Thursday, 2 December 2021

Launching What love would smell like


V. Press is very very proud to announce the publication of SK Grout's poetry chapbook What love would smell like.

“In SK Grout's debut pamphlet, romantic love between women is both sensual and spiritual. These atmospheric, compelling poems evoke a richly felt and observed sensibility, an experience to relish again and again,  ‘bright full of starwild’.”

Carrie Etter

What love would smell like expertly zeroes in on the sensual and vibrant rhythms of the body. Porches, couches, cafés and twilit streets are reinvented as poignant sites of intimacy and want. Savouring colour, light, and the ‘sweet, blistered pleasure’ of scent, SK Grout has created an enchanting ‘poetry of simmering’.”
Natalie Linh Bolderston

What love would smell like is very beautiful and very beguiling.

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-7-7

34 pages

R.R.P. £6.50

A sample poem from What love would smell like can be enjoyed below.

BUY What love would smell like NOW using the paypal options below.

What love would smell like (with p&p options)
N.B. Any international customs/duty charges are the buyer's responsibility.

To Katerina

even in another time
I will buy too many books
and you will get tattoos of
the eclipse of the moon
etched into the skin beneath
your wrist bones;
I will drink coffee, I will drink tea
and you will bathe in the
first light of the winter sun
spread across the living room floor
like an eagle cradling flight;
I will respond to all emails,
“Sorry it’s late”; and you will
collect juniper berries, periwinkle shells,
cry over oxidised lava rocks burnt black, 
press cornflower petals into books
you will never read;
I will stay home, you will tree-pose;
I will listen to Chopin’s polonaises,
you will dream ferocious big,
think jazz blue,
lap in an endless pool of innovation;
someone, I tell you,
will remember us – you nod: the Internet,
credit history and our names in the sand
first published in Banshee Lit

LAUNCH EVENT

SK Grout will be launching What love would smell like with a free online event on Friday, 3 Dec 2021 at 7.30pm. Book for the event on Eventbrite here.




Friday, 22 October 2021

Prize news, and more!

2021 V. Press Prize for Poetry

V. Press is very very delighted to announce that the winner of the 2021 V. Press Prize for Poetry is ‘Creature without building’ by Ray Vincent-Mills, with ‘MIROH’ by Talis Johnson as a runner-up.

A shortlist of four anonymous manuscripts was sent over for this year’s prize by the University of Worcester creative writing team.

V. Press editor Sarah Leavesley said: “I really enjoyed reading this year’s shortlisted manuscripts for the V. Press Prize for Poetry, my congratulations to the writers on their work and crafting.  

“My winner is ‘Creature without building’, a strongly themed, hard-hitting and urgent selection of powerful poems, which don’t shy away from tackling difficult experiences. There is pain and there is violence, but there is also beauty. Striking lines, vibrant imagery, linguistic play and crafting make this an important portfolio that continues to resonate long after reading.

“MIROH also stood out to me as the runner-up because of its admirable range of form, combining recognisable contemporary dilemmas with folklore elements to create new narratives with haunting rhythms. A moving and thought-provoking selection.”

OTHER PRIZE NEWS

V. Press would like to congratulate V. Press poet Natalie Linh Bolderston for her shortlisting for this year's Forward Prize for Best Single Poem with her ‘Middle Name with Diacritics’ (National Poetry Competition).

We wish her luck for the awards ceremony and winner's announcement this weekend. 

Details of her V. Press poetry pamphlet, The Protection of Ghosts, can be found here.



V. Press is also to delighted to see several V. Press poets included in Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry 2011-2020.

Congratulations to V. Press poets Nichola Deane and Sarah Doyle, and V. Press editor, Sarah James, who all have previously Forward Prize highly commended poems included in this anthology.

REVIEWS

May We All Be Artefacts

"Chloe Hanks creates strong rhythms in her pamphlet through the repetition of words and sounds as well as her use of form and rhyme. She uses these means to capture atmosphere, and I found it particularly interesting how these enhanced her ekphrastic poems." 

Sue Wallace-ShaddadSphinx, full review here.

More on the chapbook, a sample poem and ordering for May We All Be Artefacts can be found here.


