Monday, 6 April 2020

National Poetry Competition, The Guardian & Other Review/Event News

National Poetry Competition Celebrations

V. Press is very very delighted to see V. Press poet Natalie Linh Bolderston win third prize in the 2019 National Poetry Competition for her poem 'Middle Name with Diacritics'.

Big congratulations to all the winners and commended poets, especially Natalie. Her winning poem can be enjoyed on The Poetry Society website here, along with a video of her reading the poem.

More on Natalie's V. Press pamphlet, The Protection of Ghosts, can be found here.


I, Ursula

"Disproportionately overlooked are non-metropolitan poets such as Ruth Stacey, whose second collection, the mysterious and fabular I, Ursula (V. Press £10.99) appears from an award-winning West Midlands micropublisher. The book conjures a Dantesque lost forest [...]"

Fiona Sampson, The Guardian, full review 'The best recent poetry – review roundup' here.

For a sample poem, more information and to order I, Ursula, please click here.


"[...] this collection actively encourages our seeing beyond the harrowing experiences that being human entails. [...] I feel I will recall Nina Lewis’ Patience in those darkest moments."

Mhairi Owens, Sphinx/OPOI (One Point of Interest), the full review 'A call to the light' here.

For a sample poem, more information and to order Patience, please click here.

Winter with Eva

"This is a love story so sensual that you can smell autumn leaves on the ground and taste snow on your lips. [...] It’s this mixture of words and meanings and connotations which adds depth to the poetry, and tension to the story. [...] Elaine Baker’s visually surprising images are a joy. [...]"

Candyce LangeSphinx/OPOI (One Point of Interest), the full review 'When reading a pamphlet is like watching a play' here.

For a sample poem, more information and to order Winter with Evaplease click here.

Making Waves [Albert Einstein: Science & Life]

"[..] And that is what I suppose struck me most — how human he [Einstein] was — this man who has always seemed to me larger than real life, distanced by his genius.

"There’s humour here, too. [...] After reading these poems, I think of the great man differently. He has stepped down from his stone pedestal. He has turned into a human being."

Helena NelsonSphinx/OPOI (One Point of Interest), the full review 'Oddly Human' here.

For a sample poem, more information and to order Making Waves [Albert Einstein: Science & Life], please click here.

The Escapologist

"So the world of these poems contains beauty and love, but it is undoubtedly ominous. Much is shared. Nothing is hammered home. There are careful layers, many of them, and the poems draw their reader back and reward re-reading. They are expert pictures from the life, and the poet has declared them fearlessly  her own."

Helena NelsonSphinx/OPOI (One Point of Interest), the full review 'Omens' here.

For a sample poem, more information and to order The Escapologist, please click here.


A recent article, and new addition to the V. Press Reading Room is a fabulous interview by Nancy Stohlman with Michael Loveday, about his flash fiction novella Three Men on the Edge.

'So You Wrote a Book? Michael Loveday' can be enjoyed here. More on Three Men on the Edge, including sample flash fictions, endorsements, reviews and ordering, can be found here.


Obviously, Covid-19 has affected many events and launches in the UK, including Elaine Baker's launches for her pamphlet Winter with Eva. Although these have been postponed, Elaine has been doing a series of daily video readings from Winter with Eva on Instagram and Twitter. Day 10, featuring her poem 'Water cooler', can be watched below.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Spring News & Mother's Day!

While there's lots going on across the world right now, here at V. Press we're trying to focus on the start of Spring and Mother's Day on Sunday, 22 March 2020.

To celebrate this year's mother's day, we're offering a fortnight-long discount on Helen Calcutt's poetry collection Unable Mother, as well as a 'family rate' bundle on some of our flash pamphlets with a family slant. The offers run until Friday, 27 March 2020  for U.K. delivery only.*

Unable Mother - Mother's Day price: £10 with U.K. delivery only.

