Former newspaper editor recreates 1950s counter culture with series of new books

A unique series of affordable cutting-edge poetry books has been launched by a retired regional newspaper editor.

Award-winning editor Nic Outterside’s Cast Iron Poetry series aims to recreate the world-famous City Lights publications of the 1950s and 60s; in an effort to make printed poetry affordable for everyone.

The new series of books, which retail at just £3.50 each, include the work of contributors from places as diverse as New York, Oklahoma, Austria, India, Utah, London, Rotterdam, California and Merseyside.

The books will be published world-wide at regular six-week intervals throughout the year in a not-for-profit venture.

More than 60 years ago, set against a post-war right wing US government, the City Lights Pocket Poets books shared the counter-culture thoughts of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and others to millions of people who believed their own voices were unheard by the mainstream politics of the time.

Apart from Ginsberg’s seven collections, many of the early Pocket Poets volumes have attained the status of classics. These include: True Minds by Marie Ponsot (1957), Golden Sardine by Bob Kaufman (1969) and Revolutionary Letters by Diane di Prima (1971)

Now Cast Iron Poetry hopes to do the same for writers in this third decade of the 21st century.

Even the simple monochrome design of the book jackets mirror the early City Lights publications.

The first book in the series – published in November 2020 – was penned by Nic himself and titled Reality Cornflakes in a deliberate homage to Ginsberg’s 1963 pocketbook Reality Sandwiches.

Now the second book A Moon Magnetized This Screeching Bird by New York poet A.i. Firefly has ensured that the Cast Iron Poetry already has a global feel.

After 28 years in UK newspaper and magazine journalism Nic took early retirement in 2013.

During those years he scooped more than a dozen major press awards, including Scottish Daily Journalist of the Year, Scottish Weekly Journalist of the Year and North of England Daily Journalist of the Year, and in 2016 was awarded an honorary doctorate for his services to written journalism.

Nic edited The Argyllshire Advertiser, The Buchan Observer, The Galloway Gazette and the Denbighshire Free Press.

In 2015, he set up his own publishing house – Time is an Ocean – and the Cast Iron Poetry books are his 15th and 16th publications.

Two earlier books – Death in Grimsby and Bones both became Amazon best-sellers.

The Wolverhampton-based editor said: “The idea for these books came after random discussions with some of the poets who took part in my earlier anthologies. “They in turn introduced me to others and suddenly we had a global team of like-minded cutting-edge writers.

“Then to get the brilliant A.i. Firefly (a veteran of the New York poetry scene) to pen the second book was a fantastic bonus.

“None of us will make any money from this venture. The £3.50 price point just about covers printing and publishing costs. Cast Iron Poetry is a true labour of love to make modern printed poetry affordable to all.”

The third book in the series The Arbitrary Fractals of an Oracle by Merseyside based surrealist poet Cassie Fielding is due to be published in mid February.

Reality Cornflakes and A Moon Magnetized this Screeching Bird are both available as (5”x8”) pocket paperbacks

Priced at £3.50 from