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ABOUT

What?

​Doubtist Books is a publishing and media company based in the Glorious Kingdom of Landskeria, an unrecognized micronation enclaved within West Wales.

It was established by Alexander Velky in 2013 to fund, print, distribute and market his poetry. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Landskerian Art Factory.

WHAT?
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Why?

Alexander Velky began publishing poems under the "...Has Doubts" brand on a poetry blog around 2009.

Having recently completed a very long collection of narrative poems based on the plot of Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native" (but set in a village in rural North Wales, and featuring a semi-mythical gigantic albino pike for some reason...) Velky was disappointed to learn that Faber and Faber weren't interested in publishing it.

Upon investigating the other options available to him, he was dismayed by the poor quality of physical product (and also, often, the actual literary output) of most contemporary UK poetry publishers; so he decided to embark on a new DIY creative project with the intention of marrying the energy and enthusiasm of the best UK performance poetry with the formal discipline and quality of canonical UK "page" poetry. Essentially: folk punk in poetry form. The "Has Doubts" brand was chosen to encapsulate the interrogative nature of the poetry: the poems themselves, and any self-published collections that might result, were intended to be expressions of doubt, exploration, and wonder addressing important issues facing humankind.

This ethos remains the guiding force behind Alexander Velky's poetry to date. Although, in interest of full disclosure: he has occasionally compromised his integrity by making ham-fisted attempts to infiltrate the mainstream; which have not anyway tended to be hugely successful.

WHY?
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How?

Doubtist Books published a book called “Mistaken for art or rubbish” in 2013, under the “Alexander Velky Has Doubts” brand. It was crowdfunded via Kickstarter and contained 33 poems, none of which had been published elsewhere, or previously submitted to anybody else for consideration. The book received two mostly negative reviews (one from a state-funded Welsh periodical, and one from a blog) and a performance of one poem from the collection (entitled "The box") was shortlisted in a competition run by Scotland’s international poetry festival, the StAnza 2014 online slam, in summer 2014. Every poem from the book was performed and uploaded to the Doubtist YouTube channel.

Has Doubts Volume 2: “Rhymes for all times” followed in 2015. This was also crowdfunded; but this time three poems had outings in advance. “John Simpson’s Burka”  and “Sonnets from the corners of the map” were shortlisted (by Glyn Maxwell) in the 2013 and 2014 Live Canon international poetry competitions (and subsequently published in anthologies). “Kuzka’s mother” was shortlisted in the 2014 Poetic Republic Poetry Prize (a sadly defunct competition which was, uniquely, peer-judged). Alexander launched RFAT with a one-off performance and open-mic evening at a pub in London on December 1, 2015. During the performance of the poem “Landskeria“, named after the micronation comprising Alexander’s then home in West Wales, he declared independence from the UK. This was largely ignored; but the press release announcing the declaration in advance was reproduced in the Pembrokeshire Herald.

In 2016 Alexander contributed a poem to Live Canon’s 154: 154 new poems by 154 contemporary poets in response to Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. (To date this is the only time Velky has been accused of being a “contemporary poet”.)

From 2015–2017, Alexander spent time on several diversions in the form of the multimedia National Anthems Project and the crowdsourced arts podcast Doubtcast, before completing work on two more draft Has Doubts volumes by mid 2018: Volume 3: “In the Men’s Room” and Volume 4: “The misery tune“. “Attitude: rampant” from the former was shortlisted by Lorraine Mariner in 2016’s Live Canon competition, and subsequently published; “Project Gilgamesh” from the latter was longlisted by Clare Pollard the following year. In 2018 a joint-crowdfunding campaign for these books fell short, and Velky considered abandoning them and retiring from poetry publishing. However, just a few weeks later one (very) long poem “Tractors turning” (or at least, part of it) was shortlisted by Liz Berry in the 2018 Live Canon competition. Subsequently, two other poems from “In the Men’s Room” (“Cantre’r Gwaelod” and “Lots“) were published in the inaugural issue of Poetry Birmingham in September 2019.

In 2020 a redrafted “In the Men’s Room” was shortlisted for publication in Live Canon’s annual collection competition, but it was ultimately declined; so Alexander decided to go back to DIY, this time self-funding and self-publishing: “In the Men’s Room”, the third Has Doubts collection, was released (symbolically) on International Women’s Day, March 2021. Unfortunately, nobody noticed.

Over a punishingly wet spring in 2024, Velky redrafted "The Misery Tune", retitled it "Threatening cuts", and decided to publish it as the 4th Has Doubts volume later that year, having raised (most of) the necessary funds by selling his collection of punk and new wave 7" vinyl on Vinted, and planning to raise the rest by selling his hair to a wig-maker in Bloomsbury.

Following this, Velky plans to publish two more books in the Has Doubts series, or die trying.

HOW?
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