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on reprinting b/w: from one bohemian to another …

by Royston Murphy

Waterloo Press expresses thanks to our friend Royston Murphy for generously part-funding the reprint of b/w (2010) by the late Niall McDevitt. The last few copies we had of b/w sold out in the wake of Niall’s tragic premature death in September this year and the reprint is the first in our new ‘Adopt a Book’ scheme. Book Adopters are invited to dedicate the reprint to a person of their choice, and, as Royston has done so movingly here, to write a blog post for us, explaining their personal connection to the volume.

Don’t Google the London Consortium ‒ you’ll get a furniture shop. It was the ICA, Tate, and the Architectural Association through Birkbeck. The poets and artists you met forced you into London Bohemia, even against your will. Like numerous elements of that London, for me focused on Hackney and its pleasures, it is now gone. Another loss was explained to me by Naomi Foyle, bastion of occult bohemianism in Brighton.

I didn’t know Niall, but I understand grief. My younger sister, Cordelia Murphy, had died of a similar cancer a few months earlier. Naomi and I danced and drank and ate, as you do at such times. She suggested that I part fund the reprint of b/w, which I was happy to do.

The London Consortium produces couples, and in at least one case I know of, a genetic legacy. Over raclette with their kids in Brixton Village, I explained what I was doing with Naomi and this book. Lina thought it was a lovely way to remember Cordi. “Niall’s dead? That’s terrible…” said Matty. It turns out that he went with Lee Scrivener (any relation to Bartleby?), also of the Consortium, to Glasgow and played guitar with Niall.

People’s lives spread like melted cheese on potatoes … Knowing Naomi’s love of these two key ingredients, I had bought her a raclette machine powered by tealights last time I visited her in Brighton. She supplied some Albert Bartlett Apache specials; I supplied the good cheese. I remember eating raclette with my sister. Or was it poutine? No matter. The Irish and their potatoes.

Cordi’s death raised tributes and memories from Brighton’s squatting scene, a place she left 25 years ago, to Hampshire, from Jess, a friend from art school who told the story of a letter she received from Cordi that consisted of a sock with the message sewn into it. Friends and lovers from her various incarnations, from her fairy dread persona, burlesque dancer and 1950s pin up, and lately urbanite Nottingham jewellery maker. Travel companions from India, Thailand, South America and Europe. She got around, always looking great.

Like good food and wine in good company, the bohemian brings pleasure to a table, leaving memories. Neither Cordi nor Niall wanted to leave the raclette bar. They hadn’t finished. For Cordi, we had a party at her outdoor burial place, dressed in many colours, then repeated it at Beacon Hill, site of Britain’s oldest rock formations. I have seen the wakes, the requiems, the keening and kenning for Niall. Let us continue the bacchanal in their names.

Cancer’s a bastard, the good liver’s nemesis, a carrion crow at the fondue. Potato eating bohemians, whether starving in their garrets, empty but for paper memories, or satiated in their favourite pub, are one of its prime targets. Poetry or jewellery, guided tours or burlesque dance, the city is whatever map you chose to draw from its raw materials. To London, to Brighton and, perhaps surprisingly, Loughborough for the visionaries, flaneurs, nihilists and bohos. To Cordi, Niall and Naomi. To those gone and those left. See you in the French House.

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Niall McDevitt (1967-2022): In Eternity’s Sunrise

Niall McDevitt by Max Crow Reeves

Waterloo Press grieves the loss of Niall McDevitt, the mercurial Irish-born poet, musician, Blakean scholar and literary psychogeographical tour guide, whose debut collection b/w we were proud to publish in 2010. Sensual, percussive, formally inventive and fiercely political, Niall’s poetry was steeped in influences from Yeats to the Beats, Rimbaud to Derek Jarman, Abrahamic sacred texts to Tory outrages, London’s back streets and council estates to extensive travels in Europe and Israel-Palestine. From this rich melange emerged an idio-syncretic vision of time and space, an urgent cosmic poetics Niall called ‘Urban Sha-manic’, poems to be read ‘with drum’. Faithful to the visions of his guiding spirit, William Blake, his work excavates the psychosphere of late-capitalist globalisation from the perspective of an artist, social critic, lover and wanderer in London: a city Niall summoned as ‘Lud Dun’ – stronghold of the Celtic solar deity Lud – or Leun’deun, in a Rimbaudian drawl.