'Family Rate 2-Pamphlet Flash Bundle': Choose from two of  An Inheritance, The Neverlands, There's Something Macrocosmic About All of ThisThe Chemist's House or Hometown for £10 with UK delivery only. (Please specify your preferred two pamphlets at the time of ordering or 'potluck' if you'd like us to choose them for you.)

* While stocks last and for U.K. delivery only.



"This deceptively simple pamphlet poignantly explores the process of coming to terms with the departure and, later,  death of a loved one. Glass's poems move through sparse spaces of domestic absence [...] Carrying the weight of love and loss, these poems offer hope of a new found strength. [...]"

Poetry Book Society, Spring Bulletin 2020

The pamphlet may be ordered through Poetry Book Society here.

"Ian Glass’s surname is perfect for his poetry. In ‘About Leaving’, the writing is as sharp and clear as glass, creating a frame — a window — through which to look at emptiness, departure and loss. [...]
"By writing around leaving — by skirting the edges of grief — Glass communicates these experiences and feelings in a way which embodies them. Here are poems about states of being at once as empty — and full — of reflections as glass."

Isabelle ThompsonSphinx/OPOI (One Point of Interest), the full review 'Writing around loss: concision, transference and understatement' here.

For more information, a sample poem and to order a copy of About Leaving, please click here.

THREE MEN ON THE EDGE (flash fiction)

"This is an enigmatic and intriguing work. [...] Sharply and poetically-written, Three Men on the Edge is as engaging as it is elusive."

Zel NorwoodThe Frogmore Papers, Number 95

For more information, sample flash and to order a copy of Three Men on the Edge, please click here.

AN INHERITANCE (flash fiction)

"Lifetimes pass in a twinkling in this novella-in-flash from Diane Simmons. Eighteen tightly woven short stories sew together moving glimpses into the love, betrayals and reconciliations of four generations over a span of seventy years from 1932 to 2002. [..] this is a celebration of people who take things in their stride."

Judy DarleySkyLightRain, full review here.

For more information, a sample flash and to order a copy of An Inheritance, please click here.


V. Press is very very delighted to share the news that editor Sarah Leavesley will be judging this year's Hastings Litfest flash fiction competition. The deadline is early June. Full details about the competition and how to enter can be found here. Please do follow the instructions carefully, particularly making sure your entry is anonymous. She is very much looking forward to reading the entries.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Launching An Inheritance

V. Press is very very delighted to launch An Inheritance, a historical flash fiction novella by Diane Simmons.

An Inheritance is a gem of a novella. It succeeds in spanning seventy years and four generations of one family, exquisitely capturing their relationships, secrets and divided loyalties. The historical changes wrought by each decade are delicately interwoven throughout the twists and turns within the family’s life. This captivating narrative will make you weep and smile.”
Joanna Campbell

“Despite large secrets and larger financial woes, one family’s superior love, kindness and understanding pulls them through the hardest of times, from generation to generation. An Inheritance is a poignant heart-warmer of a novella-in-flash and is a useful lesson in the importance of kindness in this life.”
Nuala O’Connor

An Inheritance is very readable and very intriguing.

A sample flash from the pamphlet can be found below.

ISBN: 978-1-9161096-5-0
44 pages
R.R.P. £6.50

BUY An Inheritance NOW using the paypal link below.

An Inheritance (including P&P/delivery options)

Profit and Loss

Thomas takes the cameo brooch. 
“The mount is gold,” the customer says. “It was a present from my husband on our wedding day.”
    Thomas reads the inscription on the back: 14th May 1930. Not even two years ago. “It must be difficult for you to part with this Mrs Baldwin – even temporarily.”
    “My John wouldn’t be happy about it, but…”
He nods and searches in the drawer for his eye glass, relieved that he has an excuse to look away. When Mrs Baldwin had first started coming into the shop, she’d been pretty. Now she’s emaciated, her eyes shrunken and her face pale. He sees so many customers with tuberculosis. At least she has something worth pawning – many don’t. Recently, he was tricked into giving a good price for a bundle of clothes, only to find that someone had hidden a cabbage inside to make the parcel heavier. The smell in the storeroom was ghastly. His father would never fall for such a trick, but Thomas, guessing at the customer’s desperation, was almost glad to be deceived. 
Thomas picks up the eyeglass, does a quick calculation, offers a loan of five guineas.

