Poetics of Still Life: A Collage
Robert Vas Dias

Poetics of Still Life: A Collage, is a cross-disciplinary exploration of still life from the earliest times to the present. It combines colour images of 65 still lifes, commentaries by art historians, critics, curators, and writers, and poems and prose poems by Vas Dias.

The book is the first of its kind: there have been other books which combine poetry and images, but none which present a comprehensive picture of a genre of art from the standpoint of a poetic sensibility.

Still life has undergone astonishing changes is style, approach, and purpose over the centuries. Until the 19th century, it was considered by the French Academy the lowest in the hierarchy of genres, but by the time of the cubists in the early 20th century, it became of major importance. This book traces the course of the genre over time.

“Robert Vas Dias’s beautiful, richly illustrated Poetics of Still Life is rightly subtitled A Collage in that it is a blend of art historical scholarship, personal memories and inventions, and, above all, meditations – mostly in verse – on the nature of what is put before us by various artists through the ages, presenting us with a multidimensional way of drawing the poetry from apparently mundane objects: a way of understanding the mysteries of art, poetry, objects, and ourselves at once.”
– George Szirtes

“Baudelaire’s view – that the most rewarding response to a work of art is another work of art – is the perfect justification for Vas Dias’s book. The beauty of the book is that the texts warrant just such close attention as is demanded by a still life, and in that process of looking and reading, image and text merge in the mind, as happens when there is a voice in the ear as the eye looks at a picture, especially when what is spoken pertains to the picture, and shapes the eye’s movement, and the mind’s.”
– Mel Gooding

Introduction by Mel Gooding
Cover image by Josefa de Óbidos, 1630-1684
Designed, and typography, by Neil Crawford
Edition: 150, numbered and signed
2020, ISBN 978-0-9052582-5-6
65 colour reproductions
Paperback, 156 pages,
Perfect bound in heavy card cover with flaps
Dimensions: 27 x 20 cm, weight 675g

UK: £24.95 + £2.70 p&p
Europe: €29.00 + €5.90 p&p
US: $35.00 + $5.90 p&p





Unstill / Inquieto
Teresa Gonçalves Lobo and Robert Vas Dias

Unstill / Inquieto is an artist's book by the Portuguese artist Teresa Gonçalves Lobo in collaboration with Robert Vas Dias. Seven Indian ink drawings were made for Vas Dias's poem “Unstill” – a meditation on the sea – and assembled by the artist, poet, and designer in a bilingual book printed in Lisbon by art printers and co-published in Lisbon and London.

The art critic and writer Mel Gooding writes of the collaboration: “Here it is: something potential, beautifully realised. It works in a special way: for in his text Vas Dias's word-lines are akin to a kind of drawing; and in her drawings Gonçalves Lobo's lines are akin to a kind of writing. In both there is a simple linear evocation of an element that knows no lines: the sea, the sea, that presents turbulence and calm alike as undifferentiated chaos, in which everything human, imaginative and creative, was and is ever potential.”

The launch of the book in Portugal was sponsored by the Mayor of Funchal, Madeira, in the Funchal City Hall in September 2017.

Designed by Fedra Espiga Pinto
Poetry and back-cover translations by Luís Amorim de Sousa
Edition: 300
Dimensions: 26 x 21 cm, 28 pages
Perfect bound in heavy card covers
Seven colour reproductions
ISBN: 978-0-905258-24-9 Permanent Press
ISBN: 978-989-20-7680-5 Teresa Gonçalves Lobo
£15.95 + £2.50 UK p&p
For postage outside UK & Europe, please please contact Permanent Press


Entailing Happiness
Friends of Robert Vas Dias

This handsomely designed and produced book is a festschrift by 35 friends for Robert Vas Dias in celebration of his 80th birthday. Among the contributors are Jane Augustine, Linda Black, Alan Brownjohn, Angela Cleland, Allen Fisher, Roy Fisher, Lee Harwood, Michael Heller, Mimi Khalvati, Toby Olson, Anthony Rudolf, Hugh Seidman, Gavin Selerie, John Taggart, Barry Wallenstein, John Welch, and Tamar Yoseloff.

