Friday, 14 December 2018

Seasonal Greetings & Offers




Refraction
from late Latin refractio(n- ), from refringere ‘break up’

and when we awoke the world was made of glass
so sharp it cut our tongues
and so bright it burned our eyes
until all we could say was weather
and all we could see were the dark shapes
where the light used to be

and this is where we chose to build
our crystal kingdoms of kindness
and open invitations: soup kitchens, school plays,
our frozen-toed choirs, our warming flames
and dining tables stretching from vitric horizons
all bending through densities to reach us

and the hard pane of night went on for months;
we rang bells against it to make it sing
and we could not move for the press of dark
so we made games from huddling and melting
and when it was cold enough to mold-blow our breath
we filled our lungs, held it in

and the pale sun began to rise
and then

Kibriya Mehrban

V. Press is very very delighted to mark the festive season with this beautiful poem from our Cultural Intern Kibriya Merhrban.

This year is the fifth anniversary (yes, in Roman numerals, the vth birthday!) of V. Press's first publication and launch at Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2013!

To celebrate the 'holiday season', end of 2018 and start of 2019, we've two very very special offers - running for a month (until January 14, 2019.

These are:

Vth Birthday:Three poetry/fiction pamphlets for £12 offer (including P&P for UK delivery only) - Choose from art brut, Hometown, Scare Stories, The Chemist's House, Somewhere Between Rose and Black, How to Parallel Park, Against the Pull of Time, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache. Please specify which three you'd like when placing your order, otherwise we will make our own selection for you. *



Vth Birthday:Two books for £15 offer (including P&P for UK delivery only) - Choose from Bolt Down This Earth, The Nagasaki ElderBlink, Unable Mother, Three Men on the Edge, Like love. Please specify which three you'd like when placing your order, otherwise we will make our own selection for you.*


WISHING ALL OUR READERS AND AUTHORS A VERY VERY FESTIVE SEASONAL PERIOD AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


* Normally, there should be an 'instructions to merchant' section on Paypal where you can list your choices. If you don't get this, please email them over at the time of order to vpresspoetry@hotmail.com.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Poetry as experience - Kibriya's 'Top Notes' & more...

At V. Press, we've always believed that good poetry and fiction are more than just printed words on a page - they're an experience.

When readers buy a V. Press title, they get something more - be it a sharing of beauty, a shoulder to cry on, words that remind them they're not alone, an escape from mundane reality, inspiration, camaraderie, a chance to unwind...the possibilities are endless, and the experience unique to every reader with every title.

The sense that poetry and fiction are a pleasure that fits in alongside life and creates a wider experience as it does so, was one of the inspirations behind our Chez Nous section, suggesting wines, teas and other drinks that might be enjoyed while reading particular titles.

We're delighted that our Cultural Intern Kibriya Mehrban has come up with a new twist to this - Kibriya's 'Top Notes'.

Over the next few months, Kibriya will be creating Chez Nous 'playlists' of the music she'd recommend as capturing the sounds of forthcoming V. Press publications.

Kibriya's 'Top Notes' recommendations start with Brenda Read-Brown's Like Love:

"Frank Turner – Reasons Not to be an Idiot

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

Adele – When We Were Young

Iron and Wine – Upward Over the Mountain

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Learning to Fly



At first glance, this playlist is a strange mix of sounds. Like Brenda Read-Brown’s collection Like Love, it changes as you go through it and – also like the collection – it can surprise you..."

Kibriya's full 'Top Notes' Chez Nous recommendation for Like Love can be found here.

BUY Like love now using the paypal button.


Like love (including P&P)

Kibriya has also created a second new initiative for V. Press - combining poem quotes with beautiful photographs...



More info about  Jinny Fisher's The Escapologist can be found here and the pamphlet pre-ordered using paypal below.


The Escapologist (including P&P)


And if you're in Worcester this evening...


Friday, 30 November 2018

Launching These nights at home

V. Press is very very delighted to launch These nights at home - a pamphlet of poems by Alex Reed with images from photographer Keren Banning.

These nights at home, which follows on from Alex Reed’s earlier V. Press pamphlet A Career in Accompaniment, is very personal, and yet very familiar. This longer pamphlet voices the loneliness and isolation that follow bereavement, and the predicament of trying to begin anew. Moments of tenderness, flashback, longing and love flicker through the mind and heart as the months pass. The poems are accompanied by Keren Banning’s striking series of photographic images that are simultaneously abstract and intimate, drawing the reader further into this fragmented landscape.