Six months after Mrs Baldwin’s death, Thomas removes the brooch from the safe. He has taken care to follow the business’s guidelines to the letter. His father won’t tolerate special treatment or any display of compassion, even for a grieving husband burdened by doctor’s bills and funeral costs. The brooch must go up for sale today and a profit recorded.
     He cleans the brooch, attaches a two-guinea price tag to it and places it on a velvet tray in a prominent place in the shop window. By lunchtime, two people have inspected it, but it doesn’t sell. By two pm, despite brisk trade and a lady promising to return within the hour, it still hasn’t sold. By four, concerned that his father will arrive soon to shut up the shop, Thomas moves the brooch out of the window, wraps it in tissue paper and puts it into his breast pocket. 
     With one eye on the door, he takes five guineas out of his wallet and places the money into the till. It’s more than he can comfortably spare, but he’ll find a use for the brooch one day. Neatly, he records the transaction in the ledger – sale price in one column, profit in the next – just as his father likes it.


The public online launch for An Inheritance takes place on Facebook on Monday, 2 March 2020. Details here

Friday, 14 February 2020

Launching Winter with Eva

V. Press is very very delighted to celebrate Valentine's Day with the publication of the poetry pamphlet/sequence Winter with Eva by Elaine Baker.

“This is a poignant but tough love story told against the backdrop of Brexit-era England. Eva is Romanian, a free spirit with a beautiful soul navigating the ignorance and hatred of her adopted country. Elaine Baker’s powerful but understated narrative is told from the perspective of Eva’s British lover, Sean, who is at once enchanted but also bewildered by her foreignness, her language, her precarious status in a country that isn’t hers – all the things that threaten to drive them apart. So what begins as a love story evolves to encompass a greater theme – these poems speak eloquently of the way we live now.”
Tamar Yoseloff

“Elaine Baker writes so beautifully about love: macrocosmic passion and domestic comfort are drawn with sharp, sensual tenderness. But Winter with Eva is also a timely sociopolitical exploration and a gripping page-turner of a pamphlet, one to read carefully yet compulsively in a single sitting.” Rachel Piercey

Winter with Eva is very human, very conscious.

A sample poem can be found below.

ISBN: 978-1-9161096-4-3
36 pages
R.R.P. £6.50

BUY Winter with Eva NOW using the paypal link with posting options below. 

Winter with Eva (including P&P/delivery options)

Winter with Eva has already received its first review.

"[...] There is a strong sense of narrative arc: two people meeting, falling in love, sharing their lives until cracks show ending with Sean’s dilemma. The poems balance celebration and disintegration. A satisfying read."
Emma Lee, full review here.


We’re all set up –
two beers. Mixed nuts.
Half a plastic tub of Roses on the rug.
It’s a Wonderful Life
playing out on the telly.

You’ve been baking
and before you’re back with the plate
I can already taste the cozonac –
sweet and melting.

We pull the crackers,
put on the paper crowns
hold hands,
settle down to watch George Bailey drown
in his small American town.

Every year’s the same.
I pretend this isn’t crying.

It doesn’t get you
till the end,
when all George’s friends descend,
fill the room with smiles,
empty their pockets to an impromptu chorus of
‘Hark the Herald’.

Now your tears are coming,
there’s no stopping them.

You say you miss the singing.
Where are all the children?

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Early Spring Reviews & Poetry Book Fair

Free Verse Poetry Book and Magazine Fair is managed by The Poetry Society

V. Press is very very pleased to be exhibiting at the 'Free Verse' Poetry Book Fair in London on Saturday, 22 February 2020, with a lunchtime reading featuring three V. Press poets.

