard Book (filmed by Brian Catling).
£14.95 including p&p
(Special introductory price until 31st January 2014)

Haul Song seems to belong to, to spring from and to cause the hearer to grapple with a very vital earth, the force and beauty barely singed by humans' passing. Its relationship to the human is that of an overpowering call of the young poet to which comes the rapturous response of his song. It is participation and celebration and is a forging of a language suited to the power of the context. This lively work demands to be read aloud. The poet's close relationship with the land of North Devon has brought to the work the dips and flights and falls which are part of the forging drive of the language in momentum incongruous or fresh juxtapositions of images, sensuous events, sensuous responses with often a permeating tenderness aware of the fragility in human life and human love.

Carlyle Reedy

Nicholas Johnson's poetry is a driven music, a propelled set of contiguities across the page which disperse into shards of imagery, typography and handwritten interventions / manifestations. In such texts as Eel Earth and The Lard Book performative conditions of composure are foregrounded so that the reading is generated close to the production of the text, privy to its intermediate scrawls, erasures and signals. The results are simultaneously fragile and brutal, mustering and destructing the language as it is coaxed into its clandestine, finer threads.

Aaron Williamson

The startling language and strong lyric voice allure me into a territory without a map where horizons are shifting possibilities of heart and mind. Nicholas Johnson's is an original poetic practice, evidencing integrity thoughout, which draws me into something like the Surrealists' miroir du merveilleux, even into Victor Hugo's sense of the "profound waves of the marvelous," where anyone courageous enough is caught and darkened. This poem, in which the poet is haulier, pulls with force, transports, calls up, shifts course, offers the short and long hauls of the distances in experience and of the experience of language "taking place" in order to sing them. Haul Song enacts an experience of the materiality of language, loose or freed from any transcendental resolution for the poet or the reader emotionally exact, the language may collapse into its letters as in 'Eel Earth', to begin again. The narrative of this poem is extraordinary and radial in form, always diverging from a centre that is never still. Elements, such as "wishes screams" and "candle&qout;, serve rather like the burdens of a song. Form here is careful and alive. ... Haul Song is also a love poem and, I think, a very fine one .... [it] joins with distinction the contemporary effort to relocate the high lyric voice to bring it down to earth to let the song have the notes and rhythms of our complex and marvelous lives.

Robin Blaser

He is audacious, as Haul Song shows, ("God rinses his hands and dries them on / our eyelids") and achingly tender ("This is the raystream where you give thanks / a hay hulk glinted / purple in the morning tides of air") with a high and wideranging intelligence and an ear for the natural music fire in the hearth, a song on the air on the (made more) beautiful breath of our days.

Barry MacSweeney



Carlyle REEDY
EPOS, a Song for Alaric
64 pages.
(Special introductory price until 31st January 2014).


Alaric Sumner was my close friend, colleague and fellow-poet, generous-spirited, contemplative, sociologically re-appraising, intelligent, witty and patient. He was an active force in the Gay Liberation Movement as early as 1972. His productions for the stage were brilliant, as had always been his dynamic, self-discovering texts.

Alaric entered my life around 1977 when he was publishing his innovative words worth magazine. We re-animated a soul to soul dialogue after about a decade of separation. By then he had become very active with his own exciting creations, yet he took much time and put great effort into making certain that more people would come to know my work in art, theatre and poetry. He conducted discerning interviews with me, filmed my hands at work and published articles on my work.

EPOS, a Song For Alaric is a result of his death on March 24th 2000. Because he died very suddenly my side of our dialogue continued. I needed a language for speaking into absence. The creation of the "Song" is made with mobile components representing incidents, ideas and topics within a luminosity and shadings. I hope I have done justice to my friend, and resonated my sense of humour with his, wherever he is among the atoms on Porthmeor Beach.

Carlyle Reedy, September 2012

etruscan books
Flat 2
9 Maze Hill
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN38 0BA
Tel: 01424 433 412