“The most striking feature of Alex Reed’s poems in These nights at home is their clarity – a transparency that allows the reader in to the emotions and experience they explore. This lucid quality allows complex and deep feelings to be expressed vividly. Being able to approach the most difficult human experience so directly and honestly makes the poems moving and compelling. Specific concrete details convey loss and grief, loneliness, the pull of memory. Recurring motifs – empty rooms, hallways, doors – suggest the slow and repetitive process of grieving. There is nothing spare in the poems. Every word earns its place. The voice is quiet, restrained, attentive. The poems are not sombre. There are flashes of humour and a range of tone is created through the different poetic forms – prose poems building unsettling extended metaphors, experimental layouts suggesting a shifting sense of memory and perception. The pamphlet shows the reader what it means to be living with loss, conveying the process of grief with its ‘pacing hours’, and just a hint of a tentative way forward. It reminds us how, in the right hands, the economy of poetry can communicate the most complex of emotions.” Cynthia Fuller

“Less fraught than A Career in Accompaniment, more a slow immersive haunting, the poems in These nights at home enter a different unknown – the oceanic space of loss and absence.  Tentative minimalism provides the key to open up distances, far and near.  Here, less is more – reflective territory exquisitely distilled in Keren Banning’s spectral photographs.” Linda France

A sample poem and a sample image from this longer pamphlet can be found below.

44 pages
ISBN: 978-1-9998444-6-2
R.R.P. £7.50

BUY These nights at home now using the paypal link below.


These nights at home (including P&P)


LIMITED BUNDLE OFFER for U.K. delivery only, buy a copy of These nights at home together with a copy of Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment for just £14, including U.K. postage and packing.





SAMPLE POEM & PHOTO from THESE NIGHTS AT HOME

deep river

friends say it’s early yet
your picture on the fireplace, smiling

it takes a year
your reading specs on the table

it takes two years
folded clothes still on the shelves

it takes four years
faint trace of you from the wool

there is a river that runs within –
vast, uncharted, rising



Thursday, 22 November 2018

BBC FLASH TREATS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW NEWS



BBC RADIO FLASH TREATS & FLASH INTERVIEW

Jude Higgins read ‘It Tastes Good’, a story with World War One references, from her V. Press pamphlet, The Chemist’s House, on Upload with Adam Crowther on November 12. For a limited period only, her flash and talk about flash fiction generally can be found at 1.38.03 mins into the show here.


Santino Prinzi's reading from his V. Press pamphlet There's Something Macrocosmic About All of This was on Upload with Adam Crowther on November 14. This can currently be enjoyed here (around 1 hr 40 mins in).

IN THE SPOTLIGHT...

V. Press flash fiction author Carrie Etter  talks to Speaking of Marvels about writing, cats and her pamphlet Hometown. The interview can be found here.

And V. Press poet Romalyn Ante is featured in God is in the TV is online culture fanzine, with three poems including 'Last Offices' from her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain, which won the 2018 Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet The feature can be read here and more about Rice & Rain here.

REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

'Reviewing Helen Calcutt’s glorious collection, Unable Mother, feels a little like reading the diary of a close friend, a letter to myself, or the delicate and kaleidoscopic thoughts of the many women I’ve walked, talked and cried with since we were bonded by one single, cataclysmic event – birth…

'The imagery is rich and complex throughout, filled with its own totems: birds crash-land, lotus flowers bloom in the shadows, grief burns bright and painful as the sun. Boats rock, unsteady. Horses are either stabled or walk on “like women through fire”…'

Victoria Richards, A Restricted View From Under The Hedge


For a sample poem, more about Unable Mother, or to buy a copy of the collection, please click here

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Announcing the V. Press Prize for Poetry... & more!

THE V. PRESS PRIZE FOR POETRY

V. Press is very very proud to announce the inaugural V. Press Prize for Poetry offered in conjunction with the University of Worcester.

The award is for a graduating student at the University of Worcester whose work demonstrates an outstanding achievement in the writing of poetry. Eligible portfolios are shortlisted by the university, with V. Press editor and director S.A. Leavesley choosing the winner.

The inaugural 2018 prize has been awarded to Margaret Adkins for her portfolio ‘Mingled Space’. She will now be working with V. Press guest editor Ruth Stacey on her V. Press Prize for Poetry pamphlet, to be published by V. Press in 2019.

Announcing the 2018 V. Press Prize for Poetry winner, Sarah Leavesley said: “In ‘Mingled Space’, Margaret Adkins weaves together striking imagery, evocative speech and a variety of form and techniques to create a wide-ranging and beguiling look at family, society and life. This is a vivid selection of poems that I can see, taste, feel – a worthy winner of the inaugural V. Press Prize for Poetry.”

Information about studying Creative Writing at Worcester University can be found here.


REVIEWS & OTHER NEWS

"As a debut poetry pamphlet Charley Barnes’s A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache does what so many other collections and pamphlets fail to do: Barnes does an amazing job of creating flow from one poem to the next. In doing so, she takes us on a journey as the voice behind the poems first breaks down and then makes sense of various sources of heartache..."

