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.


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