Renowned for his guided ‘poetopographical’ tours of the capital, Niall extolled underappreciated London treasures such as the Cocteau murals in Notre Dame de France off Leicester Square, where b/w was launched, and the Kensington road he called ‘The Golden Mile of Modernism’. He also ventured regularly to West Sussex to read and perform at BlakeFest in Felpham, where William and Catherine Blake lived for three years. There, having cut his acting chops in the experimental theatre of Ken Campbell and John Crow, Niall, bodhran in hand, would play his part in invigorating the streets of sleepy Felpham with a rousing reenactment of Blake’s famous tussle with the drunk soldier John Schofield.

Although determinedly at odds with the mainstream – a passionate republican, dismissive of academia and polite poetry societies – Niall was no stranger to fame. Winner of BBC Radio 3’s The Verb ‘Urban Poetry Competition/ 2005, for his poem ‘Off Duty’, he also garnered accolades from illustrious figures including Patti Smith, John Cooper Clarke, Heathcote Williams and Jeremy Reed. Alongside his accomplishments in the fields of radio, theatre, music and film, stand significant literary publications including the poetry collections Porterloo (International Times, 2013) and Firing Slits: Jerusalem Colportage (New River Press, 2016); a manifesto on his poetics in the anthology Urban Shamanism (outsiderpoets, 2016); poems in the three Caparison anti-austerity anthologies – Emergency Verse (2011), The Robin Hood Book (2012) and The Brown Envelope Book (2021); poetry and critical prose in The London Magazine; and reflections on Blake for the BBC website. His magnum opus, LONDON NATION (New River Press), a Four Quartets for the accelerationist age, will be launched shortly at the Irish Culture Centre in Hammersmith, where he was Poet in Residence for many years. Niall’s talent knew no geographical boundaries either: his international appearances included busking through Europe, a New River Press reading at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, and a reading at the Babylon International Festival for Cultures and Arts, in Iraq.

All who knew him will testify that Niall McDevitt was a rare spirit: prodigously gifted, passionate, charming and modest, he was motivated not by personal gain, but a potent blend of awe at the sacred mysteries of life, anger at injustice and corporatization, and a profound sense of the writer’s responsibility to speak holy truths to power. A maverick bard of the city, with his convivial outdoor readings, he brought poetry, music and theatre to the streets of London, just as much as he brought the vitality and pain of those streets into his work. As an activist he successfully campaigned to save the Rimbaud-Verlaine House in London and against overdevelopment near Bunhill Fields, where the Blakes and Daniel Defoe are buried. An internationalist, he translated the imprisoned Burmese poet Saw Wai, and fought for his release, and well understood Britain’s role in creating the conflict in Israel-Palestine. He will be sorely missed by many as a ‘Champion of Bohemia’, who, with his wit, style, warmth and generous time for others, energised a neo-Romantic movement one might call metamodern in its oscillations between cultures, politics and art.

We at Waterloo Press are honoured to have published Niall McDevitt, and blessed to have called him our friend. His is a fathomless loss. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to Niall’s partner, the artist Julie Goldsmith, her son, his family, and all his loved ones.


Off Duty

The stone paths are soft as carpets.
The sky is two purple curtains.
The night is surrounded by towers.
A dunken man with a black-blue wounded face
is clinging to a silver lamp-post
shining as the blade of a giant bread-knife.
At once I am suspicious. 
I suspect him of suffering in public.
He groans as if to confirm the issue.
I memorise his despair. 
It is very scenic and the moon is out:
a lightbulb in a white paper sphere.
This is an evening for leniency and a light hand
and thus
                            as an off-duty
                            or irrational
                            or invisible

I patrol the soft paths and bed-like benches
interfering with no one. 


pink light of the pink lanterns
pink dreamachines of winter

purple-blue illumined bulbs
ink-flight mind of cherubs

spinning white into hypnosis
racemes infused with gnoses

bells symmterical and graphic
ring lyrical and orphic

pink light of the pink lanterns

spring switches off and on
the flickering squills of song

inspiriting bowing vanishing
incense with earth commingling

pink dreamachines of winter

[Author’s note: the dreamachine was invented by Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville, a cylinder with slits cut into it, a light-bulb inside it, spinning on a turntable, an artwork to be viewed with eyes closed.]