Steph Mantle, Neon Books, full review here

BUY a copy of A Z-Hearted Guide to Heartache now using the paypal button below.


A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache (including P&P)

"Brenda Read-Brown’s poems are empathetic and welcoming...

"It reminds us all of the power that words have to connect and communicate. Their conversational tone makes these poems easy to read aloud and their layers of empathy reward re-reading."

Emma Lee, full review with analysis of some of the poems here 

BUY a copy of Like love now using the paypal button below.


Like love (including P&P)


Meanwhile, a new interview with American poet and V. Press flash fiction author Carrie Etter can be found here. A sample flash and more on her V. Press flash fiction pamphlet Hometown here.

V. Press flash fiction author Michael Loveday has a workshop on writing about urban-rural environments at the National Association of Writers in Education conference in York. His 'Edgelands' workshop is on Sunday, November 11. More information about this here, and more about his flash fiction novella set in the 'edgelands' Three Men on the Edge here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Launching Like love


V. Press is very very delighted to announce the launch of Brenda Read-Brown's poetry collection Like love.

“The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching. There is great empathy at work here, an empathy without which no real poems can exist. Read-Brown deserves a far wider readership than hitherto, and one hopes with this collection she will find it.” Brian Patten

“These approachable poems are full of humour and life experience. Like love faces up to ageing, loss and injustice with an eye for contradiction and detail. Poems about clearing out a child’s bedroom after they have left home, about angels, first love and sunbathing topless exude unquenchable enthusiasm for living! A collection to relish from a seasoned and generous poet.” Chloe Garner, Artistic Director, Ledbury Poetry Festival

“The most prolific slam winner the UK has ever had; a joy of a performer with a huge range of material that varies in style and content.” Steve Larkin

“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

Like love is very open and very unpredictable.

ISBN: 978-1-9998444-3-1
76 pages
R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem from Like love can be enjoyed below.

BUY Like love now using the paypal button.


Like love (including P&P)


Poetry has no learning objective

Words are winds
that ruffle thoughts
and blow down structures
we thought solid.
The man with a cobra
tattooed across his forehead
might be a gentle vegan.
Some people spend their spare time
painting angels.
The kid “you’ll need to watch for”
will give me images
fresh as mermaids.
Rhyme can hurt,
and metaphor disturb.
Hugs and cake
are both important.
Words are winds on water,
and water is what we’re made of.

READINGS

3 Nov 2018: Stourbridge library, at 11 am

15 Nov 2018: Raise the Bar, Arnolfini, Bristol, supporting Zena Edwards


22 Nov 2018: Dear Listener, Worcester

25 Nov 2018: Shrewsbury Festival, Stop Café, Shrewsbury

25 Nov 2018: Ooh Shehive (special edition of Ooh Beehive), Swindon

Jan 2019: Wolverhampton Literature Festival

12 Feb 2019: City Voices, Wolverhampton





Monday, 1 October 2018

Changing...NPD, submissions, new titles & more

This Thursday is National Poetry Day with a whole range of readings, poetry sharing and inspirational events taking place across the U.K.

This year's NPD theme is change. Life, poetry and publishing are full of change, particularly in the contemporary high-tech era. At V. Press, we're pleased to celebrate both poetry and change every day, and especially this week, in this blogpost.

V. Press is very very proud of all its authors and their poetry and fiction, making the wheel new, in their own way. On this score, we have some review news and a few more announcements about titles already lined up for next year...

REVIEWS

V. Press is very very happy to share two new reviews, of Michael Loveday's flash fiction novella Three Men on the Edge and Helen Calcutt's debut poetry collection Unable Mother.

"...Three Men on the Edge by Michael Loveday? Not boring...

"The beauty of this book, overall, is its not-neatness, its focus on the out-of-focus, its one minute a story, its next minute a footnote, its edginess, its familiarity, its murkiness, it’s really good."

Jonathan Cardew, Bending Genres, full review here

Sample flashes and more on the novella can be found hereThree Men on the Edge can also be ordered using the Paypal link below. 


Three Men on the Edge (including P&P)

A new review  and analysis of poems in Helen Calcutt's debut collection Unable Mother by Emma Lee includes:

“The language is precise and allows the poems to build layers of insight...
“The poems are intimate in their offerings of insights and draw from considered experience using precise, spare language to explore vulnerability and to seek clarity. It’s good to see the less-explored side of motherhood expressed with compassion and intelligence.”
Emma Lee, full review here

Sample poems and more on the collection can be found here. Unable Mother can also be ordered using the Paypal link below. 

Unable Mother (including P&P)

SUBMISSIONS & NEW TITLES

Following on from guest editor selections and other imminent pamphlets and collection news in our blogpost at the end of August, we can now reveal details of a few more new titles.

