Friday 31 March 2017

Launching Bolt Down This Earth

V. Press is delighted to launch Bolt Down This Earth by Gram Joel Davies.

Bolt Down This Earth pulses with energy. These poems hang between ambition and loss; they span survival in the home and on hilltops, stretch over break-ups and break-downs. Gram Joel Davies strips back the boards of existence to look at the wires—searching for human voices where the breeze hums though cable or branch. Adolescent ritual turns to a “lightbulb crushed into light.” His imagery is electrifying. Harmony and dissonance cause unexpected meanings to crackle and spark, while scenes and relationships fuse, so that a “power station is an ice cube / across the mica flats / and cider stymies us.” Bolt Down This Earth is very vital and very charged.

“Linguistically bold and alive to the thisness of its moments, Bolt Down This Earth is a debut collection of lyric energy and inventiveness, full-throated and confident in its own power to convince. An arrival to be celebrated.” Martin Malone

“Gram Joel Davies’s first collection slips deftly between a West Country past and the present. The poems are full of taut observation and meticulous attention to detail. And though there is an urban feel to many of them, the collection is brimful of nature. The poems are often peopled with the troubled or misunderstood, and the worlds they move in are shadowy and uncomfortable versions of those we know – almost dystopian at times. There is often a sense of the narrator or central character being the outsider (a boy almost drowning, two teenagers exploring a derelict hospital, a father too fond of his drink) and there is a disquieting and almost violent sensuality too. The complexity of the worlds these people move in is echoed by the complexity of the way Davies puts words together – sometimes joining two words together to create new words; weaving something rich and new that casts its melancholy spell over the reader, but never excludes them. In these poems the uncomfortable tinnitus of the past encroaches on the very real tinnitus of the present. This is compounded in the powerful Tinnitus sequence that is dotted throughout the collection like a central column that the other poems hang on. The cumulative effect of the layering of numerous and various language is both troubling and stunning. These are poems whose subtle inventiveness works its way into your subconsciousness, poems that you will want to revisit time and again.” Julia Webb

A sample poem from the collection can be found below.

Buy Bolt Down This Earth now using the paypal link below

Bolt Down This Earth with P&P

Coming Up For Air

She makes him taste of tarragon,
olive oil, black pepper.
He does not rinse his beard.
He wants to wear it

into the warm street like a lit flume.
People gull around his wake,
scenting his beard
comb the line of hers.

A man with rolled sleeves
sniffs and wants to plunge
his tongue
but, through a window, a cab driver

draws breath, tasting
how he waited on
her nipple.
In the foyer, a clerk’s hand

floats over keys,
watching lift-numbers
kiss up her ribs, back down.
The lift fills with pepper

and tarragon. He parts the way,
his beard glowing like her olive
glow, he licks spiced lips
and remembers: goes in.


Bolt Down This Earth chosen for Other New Books in Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin 2017

Monday 27 March 2017

Launching Scare Stories

V. Press is delighted to launch Scare Stories, a poetry sequence by David Clarke.

“The poems in Scare Stories offer us exactly that: a series of richly populated narratives that show the contemporary moment as a grotesque and fearful nightmare. This is a world of war and refugees, high politics and helicopters, sex and suffering as entertainment. Somewhere at the root of things is money. It’s all delivered in sharp quatrains whose flamboyant rhyming makes it more brutal, not less. It’s a vision, in the Hieronymus Bosch sense, funny and horrifying, but it’s redeemed at last by our futile wishing for redemption. Scare Stories would have had Gottfried Benn cheering wildly, and if that's not a troubling idea I don't know what is.” Tony Williams

“David Clarke conjures up post-apocalyptic visions that are uncomfortably close to our present. All of humanity is played out here, from gamers to generals, the whole bitingly observed. Scare Stories is a frightening mirror, but it’s also compelling and hypnotic, I dare you to look away.” Claire TrĂ©vien

Scare Stories is a sequence of poems that is very unusual and very unsettling.

David Clarke's sequence-length pamphlet Scare Stories is published by V. Press in March 2017. Clarke's pamphlet, Gaud (Flarestack), won the Michael Marks Award in 2013. His first full collection of poetry, Arc, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2016 and was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

A sample from the pamphlet can be found below.

Buy Scare Stories now using the paypal link below.

