‘Portrait of the Poet as a Vase of Paper Flowers’ by Mark Burnhope

Portrait of the Poet as a Vase of Paper Flowers

Within seconds of being
inside that Oxonian book shop
he became a portrait: Poet
as a Vase of Paper Flowers,
Hydra with a discarded stanza
wrapped around each head-held-high,
not flailing, knowing her time

is nigh. Alas, he wasn’t privy
to the transformation
at the time — hidden behind
the textual foliage, arms crossed
like threads in a metaphysical conceit
(about Satan the Serpent, or summat,
coiled in the compartments of a bento).

But the camera
still clicked, the flower buds
still stood to attention
and their letters, words, lines
and forms bloomed
in the absence of even a bee,
among so many bookworms.

Mark Burnhope

Interview 2: Interview with Lee Smith

Lee Smith

In the second interview, questions from Claire Trevien, Mark Burnhope and Adrian Slatcher have been asked of Lee Smith, whose collection “Away from the City” was No.1 in the Salt Modern Voices series. Growing out of an exhibition of photography and poetry, the collection explores not just connections between written and visual arts, and also the two cities, Melbourne and Cambridge, where he has lived, and where the poems were written.

Read the interview on Adrian’s blog here.

Video from our first Salt Modern Voices reading

Here is a short video of our first Salt Modern Voices reading. It took place on 21 July at Culture Rapide in Paris and was followed by the weekly Blues jam. JT Welsch and Claire Trevien read from their pamphlets. Hopefully this gives you a taster of the evening!

Claire Trevien reading

JT Welsch reading

SMV Profile: Robert Graham, A Man Walks Into A Kitchen

In mid-60s Belfast, Eddie Francey is a young comedian trying to get a break. He wonders if he has what it takes, but he has responsibilities: a wife and young son. This is the point when an explosive passion for another woman, who could not be more off-limits, overtakes him. The last thing he needs at the moment is to fall for the last woman on earth he ought to fall for.

Robert Graham is the co-author, with Keith Baty, of Elvis – The Novel (The Do-Not Press, 1997). His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies and on Radio 4. His first novel, Holy Joe, was published by Troubador in 2006.  Salt published his short story collection, The Only Living Boy, in July 2009 and his chapbook, A Man Walks Into A Kitchen, in 2011. He teaches Creative Writing at MMU’s Cheshire Faculty.

Praise for Holy Joe

‘There are some lovely touches of humour throughout the book and music and film buffs will appreciate the references to iconic classics.  A really entertaining novel.’


‘Robert Graham’s portrayal of a man living through the worst of experiences is witty and incredibly touching.’


‘Funny and tragic all at the same time, wittily and sharply observed, it makes for excellent, entertaining reading.’

UC Magazine

Reading: Claire Trevien and JT Welsch, Paris 21/7/11

To kick off this year’s SMV Tour, JT Welsch and Claire Trevien will be reading from their pamphlets at Culture Rapide in Belleville on 21st July 2011 from 19h30, (followed by a Blues Jam).

Claire’s Low-Tide Lottery and JT’s Orchids are book available now from Salt.

Find this event on Facebook.

SMV Profile: JT Welsch, ‘Orchids’

Orchids springs from the margins of contemporary masculinity. A rich undercurrent of melancholy and desire seethes beneath the cool rhetorical playfulness of these monologues, as anguished speakers face the unfeasibility of confession. Beyond their fantastic flights and metamorphoses, these poems remain most troubled by the everydayness of their melodramas.

“Rapid, surprising and unlikely, J.T. Welsch’s poems spin brilliant variations on the recession, translation, gender studies and war. Strangely and completely convincingly, these subjects are refracted through the love poems which comprise this pamphlet. Hammered out in stanzas which show an inviting formal authority and are a pleasure to read, Orchids re-routes the work of his great St. Louis predecessors for the 21st century.”
– John McAuliffe

Orchids is a distinguished debut: clever but emotional, ingenious but affecting. The poems are a self-sufficient pleasure, and promise very well for the future.”
– Andrew Motion

J.T. Welsch grew up in a small farm town near St. Louis, Missouri, but lives and teaches in Manchester, UK, where he completed a PhD this past year. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbox Manifold, Stand, Boston Review and Manchester Review. Orchids (Salt, 2010) is his first book of poetry. Another pamphlet, Orchestra & Chorus, will be published by Holdfire Press in September 2011.

Find JT on Facebook and Twitter.

Read samples and order Orchids from Salt.


Welcome to the online home of Salt Modern Voices – a brand new series from Salt which aims to deliver short works to new readerships around the world. The first of these ground-breaking poetry and fiction pamphlets were published last year, and the series continues to expand.

To help new readers discover these new and truly modern voices, this site will include information about the authors involved, as well as details about the upcoming Modern Voices Tour, which will include readings across the UK this autumn!

In the meantime, you can find out more about the SMV authors and their pamphlets on the Salt website.