Luke Allan

Luke Allan - Editor Tick

Oxford, UK

Expert editor, copy-editor and editorial consultant specialising in poetry, essays and literary fiction.

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Overview

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I live and work in Oxford, where I run a publishing house and a magazine. Before that I worked as managing editor for Carcanet Press and the poetry magazine PN Review. I'm an experienced developmental and copy editor, with skills across the board from proofreading to book production. I've edited about two hundred published books.

I specialize in poetry, having worked on many award-winning collections. Past authors include Vahni Capildeo, Gillian Clarke, Elaine Feinstein, Ian MacMillan, Sinéad Morrissey, Stanley Moss and Stephen Romer. Books I've worked on have gone on to win the Forward Prize, the Ted Hughes Award, the Costa Prize, the Shine Strong Award, and the Seamus Heaney Prize. As well as poetry I've edited numerous novels, novellas, and collections of essays. Recent prose books include Gabriel Josipovici's novella The Cemetery in Barnes and his collection of essays The Teller and the Tale.

I hold degrees in Literature and Creative Writing from the Universities of East Anglia and Oxford. I've given talks and seminars for students and the public at various universities, including Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oxford. I judged the 2015 Singapore Prize for Poetry and the 2017 PN Review Prize for Poetry and Translation.

My work includes developmental editing, in which I help writers to refine style and structure; editorial commissioning and assessment; and copy-editing/proofreading. I work on poetry, novels, essays and anthologies. I can also handle book production, working with the printer to see books through press.

Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
Anthologies
Literature
Poetry
Short Story
Non-Fiction
Art
Biographies & Memoirs
History
Philosophy

Work experience

Managing Editor

Carcanet Press Ltd
December, 2014 – August, 2018 (over 3 years)

Editing, designing and managing the production of forty books a year, including classics (published under the Fyfield imprint) and contemporary works. Collaborating directly with designers, typesetters, printers and authors. The press specialises in English-language poetry, but publishes a handful of works in translation each year. Books have received the Forward Prize, the Ted Hughes Award, the Seamus Heaney Prize, and the Costa Prize.

Director

Sine Wave Peak
February, 2012 – Present (over 6 years)

Sine Wave Peak was founded in 2012. It's a independent poetry press that publishes roughly ten books a year, specialising in new and experimental writing. It has been described by as 'one of the brightest literary presses operating today' (Aram Saroyan), publishing books that are 'beautiful, both light and deep' (Kathleen Jamie).

Manager

Studio Alec Finlay Ltd
September, 2009 – January, 2015 (over 5 years)

Studio Alec Finlay is an international artist's studio and publisher, incorporating the imprint Morning Star. As studio manager my involved project management of large-scale public artworks, often text-based. Clients included Tate Modern, the National Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and the University of Warwick.

Portfolio (100 selected works)

Commotion of the Birds

John Ashbery

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On Bunyah

Les Murray

one small dent top causing a minor aesthetic defect AKA minor shelf ware

one small dent top causing a minor aesthetic defect AKA minor shelf ware

Waiting for the Past

Les Murray

The clearly-focussed lyrics of Les Murray's Waiting for the Past are rich in topographies and the languages peculiar to them - wonga vines, lyre birds, gum trees, shrike thrushes, tallow boughs, boab trees, the octopus in Wylies Baths killed by sterilising chlorine. With the erasures the modern world brings, words, landscapes and lives descend to the Esperanto of the modern. The poet, with a s... read more

The clearly-focussed lyrics of Les Murray's Waiting for the Past are rich in topographies and the languages peculiar to them - wonga vines, lyre birds, gum trees, shrike thrushes, tallow boughs, boab trees, the octopus in Wylies Baths killed by sterilising chlorine. With the erasures the modern world brings, words, landscapes and lives descend to the Esperanto of the modern. The poet, with a s... read more

The Observances

Kate Miller

Observances

Observances

Muddy River: Selected Poems

Sergey Stratanovsky

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as new unused

Farm by the Shore

Thomas A. Clark

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as new unused

Zoology

Gillian Clarke

Steep Tea

Jee Leong Koh

The poems in Jee Leong Koh's Steep Tea are rich in detail of the worlds he explores and invents as he follows his desire for an unknown other, moving tentatively, passionately, always uncertain of himself. His language is colloquial, musical, aware of the infusion of various traditions and histories. "You go where? / I'm going from the latterly to the litany, from writs to rites." The poems sh... read more