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Edited, with an introduction, by Maggie Butcher
Cover photo and book design by Julia Farrer
Typography by Neil Crawford, typoG
Printed by Colin Sackett, Axminster
London, Infinity Press, 2010, distributed by Permanent Press
Paperback, perfect bound and sewn, 94 pages
£8.95 including p&p (UK & Europe) / $14.75
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Against the Silences
Paul Blackburn

With the appearance of his first major collection, The Cities in 1967, and then In . On. Or About the Premises, 1968, Blackburn’s work became known to a wide audience, and he was quickly recognised as a major voice of the new American poetry. His superb craftsmanship, sense of rhythm, and ear for contemporary speech were singled out, the TLS observing, for example, that “He enlarges the estate of poetry by domesticating words and experiences normally excluded from polite speech.” At the same time, as Charles Stein wrote in The Nation, “the witty surfaces belie a darker, almost desperate content,” characteristic also of this collection. Since his death at the age of 44 in 1971, eleven collections, in addition to this one, have been published, including The Collected Poems, 1985, and Selected Poems, 1989. Writing in The Nation, Michael Stephens observed that “Blackburn was as socially and literarily accessible as lesser poets, and yet he was cut from the fabric of genius.”

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Preface by Robert Creeley
Cover drawing by R B Kitaj
1980 ISBN 0 905258 06 1
Paperback, perfect bound
£10.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $18
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.

Cloth, ISBN 0 905258 07 X
Very few remain, p.o.a.


Robin Hood in the Dark Ages
Kelvin Corcoran

Robin Hood in the Dark Ages is the first book by Kelvin Corcoran, one of the major new voices of contemporary British poetry. Each poem “moves with a speed that allows the poem to ‘accurately accompany’ – not describe or philosophise about – the process of things in the world,” wrote the poet Robert Sheppard. Of his later work, Lee Harwood wrote, “His vivid poetry shocks us into thought by its sheer intelligence.”

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Preface by Tom Raworth
Cover design by Ray Seaford
1985 ISBN 0 905258 08 8
Paperback, perfect-bound
£5.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


The Theodore Enslin Number of Occurrence
Edited by John Wilson

Permanent Press is exclusive UK distributor of the special issue of the American magazine Occurrence 8, which presents a wide selection of the poetry of Theodore Enslin. Together with his The Median Flow: Poems 1943-73 (Black Sparrow, 1975), to which this selection was conceived as a companion volume, UK readers now have a generous choice from ten books by this important American poet. Widely regarded as one of the most musical of American avant-garde poets, Enslin is also very prolific, poet, having published some 80 collections, including the major long poems Forms, 5 vols., 1970-74, Synthesis 1-24, 1975, and Ranger, 2 vols., 1978 and 1980 – one of the key American long poems of the second half of the 20th century. Then and Now: Selected Poems, 1943-1993 appeared in 1999.

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Cover drawing by Bradford Graves
1978, 84 pages
£5.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $10.00
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Outsing the Howling
Jonathan Griffin

A collection of new poems by the late Jonathan Griffin (1906-1990), author of In Time of Crowding: Selected Poems 1963-74, 1975, and Collected Poems (National Poetry Foundation, Orono, Maine, 1989). Of the latter, Carl Rakosi wrote: “The National Poetry Foundation deserves a medal for bringing out the Collected Poems of Jonathan Griffin. He is a major discovery.” George Oppen wrote of Griffin’s work: “The syntax! Moves of its own force, moves in the force of the world, it restores light and space to poetry. It is what the poetry of England has lacked for – how long?” The poet, critic, and anthologist Eliot Weinberger wrote that Griffin was “one of Britain’s secret treasures, perhaps the finest unknown poet in our language today.” Griffin was also one of the foremost translators of modern Portuguese and French poetry and was honoured by both countries.

