Shadowtrain books
Index to Poets
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Photo of Ian Seed by Jonathan Bean


Recently published is my collection of prose poems, Identity Papers (Shearsman). The book was featured on BBC Radio 3's The Verb in March 2016.

'Ian Seed is our most brilliant exponent of that most of unBritish of genres, the prose poem'—Mark Ford.
'Minimalist masterpieces'—Steve Spence, Stride.

Forthcoming is The Thief of Talant [not 'Talent'], a translation of Pierre Reverdy's 1917 radical experiment in poetry and prose. It will be published by Wakefield Press later in 2016.

My chapbook, Fidelities, was published in 2015 by Red Ceilings Press. You can find a review by Steve Spence here on Stride.

Makers of Empty Dreams
, a collection of prose  poems, was published by Shearsman in 2014.  An excerpt from this collection can be found here in PN Review 214 and in The Best British Poetry 2014. More information about the book is available on the publisher website.

'These are superb pieces that give us a glimpse into some kind of translated backlit European hinterland full of the music of menace and desire. I read them in my conservatory in Barnsley and I was instantly transported to a city that I half-knew, full of people I wanted to meet or avoid. Prose poetry at its very best' —Ian McMillan.
'We are in a dreamlike world in these poems which is always peopled and full of activity, yet strangely and rather beautifully empty with a pervasive sense of loss'—Jeremy Over, PN Review
'A playful and fascinating read'—David Caddy, Tears in the Fence.
'... intriguing and strangely satisfying, if unsettling, prose poems. Masterly and addictive'—Steve Spence, Stride.
'There is self-deprecating comedy and wonderfully daft, mercifully benevolent tragedy'—David Greenslade, Roundyhouse.

Threadbare Fables
, a chapbook of prose poems, was published in 2012 by Like This Press. As of 2015, it is out of print, but if you would like to order it (price £5 incl. p&p), I still have some copies available. Contact me at

 'They extend the force of Jacob's Le Cornet à dés beautifully into today's urban sphere' —John Ashbery.
'These are intriguing poems that are told in sharp, confident and confined prose.  Each is tightly written. The games being played here are not the kinds of games you might expect to be played in poetry—the artfulness of the writing is hidden, but no less artful for that' —Trevor McCandless, Sphinx.
'First things first—don’t waste time trying to decide whether Ian Seed’s mysterious, pared-down narratives are prose poems or flash fiction or some other form you’ve not heard of yet. For that matter, don’t worry about whether or not they’re strictly fables, either. There are no neat moral lessons to be learned. They are fabulous, though, in every sense of the word' —Matt Merritt, Sphinx.
Full Sphinx reviews available here.
'Not exactly funny, but I smiled when I read it nevertheless'—Martin Stannard, Stride. See full Stride review here.
'These prose pieces, unadorned by simile or metaphor, are all the more thought-provoking for their simplicity of language and anonymous setting'—Afric McGlinchey, Sabotage Reviews. See full review here.
'Threadbare Fables appeals not because of its sexual suggestiveness but because of the humour that takes us further into its possibilities' —Mike Ferguson. See full review, and a comparison with Fifty Shades of Grey, here.
'There is a warm confidentiality and nakedness to Seed's prose that will sate the appetite of most flash enthusiasts. At his best, he is among the better short-short authors writing today' —Emily-Jo Hopson, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine.
'Excellently crafted'—David Greenslade, Roundyhouse.

My second full-length collection of poetry, Shifting Registers, was published by Shearsman in April 2011. Details can be found on the publisher website.

Excerpts from reviews of Shifting Registers:
'The mystery and sadness of empty rooms, chance encounters in the street, trains traveling through a landscape of snow become magical in Ian Seed's poems...' —John Ashbery (back cover).
'There is something in Ian Seed’s poems of the atmosphere of [De Chirico's] vast, empty plazas, something of their dream-like stillness & otherness, their brooding, uninterrogated menace. But there’s a real enthusiasm and delight in here as well, an unforced pleasure in pushing at the language to open up new spaces and cast new light on the kaleidoscopic fragments of our experience' —C.J. Allen, LitterSee full review here.
'A hazy lyrical ambiance jostles with a more abstract, mathematical quality [...] endlessly elusive yet filled with charm and promise' — Steve Spence, Stride magazine.
'The disfigured face and the beloved face, for Seed, are one'— Virginia Konchan, Intercapillary Space. See full review here.

