The Callum MacDonald Memorial Award (CMMA) is for the publisher of an outstanding example of pamphlet poetry published during the previous year. Established in 2001 in memory of Scottish publisher Callum Macdonald, this award was created to encourage, recognise and reward the publication of poetry in pamphlet form. In rewarding the publisher of an outstanding example of pamphlet poetry published during the previous year, rather than a poet, it is a unique award in Scotland. Entries are judged both on the aesthetic design and craft of the publication as well as the quality of the writing. This year for the first time, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Saltire Society partnered to run the Award.
The judges were very impressed with the standard of pamphlets submitted and pleased that the CMMA had generated such interest. It proves that there is a healthy ecosystem of pamphlet publishing and many publishers who are willing to experiment with the form. It’s sometimes seen as a step on the way to the full collection but there were a number of pieces here that demonstrated the value of the art-object itself.
Red Squirrel, Jukebox Jeopardy (Brian Johnstone)
- The judges were impressed with the concept from start to finish, demonstrating innovation and experimentation in the pamphlet form. This example is an attractive object in itself, with a particular attention paid to small details. The judges commented that this is a publisher responding to the specific demands of presenting a poets’ project with verve and a fresh approach.
Buy a copy of the Jukebox Jeopardy from the SPL here.
Tapsalteerie, Glisk (Sarah Stewart) and An Offering (Stewart Sanderson)
- Taken together, the judges were struck by this publisher’s ability to vary their output, presenting two different pamphlet formats depending on each poet’s signature work. Glisk was seen as an ideal pocket-size pamphlet, attractive to customers and readers but of such a high-quality typesetting and design that the relationship between form and poetic content was well matched. An Offering demonstrated this relationship as well; the judges commented on the ‘atmosphere’ created by cover art and typesetting working in harmony with the quality of the poetry between its pages. All mentioned that this was a relatively new pamphlet press that was one to watch for forthcoming work.
Essence Press, zenscotlit (Alan Spence)
- The judges were captivated with the aesthetic choices made in the design of this pamphlet. The haiku form demands a similarly pared-down format and this hand-sewn booklet from high-quality tactile paper-stock with minimalist page design is a beautiful book-object. However minimalist, it avoids austerity; the poems themselves have an unmistakable Scottish playfulness that offsets any hint of cool distance.
Bitter Melon Press, Wedding Beasts (Jay G Ying)
- All of the judges were impressed with the artistry of this pamphlet’s design, commenting that its detailing draws a reader in to the poetry. Bitter Melon’s focus on publishing work by poets from the Asian diaspora through beautifully produced, limited-edition risograph-printed pamphlets is a fresh and much-needed approach to advertise and value poets’ voices.
Polygon, Polygon New Poets: Iona Lee (Iona Lee)
- Here, the judges made special mention of the clever and contemporary design with excellent attention to typesetting – the use of white space and margins, choice of font – coupled with some wonderful poems. This is an excellent example of presenting a new poet to the world in a valued form.