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

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Spring News


REVIEWS

"Three Men on the Edge took me unawares and made a huge impression. To me it represents what the Republic of Consciousness Prize is all about - hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose from a tiny independent press that's willing to take risks. Denholm, Gus and Martyn are wonderful creations and Michael Loveday renders their world with great skill and empathy and subtlety."

David Collard, chair of the judging panel, Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019

Sample flashes and more information about Three Men on the Edge can also be found here.


"“The Escapologist” contains poems that are warm, conversational in tone and welcoming to read. They wear their craft and musicality lightly, which makes them an engaging read and gives them a depth exploring and exposing family psychologies."
Emma Lee, full review here

For a sample poem, more information or to order a copy of Jinny Fisher's The Escapologist, please click here.

V. Press is also extremely pleased to share the Poetry Book Society pre-publication review of John Lawrence's collection The boy who couldn't say his name, which is out on Mother's Day (31 March) 2019.

"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.

A sample poem and more information about  The boy who couldn't say his name can also be found here.


THE READING ROOM

If you haven't yet had a chance to check out The Reading Room, this is a new initiative to provide resources (and discounts) on V. Press titles for reading groups. Although set up for reading book organisers, the page contains  links to reading notes that may interest any readers and writers wanting to learn more about the background to our titles and their inspiration. The Reading Room also lists titles under potential themes and special interest areas that may be useful if you're looking for poetry or flash on a particular topic... We've already had new notes and listings added since starting the initiative earlier this month. You can read more here!

TOP NOTES

V. Press is very pleased to share Kibriya Mehrban's latest  'Top Notes', for The Escapologist by Jinny Fisher.

"Clinic – Earth Angel

Bon Iver – The Wolves (Act I & II)

Radical Face – Kin

James Morrison – Too Late for Lullabies

Sleeping at Last – Aperture

The first song on this playlist for Jinny Fisher’s The Escapologist  is a recommendation from Jinny herself, Clinic’s song Earth Angel. The first sound when this track begins is that of waves coming up onto the shore, so I immediately linked it to the coastal setting featured in poems like ‘Retrofocus’ and ‘The Always Ireland Holiday’. Listening to the opening bars, you might think this is a feel-good song and yet it surprises with dissonant notes, and lyrics that are at once opaque and ominous. This feels like a musical iteration of a trick that Jinny plays frequently on the reader in The Escapologist, making us think we’re looking at one thing before pulling the rug out from under us with an incongruous detail, some tiny revelation that changes how we see the whole scene. A mother and daughter sing along with a band at a concert and yet there is something uncomfortable in the danger of stepping on a pair of misplaced wellies. A family eat Sunday lunch together but the careful deliberateness of the “chew and swallow” hint at an unspoken tension. A memory of being washed in the sink is probed in a murmur by a disembodied voice… There’s something uncanny about how skilfully Jinny balances the emotions of the reader somewhere between intrigue and trepidation, and for me, the sounds of this track have a great synergy with that experience..."



Kibriya's full Top Notes recommendation, along with some of her photo-quotes for the pamphlet, can be found over on the Chez Nous page here.

EVENTS

Various V. Press launches and readings by V. Press authors are in the pipeline for the coming months. These recent and new poetry titles include Jinny Fisher's The Escapologist, Kathy Gee's Checkout, John Lawrence's The boy who couldn't say his name (31 March),  Natalie Linh Bolderston's The Protection of Ghosts (23 April) and Becky Varley-Winter's Heroines On the Blue Peninsula (7 May),
along with flash fiction pamphlets Midnight Laughter by Paul McDonald and The Neverlands by Damhnait Monaghan (8 April). (More information on forthcoming titles can be found here, and keep an eye on this blogpage for details of the launch events on the publication day blogpost for each of these.)

Martin Zarrop will be reading from Making Waves,with Black Cat Poets at the Victoria Community Centre in Denton (M34 3JG) at 7.30pm tonight (Thursday, 21 March 2019). Open mic slots. Entrance £3.

Also, Michael Loveday, author of Three Men on the Edge (V. Press flash fiction novella) will discuss writing flash fiction and the opportunities for writing a series of stories to create a novella in a Q&A at Bristol Novel Nights on 29 May, 2019. More info on this here.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Launching Checkout and The Reading Room

V. Press is very very delighted to announce a double launch today: Kathy Gee's Checkout  and a new V. Press initiative The Reading Room.

The Reading Room is a discount order system and range of resources for reading/writing groups and those working in education. These include reading notes from V. Press authors, starting with Kathy Gee's Checkout which is published today.

