Saturday, 13 July 2019

V. Press Poets at Ledbury Poetry Festival this weekend, Features & Reviews!

HEROINES


"...the heart is tricky and a witch, and doesn’t always actually know what the heart wants. […] But long “Before birth and death / your hands first touched mine in the dark”, and eventually we find forgiveness and love and purpose on the Blue Peninsula."
Christopher Margolin, The Poetry Question, full review here.

Becky Varley-Winter also has a beautiful and fascinating article on The Poetry Question about the Power of Poetry and how it works for  her as both a reader and a writer. You can read that here.

A sample poem, more information about Heroines and ordering are available here.

THE BOY WHO COULDN'T SAY HIS NAME


The boy who couldn’t say his name by John Lawrence is a darkly entertaining debut, bristling with humour and heart in spite of the heart-wrenching story behind the title...

“All the while, these poems remain deeply attentive to musicality, finding rhythm and magic even in the mundane…”

Jade Cuttle, Versopolis Poetry, full review here .

A sample poem, more information about The boy who couldn't say his name and ordering here.


MINGLED SPACE

“Margaret Adkins’ debut poetry pamphlet, Mingled Space, celebrates myth, folklore and witchcraft with impressive care and control. The poet commands a highly evocative use of language, which occasionally forages into formal playfulness…

“There’s a strange charm to these poems, caught in the captivating throes of violence [...] Despite the danger and harm that lurks behind these bizarrely vivid poems, there’s a great deal of gentleness at work, tending to the shadows and silence of the world.”

Jade CuttleVersopolis Poetry, full review here.

A sample poem, more information about Mingled Space and ordering here.

Memories, Moments & Mingled Space: Margaret Akins shares how French philosopher Gaston Bachelard influenced her pamphlet Mingled Space, and considers the mingled spaces of Ledbury Poetry Festival, in an essay for Versopolis.

LIKE LOVE

“In Like love by Brenda Read-Brown, there’s a powerful negotiation of feelings at play, as flesh and fantasy intertwine with spine-tingling and sinister results. These poems are refreshing in that they comment on romance with a cynical somewhat comical tone…

“Besides the romance, these poems are beautiful odes to family love too. ‘Empty rooms’ plunges into the pain of clearing up a child’s bedroom after they have left home, whilst others trace the decline of loved ones, then deal with the gaping hole that’s left once they’re gone. At the same time, the book proudly carries the stamp of superficiality that contemporary society has been conditioned to crave […] There’s a light-hearted glee and glamour to this writing.”

Jade CuttleVersopolis Poetry, full review here.

A sample poem, more information about Like love and ordering here.

LEDBURY POETRY FESTIVAL - Sunday, 14 July 

This year's Ledbury Poetry Festival includes three V. Press poets, Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown, giving FREE 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14.


Photo by Leah Adkins
20 Minutes with… Margaret Adkins
12:20 pm - 12:40 pm

Margaret Adkins will read from her debut pamphlet, Mingled Space. It won the inaugural V. Press Poetry Prize in association with the University of Worcester, and was launched in May. These poems inhabit real and imagined everyday spaces. Other work features in recent issues of Under the Radar and Prole magazines.


20 Minutes with… John Lawrence
3:20 pm - 3:40 pm

John Lawrence will read from his V. Press debut collection The boy who couldn't say his name. His poems are packed with heart, humour, and a unique slant on everyday life. The Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin reviewed The boy who couldn't say his name as ‘… a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic...’

Photo by Andy Smith
20 Minutes with… Brenda Read-Brown
5:20 pm - 5:40 pm

A look at the sharper edges of life, love and laughter, performance poet Brenda Read-Brown has turned to the page with her new collection, Like love (V Press). “The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching...” Brian Patten. "These poems remind me of the tingles. I’m so happy to feel them. This collection makes me want to run outside, kiss, fall in leaves and then write.” Hollie McNish

Romalyn Ante is also a Nine Arches/Poetry School Primers:Volume Three poet reading on Saturday, July 13. (You can find details of her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain which won the Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet here.)


(Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) The festival runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 14 and you can check out the full festival programme here.

PS V. Press editor, Sarah Leavesley, will be camped out at the festival at various points, as well as at the V. Press readings. So please do come across and say hello or ask questions about V. Press, our author, the submission process or poetry and publishing in general!

