Doubtist Books is a publishing and media company based in the Glorious Kingdom of Landskeria, an unrecogognized micronation enclaved within West Wales. It was originally set up to fund, print, distribute and market the poetry of Alexander Velky, but has since branched out into various multimedia enterprises. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Landskerian Art Factory.
Doubtist Books published “Mistaken for art or rubbish” in 2013, under the “Alexander Velky Has Doubts” label. 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 negative reviews and a performance of a 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 crowd-funded; but this time three poems had outings in advance. “John Simpson’s Burka” was shortlisted by Glyn Maxwell in the 2013 Live Canon international poetry competition and published in that year’s anthology. “Sonnets from the corners of the map” achieved the same in 2014. “Kuzka’s mother” was shortlisted in the 2014 Poetic Republic Poetry Prize, a sadly defunct competition which was (uniquely) judged democratically by all entrants. Alexander launched the book with a one-off performance and an 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 home in West Wales, he declared independence from the UK. This declaration went largely unnoticed, but was mentioned briefly 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 Alexander has been accused of being a “contemporary poet” as far as we know. 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, weeks after a joint-crowdfunding campaign for these books fell short, the (very) long poem “Tractors turning” (well, part of it) was shortlisted by Liz Berry in the 2018 Live Canon competition. Two poems from “In the Men’s Room” (“Cantre’r Gwaelod” and “Lots“) featured in the inaugural issue of Poetry Birmingham in September 2019. In 2020 after a redrafted “In the Men’s Room” was shortlisted for publication by Glyn Maxwell in Live Canon’s collection competition, Alexander returned to Doubtist Books, taking back control of editorial and design to produce a final draft of “In the Men’s Room”, to be published (as announced in a new video interview in January 2021) on International Women’s Day, March 2021.