Saturday, 6 August 2016

'A Mermaid in the Bath'—a new novel by Milton Marmalade

'A Mermaid in the Bath' front cover design
A mermaid turns up in your bath, without explanation or warning—what do you do? It's almost as disruptive as the search for Truth (or worse) finding it. To complicate matters further, Lionel falls in love with her just before she disappears into the clutches of the evil Dr Squidtentacles.

This is a ripping yarn with some very slow car chases involving a Morris Minor and a slow ping-pong duel Matrix-style, not to mention (but I will anyway) a Greek chorus of Cornish villagers and a description of the mythical St Doris Island and what took place there in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Between chapters of adventure not a lot more absurd than real life are philosophical ponderings by Professor Neville Twistytrouser of St Doris College, Oxford together with testy rebuttals by Professor Alphonse Pince-Nez of the department of Saltimbanques de Mer at the Sorbonne, not to mention (but I have, haven't I?) the fully justified complaints of Milton Marmalade's exotic Welsh secretary, Myfanwy.

Publication date: 31st August 2016. You can pre-order from or or for that matter or now.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

'All and Everything in Diagrams' by Mohan Vaishnav

Other business has kept me away from this blog, but Narrow Gate Press is still here!
I am very remiss not to have told you about Mohan Vaishnav's book, All and Everything in Diagrams ( link), which has been out for a little while and is proving very popular. 

This book started out as a series of diagrams intended to link the ideas of the Fourth Way (particularly the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) with Hindu philosophy. I suggested to Mohan that he add some explanatory text, and the book grew into what it is now—a thorough walk-through of esoteric ideas from the immediately practical to a scale far beyond at least my ordinary understanding. 

Here is the link to Mohan's book. The book is also theoretically available in India but there have been problems in practice. If enough people request it in India then no doubt Amazon will deliver.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Treasured Chests by Sharon Gordon - Kindle edition now available

The Kindle edition of Sharon Gordon's Treasured Chests is now available! If you were holding off buying because you didn't want people to see you reading a book with a breast on the cover (despite the honoured place of breasts in high art for millennia) you can now download it to your Kindle and enjoy the poetry and images safe from the censorious gaze of Mrs Grundy.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Treasured Chests - Kindle edition

The Kindle edition of Sharon Gordon's Treasured Chests is in an advanced state of preparation.
from Treasured Chests

We could publish it now, except that Sharon is insistent that the design be as perfect as the medium allows. There is a subtle issue with the thin black margins on the left of the photographs disappearing - some quirk of the Kindle software which we haven't got to the bottom of.

Too many eBooks look as though they've been hastily converted from Word files with no proofing or editing. This is not how we work at Narrow Gate.

I think the whole design of eBooks needs to be reconsidered. When the first cars were made they looked like carriages without horses. It took a while for designers to realise that a car can be a whole lot of other, better shapes.

One example: designers spend a long time over book covers. When the cover is a work of art, the beginning of an eBook should not be the first page of text - the first page should be the cover. Opening a book is an adventure into the world of the author and it is a mistake to miss the true beginning.

More news soon.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A piece of the maine?

The title of this poem from David Henschel's Heres and Nows is taken from John Donne's No man is an Iland:

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

- Meditation 17, John Donne (1572-1631)

All who attempt to write, or to create anything, and write from the heart, make themselves vulnerable to those who will see only the flaws and miss the essence. For if something is created from the heart, no matter how clumsily, it will have value.

A piece of the maine?

Go to another man and show him –
“This I've just written, tell me what you think.”
He'll say “Oh yes, how nice” and take the scrip
To use the eyes and hide the doubtful lip.

Why should he otherwise?
Whose many headed self preoccupies
His secret entrances,
Whose thoughts’ continual tide
I have attempted to divide
And march my feelings like an exiled band
Into communion’s promised land.

- David Henschel

Thursday, 22 December 2011

What quest or rest?

Christmas is a jolly time, you might think not the ideal time for posting a more disturbing poem.

But think about it: our northern world has settled Christmas - the birth of a new beginning - at the very darkest time of year. This is for a reason. Old things must perish in winter's frost for spring to be possible. We cannot profitably drag the old into the New Year and expect everything to improve of itself.

We cannot sail home without work and a map, or think that a rudderless boat could reach the shore. Now is the time to leave behind what doesn't work, to study, find or make a map, and begin.

This poem opens but does not close questions about who we are and what we think we are doing in this the only life and moment we have.

Looking for a poem from David Henschel's Heres and Nows to suit the mood for the ending of a year, I was first going to post The Blackbird, as being one of David's most beautiful poems.

But I find I've posted it before. Of course you're welcome to read it again - poems grow by being revisited.

Here is What quest or rest?

You are adrift. – I tell you
You are adrift and do not know it.

– Towards what bourne then are you going
In this no longer rimmed confusion?
Do you have lodestone, compass, map
Recognise stars to steer by?
What do you do when winds
Pull every which way whirling thoughts –
Let down your anchors? What anchors
Have you, engines, oars in case of breakdown
Lifeboats do you carry? Indeed
What flag or flags do you sail under –
Only old bones’ anarchy and ending?

Let us change metaphors.
Unwrap your layers like Peer Gynt’s onion.
– What heart have you that is really you?
At any given moment, stop! – say this I am
And hear your thoughts clash swords
While all your civil wars break out like eczema;
Then raddle up your brow
To perceive battles’ end the morrow
Beyond tomorrow
When your spirit and your circumstances
Sign the grand peace.

Come then to the green table.
Leave seas and wars, turn lawyer, diplomat
Bargain the terms on which you will
Be what you become
(Rubbing your wants like shoulders on the bars
Of what you cannot do –
Upon what terms do caged beasts sign truce?).

Yet if they could I could you could
What choice between the warring selves
Would satisfy one’s soul
Quell ferment, light up firmament
And in what quest or rest bring peace?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Treasured Chests

Sharon Gordon's beautiful photographs
matched with poems old and new.
This is our second book! Beautiful photographs by Sharon Gordon of the nude female form.

The photographs are matched with poems, some well known and ancient, from Chaucer through Shakespeare to Whitman, one from the late Beat poet John Esam (a beautiful man whom I knew personally), and some new poems by unknown and previously unpublished poets.

This is a project that Sharon started way back in 2001. No-one would publish it, although I am told one company who rejected it then came up with their own version of Sharon's idea shortly afterwards. Anyway Sharon put her photographs in a drawer and forgot about it. Then she saw 'Heres and Nows' and realised we could go it alone without the hassle of using a big publishing house.

So much time having gone by, some of the original models no longer wanted to be in the book. Although we had signed model releases, Sharon never wants to create bad feeling, so she found more friends who were happy to have their beauty recorded.

In one case Sharon even agreed to take a photograph especially to illustrate one of the new poems - actually my own poem on page 52 - thanks Sharon!

The mood of the text varies from high art to humorous.

It is possible to get a hint of the delights within using the 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon. Also I have uploaded some additional images - hover your mouse cursor under the 'Look Inside' image on the top left of the Amazon page.