To Boldly Go

"[...] This pamphlet grabs my imagination. [...] Martin Zarrop both records mankind’s achievements and connects them to the human spirit with witty observations and surreal imagery."

Maggie MackaySphinx, full review here.

More on the chapbook, a sample poem and ordering for To Boldly Go can be found here.




"[...]“Something so wild and new in this feeling”" takes Wordsworth’s words shared in private in her journal and brings them to life. [...] Doyle has done a successful job in selecting the phrases that demonstrate Wordsworth’s poetic sensibilities and crafting them into poems that work like a seam of light silvering the birches."

Emma Lee, full review here.

More on the chapbook, a sample poem and ordering for Something so wild and new in this feeling can be found here.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Launching knots, tangles, fankles

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the publication of Alex Reed's debut full collection, knots, tangles, fankles.

“Re-imagining the research of Laing and Esterson, Alex Reed’s multi-vocal knots, tangles, fankles asks important questions about sanity, madness and the family in a time before the digital became part of the story. This story revolves around Hazel, a young working class girl with the odds stacked against her, and it is both everyday and appalling. A shifting constellation of voices, overheard from behind closed doors, animates an insightful and sensitive collection of poems to think, learn and feel with. Carefully choreographed, all the protagonists earn our sympathy. They hold up a mirror to the human predicament – in black and white, compelling and filmic, concealing as much as they reveal, getting under your skin and staying with you long after reading the last page.” Linda France

“Alex Reed’s debut poetry collection knots, tangles, fankles tells the powerful, heart-breaking story of Hazel, sixteen years old and diagnosed as schizophrenic. Demonstrating a deft, versatile, and compassionate hand, Reed unveils Hazel’s true plight, not only through the surreal imagery of her thoughts, but also through the voices of those both hindering and healing her: from alarmed and hyper-protective parents, to institutionalised hospital staff, to the grounding, reassuring, real-life Dr Aaron Esterson, who along with R. D. Laing sought to uncover the source of mental illness in families using unconventional theories and methods. Though this is Hazel’s journey, each of Reed’s characters is undergoing their own personal struggle and anguish. In a setting similar to Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and based on true cases, Esterson enables Hazel ‘but for the first time to hear [her] own voice’. It speaks to Reed’s ability as a poet that such a moment is so keenly felt and quietly celebrated by the reader, especially in the light of what follows.” Charles G Lauder Jr

Knots, tangles, fankles is a very poignant and very penetrating poetic sequence in multiple voices.

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-3-9

84 pages

R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem from the collection can be found below.

BUY knots, tangles, fankles NOW using the paypal options below. 

knots, tangles, fankles (including P&P)

N.B. Any international customs/duty charges are the buyer's responsibility.

woodentop

clackety-clack     rattity-tat
fast as my clockwork legs can take me

past the room where the nurses drink tea
a voice on the telly is talking about me

this is a story about the woodentops
mummy & daddy woodentop

their woodentop girl whose name was hazel
& the biggest spotty dog you ever did see

one day daddy came home for his dinner
mummy was busy in the kitchen

little hazel was nowhere to be seen
that girl was always disappearing

mummy woodentop said to daddy woodentop
the girl’s not right, we’ll have her mended

let’s call for the woodentop doctor
he’ll saw her head open, hack out the rot

paint her fresh eyes & a pretty red mouth
fix her with glue just like new

clackety-clack     rattity-tat
down the corridor to meet the doctor

but dr esterson didn’t have a saw
never did much, just sat in his room

smiled when she came through the door
then lit up his pipe & winked as he asked

did you ever wish to be real
not made of wood?


Also available from V. Press: These nights at home by Alex Reed, with photos by Keren Banning.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Happy National Poetry Day 2021!

V. Press is very very delighted to celebrate this year's National Poetry Day, with its theme of 'choice'.

As ever, we have lots of poetry titles for readers to choose from, either by browsing our online bookshop or our thematic listings and author articles in The Reading Room

We're also delighted to share some recent review news, details of a forthcoming collection out shortly and the biographies of two new V. Press poets.

