The Sidekick Advent Calendar: Day 1


It’s time! No more lying around indolently, occasionally dispensing a beauteous volume or two – December means cranking out a new digital wonder every day for our increasingly merry audience and test subjects.

This year we’re introducing you to an experimental format: the play-poem. That’s to say, we’re launching the Sidekick Play-Poem Archive, which we aim to build, little by little, into a dazzling library of online verseketeering!

The play-poem is an adaptation of your regular print poem with a mild twist: it unfolds a step at a time on the screen, rather than appearing all at once and intact. In this way, it has something in common with hearing a poem performed, as well as an obvious connection to interactive narratives.

In the lead-up to Christmas, we’ll be publishing one a day, adapting poems from our books and adding a short commentary. Today, to kick us off, we have the poem Hobby Falcon Theory (Falco subbuteo) by James Midgley, taken from Birdbook: Farmland, Heathland, Mountain, Moorland. Click away, if you will.

Control Room / Laboratorio at the Royal Observatory


Sidekick are collaborating in two exciting, one-off forthcoming events. On Monday, 26th October, we’re joining Abigail Parry, writer-in-residence at the National Video Games Arcade in Nottingham, for CONTROL ROOM, an experimental interactive literature evening, mixing games and poetry. The audience can come and go as they please, ‘playing’ at one of four simultaneous poetry installations from 7pm onwards. The poets Harry Man and Abi Palmer will also be performing, and there’s board games next door. The event is part of GameCity, the NVA’s annual festival of games.

Then, on 12th November, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is hosting ‘Laboratorio’, a live reading from our book of the same name, featuring editor/poet Simon Barraclough and a number of the real life astrophysicists who contributed work. Tickets are £8 and can be bought from the Royal Museums Greenwich website here.





Birdbook: Farmland, Heathland, Mountain, Moorland – Out Now


Our last release of 2015 is Birdbook: Farmland, Heathland, Mountain, Moorland, an anthology of newly commissioned poems and illustrations concerning an array of British birds, from corvids to game birds via hawks and owls.

We’re also doing a special offer: you can buy both this release and its prequel, 2012’s Birdbook: Freshwater Habitats, for £15 plus postage. That’s over 100 new poems and illustrations by a heaving raft, or dazzling array, or splendid constellation of poets and illustrators. Even just listing the poets, there’s Rachael Allen, Emily Berry, Liz Berry, David Morley, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Ira Lightman, W. N. Herbert, Gerry Cambridge, Claire Trevien, Chrissy Williams, John McCullough, Moniza Alvi, Sarah Hesketh, Peter Daniels, Vahni Capildeo, Lorraine Mariner, Christopher Reid, Antony Rowland, Hannah Lowe … I could go on.

Sidekick at the Albion Beatnik


A selection of our 2015/14 titles are now stocked at the legendary Albion Beatnik bookshop in Oxford. If you live in Oxford and wish to browse before you buy, visit the Albion! If you live in Oxford and wish to avoid this website’s postage costs, visit the Albion!

Also, in the next few days, we’ll be publishing a short video of our recent Surveyors’ Riddles launch reading held there. Here’s an arty photo from the evening in question.

HELL. CREEK. ANTHOLOGY. The book and the York launch.


If you separate out the words of the title, it sounds just like the thump and rumble of an approaching theropod. HELL. CREEK. ANTHOLOGY. Run for cover!

Hell Creek, our latest team-up book, is out today and can be bought from us directly. Poet J.T. Welsch and illustrator Dom & Ink have teamed up to deliver a winning pastiche of Edgar Lee Masters’ famous Spoon River Anthology, replacing the townsfolk with dinosaurs from real life Hell Creek, Montana.

The first launch reading for the book will be taking place this coming Monday, 12 October, from 7pm at the De Gray Lecture Theatre at York St John University. It’s a double launch with Naomi Booth’s The Lost Art of Sinking and is free, but ticketed. Further details here.

Surveyors’ Riddles Oxford Launch


Giles Goodland and Alistair Noon will be launching their sprawlingly epic collaborative pamphlet Surveyors’ Riddles at the Albion Beatnik in Oxford this Friday, 2nd October, from 7.30pm.

That’s the Albion Beatnik, 34 Walton Street in Oxford, the very next Friday after this very blogpost, from half past seven o’clock in the evening!

But what is Surveyors’ Riddles exactly? Or rather, what are the Surveyors’ Riddles? A lost ancient text from an alternative dimension? A kind of auto-mutating procedural text containing clues to the past and the future? A series of translations that take place through a dozen languages?  Do even Noon and Goodland know what they have uncovered through their audacious technique of ‘genetic poem sequencing’?

We at Sidekick invite you to let this ever-shifting, anarcho-comic-historic poemavalanche swallow you up.

Over The Line: Launched, Available and Gearing Up for Gosh


Over The Line: An Introduction to Poetry Comics, edited by Chrissy Williams and Tom Humberstone, is out now and available via our site. Bookshops should be able to order it in from Thursday.

One of our two launch events has been and gone – wine, short readings and talks were laid on at the Poetry Cafe last Thursday, accompanying an exhibition of pages from the book that will run in the cafe until 31st October.

Work by Ivy Alvarez and Cristian Ortiz on the wall of the Poetry Cafe

The view from the book table

John Aggs discussing his poem-comic collaboration with W. N. Herbert
The second launch event will take place on 17th September at Gosh Comics in London, from 7pm, and a whole swathe of the contributing writers and artists will be in attendance.

If you’re planning on coming and want to buy any of our other books directly from us, just let us know via email and we’ll bring some along!

Korsakoff Returns via Poetry International

The pernicious influence of Dr F spreads! Sarah Howe is profiled this month on the Poetry International website, and one of her featured poems is ‘Le 14 Juillet‘, which first appeared in Sidekick’s fourth micro-anthology, Korsakoff’s Paper Chain, which in turn looks a little something like this:


In this miniature volume, every poem was remade from the remains of another after it had been subjected to some form of violence. ‘Le 14 Juillet’ was once Tony Williams’ poem ‘Sleeve Notes’, before a phial of word rot was spilled on the text, leaving only the verbs intact. Sarah Howe’s poem was then shot full of holes by a rival of Dr F, before being restitched as Edward Mackay’s ‘Le 14 Juillet ’68: apres le mai passe‘.

We are very happy to see the results of this exercise in wanton literary vandalism (and restoration) preserved for further study!