The poems in Jee Leong Koh's Steep Tea are rich in detail of the worlds he explores and invents as he follows his desire for an unknown other, moving tentatively, passionately, always uncertain of himself. His language is colloquial, musical, aware of the infusion of various traditions and histories. "You go where? / I'm going from the latterly to the litany, from writs to rites." The poems sh... read more

Almost Complete Poems

Stanley Moss

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Fast

Jorie Graham

Collected Poems

Dennis O'Driscoll

Smoothie

Claudine Toutoungi

stack

James Davies

A Michael Hamburger Reader

Michael Hamburger

Mexico in My Heart

Willis Barnstone

Willis Barnstone is a literature in himself: poet, translator, interpreter, in one year he can range from Jesus to Sappho and Borges with calm authority and good humour. He re-translates the New Testament in a version Harold Bloom describes as ‘a superb act of restoration'. Borges himself declared, ‘Four of the best things in America are Whitman's Leaves, Melville's Whale, the sonnets of Barns... read more

Willis Barnstone is a literature in himself: poet, translator, interpreter, in one year he can range from Jesus to Sappho and Borges with calm authority and good humour. He re-translates the New Testament in a version Harold Bloom describes as ‘a superb act of restoration'. Borges himself declared, ‘Four of the best things in America are Whitman's Leaves, Melville's Whale, the sonnets of Barns... read more

Set Thy Love in Order: New & Selected Poems

Stephen Romer

Set Thy Love in Order: New & Selected Poems gathers the work of some thirty years, taken from Stephen Romer's four previous collections, along with a substantial selection of new poems. The title is a Dantesque imperative as old as the Trecento: Ordina questo amore, O tu che m ami set thy love in order, o thou who lovest me. Romer's central theme is encapsulated by these words, and his prolong... read more

Set Thy Love in Order: New & Selected Poems gathers the work of some thirty years, taken from Stephen Romer's four previous collections, along with a substantial selection of new poems. The title is a Dantesque imperative as old as the Trecento: Ordina questo amore, O tu che m ami set thy love in order, o thou who lovest me. Romer's central theme is encapsulated by these words, and his prolong... read more

Raking Light

Eric Langley

Measures of Expatriation

Vahni Capildeo

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Poems

Yves Bonnefoy

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Diary of the Last Man

Robert Minhinnick

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Collected Poems

Lorna Goodison

Sarajevo Roses

Rory Waterman

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Poems Without Irony

Alex Wong

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as new unused

Blotter

Oli Hazzard

Cavalcanty

Peter Hughes

Complete Poems

Muriel Spark

In her foreword to All The Poems (2003) Muriel Spark wrote, 'Although most of my life has been devoted to fiction, I have always thought of myself as a poet. I do not write "poetic" prose, but feel that my outlook on life and my perceptions of events are those of a poet.' Including previously uncollected work, this new edition demonstrates her ear for the rightness of a line and her eye for th... read more

In her foreword to All The Poems (2003) Muriel Spark wrote, 'Although most of my life has been devoted to fiction, I have always thought of myself as a poet. I do not write "poetic" prose, but feel that my outlook on life and my perceptions of events are those of a poet.' Including previously uncollected work, this new edition demonstrates her ear for the rightness of a line and her eye for th... read more

Seasonal Disturbances

Karen McCarthy Woolf

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On Balance

Sinead Morrissey

Long Pass

Joey Connolly

Winter Migrants

Tom Pickard

Through

David Herd

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Poems

Alain-Fournier

Moon for Sale

Richard Price

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Chance of a Storm

Rod Mengham

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The World Before Snow

Tim Liardet

World Before Snow

World Before Snow

Keats Lives

Moya Cannon

Moya Cannon's new collection reaches back into the long past, showing how traces left behind - textile fragments, buried thimbles, cave paintings - enable us to make imaginative connections with our distant ancestors, emphasising the commonalities of human lives lived many centuries apart. At the heart of the book is the vital importance of art, as the means by which we give permanence to the ... read more

Moya Cannon's new collection reaches back into the long past, showing how traces left behind - textile fragments, buried thimbles, cave paintings - enable us to make imaginative connections with our distant ancestors, emphasising the commonalities of human lives lived many centuries apart. At the heart of the book is the vital importance of art, as the means by which we give permanence to the ... read more

