Rune comes from the Gothic word ‘runa’, meaning ‘secret’. In Old English it came to mean secret writing, and in Old Irish, spelled rún, it meant by extension a secret or treasured love. It has also been borrowed into Finnish where ‘runo’ means ‘poem’. The poets Robert Graves and Valentin Iremonger in a correspondence in 1944 described poetry as ‘a shared secret’.
Rune Press Ltd was first incorporated as Rún Press in 2013 in Cork, Ireland, then transferred and incorporated as Rune Press in London, England. It publishes substantial collections of poems, and books about poetry, by poets whose work is already known through previous publications. Its imprint, Parmenides Books publishes ‘crossover’ books between literature and neuroscience.
The RUNE POCKET POEMS series was launched in June 2014 in Dublin and London with The Poems of Valentin Iremonger and The Poems of Martin Seymour-Smith – see an article from The Irish Times here.
Rune Pocket Poems bring the German ‘Taschenbuch’* tradition into the English speaking world, with quality hardbacks and softbacks which are small enough to be genuine pocket books.
Whether 100 or up to 500 pages long, they really do fit in the pocket of an overcoat, a jacket or a handbag. They are 9 by 15 cm–only twice the size of an i-Phone. They also look elegant on a shelf.
They won’t fall to bits. Their small size makes them economical in price for books of this quality–yet their typeface is easy to read. They are made to be enduring books for enduring poems.
*In Germany there is a very long tradition of small books, going back centuries, and a collection of Goethe’s poems in 1798 was referred to as a ‘Taschenbuch’, i.e.‘pocket book’. The famous Insel Verlag Taschenbuch series began in 1912, and other publishers continue the tradition. German pocket books are distinct from Anglo-American and French by being smaller: usually 3 ¾ by 6 inches / 9 by 15 cm. A typical Anglo-American paperback size is 15 by 20 cm, and the French ‘Livres de Poche’ series are usually 11 by 16.5 cm.
The Hugger Mugger – Seán Haldane
Seán Haldane, born in 1943, is the author of six collections of poems, two historical crime novels, and four books on psychology and neuroscience. He lives in England and Canada.
‘I like Seán’s poems: clean, accurate and no nonsense…. They make sense, which is rare these days.’
Robert Graves (1968)
‘Imaginative and always intelligent… impressive and moving.’
Martin Seymour-Smith (1986)