Monday, 5 August 2019

2019 V. Press Prize for Poetry

V. Press is very very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2019 V. Press Prize for Poetry is 'yngordna' by Kelly Williams, with ‘Writing the Truth’ by Miguel Guerreiro Lourenco as runner-up.

Announcing the 2019 V. Press Prize for Poetry winner, Sarah Leavesley said: “This year’s shortlist from the University of Worcester featured five manuscripts with a delightfully varied selection of themed and focussed writing, across a variety of styles/forms including some stunning vispo.

“Kelly Williams’ ‘yngordna’ (androgny spelled backwards) is a bold and brave exploration of gender, sexuality and love within and against societal expectations. Bristling with vivid imagery, vibrant language and powerful emotions, these poems are not afraid to challenge conventional boundaries in poetry as life. The selection’s focussed theme is reinforced by a natural fluid flow in the poems’ ordering, just as the intensity of the lines is balanced by the poems’ use of line breaks and white space. A fresh and striking selection.

“I was also very struck by Miguel Guerreiro Lourenco’s ‘Writing the Truth’ – a selection of powerful poems that manages the feat of feeling imaginative yet also very real and moving, reinforced again by the choices of form and layout.”

Sarah is now working with Kelly Williams on their pamphlet to be published in 2020 and launched with a university event in The Studio at The Hive, Worcester on the evening of Friday, 1 May, 2020. Runner-up Miguel Guerreiro Lourenco will receive a selection of V. Press titles.

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.