The Occupant

Jane Draycott

Pandemonium

Thomas McCarthy

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The Number Poems

Matthew Welton

Playing the Octopus

Mary O'Malley

Muddy River: Selected Poems

Sergey Stratanovsky

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as new unused

Herne the Hunter

Peter McDonald

Herne the Hunter is the sixth collection from one of Ireland's most accomplished lyric poets. In this new body of work, Peter McDonald deepens his interest in myth and storytelling through the legend of Herne, a phantom huntsman of English folklore. In McDonald's poetic treatment of the legend, opposing forces are held in tension: body and soul, present and past, possession and desire, death a... read more

Herne the Hunter is the sixth collection from one of Ireland's most accomplished lyric poets. In this new body of work, Peter McDonald deepens his interest in myth and storytelling through the legend of Herne, a phantom huntsman of English folklore. In McDonald's poetic treatment of the legend, opposing forces are held in tension: body and soul, present and past, possession and desire, death a... read more

Skies

Alison Brackenbury

The beauty of the Goucestershire landscape and sky-scape are Alison Brackenbury's commanding theme, her landscapes are historied, the skies always in vivid motion, moving towards elegy. The two World Wars and their poets are present, but also the nearer histories of family, the intimate arrest of older poems. Brackenbury's work has been featured on BBC Radio and she was recently awarded a Chol... read more

The beauty of the Goucestershire landscape and sky-scape are Alison Brackenbury's commanding theme, her landscapes are historied, the skies always in vivid motion, moving towards elegy. The two World Wars and their poets are present, but also the nearer histories of family, the intimate arrest of older poems. Brackenbury's work has been featured on BBC Radio and she was recently awarded a Chol... read more

Spills

Angela Leighton

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as new unused

The Observances

Kate Miller

Observances

Observances

Marrying the Ugly Millionaire: New and Collected Poems

Sophie Hannah

Marrying the Ugly Millionaire

Marrying the Ugly Millionaire

Several Deer

Adam Crothers

Addressing themes of destruction, consumption, misogyny, gods, sex, form, failure and rock n roll, "Several Deer" is the debut collection by a Northern Irish writer as much indebted to Bob Dylan and Lana Del Rey as to Emily Dickinson and George Herbert. The poems many of them sonnets and doomed attempts at clear-eyed love poems are suspicious as to the legitimacy of the big beautiful transcend... read more

Addressing themes of destruction, consumption, misogyny, gods, sex, form, failure and rock n roll, "Several Deer" is the debut collection by a Northern Irish writer as much indebted to Bob Dylan and Lana Del Rey as to Emily Dickinson and George Herbert. The poems many of them sonnets and doomed attempts at clear-eyed love poems are suspicious as to the legitimacy of the big beautiful transcend... read more

New Selected Poems

Shuntaro Tanikawa

New Selected Poems

New Selected Poems

What Must Happen

Jeffrey Wainwright

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A better tale to tell

Alec Finlay

A work of collaged contemporary history - this book-length poem is composed entirely from individuals submissions to the Smith Commission. The text brings out a range of ideas and issues in the guise of rhetorical, personal and quirky voices, juxtaposing contradictory statements.

A work of collaged contemporary history - this book-length poem is composed entirely from individuals submissions to the Smith Commission. The text brings out a range of ideas and issues in the guise of rhetorical, personal and quirky voices, juxtaposing contradictory statements.

the road north

Ken Cockburn, Alec Finlay

the road north is a word-map of Scotland, composed by Alec Finlay & Ken Cockburn as they travel through their homeland, guided by the Japanese poet Basho, whose Osu-no-Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Deep North) is one of the masterpieces of travel literature. Ken and Alec left Edo (Edinburgh) on May 16, 2010 - the very same date that basho and his companion Sora departed in 1689 - and on their ... read more

the road north is a word-map of Scotland, composed by Alec Finlay & Ken Cockburn as they travel through their homeland, guided by the Japanese poet Basho, whose Osu-no-Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Deep North) is one of the masterpieces of travel literature. Ken and Alec left Edo (Edinburgh) on May 16, 2010 - the very same date that basho and his companion Sora departed in 1689 - and on their ... read more

Taigh: a wilding garden

Alec Finlay

An account of the traditions, stories, and ideas that inspired the National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donors, a wilding garden and drystane Taigh, constructed this year in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.