'....there’s literature of value here, ideas worth rolling around in the tired grey matter upstairs; bringing both light and shadow, blending them, making you nervous' — Joe Downes, Lancaster In Review.
 ' Journeys haunt this collection of poems [...] Ian Seed allows the reader a glimpse of what is already gone, a return to what is no longer there, a teasing echo'' — Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence.
My first full-length collection of poems, Anonymous Intruder, was published by Shearsman in 2009.

Excerpts from reviews of Anonymous Intruder :
'These poems and prose poems are full of atmosphere, fractured stories and suggestive directions' Steven Waling, The North.
'...the voices and landscapes in Anonymous Intruder are both elusive and yet hauntingly present'
Paul Wright, Writing in Education.
', in Seed’s debut, never loses its power, and is everywhere pressing, active'
Virginia Konchan, Jacket Magazine
'The movement of the book and of its constituent pieces is towards the music and the light, and away from the apparent security of the closed, the static and the fossilised'
Peter Hughes, Intercapillary Space.
'I keep returning to this text, and I feel that these are poems I'll live with over time, which is a good recommendation for any book'
Alan Baker, Litter.
'The Anonymous Intruder is a marvellous masterly book of poems'
Rupert Mallin, textVISUAL.
'The feeling of being seduced into taking a series of atoms as a whole is strangely pleasurable'
Tony Williams.
Some complete reviews can be found at the links below:

Intercapillary Space
Rupert Mallin
Leafe Press
Tony Williams

Poems, fiction, reviews and translations (from French, Italian and Polish) have appeared in such publications as The Argotist Online, Blackbox Manifold, The Bow-Wow Shop, The Cafe Irreal, Dream Catcher, Dwang, Fin, Foam:e, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Flax (Lancaster litfest), The Fortnightly Review,  Free Verse, Great Works, Harlequin,
KaffeeKlatsch Litter, Matter, The North, nth position, The Penniless Press, Pinstripe Fedora, PN Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Wales, Ragged Edge, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Shearsman, Stride, textVISUAL, Tears in the Fence and Word f/word.

Other work:

Amore mio, a short story is published by Flax as a Kindle Ebook. It can be purchased

‘A deft, honest and sometime uncomfortable story of a relationship growing beyond its first flush. Ian Seed conveys disappointment and betrayal in a compulsive story that is sharp, dry and perfectly shaped. I wanted to look away, but needed to know what was going to happen. A beautifully balanced, compassionate short story' —Sarah Hymas.

'Ian Seed has put together a beautiful story. In a few pages he sums up the nature of relationships: falling in love, betrayal, sexual desire. They are all here in a setting so real you can smell the fresh coffee and feel the sand under your feet. It is paced fast enough to pull you along but detailed enough to to add depth. And the characterisation is excellent.'Ian Chapman, Amazon.

the straw which comes apart, a translation from the poems of Ivano Fermini, is published by
Oystercatcher Press. Click here

A more experimental work, Sleeping with the Ice Cream Vendor, is out from  Knives Forks and Spoons Press. To find out more, click here.

'This book unfolds landscapes akin to Wallace Stevens' snow man, if that snow man had a body of skin being unpeeled' —Lisa Samuels

'These are poems to return to, to puzzle over, to think about and possibly to dream about - the images are so focussed and yet so shifting [...] I continue to be intrigued by his poetry and enjoy grappling with its delicate complexity'—Steve Spence, Stride. See full review here.
'These 40-odd pages of poems often reach into difficult human places...This is a rich & involving collection with a slow-burning emotional charge at its core'—C.J. Allen, Litter.
See full review here

My writing is included in: This Line is Not for Turning: An Anthology of British Prose Poetry, edited by Jane Monson (Cinnamon Press, 2011);  Entanglements: New Ecopoetry, edited by David Knowles & Sharon Blackie (Two Ravens Press, 2012); Sea Pie: An Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry (edited by Peter Hughes, Shearsman, 2012); The Tower of Babel, edited by Rupert M Loyell (Like This Press, 2013); The Best British Poetry 2014, edited by Mark Ford and Roddy Lumsden with Jon Stone (Salt, 2014); and Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those Seeking Refuge, edited by Kathleen Bell, Emma Ford, and Siobhan Logan (Five Leaves, 2016).