Checkout is a sequence of character portraits and vignettes based on the ephemeral characters that cross a corner shop’s bell-chiming threshold. Told from every side of the social spectrum, this is a play for voices, voices in verses, a cross between Under Milk Wood and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. This is a bold and brave collection from the distinctive voice of Kathy Gee.”  Rhian Edwards

“In a time where high street shops are declining or under threat, Checkout is a timely ode, set in Middle England with a ‘cadenced heart,/ alert to daily rhythms, oiled/ by traffic, chips and friends.’ We can add dogs and peregrine to the series of vignettes of everyday people, caught with a keen ear, passionate not to lose the nuances of a century’s old tradition. These voices are guided by a young narrator, who serves and observes; someone who is on her own odyssey that ventures around the world without moving out of the confines of the cash desk. As people make their daily pilgrimage to this local shop, there are elements of Canterbury Tales and Bukowski flowing through this brave collection.” Roy Mcfarlane

As confident as sugar lumps in Yorkshire Tea, Checkout is very immersive, very real.

A sample poem from the pamphlet can be found below.

36 pages
ISBN: 978-1-9165052-0-9
RRP £6.50


BUY Checkout NOW using the paypal options below.


Checkout (including P&P/delivery options)


Pembe:  Snow in Istanbul     

Four flights of stairs to a wooden loft.
I flicked false triumph from my paintbrush,
spattered anger over canvas
stretched out on the lime-white floor.
Beneath the frozen sky, I argued,
cut through dead-end debts and lies,
spread ink blots on his frogspawn heart.
     A second canvas, white and square,
was laid out like the first, but turned
so every corner pointed at a wall.
I stretched up to the skylight, bent
to fling fresh paint at what comes next.
The brilliant colours furled and landed
where new stories said they must.
              The day the sun broke through, I tried
to sell the pictures of my life
to a dealer from the Grand Bazaar.
Enticed by promises of tea,
he climbed the stairs to my attic room
and tried to buy the snow-white, star-shaped
space, revealed, uncovered on the floor.


CHECKOUT LAUNCH EVENT & READINGS

Friday, 8 March 2019, launch. 7-9pm, pay bar opens at 6.30pm. Venue: Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome St, Worcester WR1 1UH. There will be guest poets and an experimental ‘crowd reading’. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we will only read from the female customer poems!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019, 6.30 – 10pm. Headlining at Poetry Bites, held behind the Kitchen Garden Café, 17 York Road, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Some ‘crowd reading’ slots available from kathy.gee@brainginger.co.uk

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Launching Midnight Laughter

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the publication of Midnight Laughter by Paul McDonald.

The short fiction in Midnight Laughter is very funny and very unsettling…

“These are fantastic, absurd, coruscating, disturbing and laugh-out-loud funny gobbets of communication from journeys into that bizarre realm between dream and reality. Brilliant testaments to the power of the human imagination and the mad computer of the brain, each of these little detonations of alluring oddness make the world seem simultaneously stranger and sounder than it is. Superb stuff.” Niall Griffiths

“I absolutely loved Midnight Laughter and will be pressing it upon everyone I know. These are precision cut gems of stories – little shards of darkness, pathos, unexpected tenderness and wicked humour. A beautifully crafted collection.” Catherine O’Flynn

A sample flash from the pamphlet can be found below.

36 pages
ISBN: 978-1-9165052-5-4
RRP £6.50


BUY Midnight Laughter NOW using the paypal options below.

Midnight Laughter (including P&P/delivery options)

Short Story

One morning at breakfast Pete was a foot shorter than he’d been the night before. His PJs tripped him up as he shuffled through the kitchen. “Watch out Mr Clumsy,” said his wife. He ate his kippers as she talked about the day she had in store; should she purchase him some platforms from the shops?

Next morning he was two feet shorter still, his nose scarcely level with the kitchen counter. He struggled with his kippers, the size of barracuda on his plate. “Eat up,” said his wife, who pinched his cheeks between her fingers, “You’re getting cuter by the day!”

Next morning he was less than two feet tall and wore her blouse as a dressing gown. She spent some time ruffling-up his hair, sat him in a highchair, and flew him flakes of kipper on an aeroplane fork: “My darling Petie Weetie!”

Next morning he was half the size again, and she calmed him with a dummy dunked in kipper juice and spit…

Time shrank. He couldn’t tell how long it was before he was so tiny he could fit inside a capsule, its headache powder contents tapped-out on the draining board ready for his fingernail frame. The trip down her gullet made him squeal, the sound of which diminished to a dot. If you’ve ever wondered what a dot would sound like. It sounds like that.

TALKS & READINGS

Catch Paul McDonald at these events - don't worry, none at midnight!

‘Writing Very Short Stories’ - a public talk at University of Wolverhampton (Stafford Campus) on Tuesday, 2 April  2019, 11am-1pm.

‘Writing Very Short Stories’ - a guest speaker talk for Walsall Writer’s Circle, Walsall College (Wisemore Campus) on Thursday, 9 May 2019, 7-9pm

Reading at ‘Poetry Alight’, Kings Head, Lichfield on Tuesday, 1 October 2019 (evening)