The fair is a highlight on the poetry publishing calendar, featuring presses from across the U.K. and takes place at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL from 11am to 5pm.

The V. Press reading takes place at 1.40pm and features V. Press poets Jinny Fisher, Natalie Linh Bolderston and Martin Zarrop.

'People, power, politics’: V. Press poets Jinny Fisher, Natalie Linh Bolderston and Martin Zarrop look at intergenerational issues, family relationships, survival, personality, science and politics in poems from their pamphlets The Escapologist, The Protection of Ghosts and Making Waves Albert Einstein: Science & Life.

 More information about what's in store for this year's fair can be found here, on Facebook here, and the Twitter / Instagram hashtag is #freeverse20.

If you can make the fair, please do come and say hello - we're v. v. much looking forward to meeting readers and writers!

Free Verse Poetry Book and Magazine Fair is managed by The Poetry Society


I, Ursula

"[...] Overall “I, Ursula” is a chilling, memorable exploration of the darker side of the muse. She is stalked, hunted, desired and formed in other’s image, a body on which to project desires. Rarely does she get her own voice but here she contemplates the power dynamics in relationships and how she is used to create art, often to her own detriment. Despite the projection of delicacy and fragility, she has to remain strong with a will to survive. Ruth Stacey has created a powerful collection."

Emma Lee, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of I, Ursula, please click here.

Winter with Eva

This pamphlet is officially out on Valentine's Day next week, but has already received its first review.

"[...] There is a strong sense of narrative arc: two people meeting, falling in love, sharing their lives until cracks show ending with Sean’s dilemma. The poems balance celebration and disintegration. A satisfying read."
Emma Lee, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of Winter with Eva, please click here.


'[...]“Patience” is a reminder of the value of connection between generations, legacies of objects and character passed from the contemporary to the future. The poems show sensitivity and an acute focus, exploring different aspects of an overall theme. Their gentleness acts as an invitation to the reader to engage with and interpret the poems. Their pace is measured which combines with a calm tone to explore grief, loss, legacy and intimacy. The title, “Patience” is apt. These are slow poems to enjoy at leisure.'
Emma Lee, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of Patience, please click here.

About Leaving

"The theme of finding strength in a family and creating a safe place for children, even those who grow up and leave, to return to is as strong as the notion of leaving. The poems benefit from a programmer’s precision with language, but also offer texture and an openness of interpretation. They start in personal experience but open out into a universal concern: the effect on children of a parent’s absence and a desire to ensure home feels welcome. For all its apparent lightness, “About Leaving”, probes the intense experience of loss and recovery with honesty and concern."
Emma Lee, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of  About Leaving, please click here.

The Protection of Ghosts

Natalie Linh Bolderston's The Protection of Ghosts had two mentions in the Poetry Wales '44 Poetry Books of 2019 as nominated by poets'.

"There is a sadness to the poems as they strive to reach into the minds and memories of others, but also a wiry strength.  An exceptional debut from a young poet."
Anna Lewis

"Many unforgettable and searing evocations of loss and the unceasing search for healing."
Jeffery Sugarman

If you didn't pick up a copy last year, you can still get one now. More information, a sample poem from The Protection of Ghosts and ordering here.

Making Waves Albert Einstein: Science & Life 

“[…]Zarrop imparts his knowledge with a lightness of touch, with an ear for the anecdote and keen sense for picking propitious moments in time.[…]
The science really comes to life where the poet-narrator-teacher employs metaphoric image or storytelling to great effect, as in ‘Equivalence.’ The image is of a man in a lift with the cable severed. Is he an astronaut, floating, or is he falling, in that precise moment? ‘as reaction/follows action,/performs a slow rotation/before terrestrial matter,/without a single thought,/gets in the way.’ The verbal shift from the scientific to the colloquial finale of ‘gets in the way,’ illustrates best the poet’s ability to bridge these two worlds in a way that is fascinating, and illuminates for once, (to me, at least, as one all too decidedly ‘non-scientific’), the poetry of, and in, equations, equivalencies and scientific paradox.”