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Cover design by Katherine Gutkind
1979 ISBN 0 905258 05 3
Paperback, perfect-bound
400 copies
£5.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $10.00
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


and working
Douglas Gunn

In his Foreword, Robert Creeley writes of and working, Douglas Gunn’s first book: “I’ve long respected Douglas Gunn’s authority as a writer, and in this singular collection of stories he makes clear to all the remarkable power of his art….These stories are exceptional in the way they make syntax, the linkage of the words themselves, a uniquely sensitive ground for all that situation and persons might otherwise tell us in a necessarily generalized way….and working proves a collection of quiet genius by a compassionately determined man.” Gunn is also the author of The Invention of Violence, Cinco Puntos Press, 1995.

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Foreword by Robert Creeley
Cover by Ian Robinson
1991 ISBN 0 905258 12 6
£6.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $11.75
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Ralph Hawkins

Flecks is a collection of twenty-seven poems by a poet who been writing since the late 1970s when he was one of a number of radical poets at the University of Essex. He is the author of many small press collections and two major books: The MOON, The Chief Hairdresser (highlights), 2004, and Gone to Marzipan, 2009, both from Shearsman. Andrew Duncan writes of Hawkins: “He does not bother with stage-setting. Each poem launches us into a series of 'direct experiences' from whose course we could work out the shape of the self experiencing them.” Cliff Yates in The North notes that "References in the poems are wide and dizzying, drawing on history, myth, popular culture. But they wear their learning lightly. They're absorbing, playful (though serious in intention), sometimes very funny, and never boring. These poems probably wouldn't win the national poetry competition. They're far too interesting."

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1995 ISBN 0 905258 15 0
Co-Published with Oasis Books
£5.00 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $8.50
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Inside Diameter
Clarence Major

Inside Diameter is Clarence Major’s ninth book of poetry, and it displays an incisive, impressionistic, and meditative talent, as well as the comic vision that has always enlivened his work. Major, who is one of America’s foremost poets working today, also edited the influential anthology The New Black Poetry (1969), which Kenneth Rexroth called “by far the broadest and best balanced and least sectarian of any of the new collections.” Recent books of poetry include Configurations: New and Selected Poems, 1958-1998 (National Book Award finalist, 1999), and Waiting for Sweet Betty, Copper Canyon Press, 2002. The poet and critic Fanny Howe wrote that “Major’s language, achieved by long struggle, is original and should be useful to anyone honestly concerned with modern poetic diction.” He has written four novels, and his nonfiction includes the Dictionary of Afro-American Slang (1970), issued in London as Black Slang: A Dictionary of Afro-American Talk (1971), Calling the Wind: Twentieth Century African-American Short Stories, 1993 (Book of The Month's Club's Quality Paperback Book Club Selection, 1993), and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry, 1996 (The Readers' Subscription Book Club Selection, 1996).

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1985 ISBN 0 90525809 6
Paperback, perfect-bound
500 copies
£6.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $11.75
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Early in My Life
Elaine Randell

Early In My Life is a sequence of six poems incorporating “delicate daily-life observations” (Time Out) with a depth and precision of statement by this British poet. Randell is the author of six previous collections and was the editor of Amazing Grace for three years. Her Selected Poems 1970-2005 appeared from Shearsman in 2006. Writing of Randell’s work in The Guardian, Jane Hardy said, "Her subject is often the quiet (and not so quiet) desperation of the people she helps. What elevates the dramatic monologues above raw emotion to real art is Randell's ear for the way language reveals character. Randell sees no contradiction in being a social worker who writes; on the contrary, she says 'The skills are the same: listening, picking things up about people from small details.' She has virtually created a new genre – the case history as fable."

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Cover illustration by Mike Booth
1976 ISBN 0 905258 01 0
Paperback, sewn in wrappers
300 copies
£2.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $5.00
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


The Glacier in the Cupboard: Drawings
Ian Robinson

For many years, the late Ian Robinson’s (1934-2004) drawings appeared in magazines and books published by independent presses in the UK and abroad. This book assembles ninety-six of them, representing a wide range of such work from 1970 to 1994. One writer likened his work to “Twenty-first century engravings…subtle confederacies glimpsed out of the corner of the eye.” The introduction observes: “One of the first things one is bound to notice about the drawings is their remarkable orderliness; they are exemplifications of ideas of order. But the order is extraordinary: it partakes of the realm of dream in which everything is ordered to a different necessity.” Robinson’s poetry and prose was published in many magazines in the UK, USA, Canada, and Europe. In 1969 he founded Oasis Books and Oasis Magazine, publishing over 100 issues.

