Wednesday 27 December 2017

Heading into 2018 with books of the year & reviews


V. Press is very very delighted to end the year with some review news and top title ratings for our poetry range.

Scare Stories by David Clarke, which was longlisted in this years Saboteur Awards, has been named a The Poetry School Book of the Year 2017.

"Clarke’s eerie sequence of vignettes can be read in any order, juxtaposed and rearranged like Tarot cards to reveal further details and dangers, without ever giving away the bigger picture; if such convenient knowledge were even possible (there will be no newspapers announcing the last day on earth)..."

Will Barrett, The Poetry Schoolfull review here.

Bolt down this earth by Gram Joel Davies and Antony Owen's The Nagasaki Elder are also on the longlist (top 100) for The Poetry School Books of the Year.


V. Press was very very pleased to see Charlie Hill's short fiction pamphlet Walking Backwards reviewed in The Irish Times.

"...intensely observed fragments of ordinary lives, and all give pause for thought. Standout stories are The School Run, its effect achieved more by what’s left unsaid than what’s actually said, and The Allotment, with its sting-in-the-tail ending..."

Brian Maye, The Irish Times, full review here.

All of the titles above may be purchased through our bookshop or by clicking through to each individual title using the links above.


A wonderful very considered and very detailed review of David Clarke's Scare Stories has also just been published on Sabotage Reviews.

The review by Becky Varley-Winter concludes: "...his sustained use of form is also quite admirable. With controlled nerve, Clarke offers a sequence of quick, dark bites, with glinting teeth."

The full review can be enjoyed on Sabotage Reviews here, and the pamphlet ordered through the paypal link below.

Scare Stories (with P&P options)


V. Press is very very happy to end one year and start the next with news that our first 2018 poetry pamphlet, How to Parallel Park by James Davey, is now available for pre-order.

"Stark, poised, precisely observed, James Davey’s poetry well demonstrates how much more emotion is conveyed the greater the restraint. The poems also exhibit an impressive musicality, from the lilting to the percussive. Each poem rewards rereading." Carrie Etter

"These poems by James Davey are vivid, articulate and entertaining. They evoke the peculiar intensity of childhood fears, the angst of adolescence, the tremors of first loves. Davey has a gift for clear-eyed dramatic presentation, as well as an often-humorous take on human condition and a true empathy for the various characters he comes across, be they ‘pyroman’ a down-and-out who accumulates trash to burn, the terrified child taken on a hunting trip, or the lover discovering the ‘colours’ of a girlfriend. This is a promising and well-wrought debut." Amy Wack

"Davey’s work is confident, crafted, elegant in its simplicity. The poems are full of moments of recognition for the reader, subtle emotive power balancing understated humour. I trust him to show me something worth seeing with no fluff around the substance." Anna Freeman

Set in England and Italy, the poems of How to Parallel Park are very emotive, very molto a pelle.

How to Parallel Park is James Davey's debut poetry pamphlet. A sample poem can be found below.

PRE-ORDER How to Parallel Park now using the paypal link below. (How to Parallel Park is published at the end of January 2018. Pre-orders are dispatched in the week of publication.)

How to Parallel Park (including P&P)

Wednesday 13 December 2017

MM Awards, festive wishes & celebratory offers


V. Press was very very delighted to head to London this week for Michael Marks Awards dinner, having been shortlisted for this year's Publishers' Award.

The award is a highlight of the poetry pamphlet publishing calendar and runs from July to July. Our very very big congratulations to The Poetry Business who won the 2017 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Publishers and to Charlotte Wetton (winner of the pamphlet award) and Rose Ferraby (winner of the Illustrators award). More details can be found on the Wordsworth Trust website, and a very very big thanks to all involved.

Running a small press involves a lot of seen and unseen work. So, being shortlisted for the award alongside three established presses (The Poetry Business, Rack Press and Mariscat Press) feels like real validation for both V. Press and our authors.

The pamphlets that V. Press had in for this year are: Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment, Nina Lewis' Fragile Houses, David Clarke's Scare Stories and Stephen Daniels' Tell Mistakes I Love Them.

At the awards dinner, M.D. Sarah Leavesley asked to give a 3-minute presentation on V. Press's pamphlets from the Michael Marks Award year.

She said: "My name is Sarah Leavesley and I’m very very pleased to be here to share what we do at V. Press.

"I run, edit and market the press, with my friend and colleague Ruth Stacey taking charge of design and producing most of our fabulous poetry covers.