An account of the traditions, stories, and ideas that inspired the National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donors, a wilding garden and drystane Taigh, constructed this year in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.

Global Oracle

Alec Finlay

A book-length illustrated poem interweaving the bee-cults of the ancient world, most famously the Melissai of the Delphic oracle, with the science of apiology, bee communication, and the predominant 'oracle' of our era, the Navstar satellite system.

A book-length illustrated poem interweaving the bee-cults of the ancient world, most famously the Melissai of the Delphic oracle, with the science of apiology, bee communication, and the predominant 'oracle' of our era, the Navstar satellite system.

there were our own there were the others

Alec Finlay, Ken Cockburn

A book documenting 23 silent walks in remembrance of the victims of conflict to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War, 17th June - 30th August, 2014

A book documenting 23 silent walks in remembrance of the victims of conflict to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War, 17th June - 30th August, 2014

a-ga: on mountains

Alec Finlay, Ken Cockburn

A new collection of pensée on mountains, walking and viewing, illustrated with photographs of word-mntn.

A new collection of pensée on mountains, walking and viewing, illustrated with photographs of word-mntn.

A Company of Mountains

Alec Finlay

14 conspectuses on the Isle of Skye for viewing hills and mountains. The book accompanies a blog featuring commentaries, photographs, word-mntn drawings, and illustrations.

14 conspectuses on the Isle of Skye for viewing hills and mountains. The book accompanies a blog featuring commentaries, photographs, word-mntn drawings, and illustrations.

some colour trends

Alec Finlay

A genealogy of place-names relating to colour in The Cabrach, the region of the Scottish uplands lying between the Cairngorms and Strathbogie. The area's history of settlement, transhumance and wayfaring is hinted at in its place-names, particularly those mentioning colours, which Finlay - aided by collaborators Ron Brander, Peter Drummond, and John Stuart-Murray - translates across Gaelic, Ga... read more

A genealogy of place-names relating to colour in The Cabrach, the region of the Scottish uplands lying between the Cairngorms and Strathbogie. The area's history of settlement, transhumance and wayfaring is hinted at in its place-names, particularly those mentioning colours, which Finlay - aided by collaborators Ron Brander, Peter Drummond, and John Stuart-Murray - translates across Gaelic, Ga... read more

today today today

Alec Finlay

Poems on illness and healing, gathered over the past few years, published by Animate Projects as an artwork composed with and for the patients and staff of Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow.

Poems on illness and healing, gathered over the past few years, published by Animate Projects as an artwork composed with and for the patients and staff of Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow.

Dirt

William Letford

Selected Poems (Fyfieldbooks)

Nancy Cunard

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Posthumous Cantos (Fyfieldbooks)

Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound's Posthumous Cantos collects unpublished pages of his great poem, drawn from manuscripts held in the archive at Yale's Beinecke Library and elsewhere. They are assembled by Pound's Italian translator, the critic and scholar Massimo Bacigalupo, into a companion book to the Cantos, running from 1917 to 1972 and including the Cantos he wrote in Italian in 1944-5. An Italian edition was... read more

Ezra Pound's Posthumous Cantos collects unpublished pages of his great poem, drawn from manuscripts held in the archive at Yale's Beinecke Library and elsewhere. They are assembled by Pound's Italian translator, the critic and scholar Massimo Bacigalupo, into a companion book to the Cantos, running from 1917 to 1972 and including the Cantos he wrote in Italian in 1944-5. An Italian edition was... read more

Was and Is: Collected Poems

Neil Powell

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as new unused

Breezeway

John Ashbery

Breezeway

Breezeway

Visible Voices: Translating Verse into Script and Print 3000 BC - AD 2000

Nicolas Barker

new unused very minor shelf wear only

new unused very minor shelf wear only

Almost Complete Poems

Stanley Moss

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new unused very minor bump to corner

It's About Time

Stanley Moss

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R. F. Langley Complete Poems

Jeremy Noel-Tod

R.F. Langley is known for his meticulous observation of the natural world and his highly original voice. This volume brings together his two previous Carcanet collections, Collected Poems (2000) and The Face of It (2007), along with his celebrated but uncollected late poems, including 'To a Nightingale', which won the 2011 Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem. The book includes a biographica... read more

R.F. Langley is known for his meticulous observation of the natural world and his highly original voice. This volume brings together his two previous Carcanet collections, Collected Poems (2000) and The Face of It (2007), along with his celebrated but uncollected late poems, including 'To a Nightingale', which won the 2011 Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem. The book includes a biographica... read more

Serengeti Songs

Chris McCully

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as new unused

Holy Toledo!