Ken Evans, The Manchester Review, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of Making Waves, please click here.

John Dust

"[...] The title character is a malleable ghost-like person others can project their feelings on. Just when someone thinks they have the measure of him, he shifts and surprises. He represents traditional folklore but can be found in Poundland. [...]"

Emma Lee, The Blue Nib, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of John Dust, please click here.

The Aesthetics of Breath 

"[..]the careful building of these poems into a logical order, the vivid depiction of transient lives, the insight into social and historical events, was competent and challenging. The strength and beauty of some poems more than made up for lapses into the esoteric and, as reader, I felt gifted with the surprising perspective of man and father."

Pat EdwardsLondon Grip, full review here.

For more information, a sample poem or to order a copy of  The Aesthetics of Breath, please click here.


Friday, 28 February 2020 in Cheltenham, 7.30pm

Ruth Stacey will be reading from I, Ursula at The New Bohemians event, Cheltenham, hosted by Jennie Farley. Tickets £8.00 includes wine, soft drinks, nibbles. Contact or pay on door. Venue: deepspaceworks art centre, 11 Hamilton Street, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham GL53 8HN. Free parking at St Edward’s Prep School, London Road (opposite Hamilton Street).

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 in Bishop's Castle, 7.30pm

Ruth Stacey will be guest poet at VERBATIM, hosted by Pat Edwards, at The Poetry Pharmacy, 36 High St, Bishops Castle, SY9 5BQ, entry £3 (inc drink & nibbles), with open mic slots available on the night.

Happy reading and hope to see you at Free Verse on 22 February!

Friday, 31 January 2020

Launching I, Ursula

V. Press is very very delighted to launch I, Ursula, a collection of very haunting and very enigmatic poems by Ruth Stacey.

“Ruth Stacey's new collection revels in the frank and often stark geographies of mental health and the playful and often political complexities of the muse. By creating a sweeping panorama of the blindingly-bright – and occasionally dangerous – contexts in which the muse inspires, cajoles, and deceives, I, Ursula animates the raw truths of emotional fragility and various forms of haunting through a staggering range of voices and ghostly imaginings. This inventive tour of connection and disconnection, observing and being observed, leaves the reader contemplating power dynamics in both relationships and the creation (and consumption) of art in chilling new ways.” Carolyn Jess-Cooke

“Stricken and painfully well-observed, Ruth Stacey’s new collection is replete with our magical excuses, boundless infatuations, loyalties and sanctuaries. Her work is particularly poignant on the porousness between our inner and outer lives. To enter the poems is to feel another consciousness pressing against your own through a boundary that seems, for a moment, not to exist.” Luke Kennard

I, Ursula is very haunting and very enigmatic.

ISBN: 978-1-9165052-7-8
72 pages
R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem from I, Ursula can be enjoyed below.

BUY I, Ursula NOW using the paypal buttons (with delivery options) below. 

I, Ursula (including P&P)

Averse Muse

If you don't want 
poems written about
you, then

do not make me fall in love with you
by seducing me softly until the honey

You should flee female poets; their call
will transform you into a buck
leaping to escape the word dogs.

This is solid advice; it is true.
Beware, your brown eyes will turn bitter –
I am not just this season, not your bit of fun

because I will write poems that will petrify
your royal jelly into wax; I will
describe the growl that you make as you come.


Friday 31 January, 2020,  7.00pm in the Studio of the Hive Library, Worcester.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Very very festive greetings!

V. Press would like to wish all our authors, readers and supporters a very very joyful festive season and a Happy New Year!!!

We're also very pleased to have not one but two special festive reading bundle offers this year. These are two books from a specially selected range for £17.50, or two pamphlets from our selection for £12, including p&p, for U.K. delivery.* Details of the titles available and ordering for these can be found below.

