From suburbia and skyscraper scrawl to the open prairies and 'local color', slum life to rural idyll: reprinting American and British literary classics.

Queen Ithaca Blues
Sarah Gillespie


Sarah Gillespie is the most original singer/songwriter in the UK at the moment; her four albums have received widespread critical acclaim and much radio airplay in the UK and on public radio in America. She combines demotic, raw beat poetry lyric with a wacky and individual musical style that nods to jazz and to folk. Her poetry bristles with brio.

“Dipped in song, these are dizzying poems in which lovers are skyscrapers and words walk on wires between them. Bright with horror and stricken with laughter, Sarah Gillespie’s lyrical collection lives in the extremities, dealing with loss, vertigo and joy.” – Caroline Bird

C format paperback, card wrapper, 68pp
ISBN 978 0 9930763 9 8
cover design by Alexander Walker


SARAH GILLESPIE was born in London to an American mother and English father, her childhood in Norfolk was interspersed with many extended visits to Minnesota. She moved to the USA. when only eighteen, busked, returned later to the UK, then obtained a first class degree and an MA in Politics and Philosophy at Goldsmith’s University. She is now one of the very best singer / songwriters in the UK (certainly the most original), and has recorded three studio albums that have received widespread critical acclaim and much radio airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3, also on public radio in America. She combines demotic, raw beat poetry lyric with a wacky and individual musical style that nods to jazz and to folk. Sarah tours often in Europe and the United Sates. She has been a guest on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Loose Ends, and has been interviewed by Andrew Marr on Start the Week.

As with her lyrics, Sarah’s poetry bristles with brio. Her poetry is often an integral part of the music, and she recites Ginsberg style with a jazz backing, a call and response that is always a dynamic experience. The one-night stand aspect of the performance poet is there, but her poetry offers love and affection, for if the impressions is throwaway yet relishes the lingering and tender phrase. It shapes delinquency as disquisition, makes hyperbole look commonplace, and it bolts urbanity to the transient. Caroline Bird describes Sarah’s poetry as “bright with horror and stricken with laughter,” and that gets it just right. This is the stuff of real life. It can leave you gently concussed as though smitten about the head with a feather boa; at the same time it has antidotal force to be medicinal, enough to cure life’s migraine. It wasn’t Sarah that rhymed ‘Rimsky-Korsakov’ with ‘rip me corsets off’, but there is such urgency and cultured swank about her poetry that it could have been. She’s so talented that if you give her a bucket of cement and a pickaxe, I know she’d fashion a Bernini: I’m gobsmacked always by how vivid and effervescent her thinking is. To publish this with her is such worthwhile fun, is like the feeling you got when you bunked off school to do something proper.

Visit Sarah’s website for details of her band’s performances.

Music reviews

”Bob Dylan’s lyrical bite and languid delivery to the forthrightness of Joni Mitchell, with a little rap-like percussiveness thrown in, she is an original.” – John Fordham, The Guardian

“Beat poet adventurer strays beyond bounds of singer songwriter.” ★★★★ – MOJO

“Humorous impressionistic lyrics oscillate between the intimate and the infinite.” ★★★★★ – The Independent

“Is she the new Joni Mitchell? PJ Harvey? Bob Dylan even? …Gillespie’s spiky lyrical gift is utterly distinctive.” – Metro

“Brilliant. The bee’s knees.” – Robert Wyatt


Public Prosecution

You wouldn’t know love
if wild horses pulverised your sinoatrial node
into hallucinogenic stardust,
poured it from a diamanté spoon into the mouth
of Aphrodite and broadcast
the whole event live on Smooth FM

You wouldn’t know remorse
if it chewed your earlobes in an orange room packed
with unpacked suitcases, shredded litigation
transcripts and the autobiography of Judas Iscariot
serialised on a distorted tannoy
next to your bed of nails

You wouldn’t know respect
if Otis Redding was your gardener

You wouldn’t know joy
if a convoy of hot air balloons
swept you across the solar system
and dropped you on a moonlit port
in time to sling champagne bottles against a ship
carrying sherbet to the Benny Goodman Orchestra

You wouldn’t know longing
if 16 orphans stitched you into a corset of viola strings
and plucked you in E minor

You wouldn’t know I miss you
if the mere mention of your name
slapped me with airbags triggered
by an impact sensor
that is impossible to switch off



Ever since I moved in here
I’ve had to put up with your handbag
spilling its guts out across the living
room floor. Jesus Christ the way you pour salt
over everything you eat and most of what you say
and leave your lethal shoes in doorways
strategically designed to abuse me
along with that monstrous hairdryer
its rampant leads mating in broad daylight
with my innocent phone charger

Oh to take a bath without reclining
in the seaweed of your hair, its tentacles
accosting me everywhere from pillows, pockets,
saucepans. It’s a miracle
to me you’re not completely bald
and then there’s the washing machine
full of stale, neglected clothes
you forgot you even owned
I should have known this
all those years ago
when I first saw you in SE 20
pounding the table laughing
at one of your own jokes