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Editor’s note My own connection with Carcanet Press began in 1981, when I approached Michael Schmidt with the suggestion that Carcanet re-publish the poems of Edmund Blunden. He said they had been wanting to do so and asked me to make a selection. When I delivered it to him in Manchester, I was enthralled by the nature of the operation in the small Corn Exchange office. Michael forgave me for tripping over a cord and wrenching a plug from the wall,which erased his morning’s typesetting – and in 1982 I joined the firm as a novice sales and marketing understudy, while hankering to be an editor. I worked out of Helen Lefroy’s spare room in London, had a spell at the Corn Exchange when Peter Jones was away in India, and then moved to premises in Southwark when Bob Gavron acquired Carcanet. The Folio Society kindly gave us an office in the corner of their building: my own desk at last, and a phone, and access to all sorts of publishing experience in kind colleagues there… My connection with Carcanet continues, and so does the education in poetry it provides.

Mark Fisher’s 20th anniversary compilation, Letters to an Editor (Carcanet, 1989), proceeded along different lines from the current one, with 328 letters, several from the same writers over the years, no notes, and introductions to each locale – Oxford, Cheadle Hulme, Manchester – of the Press that are shrewdly informative. I was amused to read some of the reactions to the request for permissions to publish those letters, including this one from Patricia Beer (21 January 1989):


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