The Making of The Frock Enquiry

Work in progress

Work in progress

The title of this post is quite literal. It’s not about the writing of my forthcoming Annexe Magazine pamphlet The Frock Enquiry, it is about the physical process of putting it together: the typesetting, printing and binding.

The Frock Enquiry is both an exposé and a celebration of women’s work. It is based on the Women’s Industrial Council’s investigations into the conditions of female sweated labour at the beginning of the twentieth century but also the archive of the London College of Fashion with its evidence of highly skilled professions carried out by women. The pamphlet might seem to be looking over its shoulder at the past but it is only to contextualise and expose the history of what remains true for women in many parts of the world today. It is concerned primarily with gender and work.

How appropriate , then, that not only have I worked with a woman editor (the marvellous Claire Trévien) but also a woman typesetter and bookbinder: Lucie Forejtova of Oxford-based Immaginacija Bindery (website here

As so many of the poems in The Frock Enquiry deal with the hands-on techniques of a number of trades that have since become automated, it has been a particular thrill to follow the progress of Lucie’s work. Her photographs offer a peek into the process of making The Frock Enquiry and fellow Annexe-poet JT Welsch’s The Ruin.

I love seeing how Lucie works and the tools she is using.

Hard at work

Hard at work

And here are the pamphlets emerging:

Nearly there

Nearly there


 If you are interesting in pre-ordering one of a limited edition run of The Frock Enquiry and JT Welsch’s The Ruin, you can do so here:

Lucie is binding a piece of vintage sewing pattern into each of these limited edition copies.


Launch dates have been confirmed for:

London Vout-O-Rennees 7pm Friday 23rd October

Oxford Albion Beatnick 7pm Sunday 8th November

York Venue tbc Last weekend in November date tic

See you there?

PS for anybody curious about the reading of Maths Poetry at the Maths Institute, it was a blast! Here’s Kiran Millwood Hargrave who organised the event (and me)  in the exquisite new Maths building. Astrophysics next? Or coding?

Maths and Poetry

Maths and Poetry


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