REVIEWS

Something so wild and new in this feeling

"Drawn from the diaries of Dorothy Wordsworth [...] The contemporary poet brings these selected snippets together with all the care and consideration of a professional florist – or expert in Ikebana – resulting in marvellously original pieces that are a sheer joy to read. The poem about walking, which also manages to rhyme, the rhythm of the lines strolling along as you journey through it and alongside the I of the poem, was a particular favourite." Mab Jones, buzz, full review here.

Although it was only published in March, Something so wild and new in this feeling is already onto its third print run! For a sample poem, more information and to order a copy of Something so wild and new in this feeling please click here.

COMING SOON

“Re-imagining the research of Laing and Esterson, Alex Reed’s multi-vocal knots, tangles, fankles asks important questions about sanity, madness and the family in a time before the digital became part of the story. This story revolves around Hazel, a young working class girl with the odds stacked against her, and it is both everyday and appalling. A shifting constellation of voices, overheard from behind closed doors, animates an insightful and sensitive collection of poems to think, learn and feel with. Carefully choreographed, all the protagonists earn our sympathy. They hold up a mirror to the human predicament – in black and white, compelling and filmic, concealing as much as they reveal, getting under your skin and staying with you long after reading the last page.” Linda France

“Alex Reed’s debut poetry collection knots, tangles, fankles tells the powerful, heart-breaking story of Hazel, sixteen years old and diagnosed as schizophrenic. Demonstrating a deft, versatile, and compassionate hand, Reed unveils Hazel’s true plight, not only through the surreal imagery of her thoughts, but also through the voices of those both hindering and healing her: from alarmed and hyper-protective parents, to institutionalised hospital staff, to the grounding, reassuring, real-life Dr Aaron Esterson, who along with R. D. Laing sought to uncover the source of mental illness in families using unconventional theories and methods. Though this is Hazel’s journey, each of Reed’s characters is undergoing their own personal struggle and anguish. In a setting similar to Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and based on true cases, Esterson enables Hazel ‘but for the first time to hear [her] own voice’. It speaks to Reed’s ability as a poet that such a moment is so keenly felt and quietly celebrated by the reader, especially in the light of what follows.” Charles G Lauder Jr

Knots, tangles, fankles is a very poignant and very penetrating poetic sequence in multiple voices.

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-3-9      84 pages       R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem can be enjoyed below and the collection pre-ordered here.

woodentop

clackety-clack     rattity-tat
fast as my clockwork legs can take me

past the room where the nurses drink tea
a voice on the telly is talking about me

this is a story about the woodentops
mummy & daddy woodentop

their woodentop girl whose name was hazel
& the biggest spotty dog you ever did see

one day daddy came home for his dinner
mummy was busy in the kitchen

little hazel was nowhere to be seen
that girl was always disappearing

mummy woodentop said to daddy woodentop
the girl’s not right, we’ll have her mended

let’s call for the woodentop doctor
he’ll saw her head open, hack out the rot

paint her fresh eyes & a pretty red mouth
fix her with glue just like new

clackety-clack     rattity-tat
down the corridor to meet the doctor

but dr esterson didn’t have a saw
never did much, just sat in his room

smiled when she came through the door
then lit up his pipe & winked as he asked

did you ever wish to be real
not made of wood?


NEW V. PRESS POETS

Photo by Bettina Adela
SK GROUT (she/they) is a writer, editor and poet. She grew up in Aotearoa New Zealand, lived in Germany and now splits her time between London and Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. She holds a post-graduate degree in creative writing from City, University of London, and is a Feedback Editor for Tinderbox Poetry. Her poetry and reviews are widely published in the US, UK, Europe and the Pacific, including Cordite Poetry ReviewdialogistGlass and Finished Creatures. She was 2nd in the Ambit Poetry Competition 2020. Her poetry annals micro chapbook is to be female is to be interrogated (2018). A debut pamphlet, What love would smell like, is forthcoming with V. Press. SK Grout's website


VICTORIA RICHARDS is a journalist, writer and senior commissioning editor at Indy Voices at The Independent. She has been: shortlisted in the Bath Novel Award and Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize; highly commended for poetry in the Bridport Prize and third in The London Magazine Short Story Competition 2017. In 2020, she came second in the Magma Poetry Competition and won the ‘Nature in the Air’ poetry competition. A selection of her work was published in 2019 in Primers: Volume Four, with Nine Arches Press. Her debut collection, You’ll need an umbrella for this, is forthcoming with V. Press. Follow her at www.twitter.com/nakedvix.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Launching Family Frames


V. Press is very very pleased to announce the publication of Family Frames, a selection of flash fiction by Alison Woodhouse.