Monday, 1 July 2019

Countdown to Ledbury Poetry Festival & Reviews

Summer is here, if only someone had told the weather. The sunshine is bright at V. Press regardless of the state of the sky outside, as we celebrate more reviews and start the countdown to Ledbury Poetry Festival!!!

REVIEWS

On Kathy Gee's Checkout:

"Nona’s story is a constant; we find out more with each new customer and grow increasingly attached. It’s a brief but beautifully poignant read and one that I’d love to hear performed."

Lisa Williams, Everybody's Reviewing, full review here.

'Miss Armstrong: Invisible woman' from Checkout was also featured as poem of the week at Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre - it can be read here.

For more info about this pamphlet, a sample poem or to buy a copy, click here.


LEDBURY POETRY FESTIVAL - Sunday, 14 July 

This year's Ledbury Poetry Festival includes three V. Press poets, Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown, giving FREE 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14.


Photo by Leah Adkins
20 Minutes with… Margaret Adkins
12:20 pm - 12:40 pm

Margaret Adkins will read from her debut pamphlet, Mingled Space. It won the inaugural V. Press Poetry Prize in association with the University of Worcester, and was launched in May. These poems inhabit real and imagined everyday spaces. Other work features in recent issues of Under the Radar and Prole magazines.


20 Minutes with… John Lawrence
3:20 pm - 3:40 pm

John Lawrence will read from his V. Press debut collection The boy who couldn't say his name. His poems are packed with heart, humour, and a unique slant on everyday life. The Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin reviewed The boy who couldn't say his name as ‘… a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic...’

Photo by Andy Smith
20 Minutes with… Brenda Read-Brown
5:20 pm - 5:40 pm

A look at the sharper edges of life, love and laughter, performance poet Brenda Read-Brown has turned to the page with her new collection, Like love (V Press). “The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching...” Brian Patten. "These poems remind me of the tingles. I’m so happy to feel them. This collection makes me want to run outside, kiss, fall in leaves and then write.” Hollie McNish

Romalyn Ante is also a Nine Arches/Poetry School Primers:Volume Three poet reading on Saturday, July 13. (You can find details of her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain which won the Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet here.)


(Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) The festival runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 14 and you can check out the full festival programme here.

P.S. V. Press editor, Sarah Leavesley, will be camped out at the festival at various points, as well as at the V. Press readings. So please do come across and say hello or ask questions about V. Press, our author, the submission process or poetry and publishing in general!

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Happy National Flash Fiction Day!!!

HAPPY NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY!!!

To celebrate National Flash Fiction Day 2019, V. Press is delighted to offer a special flash fiction pamphlet offer.

Our 'double delight' flash fiction pamphlet duo means UK-based readers can get Damhnait Monaghan's The Neverlands together with Paul McDonald's Midnight Laughter for just £12.

The offer, which includes postage and packing, runs until the end of the month and is available for UK-delivery only. Please use the Paypal button below to purchase this.

'Double Delight Flash Fiction Pamphlet Duo' (UK delivery only)

NEW FLASH REVIEWS

The Neverlands


"Monaghan draws these characters and their hardscrabble existence with a skilled hand, taking care to grant readers intermittent moments of dark humor and optimism. This slim pamphlet contains unblinking truths about families, motherhood, childhood, poverty, and manages to make readers feel as though they’ve read an epic novel about Nuala and Mammy in just a handful of words."

Frannie McmillanSmokeLong Quarterly, full review here

Midnight Laughter

"This is the perfect collection for someone who wants to read and think, to get something out of the time they put in to reading: weird and wonderful, seductive and strange."

Jon WilkinsEverybody's Reviewing, full review here

FLASH READERS' NOTES & EVENTS

Following on from the new print run and shortlisting of Michael Loveday's flash fiction novella Three Men on the Edge, V. Press is delighted to share the reader's notes and potential discussion points that he has put together for book groups here. (And you can find details of a range of Michael's forthcoming events below.)