"In 2015, we published three poetry pamphlets, then expanded to include poetry collections and flash fiction pamphlets with 5 titles in 2016 and now 9 titles this year.

"We publish work that is ‘very very’. And people often ask what this means – essentially it’s work that knows what it wants to do and does that well.

"The four pamphlets from this Michael Marks Award year are typical not only of what we publish but also of the breadth offered by the pamphlet as a form in itself – a form that I get very excited about.

"So Alex Reed’s A Career in Accompaniment is about caring for his partner through severe illness. These wonderfully crafted poems can be enjoyed individually, but the pamphlet as a whole has a strong narrative arc. This poetry of “fragile places” is very intimate yet very universal.*

"Fragile Houses by Nina Lewis is a vivid mix of tenderness and sharpness. These  very authentic and very fervent poems fall naturally into small groupings of presence and loss. Rather than breaking this selection up into short sections, we used a sequence of photographic illustrations inspired by the poems to run through and between the poem groupings –  like beads on a thread.

"David Clarke’s Scare Stories is a pamphlet-length sequence of untitled poems in which alternate-present-reality and possible future collide. As the title suggests, this is very unusual and very unsettling. Scare Stories was longlisted in the Sabotage Review pamphlet prize, despite only being published just before nominations closed, and David also worked with a film-maker to produce a performance version.

"Finally, Stephen Daniels’ exciting debut Tell Mistakes I Love Them is a loosely-themed pamphlet which exposes social nerves through linguistically refreshing poems that are very vulnerable and very poignant.

"I’m very very passionate about what we do at V. Press and proud of all our authors. We’re a small press with very very big aspirations. I’m delighted to have shared a short snapshot of this with you today, thank you."


To celebrate this shortlisting and the festive season, all four V. Press pamphlets from this 2016/2017 are available below with £1.50 off their usual price. [This offer is for U.K. delivery only and runs until the end of 2017, and through the links below only.]

Tell Mistakes I Love Them exposes social nerves and pokes at the wounds with poems that are very vulnerable and very poignant.

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

Fragile Houses is very authentic and very fervent.The pamphlet includes a photographic sequence from S.A. Leavesley that is directly inspired by the poems’ vivid mix of fragility and sharpness.

A Career in Accompaniment is a pamphlet of love, loss and surprising lightness. Based on Alex Reed’s personal experiences, these poems witness what it is like to care for a lover with severe illness. This poetry of “fragile places” is very intimate yet very universal.


'Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment, about caring for a dying lover, is similarly strengthened by its narrow focus. "Ghost" captures the way illness not only hijacks the present, but ransacks the future: Reed composedly voices the feeling of "missing the one you love, / even while they are with you". Like The Parkinson's Poems, Reed's pamphlet confronts human degeneration while drawing out how strange it is that we become intimate with our own mortality in the most banal of settings. In hospital with his lover, possibly for the last time, he carries her "Do Not Resuscitate" instructions in a "white plastic sack".'

Leaf Arbuthnot, Times Literary Supplement, 8 Dec 2017

* Musician David Scott has also produced a CD, Where the Waters Meet, with songs inspired by poems from A Career In Accompaniment. For more information about this, please email Alex Reed on areedhexhamATgmailDOTcom.


Friday 1 December 2017

Launching Somewhere Between Rose and Black

We're very very delighted to start the advent run-up to Christmas 2018 with the launch of Claire Walker's second V. Press pamphlet Somewhere Between Rose and Black.

“There is a disquiet that moves through these poems. Walker explores what it means to create a sense of home, and how the people within it build our longings around us. Beautiful work by a rising star in poetry. These are words that linger after the last page.” Angela Readman

“Claire Walker’s quiet, almost still, narrative through these poems could reflect their rural setting or the sadness within the protagonist, yet that quietness is deceptive. There are passions here amid the juxtaposition of man and stag.  These poems will have you checking your fingernails for soil, seeing antlers in your peripheral vision.” Brett Evans

Somewhere Between Rose and Black is very earthy and very enigmatic.

A sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £6.50

BUY Somewhere Between Rose and Black now, using the paypal link below.

Somewhere Between Rose and Black (with P&P options)


I give up watching for antlers 
through the dark. Lying awake, 
I know their presence:
the gnaw of teeth against the night.

I’ve begun to identify with them. Come dawn,
I slip my feet inside the print of hooves,
touch their bite marks with my fingers, 
taste early shoots on my tongue. 

I plant for deer now; 
sow peas to feed hungry nights, 
realise nothing can grow to full height, 
accept the elegant destruction.