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Introduction by Robert Vas Dias
1995 ISBN 0 905258 14 2
Paperback, perfect-bound
Co-published with S-Editions
£7.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe) / $13.25
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


The Lascaux Variations
Robert Vas Dias, John Wright, Julia Farrer, Neil Crawford

The Lascaux Variations: Fractals of Being represents the combined effort by four people working in different disciplines - poetry, painting, text integration and design, and typography - to find a book format that reflects and recapitulates the concerns of the four-part poem, which explores questions about art and artifice, imagination and reality, line and space, the abstract and the non-objective, the enduring and transitional. The book is thus frankly experimental in concept and execution, harking back to the little collaborative books by the Russian Futurists of the early 19th century in which text and image were closely correlated, sometimes with text appearing as integral elements of the image itself, as happens in this book.

Both poet and artist had been inspired by separate visits to the paleolithic friezes of the Lascaux caves. Starting with early notes and drafts of the poem and with preliminary sketches by the artist John Wright, the project unfolded over a year, culminating in the finished poem and sixteen pastel-and-charcoal semi-abstract drawings by Wright. The painter-printmaker Julia Farrer then integrated words, phrases and sentences from the poem into scans of the images, which were then subjected to final typographical realisation by Neil Crawford, the professional typographer. After the total design was approved by both artists and the writer, the pages were printed by colour lithography and assembled loose-leaf in a pocket portfolio.

This is the poem’s first appearance in book form after its initial publication in The Warwick Review in the spring of 2009.

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2009 ISBN 978 0 905258 23 2
Loose-leaf in a portfolio, 22 x 15 cms
Edition of 150 numbered copies
£9.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.

Special numbered and signed edition of 25 copies
With large colour iris inkjet print on art paper
£45 + £6 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Leaping Down to Earth
Robert Vas Dias
Images by Stephen Chambers and Tom Hammick

Leaping Down to Earth is a response in poetry to twelve pictures, six each by the British artists Stephen Chambers and Tom Hammick, all of which are reproduced in colour. The poems are not about art and don’t aim to describe the images, but, as Vas Dias writes in the Preface, “convey what’s on my mind after I’ve lived with the images a while.” The design, in which each poem is printed on a semi-transparent sheet over its accompanying image, displays the integral connection between poem and image and yet allows each work to stand on its own. Leaping Down to Earth, writes Lee Harwood, “is a collection of poems that are some of the best Vas Dias has ever written. There’s a wit and liveliness to them that often makes me laugh out loud. But also more serious and moving threads weave through these poems. They can be sexy and funny and also include a subtle understanding of the complexities and struggles in human relationships.” Nicholas Usherwood writes in Galleries: “The call and response between the three of them is edgy, witty and often extremely touching, making this one of the most genuinely satisfying collaborations of its kind I’ve come across.”

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Paperback, perfect-bound
2008 ISBN 978 0 905258 21 8
Co-published with Pratt Contemporary Art
£11.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.

Special Edition: 25 copies hardbound in slipcase with an original print made specially for the book by each artist, numbered and signed.
ISBN 978 0 905258 22 5
£600 + £6 p&p (UK & Europe) / $1,000
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Body-Part Word Sonnets
Using Expressions, Idioms, and Clichés

Robert Vas Dias

Poems printed on Japan mounted in folders containing two poems each, hand-bound in antique and contemporary marbled papers.

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Edition of ten numbered and signed copies
Complete set of 5 folders £25 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
(a few remain)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Red Car Blues
Robert Vas Dias

Poem, with original images digitally realised from a photograph by the author, printed on Somerset acid-free paper on a six-colour inkjet using pigmented inks, bound by hand as an accordion-fold book. Produced at Pratt Contemporary Art, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent.