FLASH FICTION FESTIVAL - Sunday, 30 June

V. Press is delighted to be taking part in the 'Publishing with an Indie Press' event at this year's , Flash Fiction Festival at Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop, 2.45-3.45pm. This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/. Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February 2019, Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V. Press, and Susmita Bhattacharya published by Dahlia Press will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since. With publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction, Sarah Leavesley from V. Press and Farhana Shaikh from Dahlia Press. Diane, Damhnait and Susmita will read samples from their collections and there will be Q and A.

ALSO at the festival:

Saturday, June 29: Michael Loveday (author of Three Men on the Edge) chairs a panel discussion / Q&A on the Novella in Flash with Meg Pokrass, Charmaine Wilkerson, and two writers from this year's Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-Flash Awards: Ellie Walsh and Johanna Robinson.

Sunday, June 30: Michael Loveday (author of Three Men on the Edge) runs a writing workshop on "Flash Fiction Sequences".

OTHER FLASH EVENTS

Malmesbury Festival , Sunday, August 11, 10am-1pm, Michael Loveday (author of Three Men on the Edge) runs a writing workshop on prose poetry, flash fiction and the cross-over between them.

Retreat West Flash Fiction Retreat , November 18-24, Michael Loveday (author of Three Men on the Edge) teaches some workshops on the novella-in-flash at the 6-day retreat.

Monday, 10 June 2019

More Festival & Other News...

"I'm trying to write the stories not only of how my family suffered, but how they survived": Natalie Linh Bolderston talks to activist writer and poet Alice Hiller about witnessing, and healing, in The Protection of Ghosts. The full interview with Natalie can be found here.









WORCESTERSHIRE LITFEST - Tuesday, June 11 to Friday, June 14

V. Press is very pleased to have a selection of titles available at special ‘festival’ prices at Worcestershire Litfest’s 2019 LitFest Hub from Tuesday June 11 to Friday, June 14. The Litfest Hub will host the book shop, an illustration exhibition, and day time poetry performances too and can be found at The Old Pheasant, 25 New St, Worcester, WR1 2DP from Tuesday 11th to Friday 14th June from 12 noon to 6pm and Saturday 15th from 12 noon for the Festival Finale, Slams and Raffle. There are also special evening events from 7:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. More about this year’s festival and the bookshop can be found here.

FLASH FICTION FESTIVAL - Sunday, 30 June

V. Press is delighted to be taking part in the 'Publishing with an Indie Press' event at this year's , Flash Fiction Festival at Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop, 2.45-3.45pm. This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/. Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February 2019, Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V. Press, and Susmita Bhattacharya published by Dahlia Press will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since. With publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction, Sarah Leavesley from V. Press and Farhana Shaikh from Dahlia Press. Diane, Damhnait and Susmita will read samples from their collections and there will be Q and A.


LEDBURY POETRY FESTIVAL - Sunday, 14 July 

This year's Ledbury Poetry Festival includes three V. Press poets, Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown, giving FREE 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14.


Photo by Leah Adkins
20 Minutes with… Margaret Adkins
12:20 pm - 12:40 pm

Margaret Adkins will read from her debut pamphlet, Mingled Space. It won the inaugural V. Press Poetry Prize in association with the University of Worcester, and was launched in May. These poems inhabit real and imagined everyday spaces. Other work features in recent issues of Under the Radar and Prole magazines.


20 Minutes with… John Lawrence
3:20 pm - 3:40 pm

John Lawrence will read from his V. Press debut collection The boy who couldn't say his name. His poems are packed with heart, humour, and a unique slant on everyday life. The Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin reviewed The boy who couldn't say his name as ‘… a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic...’

Photo by Andy Smith
20 Minutes with… Brenda Read-Brown
5:20 pm - 5:40 pm

A look at the sharper edges of life, love and laughter, performance poet Brenda Read-Brown has turned to the page with her new collection, Like love (V Press). “The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching...” Brian Patten. "These poems remind me of the tingles. I’m so happy to feel them. This collection makes me want to run outside, kiss, fall in leaves and then write.” Hollie McNish

Romalyn Ante is also a Nine Arches/Poetry School Primers:Volume Three poet reading on Saturday, July 13. (You can find details of her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain which won the Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet here.)


(Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) The festival runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 14 and you can check out the full festival programme here.



Monday, 20 May 2019

Awards & Reviews, Festivals & Events

It's been a busy and exciting few months for V. Press with the Saboteur Awards, multiple launches, reviews and events.

