Ocaso Press: An Overview

About the Company

The Chilean publishing company Ocaso Press Ltda. provides translations, guides, novels and poetry of recognized literary quality to schools, universities and discriminating readers across the English-speaking world. All material is free, and pdf ebooks can be read on tablets with screens as small as seven inches. Some 40,000 ebooks are downloaded annually from the Ocaso website.


With qualifications in geology, engineering and teaching, Colin Holcombe managed mineral exploration, mining and project evaluation for a major multinational company. He was also much involved in the UK literary scene, publishing in the small presses, editing the journals of various poetry groups, and organising workshops and readings on London's South Bank and elsewhere. For several years he was Chairman of the Phoenix Poets, London's oldest writing circle, which included novelists and Fleet Street journalists among its members. An earlier version of his novel "The Land of Gold" was accepted for publication by the Blue Dragon Press, and Colin also acted and read plays with RSC and other professional actors.

To provide some insight into poetry and related literary activities, Colin also manages the popular TextEtc.Com website, where many aspects of poetry creation and translation are discussed at length.

Aims of Ocaso Press

Ocaso Press is an independent voice catering for an informed public that wants literary excellence in a modern setting — neither 'cutting edge' work that is generally more experimental than successful, nor the happy simplifications of amateur work.

The emphasis is on literary quality, and its ebooks follow an earlier conception of poetry, before our post-modernists made tradition irrelevant and imposed a prose-based, free-verse orthodoxy. Many sites — feature-packed, immensely useful and far more popular than Ocaso Press — offer busy students accessible translations, but their material is generally pedagogical and of limited literary merit: much is indeed anti-literary, though possibly not intended or understood as such by authors and academics. Ocaso Press productions are no doubt more demanding of readers, but aim at greater satisfaction by deploying wide reading, modernist concepts and detailed verse skills to encompass their originating inspiration.


- The guides adopt balanced positions of contentious issues, and are often more detailed — replete with examples, arguments and references — than books offered by the commercial and academic presses.

- The novels are simply entertainment.

- The poem collections employ strict and free verse styles, but not shy away from the 'grand narratives' that Post-modernism has abandoned. Many deal with important issues, therefore, and behind even the verse tales is the extensive research that any decent historical novelist will undertake.

- Translations are literary rather than academic, but are generally close to the prose sense, often indeed line for line. By employing traditional verse skills they aim to give some indication of the splendours of the original works, and make the translations worth reading in their own right. All ebooks are informed by a wide reading in the relevant scholarship, and — where feasible (in French and Latin, but not Greek or Sanskrit) — provide facing texts.


An updated and expanded 568-page book on verse as an art form — a practical guide to writing verse in traditional, Modernist and Postmodernist styles. Illustrated with copious examples ranging from Chaucer to contemporary American poets, plus hundreds of Internet links, this guide bridges the gap between self expression and the production of professional work worthy of detailed literary study.

The theory sections explain not only what poets are and have been trying to do, but why verse takes its often stylized forms. The book covers all technical aspects of verse writing, and concludes with chapters providing a step by step guide to translating Italian, French, German and Sanskrit poetry into English.
Beautiful, mischievous and charming: Patrick Staunton is sufficient of a portrait artist to recognize trouble in the beautiful wife of his wealthy employer, and hardly needs the warning of mafia connections from an old Polish friend.

'Of course you will fall in love with me, I guarantee it', Natalie Stumpfl tells him at a Frankfurt nightclub, and remorselessly Staunton is drawn into her scandalous past even as he begins to understand the roots of his own tangled relationship with women. He closes his eyes to the murders of his father and girlfriend, and to the money-laundering activities of his employer, blindly following Natalie through Spain, the art-world of England and Russia.

Will she leave the husband she despises, or does she despise all men, allowing only women to be fully intimate with her thoughts?
Seventy-eight poems that rhyme, that scan, and have something to say on themes that have been anathema to serious poetry since W.W.I. destroyed the European belief in progress and common purpose. These very traditional re-renderings of the Hesperides in modern dress revisit the great commonplaces of life, but with more grace, wit and understanding than is common in poetry today.

In short, I have simply tried to write something different from contemporary styles, ringing the changes  on conventional themes by re-echoing rhyme and imagery through these song-like pieces. Many poetry books have a central theme, of course, but here the repetition is denser, giving key words a wider connotation as they operate in different settings across the collection.
The Meghaduta or Cloud Messenger is a masterpiece of Sanskrit literature, and was composed by the court poet Kalidasa some time before AD 634 in northern India. A Yaksha or nature deity begs a passing cloud to carry a message across the subcontinent to his grieving consort in the fabled city of Alaká. Under this fiction, Kalidasa presents a sympathetic portrait of northern India, and weaves in the various moods of love traditional in classical Sanskrit poetry.
Early translations sacrificed the meaning to the exigencies of English verse. Later translations are close to the prose sense of the Sanskrit, but employ free-verse styles that give no hint of Kalidasa's elevated and harmonious language. The version here is taken from the standard 1912 Hultzsch text, and employs accomplished English verse to render the simple magnificence of the original while remaining faithful to the meaning.