Family Frames, the debut flash fiction collection by Alison Woodhouse, is like a treasured album of photographs you’ll want to return to again and again to discover more detail and depth. Each story is exquisitely composed. With vivid and evocative images of place and time, Woodhouse shows the distance, closeness and heartbreak within family relationships. The collection is satisfyingly framed with slightly different versions of the same story, placed at the beginning and the end. The subtle yet powerful variations in the second version emphasise one of the themes of the book – how fierce love can carry a family through anything that life brings.” Jude Higgins

“To quote from one of the titles in this fine collection, ‘home is not a place, but a feeling’. This is a moving exploration of family dynamics and the feelings that home engenders. Myths jostle with memory, siblings grieve together or alone, marriages end, parents disappoint. There is loss and sacrifice, grief and sorrow, but above all, a fierce love that binds families together. Beautiful and poignant.” Damhnait Monaghan

These flash fictions explore the power we possess to shift our relationships by examining our memories, questioning fixed narratives, revealing new perspectives. Family Frames is very raw and very relatable.

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-5-3

48 pages

R.R.P. £7.50

A sample flash fiction from Family Frames can be enjoyed below.

BUY Family Frames NOW using the paypal options below. 

Family Frames (with p&p options)

N.B. Any international customs/duty charges are the buyer's responsibility.

Broken

The sparrow hawk lay on the bracken, its broken wing splayed sideways. It trembled violently when the boy picked it up. 

“Can I keep it?” he asked.

“You can’t save it,” his father said. “Better to leave it. You’ll only be disappointed.”

The boy argued and threatened to cry and looked so like his mother the father couldn’t say no. They took the sparrow hawk back to the house and made a bed for it out of a box lined with straw. The boy put the box in his bedroom. When his father came to say goodnight, the boy asked what should they feed the bird and his father said in the morning they’d dig for worms. 

“How will I keep him happy until then?” the boy asked and his father said the bird did not know what happiness was. 

“See how frightened he is,” the boy said but his father could not look into the sparrow hawk’s black eye. 


Monday, 13 September 2021

Launching To Boldly Go

V. Press is very very proud to announce the publication of To Boldly Go by Martin Zarrop.

“I was astonished by the versatility of these poems, the dizzying ride from early space exploration to a future of AI and artificial meat. Zarrop knows his stuff but wears his knowledge lightly. There is humour here among the surreal and the sci fi. I loved ‘A Quiet Drink’ which opens ‘In space, nobody can hear you fart’ and ‘Wasp–76b' which starts ‘Gene Kelly had it easy. You/ try dancing through liquid metal/ clad in a tank top’. His is a quirky, witty, unique voice and there is an underlying seriousness to these poems which reward reading and rereading.” Carole Bromley

“If you've ever wondered what happened to all the animals that we put into space, they live on and tell their stories in the corners of these poems. This pamphlet examines the tragedy and farce of our world from unusual perspectives and always at a slight distance, whether it’s through the first humans on Mars or a robotic home help. With a dry sense of humour and perfect observation these poems equip us for a future of lab-grown meat and space travel…I hope you’re ready To Boldly Go.” Suzannah Evans

To Boldly Go is very worried out there but very hopeful.

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-6-0

36 pages

R.R.P. £6.50

A sample poem from To Boldly Go can be enjoyed below.

BUY To Boldly Go NOW using the paypal options below.

To Boldly Go (with p&p options)
N.B. Any international customs/duty charges are the buyer's responsibility.

* SPECIAL OFFER *

While stocks last, buy To Boldly Go and Martin Zarrop's pamphlet Making Waves as a 'Zarrop 2-pamphet bundle' for delivery in the UK for just £12.50, including UK delivery.   