Saturday saw us celebrating the shortlisting of Michael Loveday's Three Men on the Edge for the Best Novella category in the Saboteur Awards 2019!!!

The flash fiction novella is also now into well its second print run. For more information on the novella, some sample flashes or to buy a copy, click here.

Other reviews, festival and other event news below, as well as a poetry dance film of 'Naked' from Helen Calcutt's V. Press collection Unable Mother.

REVIEWS

“Brenda Read-Brown’s poems are made to be spoken and heard. She’s won more poetry slams than most people but that’s not important here: how do the poems work when captured in her book, Like love? The answer is, rather well, perhaps even surprisingly well…
“She writes a poem that wants to be understood and that wants a punch-line, but within these two reasonable demands a lot of emotional ground is covered. She is devilishly self-deprecating and can lay out a line of thought with a deft dead-pan delivery…
“…this very enjoyable collection.”
Jonathan Davidson, Under the Radar 22

For more information, a sample poem or to buy a copy of Like love, please click here.


"Another new pamphlet I was impressed by was Romalyn Ante’s Rice & Rain, whose melancholy but steely voice sings of the dislocation between her current home in the UK and her roots in the Philippines."
André Naffis-Sahely, Poetry Foundation Reading List May 2019

For more information, a sample poem or to buy a copy of Rice & Rain, please click here.

EVENTS

Thursday, 30 May:  Jinny Fisher reads from The Escapologist at Words and Ears, 7.30 pm, Swan Hotel, 1, Church Street, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1LN. With James Davey. £4 with open mic.

Thursday, 6 June: Jinny Fisher reads from The Escapologist at Fire River Poets, 8.00 pm, Creative Innovation Centre, Paul Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3PF. £5 with open mic.

Wednesday 12 June: Jinny Fisher reads from The Escapologist at Satellite of Love, 8.30 pm, with Rachael Clyne. Greenbank Pub, 57 Belle Vue Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6DP. Free with open mic.

Friday, 14 June: Pamphlet Party and launch of Natalie Linh Bolderston’s The Protection of Ghosts, Jinny Fisher reads from The Escapologist ,with Luke Palmer. 8.00 pm, St. James Wine Vaults, 10 St James's St, Bath BA1 2TW.

Thursday, 20 June: John Lawrence is 'featured poet' at Dear Listener, Boston Tea Party, Worcester, 6.30pm, reading from his V. Press collection The boy who couldn't say his name.

FLASH FICTION FESTIVAL - Sunday, 30 June

V. Press is delighted to be taking part in the 'Publishing with an Indie Press' event at this year's , Flash Fiction Festival at Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop, 2.45-3.45pm. This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/. Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February 2019, Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V. Press, and Susmita Bhattacharya published by Dahlia Press will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since. With publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction, Sarah Leavesley from V. Press and Farhana Shaikh from Dahlia Press. Diane, Damhnait and Susmita will read samples from their collections and there will be Q and A.


LEDBURY POETRY FESTIVAL - Sunday, 14 July 

This year's Ledbury Poetry Festival includes three V. Press poets, Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown, giving FREE 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14.


Photo by Leah Adkins
20 Minutes with… Margaret Adkins
12:20 pm - 12:40 pm

Margaret Adkins will read from her debut pamphlet, Mingled Space. It won the inaugural V. Press Poetry Prize in association with the University of Worcester, and was launched in May. These poems inhabit real and imagined everyday spaces. Other work features in recent issues of Under the Radar and Prole magazines.


20 Minutes with… John Lawrence
3:20 pm - 3:40 pm

John Lawrence will read from his V. Press debut collection The boy who couldn't say his name. His poems are packed with heart, humour, and a unique slant on everyday life. The Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin reviewed The boy who couldn't say his name as ‘… a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic...’

Photo by Andy Smith
20 Minutes with… Brenda Read-Brown
5:20 pm - 5:40 pm

A look at the sharper edges of life, love and laughter, performance poet Brenda Read-Brown has turned to the page with her new collection, Like love (V Press). “The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching...” Brian Patten. "These poems remind me of the tingles. I’m so happy to feel them. This collection makes me want to run outside, kiss, fall in leaves and then write.” Hollie McNish

Romalyn Ante is also a Nine Arches/Poetry School Primers:Volume Three poet reading on Saturday, July 13. (You can find details of her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain which won the Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet here.)

(Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) The festival runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 14 and you can check out the full festival programme here.


POETRY DANCE FILM - of 'Naked' from Helen Calcutt's V. Press collection Unable Mother

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Launching Heroines

V. Press is very very delighted to launch Heroines: On the Blue Peninsula by Becky Varley-Winter.

“My favourite way to read these poems – and there are many – is to pay attention to what the light is doing.  In Varley-Winter’s hands, it’s always up to something interesting: filling a glass or a pear, say, or reviving the dead. It emanates from spectres or screens, and makes cameos in grease or chrome or crystal. It makes alterations: horns and feathers come and go; myth invades a city park; love arrives in a deluge. Here’s a gifted technician at work, and you feel the scope of her gift most sharply when she pulls into abrupt focus on intricate forms (shell, moth, burr), or in a gorgeous turn. The total effect is something like a series of mirrors tilted slightly off their planes: a vitreous gallery of rich, uncanny poems, crisscrossed with slant perspectives.” Abigail Parry

Heroines is about the everyday in the fantastical – bored damsels, witches living on cliff edges, and the Lady of Shallot scrolling through unsolicited ‘sword pics’ – but the fantastical is also in the everyday, and some of my favourites here are Rebecca’s incredibly tender and expansive poems on heartbreak, love and loss. With influences ranging from Apollinaire to Audre Lorde, Heroines is a great debut from this young poet, a gentle network of strong characters.” Alex MacDonald

Heroines: On the Blue Peninsula is very vibrant and very tender.

A sample poem from the pamphlet can be found below.

36 pages
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-9165052-2-3
RRP £6.50

BUY Heroines NOW using the paypal options below.


Heroines (including P&P/delivery options)

The Lover

Morning a warm hand on her spine
she watches him by the flooded river
thick with crucial information
such as: he loves her
and it must be clandestine.
It must be against the rules
to love someone and be loved back,
there’s no story, oh no, the king or someone
opposes their union. This can’t happen.
Huge owls stare her down
and herds of camels trail past him into the house
but he’s untroubled by them.
She yells HOW DID ALL THESE CAMELS
GET IN HERE? I DIDN’T PLAN THIS
as he smiles and leads them away
with such kindness.
There’s a nestling pit
at the base of her ribs, it’s really terrible,
she can’t keep still, lying in the longest grass
hardly daring to look at him, her hands fidgeting
as his eyes soak in the smallest traces of her mind
where even the worst mud is touched and sinks
into the strata of time
where it will never fully recover.


HEROINES: ON THE BLUE PENINSULA - London Poetry Party & Launch

Date: Sunday 12 May
Time: 4pm–8pm
Venue: The Harrison Pub (28 Harrison St, Kings Cross, London WC1H 8JF - 6 mins walk from King's Cross, London), downstairs.
Admission: Free, but bring ££ if you would like to buy a copy of Heroines (£6.50) or give a donation for guest readers.
Fancy Dress (optional): Dress up as your heroine. If averse to fancy dress, be your own heroine (come as yourself).
Guest poets will also read a poem *about* one of their heroines or *by* one of their heroines. As well as Becky Varley-Winter, the line-up includes Abigail Parry, Amy Cutler, Amy Evans Bauer, Astra Papachristodoulou, Edmund Hardy, Emma Hammond, Fran Lock, Iris Colomb, Jonathan Catherall, Jon Stone, Kirsten Irving, Mendoza / Linus Slug / Tommy Peeps, Nisha Ramayya, Ollie Evans, Rebecca Wigmore, Rishi Dastidar, Robert Martin Denis Kiely, Nell Prince, Kat Peddie and Tim Wells.



Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Launching Mingled Space

V. Press is very very pleased to announce the publication of Mingled Space by Margaret Adkins - WINNER OF THE INAUGURAL V. PRESS PRIZE FOR POETRY.