Cover of b/w by Niall McDevitt. Image is a collage depicting the stylised black silhouette of a headless and armless torso, in a gold vessel on a night river with gold lights in the background.
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WP seeks Freelance Literary Marketers

In preparation for the launch of our new Cooperative Publishing Model, Waterloo Press is aiming to build up a bank of experienced literary marketers: people who can read a book of poetry or fiction and discuss it with enthusiasm and insight; who can engage in a friendly and professional manner with the writer, and with their help promote the book on social media and to literary journals and wider cultural networks. We therefore seek CVs from experienced literary marketers; and a covering letter to address the following points:

~ your experience at using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
~ any other social media platforms you use
~ your literary contacts, including festivals
~ evidence of past success
~ any particular target markets/demographics
~ testimonials from previous clients
~ a quote for your services, including time frame

We understand that different marketers have different strengths, and the idea is to place our writers with the most suitable person for their book. The marketer would have access to WP social media platforms – currently we use Facebook, but we would open up Instagram and Twitter to marketers.

If this is you, please get in touch. And do spread the word! We can be reached at

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SALE! WP announces …


Until midnight Dec 19th, all book orders on the Waterloo Press website will be eligible for one of the following sales:


With every order worth £10 and over, choose a free title* from the following list:

Armadillo Basket by Helen Buckingham
Micrographia by Robert Dickinson
The Odysseus Poems by Judith Kazantzis
Bright, Dusky, Bright by Eeva-Liisa Manner, translated by Emily Jeremiah
Skying by Steven Matthews
the waltz in my blood by Mario Petrucci
Black Russian by Jeremy Reed
West End Survival Kit by Jeremy Reed
Fifteen Exits by Simon Smith
Gratitude on the Coast of Death by David Swann

With every order of a Waterloo Slim or Winstanley by Simon Jenner (£7- £8), choose a free title from this list:

No Enemy but Time by Naomi Foyle
Conjurer of Nights by Prakash Kona
The Stars Inside by Ayala Kingsley
Waterloo Samplers 5 and 11 by Martin Jack and Lee Wilson

To access the BUY ONE GET ONE FREE sale, please order both titles, then at the checkout use the voucher code:

BOGOF10 (for books)
BOGOF7 (for Waterloo Slims)
BOGOF650 (for the 2 Waterloo Samplers)
You will be charged for the bulk postage, but the sale book/s will be free.


With every order of two titles (minimum total of £20) choose a free book worth up to £12 from our shop.

To access the BUY TWO GET ONE FREE sale, please order all three books, then use the appropriate voucher code at the checkout:

BUTGOF7 (for £7 titles)
BUTGOF8 (for £8 titles)
BUTGOF9 (for £9 titles)
BUTGOF10 (for £10 titles)
BUTGOF12 (for £12 titles)

You will be charged for the bulk postage, but the sale book will be free.

*while stocks last

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS, WP is only posting orders once a week. This is to protect the health of the staff member involved. Thank you for your understanding and patience. If you experience a delay longer than 10 (UK) or 15 (INT’L) working days, please email us at <>. Keep safe and stay well.

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Waterloo Press : Pressing Refresh!

Welcome to the new Waterloo Press blog – and to our stunning new website! Thanks to the generosity of Arts Council England, we’ve spent this last year refreshing our website and revitalising our list. As you can see from our sleek new livery, we’ve even indulged in a little rebranding!  

After much tweaking, debugging and polishing, we are proud to officially unveil the site, designed by the talented and unfailingly good-humoured Diane Wallace. We hope you will agree that our new online home is a joy to behold and a pleasure to navigate.

