The Pocketry Almanack grew out of a frustration with getting published in Australian literary journals. It's incredibly difficult to get a foot in the door with the major poetry journals as they are already swamped with submissions and the standard is incredibly high.
The idea was to create a new poetry journal for emerging and aspiring poets of any age, background or nationality to submit their work. In order to submit to the journal you need to be unpublished because Pocketry wants to read and promote the voices who aren't being heard, those poets at the start of their careers.
Originally the journal was going to be digital and come out several times a year but somehow it morphed into an irregular print almanack with no fixed publication dates. Not surprising really given the founder of Pocketry, Indrani Perera, is a poet and maker with a passion for bookbinding.
The irregular Pocketry Almanack is a nod to the printed pamphlets of the 1700s and the sci-fi zines of the 1950s. Each issue features poetry from up to six different poets plus original artwork. It is handmade from a single sheet of paper of A4 and fits easily into a pocket.
Only 160 copies of each issue are created. Each contributor receives 20 copies to distribute as they see fit with the publisher retaining 20 copies. The Almanacks are distributed by the poets and artists at open mics, spoken word events, book launches. They are left in libraries and at bus stops for the curious to find and enjoy.
While the format of the Almanack draws its inspiration from the past, the contents come from the imaginations and lives of the authors. Be prepared for a fantastical journey when you open the pages of the Almanack.
Cost: Poet's Price. The almanacks are free or bartered (at the contributor's discretion) for an unusual word, intriguing anecdote or poem.
An almanack is an annual calendar with important data and statistics such as tides and planetary movements. It can also be handbook of important information. The Pocketry Almanack doesn’t quite fit either definition but the word almanack conjures up printing presses and hand distributed leaflets. It’s this tactile world I wanted to re-create with this publication. I suppose we could call the Pocketry Almanack a handbook which contains work from authors engaged in the pastime of poetry. Or just love the word and use it anyway.
The idea for the Pocketry Almanack came from a few different places. In 2019, independent Australian publisher Ginninderra Press started The Crow, a new literary journal for poets in South Australia. If they can do it, so can I! The Kickstarter for Fiddler’s Green: A Peculiar Parish Magazine #7 was posted on Instagram by @ninthwavedeisgns. Sadly I didn't get to back it in time but I loved the fiddler's fare and tweaked it for the Almanack. The What Editors Want podcast interview with Tony White of Piece of Paper Press inspired the one page format of the pamphlet. How To Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book by Esther K. Smith, the artistic director of Purgatory Pie Press, taught me how to make an instant book from a sheet of A4 paper. The word almanack came from the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett but I only looked up the definition after I'd created the web site and it was too late to change it (not that I really wanted to anyway). The elaborate and fanciful language was inspired by Russell who for many years was the MC of the Canberra Repertory's Old Time Musical Hall.
The Pocketry Almanack draws inspiration from many sources including but not limited to: drinking tea in fine bone china cups with roses painted on them; sitting in an overstuffed, red leather armchair while reading books in a wood panelled study; sitting next to the coachman as they drive a team of horses along the cobbled streets and lamplighters doing their rounds as dusk begins to fall.