Scare Stories (with P&P options)

From Scare Stories...

We buzz our personal shopper in –
            her face glitched on a tiny screen.
            In this, the cocktail hour, we sheen
our gums with bitters and sapphire gin,

recline as the video wall dilates
            with shots of ocean swell, segues
            into copper sundowns. Displayed
across the coffee table, the latest

linens, white, but piped with clay
         or teal, moccasins in ivory
         suede. Our personal shopper’s very
much on the money. We wave her away.

Launch Events

David Clarke will be doing his first reading of the pamphlet in a Nine Arches Showcase on Saturday, 13 May at St Andrew's Church, Cheltenham. 
Doors Open at 4:30pm
From 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Ticket Price: £5.00 - £7.00*
*booking fee applies

Box Office: 07510143944 - 

More info is available here.

He will also be launching a performance developed with Helen Dewbury of Elephant’s Footprint at 7.30pm on 30 June at Deepspace Works in Cheltenham.

Friday 3 March 2017


We’re very very delighted to share news of reviews of not just one but four V. Press titles in the latest The Journal. The following are from reviews by Sam Smith.

“Instant poignancy, poems telling of instances in the progress of a partner’s multiple sclerosis. Hope against fatalism, how care has to, of necessity, come to the fore. That loving and caring beyond love and regret perfectly expressed here in descriptions that come alive: ‘Most mornings as I open the gate, / he’s there. Ancient Labrador at his heels, / John’s a tall man with a gardener’s tan. / He occupies the slow rhythm of retirement, / a gentle aliveness that reveals itself/ when all the rushing’s done.’ Comrades. A gift of his pain this booklet, has print that will blur at times through your tears, but will leave you the stronger for having read. Thank you Alex Reed.” Sam Smith, The Journal

BUY A Career in Accompaniment (R.R.P. £5.50) now using the paypal link below

A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing

Book of Bones by Kathy Gee 

“…And just when I was wondering how else to fairly describe the contents I arrived at Traces and relief – to find those ingredients also here. That almost indefinable that skirts around mind’s edges, the not obvious, not quite, but that we know it is there, we know it’s right. Her Provenance  too took me back for a second reading. Also, and probably reflecting my taste for the estranged, Book of Bones  worth getting for Northerner in the South and Orientation –

A map is not the landscape, 
shows the journey, not its ending,
knows the road but cannot tell you
how to find your way.

Life’s a chart of known unknowns
where here-be-dragons curl
and monsters guard the Empty Quarter.

This is nothing new. Don’t worry.
Home is always split
between at least three different maps.
We live beyond the contour lines.”

Sam Smith, The Journal 

BUY Book of Bones (R.R.P. £9.99) now:

Book of Bones with P&P

Fragile Houses by Nina Lewis

“Opens with anecdotal poems of childhood and family members, moves on to objects and absences. Every childhood owns similarities, none the same. As the differences grow so do the poems in Fragile Houses become more interesting – the single-parent mother lauded, absent father defended: “He didn’t wait for old age to be eccentric.’ A Mother’s Heart to Heart. She even takes us to when the backwards genealogy of self is no longer predominant, self subsumed into the expanding and disparate life to come.” Sam Smith, The Journal 

BUY Fragile Houses (R.R.P. £5.50) now using the paypal link below. 

Fragile Houses (please select correct postage & packing option below)

The Old Man in the House of Bone by David Calcutt, with illustrations from Peter Tinkler

“David Calcutt’s poems outnumber Peter Tinkler’s illos, but given the power of the drawings, especially the first two, I can see why the cover gave them equal credit. All the poems relate to the indefinite memory of an old man inable to identify himself, of the searches he makes inside himself where everything is almost something else… The old man’s thinking about the war, and contains these lines – ‘…he goes on speaking/ but the silences have stopped listening and his words / drop soundless to the cold depths where the silences / eat them…’ Having been a nurse on psycho-geriatric wards everything here rang true, is the best description of the process of dementia I’ve come across. A piece of work I’d recommend to anyone looking after a dementing relative or friend, to have some idea of what their patient is going through.” Sam Smith, The Journal 

BUY The Old Man in the House of Bone (R.R.P. £5.50) now using the paypal link below

The Old Man in the House of Bone with postage & packing