Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times

A little under 18 months ago we published our first Ossett Observer book ‘Cigarettes, Beer and Love’ by poet Ralph Dartford. Of all the projects we have undertaken here at Ossett Observer, the ones closest to our hearts are the ones most closely related to writing, printing and publishing because it was those skills/crafts that inspired us to re-imagine Ossett Observer as an arts organisation for our town.

‘Cigarettes, Beer and Love’ is a beautiful thing and to our complete joy it has SOLD OUT!! If you managed to get one of only 265 copies made then you are very lucky indeed.’

The success of that first publication inspired us to want to do more and to that end we forged a partnership with the tremendous band of brothers and sisters that is ‘A Firm Of Poets’ and decided to make our second publication. This time we established ourselves formally as a small press, got ourselves registered and some ISBN numbers and lo, here it is ‘Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times’ showcasing the work of five extraordinary poets, Matt Abbott, Ralph Dartford, Matthew Hedley Stoppard, John Darwin and Genevieve L Walsh.


The book was made with our long time collaborators,

Tony Shephard, Graphic Designer and Artist Extraordinaire at Shephard Creative

Nick Loaring, Ink and Paper Guru at The Print Project,

Roger Grech, he of the steely fingers at PaperCut Bindery,

Emma King, for her attention to detail  and care in editing the book.

David Stead at Leeds Graphic Press, who holds our hand through the scary bits.

and Jacqui Wicks at Ossett Observer who project manages all our publications.

Launched as part of Wakefield Lit Fest on  September 26th in the beautiful surroundings of Wakefield Chantry Chapel, the book has been an immediate success. We’ve had terrific feedback and reviews from some poetic luminaries.

“These are poems that stop traffic, consider themselves ruined, pump blood, throw out all the love songs and write them from scratch. They are ‘brave as a robin in hail’, full of words that will ‘hold / you through / the hard times.’ Dive in.” Helen Mort

“This is proper, visceral stuff about real life. Poetry for the rest of us. Long live The Firm.” Luke Wright

“this is a fucking brilliant collection of poems and i don’t do flattery” Mike Garry

‘These books are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside’ Ian McMillan

You can buy your own copy HERE from out ETSY SHOP.

If you’re undecided, you can watch Nicholas Singleton’s beautiful film about A Firm Of Poets ‘Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times’. A Love Story.

Thank you so very much for supporting all our projects.


Many thanks to Richard Stanley of Portrait Sideshow for his beautiful photograph of A Firm Of Poets.

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