Meanwhile, those looking for festive gifts for photography-lovers may be interested in the inspirational posters, prints and canvases available at Wonder for your Walls here.

V. Press festive 2019 book bundle: choose two from Bolt Down This Earth (poetry) by Gram Joel Davies, The boy who couldn't say his name (poetry) by John Lawrence, Three Men on the Edge (flash) by Michael Loveday, The Aesthetics of Breath (poetry) by Charles G Lauder Jr or Cuckoo (poetry) by Nichola Deane. (U.K. delivery only, second class postage. Please specify in the seller notes box which 2 titles you'd prefer, or we will pick for you.)

Festive 2019 2-Book Bundle (with p&p, U.K delivery only)

V. Press festive 2019 pamphlet bundle: chose two from art brut (poetry) by David O'Hanlon, Hometown (flash) by Carrie Etter, Scare Stories (poetry) by David Clarke, There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This (flash) by Santino Prinzi, Midnight Laughter (flash) by Paul McDonald, Making Waves (poetry) by Martin Zarrop, Checkout (poetry) by Kathy Gee, Heroines (poetry) by Becky Varley-Winter, John Dust (poetry) by Louise Warren, Patience (poetry) by Nina Lewis, or About Leaving (poetry) by Ian Glass. (U.K. delivery only, second class postage. Please specify in the seller notes box which 2 titles you'd prefer, or we will pick for you.)

Festive 2019 2-Pamphlet Bundle (with p&p, U.K delivery only)

* These offers apply until the end of December 2019, for or U.K. delivery only and subject to availability of particular titles. Please make sure you place your order well in advance if you wish them to arrive before Christmas.)

One of the reasons these offers continue for the whole of December is that we don't see them as part of a standard commercialised Christmas marketing campaign. Instead, we hope that they offer readers a chance to save a little money at a time when their budgets may feel stretched, and an opportunity to get in some holiday reading for themselves over the festive break.

For writers who are hoping to use the holiday to concentrate on their own writing, just a reminder that we also have a 'Structuring a Pamphlet' pdf by V. Press editor Sarah Leavesley. This can be obtained automatically by clicking on the paypal Tip-jar donation button at the bottom of our submissions page here. Or by emailing Sarah at to request a free pdf copy.

Whether you're reading, writing or just relaxing with friends and family, V. Press wishes you all very very HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!


"[...]In the fascinating long poem "Incarnations", imagery and language are pitch-perfect, chronicling the story of a couple. The separate strands of their lives weave together, forming something new, but there is divergence as well as rapprochement, a sense that individuals never wholly become part of each other, but strive toward "different peaks with different views". [...] "Incarnations" strikes me as a terrific poem, turning personal experience into something universal in the way that poems should do, but so often don't."

Sheenagh Pugh, full review here.

More information about The Aesthetics of Breath by Charles G Lauder Jr, a sample poem and ordering here.

"Bolderston reflects on the traumatic aftermath of political events in Vietnam. I read the poems as haunting reflections on exile, homesickness and redemptive hope.

Mother and grandmother are brought to life in stories and nightmares, a thread of foreboding woven into the wordplay. The mother language peppers the pamphlet, heightening the sense of loss."

Maggie Mackay, OPOI (One Point of Interest) review, Sphinx, full review here.

More information about The Protection of Ghosts by Natalie Linh Bolderston, a sample poem and ordering here.



For the first time since V. Press started publishing solo poetry pamphlets, then also collections and flash fiction titles, editor Sarah Leavesley will be taking some months out - January 2020 for judging the Against The Grain Poetry Press  poetry competition and December 2020 for a writer residency in Latvia.

Someone will be taking on the posting out of individual orders made from our website or through Amazon, so the public and readers should notice little difference, except possibly a marginally slower than usual posting out.

However, V. Press will not be responding to general email, marketing requests, bulk orders, The Reading Room enquiries etc during these periods. We thank you very much in advance for your understanding.