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What Our Authors say about us

What they said....

4Word is an extraordinary and innovative publisher, with all the benefits of small team intimacy at its best. That intimacy however is neither small nor cosy in its thinking. Both Lesley and Stella draw from significant and diverse stores. Poets themselves, in addition to being experienced editors, their reading is close, supportive, with exactly the incisiveness that any poet would seek. Stella’s background in visual art and her willingness to work with writers on this important aspect, gives a quality and dimension to the final work that is more than special.

There is also something rather marvellous about a publisher not based in London, who completely understands that poetry and poets pop up all over the planet! 4Word has a bespoke feel, which rightly challenges so much in how publishing is currently run.

Certainly, I could ask no more of a publisher and I would urge any poet to look closely at what the team are doing. These are exciting times for poetry pamphlets, and for independent presses. I cannot endorse 4Word highly enough.

– Beth McDonough


‘I was at the end of my submitting tether with my pamphlet Girl Golem, missing out a couple of times by a mouse whisker. I wonder how poets keep going sometimes, despite knowing it’s par for the course. It’s one thing to have a few poems rejected by competitions or journals, but quite another to have a whole body of work turned down, especially when you believe in it, know it’s good and it’s very personal. Just when I was considering giving up writing, along came Stella and Lesley with 4Word. They had already expressed interest in my work, but when they invited me to publish with them, it was like a blessing shower. 

There are scores of small press publishers who work on a shoestring, but none more generous than 4Word Press. Nobody expects to make megabucks from a poetry book and many are remaindered after a short while. With one or two exceptions, all small presses expect you to do the work, editors often work full-time and just don’t have time or money to promote your book, arrange gigs etc. That’s my end of the deal, but in exchange I get to keep the profit, while all others charge commission. The other thing about 4Word is the quality production, with Stella being an artist the finish, look and feel of the covers is classy. And your books continue to be available on demand, as long as you need them.’

– Rachel Clyne


I pursued creative writing program in the US because the art of writing is the most neglected areas in most of schools and universities of Iraqi Kurdistan. I knew about 4word via Graham Mort, professor of creative writing at Lancaster University, and Dr Muli Amaye coordinator of the MFA Creative Writing at The UWI, Trinidad who put forward my name to 4Word as ‘an up-and-coming’ poet.

My experience with 4word was extremely positive and happy. From the first email I have got from them all the way to the actual chapbook on my desk, 4word paved a new path for my personal and professional growth. With 4Word I was in control of how my chapbook be published and what cover design I prefer. Everyone was responsive, understanding and patient. I have enjoyed every step of this this journey into getting my first chapbook published. 

– Sarwa Azeez


One of the things I love about 4Word is how encouraging it has been, to me personally and I know to others. The editors take time to nurture the work, to get it right, and this is shown in the finished product. I was pleased to hear suggestions (a poet can’t, by definition, have a totally objective view of their own work) and really got the impression that both Lesley and Stella see the editing process as a conversation between equals.
Also, this doesn’t feel like an in-crowd, an echo-chamber of similar people writing similar things and appearing in all or most of the same places: via 4Word I have discovered poets whose poems I hadn’t encountered anywhere else. This year, I have discovered Beth McDonough and Sarwa Azeez. And only today, I discovered Sue Kindon.  I feel proud to appear among such interesting poets.

– Sheila Hamilton


There are certain moments in a writer’s life that wonderfully change your whole perspective , how many of us struggle to find outlets for our work and grow disheartened with the whole process, in 2018 for me this suddenly changed. I had already read three of 4Word’s pamphlets and been highly impressed , so when Stella and Lesley invited me to be a 4Word poet I couldn’t believe my luck. 

Both Lesley and Stella are gifted poets, and I already knew that these were publishers that were not only completely innovative in their whole conception and ethics, but that the quality of the publications placed them way ahead of other independent presses. 4Word is also unusual in that it has a subtle international flavour to it, several of its poets are based abroad , and as I live in France this has a special appeal to me.  

From the very outset I was struck by the attention and keen professional eye that the editors gave to each of my poems. There was a really positive interchange of suggestions and queries, time was never a problem and Lesley and Stella were always available …. something which is extremely unusual in the publishing world.  Need I say that the pamphlet designs are second to none and beautifully original. Stella seems to be able to illustrate in each cover the very essence of each writer’s poetry…. when I saw what she had created for my pamphlet I was bowled over. 

Working with 4Word was a wonderful journey, full of care and generosity, I have all of their pamphlets, every one is an exciting  discovery, and I look forward to reading their next in line. 4Word are definitely headlining the independent publishing profession, I’m proud to be with them. 

– Mary Gilonne