We are also thrilled to officially launch our new ventures: LIT UP, our ACE-funded mentoring and publishing programme for poets of colour; Waterloo Drama, our growing list of scripts and monologues; and a bevy of other wonderful new titles from UK and international poets.


Featuring the gifted voices of Uzma Ali, Jay Délise, Wajid Hussein, Kev Inn, Arun Jeetoo, Des Mannay, Catherine Okoronkwo, Sea Sharp and Merrie Joy Williams, the LIT UP programme will result in nine collections/pamphlets over the next six months, as well as a host of blogs, videos and live events. Initiated and co-managed by WP Director Simon Jenner, writer, mentor/editor and diversity consultant Monika Akila Richards, WP editors and poets Naomi Foyle and John O’Donoghue, and WP playwright and performance coach Carole Bremson, LIT UP is intended to help us diversify both our list and the British poetry publishing world.

Black Cotton by Sea Sharp and Open Windows by Merrie Joy Williams, the first two LIT UP titles, will be launched on Saturday Nov 30th at the Poetry Cafe in London. Please join us if you can – places can be booked here. Meantime, do check out the VIDEOS page of the website for a taster of the talent on offer!   

Waterloo Drama and Monologues

In 2012 we published the first Waterloo drama. This was director, West End actor and poet Carole Bremson’s A Midsummer Night’s Madness, a brilliant filleting and conflation of Shakespeare’s sylvan scenes with a little help from J. M. Barrie’s happy ending to Hamlet. You’ll have to read it if you didn’t see one of its several productions, or indeed the short film of it too (still available).

But we didn’t want it end there and embarked on more titles. Simon Moorhead’s scripts for Protect and Survive came out in May 2019 (you can find the podcast performances on The Other 1%), and after years of planning, Bruntwood-prize long-lister Jonathan Brown’s renowned The Well Trilogy, produced to huge acclaim from 2011-19.

Though renowned as a poetry publisher, we’re not just refusing to be pigeonholed. There’s a rationale with some of the founder poets being dramatists too. It’s not just Carole Bremson who trained initially as an actor, but Naomi Foyle, whose acclaimed play The Stranger’s Wife featured in the Bush Theatre’s Sixty-Six Books in 2011. Simon Jenner too apart from his frantic theatre reviewing has just written a clutch of plays and radio scripts, three of which feature in Simon Moorhead’s curated volume. Which also features Gareth Strachan, creator of Radio Foreplay, Have a Very Brexit Christmas podcast…. So don’t get us started.

Waterloo aims to provide drama scripts for plays newly-produced together with a few instant classics people have clamoured for, for years. More are forthcoming. Waterloo Drama’s small as yet but we‘re staging huge things in the round.

And a Fleet of Other New Titles!

In our busy harbour of pre-launch activity we’ve also produced four new titles we’re tremendously proud of: Blue Wallpaper by Robert Hamberger, Highly Commended in this year’s Forward Prizes; Each Other, from Seamus Heaney Prize shortlisted poet and memoirist Clare Best; Night Wanderer’s Plea by the internationally renowned Mark A. Murphy; and Broken Voices by David Pollard, which sustains his reputation as a major voice in British letters.

Finally, also noteworthy as we set sail for new horizons, are titles published in the ‘interregnum’ between functioning websites, and not until now available in the Shop: Familial by Philip Ruthen (2018), Gratitude on the Coast of Death by David Swann (2017), No Enemy but Time (2017) by Naomi Foyle, and Disappearance without absence / Desapariencia no engaña (2017), by Néstor Ponce, translated by Max Ubelaker Andrade and published with the support of the Programa SUR. 

So please come pay us a visit, do some Christmas shopping and from now until Dec 24th use the code WATERLOOP19W in the check out area of the shop for a 10% discount on your order.

All in all, we hope you’ll feel we’re living up to our new hero statement (courtesy of our man in marketing, Gareth Strachan):

WATERLOO PRESS: Bound in Beauty ~ Boundless in Poetry