“These poems are controlled, beautiful and strange, always with a woman’s way of seeing; ‘a hungry vixen barked and waltzed/ with shadows’. Here is music and witchcraft and sometimes things moving backwards. Here is the marvellous musical relationship of one word to another, as Adkins’ gaze shines a light into dark corners, noticing the small, the left behind and the lovely.”
Deborah Alma

“These musical poems bristle with tenderness and beauty. Folklore and myth mysteriously evoked in the sumptuous sweep of language, domestic spaces inhabited by vivid characters leap out at you alive with a kind of gentle danger. Beneath this vivid tapestry of poems there is an echo of poignancy, threaded and pure, delivering a wonderful and haunting debut collection.”
Roz Goddard

“In Mingled Space, Margaret Adkins articulates the concerns of intimacy and how relationships are played out in set spaces, both interior and exterior, and the negotiations people make in those spaces. There is always a keen focus on the capacity to be creative in everyday places; Adkins gives attention to tender details others might miss.” V. Press Guest Editor Ruth Stacey

Mingled Space is very redolent and very melodic.

ISBN: 978-1-9998444-8-6

R.R.P. £6.50


ORDER Mingled Space NOW using the paypal buttons below.



Mingled Space (including P&P/delivery options)

The Dividing Line

Born and raised along the hypotenuse
of the estate, his house faced the track.

Mind you don’t go off with anyone, Sid
his mother used to shout. He didn’t.

They lived on the other side of the bridge
in houses with the television switched off

in the daytime. And where candled air
drifted when her leadlight-door opened

and shut after her mother said:
she isn’t playing out today.

*

Not until he was fifteen
did a vanilla-scented girl come knocking

with her bowl of salt.
And just like a bowl made of salt

bones in his head sunk clarets and corals
released on her tongue. He

didn’t understand when one day
she whispered: Sid, nothing stays the same.

*

He knew that it did. It does. The rails hum
where he stands – chalked and whet in oily-oranged puddles.

LAUNCH EVENT

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - The Hive , Worcester, 7pm

Event page here.




Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Launching The Protection of Ghosts

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the publication of The Protection of Ghosts by Natalie Linh Bolderston.

The Protection of Ghosts shows how our past can equally haunt and protect us. Here are lyrical poems about intergenerational trauma, familial exile, loss, cultural legacy and hope. In ‘Operation Ranch Hand’, Natalie Linh Bolderston explores how the damage caused by chemical warfare materialises and continues to the present time when a woman ‘does not know about the scar / that is forming inside, that her daughter / will be born wordless on a stretcher.’ The themes of separation and pain are beautifully laced in ‘My mother’s nightmares’ where ‘my mother reaches, / …and I do not know whether I am rising or she is / falling – ’, while a sense of belonging is discovered from the stories passed down to us: ‘…we grew a lot of fruit and greens on the roof. / Always eat with chilli and salt. You try!’ (‘When Bà Ngoại tells stories’). Natalie Linh Bolderston is definitely a distinct and daring voice you would not want to miss.” Romalyn Ante

“In her first pamphlet, Natalie Linh Bolderston portrays the knowledge and care shared among generations of women in poems at once sensory and tender, vivid and emotive. The Protection of Ghosts is a most welcome debut.” V. Press Guest Editor Carrie Etter

The Protection of Ghosts is very haunting and very intricate.

A sample poem from The Protection of Ghosts can be found below.

ISBN: 978-1-9165052-3-0

R.R.P. £6.50

BUY The Protection of Ghosts now using the paypal link below. 


The Protection of Ghosts (including P&P/delivery options)

From Bà Cố to Bà Ngoại

Daughter, do not let your feet grow septic with running,
your tongue surrender in your throat.

The country will not know your name.
When your children forget my name, remind them:
I am not just someone who used to love you.

Because you share my bed in times of sickness
and pregnancy, reach for me
as the sun paints you awake.

Con yêu của mẹ, can you hear me?
Remember this when you cradle your daughter
in the early hours, and you want
to throw prayers at the walls
and set the bedposts alight.

Instead, send me a picture of a little girl with frost in her hair
and a face that used to be yours.

When you return from the cold,
show me the shape of the water you crossed,
the blue air in your lungs. 


Bà Cố – great grandmother
Bà Ngoại – maternal grandmother
Con yêu của mẹ – my darling daughter

A previous version of this poem was published in issue 2 of The Good Journal.