John Clegg

The Teller and the Tale: Essays on Literature & Culture (1995-2015)

Gabriel Josipovici

‘We seem to live, intellectually and emotionally, in sealed-off universes,’ writes Gabriel Josipovici in an essay on Hebrew poetry in medieval Spain, just one in a lively multiverse of writings gathered in The Teller and the Tale. The book draws on a quarter of a century’s worth of critical reflection on modern art and literature, Biblical culture, Jewish theology, European identity, the natur... read more

‘We seem to live, intellectually and emotionally, in sealed-off universes,’ writes Gabriel Josipovici in an essay on Hebrew poetry in medieval Spain, just one in a lively multiverse of writings gathered in The Teller and the Tale. The book draws on a quarter of a century’s worth of critical reflection on modern art and literature, Biblical culture, Jewish theology, European identity, the natur... read more

Haunted House

Pierre Reverdy

Haunted House

Haunted House

As When: A Selection

Tom Raworth

As When

As When

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A Doctor's Dictionary: Writings on Culture and Medicine

Iain Bamforth

In this pithy abecedarium, doctor and poet Iain Bamforth takes a close look at the conflict of values embodied in what we call medicine - never entirely a science and no longer quite the art it used to be. Bamforth brings his wide experience of medicine around the world, from the high-tech American Hospital of Paris to the community health centres of Papua, together with his engaging interest ... read more

In this pithy abecedarium, doctor and poet Iain Bamforth takes a close look at the conflict of values embodied in what we call medicine - never entirely a science and no longer quite the art it used to be. Bamforth brings his wide experience of medicine around the world, from the high-tech American Hospital of Paris to the community health centres of Papua, together with his engaging interest ... read more

The Season's Vagrant Light: New and Selected Poems

Sheri Benning

This book marks the UK debut of Canadian poet Sheri Benning, featuring new poems alongside work previously published in Canada. Benning's early work draws on her strongly felt connection to her native landscape, rural Saskatchewan. In poems that couple sinew and roots, blood and sap, skin and stone, Benning explores an ecology of affiliation between humans and the natural world. The poems are ... read more

This book marks the UK debut of Canadian poet Sheri Benning, featuring new poems alongside work previously published in Canada. Benning's early work draws on her strongly felt connection to her native landscape, rural Saskatchewan. In poems that couple sinew and roots, blood and sap, skin and stone, Benning explores an ecology of affiliation between humans and the natural world. The poems are ... read more

Herne the Hunter

Peter McDonald

Herne the Hunter is the sixth collection from one of Ireland's most accomplished lyric poets. In this new body of work, Peter McDonald deepens his interest in myth and storytelling through the legend of Herne, a phantom huntsman of English folklore. In McDonald's poetic treatment of the legend, opposing forces are held in tension: body and soul, present and past, possession and desire, death a... read more

Herne the Hunter is the sixth collection from one of Ireland's most accomplished lyric poets. In this new body of work, Peter McDonald deepens his interest in myth and storytelling through the legend of Herne, a phantom huntsman of English folklore. In McDonald's poetic treatment of the legend, opposing forces are held in tension: body and soul, present and past, possession and desire, death a... read more

Luke has 7 reviews

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George Bradley

I've worked with Luke twice and will do so again. He gave me honest feedback regarding my work and helped me see small changes I could make to enhance my writing. His feedback has been truly helpful helping me improve.

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George Bradley, September 2018


Xenia Tran

It has been a pleasure to work with Luke on my first collection of poems and photographs. I was especially delighted to learn that he had travelled and spent time in some of the places that feature in the collection - this was an unexpected bonus. Luke demonstrated a great sensitivity to voice in his editorial suggestions and was very helpful in his advice about formats and flow when working...

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Xenia Tran, September 2018


Dr. Hussein Kandil

Luke Allan is such a talented editor, very professional and knows very well how to use words and poetry, I really enjoyed working with him and I would definitely highly recommend him.

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Dr. Hussein Kandil, September 2018


Gary Graves

The BEST!

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Gary Graves, April 2018


Gary Graves

Phenomenal.

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Gary Graves, April 2018

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