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Edition of 75 numbered and signed copies
£14.95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Select Things
Robert Vas Dias

Original cover drawing by Patrick Caulfield for the poem 'Plastic Potters Melamine Plate'.

Edition of 750
2001, No. 56 in the Chaplet Series
Backwoods Broadsides, Ellsworth, Maine
£4 + 75p p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


The Guts of Shadows
Robert Vas Dias
Images by John Wright

Sixteen poems by Robert Vas Dias and fourteen images by the British artist John Wright. Each image and facing poem is printed in an individual folder on a six-colour inkjet using pigmented inks on Somerset Velvet Enhanced 255 GSM, each folder gathered and hand-bound in G F Smith Colourplan 350 GSM. Printed and bound by Pratt Contemporary Art, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent. Exhibited at the London Artists Book Fair 2003, 2004, 2005.

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Edition of 100 numbered copies signed by author and artist
£95 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.
Co-published with Art First Contemporary Art, London

Special edition of 50 numbered and signed copies in a slipcase, accompanied by an original digital and ten-colour screenprint and collograph, printed on Hahneműhle ‘William Turner’ 310 GSM at Pratt Contemporary Art.
Co-published with Art First Contemporary Art, London
£295 + £6 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


White on White
Robert Vas Dias
Original print by Ian Tyson

Poem by Robert Vas Dias realised by Ian Tyson with a four-colour original silkscreen print on heavy paper.

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Edition of 150 copies numbered and signed by author and artist
Published as Surimono 4 by and Permanent Press
Printed by Eric Linard Editions, La Garde Adhemar, France
£25 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


A Concise History of Chaos:
Fremontodendron Californicum and the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny
Robert Vas Dias

A Concise History of Chaos is a composition for two voices reflecting the two kinds of text in it: a poem sequence which functions as pictorial description and narrative, and boxes containing informational prose reminiscent of the panels mounted on museum walls ‘explaining’ or giving background information; this voice is reproduced by typographical means to suggest nineteenth-century cards and advertisements and reflects, on the one hand, the eponymous hero of the texts, General John C. Frémont, a colourful explorer, adventurer, botanist, and failed politician and military leader who was associated with America’s expansionist policy of Manifest Destiny, and on the other, the flowering bush Fremontodendron californicum. The writing is otherwise a depiction of a garden in twenty-first century London.

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2007 ISBN 978 0 905258 20 1
Paperback, saddle-stitched
£3.50 + £1.75 p&p (UK & Europe)
For postage outside UK & Europe, please contact Permanent Press.


Archive Titles – A Few Limited-Edition Copies
Available in Complete Sets Only.
Price on request.

These are special limited-edition copies set aside for the Permanent Press archive. Most earlier titles are out-of-print as single copies. Most have been numbered and signed and many are printed on heavier paper and heavy card; the Paul Blackburn title is hardbound. The following list, in order of publication, comprises the full set.

Jackson Mac Low, 36th Light Poem in Memoriam Buster Keaton

Edward Dorn and Jennifer Dunbar, Manchester Square

Armand Schwerner, This Practice: Tablet XIX & Other Poems

Elaine Randell, Early in My Life

Nathaniel Tarn and Janet Rodney, From: Alashka – The Ground of Our Great Admiration of Nature

Toby Olson, The Florence Poems

Jonathan Griffin, Outsing the Howling

Paul Blackburn, Against the Silences

Clarence Major, Inside Diameter: The France Poems

Kelvin Corcoran, Robin Hood in the Dark Ages

Douglas Gunn, and working

Ralph Hawkins, Flecks

Ian Robinson, The Glacier in the Cupboard: Drawings

Robert Vas Dias, White on White

Robert Vas Dias, Body-Part Word Sonnets

Robert Vas Dias, The Guts of Shadows

Robert Vas Dias, Red Car Blues

Robert Vas Dias, A Concise History of Chaos

Robert Vas Dias, Leaping Down to Earth