LAUNCH EVENTS/READINGS

9 May 2019, 7pm, Burley Fisher Books, London: launch of The Protection of Ghosts in a Covent Garden Stanza ‘mass publication celebration’ at Burley Fisher Books,  400 Kingsland Road, Hackney, London E8 4AA from 7-9pm. Event details here


14 June 2019, 8pm, St James Wine Vaults, Bath: launch of The Protection of Ghosts (Natalie Linh Bolderston), The Escapologist (Jinny Fisher), and Spring in the Hospital (Luke Palmer).

Monday, 8 April 2019

Launching The Neverlands


V. Press is very very pleased to announce the launch of Damhnait Monaghan's The Neverlands!

The Neverlands, a virtuoso mosaic of microfictions by Damhnait Monaghan, tells the story of Nuala, a child caught in the crossfire of her parents' troubled marriage. This is a family epic in flash form, masterfully and movingly distilled, both devastating and hopeful. A gorgeous debut.” Kathy Fish


The Neverlands is a heart-tugger of a collection. In pitch-perfect colloquial prose, Damhnait Monaghan waltzes us through the sorrows of a poverty-stricken Irish family, who struggle to love each other well. Funny, clever, warm and sad, this is a beautiful book.” Nuala O’Connor

The interconnected stories in The Neverlands are very raw and very real.

A sample flash can be read below.

36 pages
ISBN:978-1-9165052-6-1  
RRP £6.50

BUY The Neverlands NOW using the paypal buttons below.


The Neverlands (including P&P/delivery options)

Nuala: Dutch Courage


Da staggers up to the school gates at morning break and calls for Nuala. Her stomach is bubbling but she goes over and looks at him through the fence. He smiles and there’s more teeth gone. When he says he’s proud of his Nuala, she pinches her wrist hard so she doesn’t cry. Why does he have to be drunk to say anything good? Sister Angelique comes to lead her away and says it’s Dutch courage. Nuala says she doesn’t know much about Holland and Sister Angelique says actually it’s the Neverlands. And Nuala thinks that sounds about right.

LAUNCH & READING

Sunday, June 30  Flash Fiction Festival 
Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop
2.45-3.45pm
This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/.

Publishing with an Indie Press 

Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was  published by Ad Hoc Fiction in  February 2019, and Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook, The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V.Press, will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since, with publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction and Sarah Leavesley from V Press. Diane and Damhnait will read samples from their collections and there will be  Q and A. 

Monday, 14 October 2019 – Guest Feature at Loose Muse: Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, Hants SO23 8SB. With Guest Feature poet Katrina Naomi as  Time:  7.30-9.30 p.m. Cost: £6 at the door.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Review(s) of The boy who couldn't say his name


V. Press is very very pleased to share this review of John Lawrence’s The boy who couldn't say his name (published last week) by Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16 Heather Wastie.


The boy who couldn't say his name: a review by Heather Wastie

The boy who couldn’t say his name is a joy to read, a book of poems packed with heart, humour and a unique slant on everyday life. The collection is underpinned but not dominated by the story behind the title, the painful experiences he endured as a child. His relationship with a Maths teacher is vividly described in 'Report: Maths 31%...'

'Her pinched cheeks, ivory, close enough to claw;
her quink-black eyes, close enough to skewer
with my newly sharpened HB pencil.'

In the title poem, he refers in third person to a boy who is bullied because of his stammer ‘in the game of seek-and-chide’. In 'My Father’s Cap' he writes:

'The day the kids at school find out
I’m Sally Army, I show them blood
but little fire. They vent their fury

at my deceit: this kid deserves
an extra slap. Bruises the colour
of my father’s cap.' 

'Cornet Player on the Run' opens with these lines:

'Guilty. I deserted from the Salvation Army
halfway through Onward Christian Soldiers -'

I have always enjoyed John’s poems, and it has been good to watch him gradually conquer stage fright over the years since I first warmed to his work. In 'An account of the last moments of the poet' he translates his terror with his trademark humour:

'When I take the wrong turn and find myself
clomping up the steps to the block,
take my word, it’s not what I want to do –
a bloody inconvenient way to go.'

