In normal times writers celebrate the publication of a new work with launches, readings, maybe even parties.

But these are not normal times, so at 6.30pm on 15 April 2020, Edinburgh writer and editor Russell Jones, together with Aimee Lockwood and Duncan Lockerbie (founder of publisher Tapsalteerie), will launch his new book of poetry online.

You can join in simply by booking a ticket. Russell will talk about the book, read some poems and show one of the comic poems as a video. All you have to provide is your own sofa, wine and nibbles.

cocoon is a new full-length collection of comic poems illustrated by Sara Julia Campbell, Caroline Grebbell, Aimee Lockwood, Edward Ross & Mark Toner.

Aberdeenshire-based Tapsalteerie say of their latest publication: “Through childhood memories of graveyards and racecourses, to family bereavements, Peruvian river myths and outer space exploration, cocoon is a unique collection of poems that explores the worlds we create, the transformations we undergo through life, and how ‘to keep the light / from leaving’.

In this collection, illustrators’ graphic/comic drawings accompany and reinterpret Russell’s poems. Collaborating with other artists is, he finds, a wonderful creative stimulus; he enjoys the constant surprises in their response to his words, and hopes that the illustrations will help to make poetry feel more accessible, and less intimidating to those perhaps coming to it for the first time.

Below is an animation of one of the comic poems from cocoon, ‘An Official Guide to Surviving the Invasion

The poem is also currently being made into a short film, and you can watch a trailer for that here:

Russell is deputy editor and poetry editor of Scotland’s only SF magazine, Shoreline of Infinity. He organises monthly sci-fi cabaret nights and writes sci-fi novels. He sees poetry as something that draws people together and says it speaks of our shared experience. And even in uncharted sci-fi worlds, that experience is relevant – characters still face the same personal struggles.  Like all good literature, Russell says. poetry reminds us that we are not alone – and what could be more important than that in the strange, anxious days of spring 2020?

To request your invitation to this digital launch visit https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/product/book-launch-cocoon-by-russell-jones/ – access details will be emailed to you.

cocoon by Russell Jones, illustrated by Sara Julia Campbell, Caroline Grebbell, Aimee Lockwood, Edward Ross & Mark Toner, is available from Tapsalteerie at £10; click here to purchase.