BUY 'Zarrop 2-pamphlet Bundle' NOW using the paypal options below. [To Boldly Go is published at the end of Sept 2021/start of Oct 2021, the 'Zarrop 2-pamphlet Bundle' pre-orders are sent out in the week of its publication.]

'Zarrop 2-pamphlet bundle' with delivery options
N.B. Any international customs/duty charges are the buyer's responsibility.

Chocolate

It’s five years since the last delivery
of nuclear fuel, essential metals
we can’t mine, dark chocolate bars
reminding us of home.

The data came to us in holograms
across an airless sea, telling
of the latest viral curse, of infertility
and chaos, martial law.

We’re on our own.
It’s three years since the last goodbye,
the vaccine failures, messages of love
then suddenly – no reason – silence.

We cultivate our gardens, ration breath,
grow seed potatoes, culture meat,
pray the projector doesn’t fail
while cheering The Martian’s safe return.

Last month we climbed Olympus Mons
but dream of Earthrise, egg on toast,
before another mess of spuds.
We miss the chocolate most.
Hear Martin read from his pamphlet live:

Martin will be reading from To Boldly Go as a guest poet at Manchester Poets at Chorlton Library (M21 9PN) at 7.30pm on Friday, 15 October 2021.The event is open to the public and unticketed, although donations of £3 are encouraged.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Launching Set a Crow to Catch a Crow

 

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the publication of Set a Crow to Catch a Crow, a chapbook of flash fiction by Mary-Jane Holmes.

“These are stories that pulse with transformation, visceral, lush, and sound-rich. In Holmes’ lyrically-charged short fictions, worlds tilt, horizons thrum and yearnings come unmoored, and the language pulls us close to the bloodstream of her characters, feeling for their pressure-points, their broken wings. Their land and homescapes leap to life around them, set alight by breath-catching images that bind us into the textures and electrons of each scene, skin and earth, creek, board and bone. Each brief diorama in this volume delivers us a ‘quivering glint’ of characters caught in slipstream instants, lingering on the verge of fission, or hauled into ‘dark runnels of the heart’ where currents of longing and threat inescapably converge. Holmes’ writing rubs the fibres of life between our fingers, so we feel its restlessness and wonder.” Tracey Slaughter 

“The stories that fill Mary-Jane Holmes’ Set a Crow to Catch a Crow are perfect, precise, highly burnished narrative shards that describe a moment in time but imply both what came before this moment and very likely may come after. It might only be a grain you are offered but you get a whole world. It is only writing of a very high order can pull off the feat that is pulled off here.” Carlo Gébler 

Set a Crow to Catch a Crow is very textured and very liminal. 

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-4-6
36 pages
R.R.P. £6.50

A sample flash fiction from Set a Crow to Catch a Crow can be enjoyed below.

BUY Set a Crow to Catch a Crow NOW using the paypal options below.

Set a Crow to Catch a Crow (with p&p options)

N.B. Any international customs/duty charges are the buyer's responsibility.

Dispatch

Eithne was spiking mole runs with hawthorn stakes when the postman arrived with a package.
    “Addressed to Eros,” he said, aiming the scanner at the barcode.
    “Like the god?” she asked, watching the wink of the laser’s red eye.
    The postman shrugged. 
    “Only me here now, Tom.” 
    They both looked at the house, its cracked gutters, the bluebottle carcasses lining the windowsills.
    “I can return it to the depot,” Tom said, as a ripple of soil erupted by the back tyre of his van. A pink snout sniffed the air, then disappeared.
    She took the box. No weight to it or return address, no rattle or slide of contents when shook.
    Back in the pantry, she put it between the Oxo cubes and baking soda, the only place in the building dry and vermin-free.
    She picked up the cuttings again, crouched by the fresh mound of earth. She chose a stem with the thickest thorns, noticing then the buds still intact, the rose-flush of the petals just showing. She ran her index finger over them, smooth as fur. She went back to the pantry, picked out a pickle jar, filled it with water, dusted the windowsill and set the stems on the ledge. The water caught the pale flash of spring sunlight. Time I spruced the place up a bit, she thought, pulling each stake from where she’d placed it that morning, scanning the road for a quivering glint of a vehicle, hope lighting the dark runnels of her heart.