And in the hilarious 'DIY and Me', he expresses a similar – though not so extreme – feeling of alienation as he joins the queue in ‘Plumbers R Us’:

'I join the queue, trying to stand like a plumber,
…..
As a huge fan of close-coupling, my ears prick up,
…..
I feel like a fish out of water
like Ricky Gervais on Songs of Praise'

There are some memorable lines like, for example, in 'Inventory: in my shed I have the following':

'one garden rake, handle whittled to a point
a Charles and Di ashtray with a half-smoked joint'

He’s good on titles too:

'In the Museum of Air Guitars'
'Hair Loss: The Musical'
'The Lament of the Zanussi Luminary'

It has always been a pleasure listening to John’s work, and I am delighted that V Press are publishing this collection so that more people can enjoy, and no doubt relate to, his unique take on the ordinary and his wicked imagination.

Heather Wastie
http://www.wastiesspace.co.uk

This review at: https://weavingyarns1.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/the-boy-who-couldnt-say-his-name-book-review/

OTHER REVIEWS

"John Lawrence knows how to tell a story, sometimes using analogy, and often setting up a scene then creating a volta, like a twist in the tale, so the ending is not predictable....Overall “The Boy Who Couldn’t Say His Name” contains wry, keenly-observed, mostly witty stories and vignettes taking a slant look at familiar scenarios and crafted with care to engage readers."
Emma Lee, full review here

More information and a sample poem from The boy who couldn't say his name can be found here.

TO BUY a copy of The boy who couldn't say his name, please use the Paypal link below (selecting the required delivery option).


The boy who couldn't say his name (including P&P)
LAUNCH EVENTS & READINGS


Also:

Thurs 11 April 2019: Speakeasy, Wayland's Yard, Worcester, 7.30pm

Thurs 25 April 2019: Caffe Grande Slam, Dudley, 7pm

Mon 13 May 2019: Licensed to Rhyme, Cafe Morso, Barnt Green, 7pm

& more to come...

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Launching The boy who couldn't say his name


“John Lawrence’s The boy who couldn’t say his name is a joy to read, a book of poems packed with heart, humour and a unique slant on everyday life. The collection is underpinned but not dominated by the story behind the title, the painful experiences he endured as a child, and his wicked imagination shines through.”
Heather Wastie

“These poems manage the almost impossible feat of being understated yet vivid. In this collection John Lawrence takes us through a landscape of narratives where we can feel life: its little triumphs, its wounds, its quirkiness, its sadness, and its joy. He is also a skilful humourist and it’s a delight to find several poems which showcase his impressive comedic talents. It is a perfect irony that a boy who grew up unable to say his name became a poet with such a compelling and wonderful voice.” Fergus McGonigal

The boy who couldn’t say his name is very empathetic and very entertaining.

ISBN: 978-1-9998444-5-5
80 pages

R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem from the collection can be found below.

TO BUY a copy of The boy who couldn't say his name, please use the Paypal link below (selecting the required delivery option).

The boy who couldn't say his name (including P&P)



Den, Sole Occupancy

I built a den in the living room, just for me.
Minimalist design, mainly blankets and sheets
draped over curtain poles and a golf club.

In the glimmer of a fading Maglite
it’s the echoless drear of autumn in here,
not enough room for a solitary tango
or a quick-fire round of celebrity charades.

I lie on my back, feeling weightless,
stare at the astral alignment of the buttons on her coat,
which doubles as the makeshift door. Now
on with the headphones, so the noise is less black.
Invent a new game – count the buttons on the coat.
See a new something – one blonde hair,
caught in the thread of the button at the end.
Create a new plan – build a den within a den,
then another, and another, and another,
until the last is as small as a jackdaw’s egg.

I’d invite you in, I could unhitch the coat
from the golf club. But we’d only mess it up.


PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEWS

"Lawrence presents a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic, Lawrence draws upon a diverse array of influences from life in the Salvation Army to performative masculinity in the world of DIY. These are stories in verse, featuring memorable forays into the lives of a host of characters including the poet himself."
Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin 2019
Poetry Book Society (PBS) members can get 25% off orders of this collection when ordering through the PBS. More info here

LAUNCH EVENTS & READINGS


Also:

Thurs 11 April 2019: Speakeasy, Wayland's Yard, Worcester, 7.30pm

Thurs 25 April 2019: Caffe Grande Slam, Dudley, 7pm

Mon 13 May 2019: Licensed to Rhyme, Cafe Morso, Barnt Green, 7pm