Lined up for the start of 2019, V. Press has poetry pamphlets Making Waves Albert Einstein: Science & Life by Martin Zarrop and Heroines on the Blue Peninsula by Becky Varley-Winter.

Later in the year we also have debut collections from Nichola Deane and Charles Lauder, as well as a new collection from V. Press designer and talented poet Ruth Stacey!

But these are just some of the poetry titles lined up for next year. V. Press has more to come - including next year's flash fiction titles...There will be more news and announcements on all these over the coming months, as well as new author biographies being added to Our writers/Illustrators page.

On the submissions front, all those authors who had poetry and flash fiction manuscripts shortlisted from the submissions window earlier this year, should now have received an email about their submission.

Final decisions were harder and closer than ever this year - so many more manuscripts V. Press would have taken on with more resources. We wish all shortlisted authors the very best.

Following on more generally from the submissions process, V. Press editor Sarah Leavesley has put together a short (eight A4 pages) guidance sheet on 'Structuring a Pamphlet'. The advice and points to consider are based on Sarah's own experience as a writer putting together her pamphlets and collections, as well as her work as an editor reading and working on other writers' manuscripts. This guidance sheet is mainly intended for those putting together a poetry pamphlet. But some of the points on it may also be useful for flash pamphlets and full collections.

This guide is free, though a voluntary Tip-jar donation of £2 is invited.

For a pdf copy of 'Structuring a Pamphlet', please either email Sarah at vpresspoetry@hotmail.com or click on the paypal Tip-jar donation button below.


FROM NEW TITLES TO NEW FACES

V. Press is also very very delighted to share the news that Kibriya Merhrban will be joining us as a University of Birmingham Post-Graduate Cultural Intern in partnership with Writing West Midlands.  (Our thanks to Writing West Midlands for organising this.) Kibriya will be working with V. Press for a half-day a week from the end of October 2018-February 2019, so look out for more from Kibriya over the coming weeks...



Kibriya Mehrban is a recent graduate of English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham and is working with V. Press as part of her internship with Writing West Midlands. She loves poetry in all its forms and looks forward to working with V. Press and contributing to their continued success. Kibriya’s poetry featured in the anthology This is Not Your Final Form (Emma Press, 2017) and she has also written for the Apples and Snakes website. Twitter: @KibriyaTM 






Happy National Poetry Day (Week) 2018!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Free Verse

September: seasons of mists, mellow fruitfulness - and the London Poetry Book Fair!!!

V. Press is very very delighted to be heading to London for Free Verse, the annual Poetry Book Fair, on Saturday.

This year the fair has been organised by The Poetry Society, and takes place at a new venue: Senate House (William Beveridge Hall), London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, from 11am to 5pm.

Free Verse is an all-day bazaar, market, library, meeting place, performance venue, information resource and more. Celebrating the vitality of contemporary poetry in the UK, publishers and organisations both large and small, both experimental and traditional, display and sell their work direct to the public.

More than 80 publishers and poetry organisations are taking part this year, with the event also offering workshops and daytime readings.

More about this year's fair can be found here. Meanwhile, here at V. Press, we're busy packing and planning special sales offers. It's always so lovely to be able to meet readers in person, so please do stop by and say hello!


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Launching Unable Mother

V. Press is very very delighted to launch Helen Calcutt's debut poetry collection Unable Mother.

“This work challenges our abstract and cosy notions of motherhood with a brutal and vulnerable delve into the psyche. Calcutt grapples, sometimes violently, sometimes with aching tenderness, each hard-won line ‘like squeezing / flesh and fruit from the bone, / this terrible love’. Yet these poems reach even further, into the rent world, and the remarkable kinds of beauty to which poetry alone can allude. This is an intimate book, the kind that comes in close to your ear to whisper dark secrets and unavoidable truths. These poems are spare, careful, insistent--and devastatingly good.” Robert Peake

“Helen Calcutt’s poems are full of surprising and intricate moments - they unfold like origami, deftly packing and unpacking themselves into new forms and presenting the reader with confidences, secrets and insight, the tender words for the things that are hard to say. In their explorations of motherhood, loss and discovery, Calcutt’s poetry is steeled with precise language, always finding clarity forged in the heart of experience.  These are intimate poems which are felt in the body, and written with a keen physicality – ‘love is meant to live on in the body’ writes Calcutt, ‘My flesh making heaven of it.’ In their makings and re-makings, each poem here reveals this to be a remarkable and potent debut.” Jane Commane


Unable Mother is very revelatory and very achingly poised.

R.R.P. £9.99

A sample poem from the collection can be enjoyed below.

BUY Unable Mother now, using the paypal link below. 


Unable Mother (including P&P)

The listening tree

I don’t know when this began. I have an ear
for the beautiful/terrible 
sounds, soaked with rain.
With my hearing in such leaves,
I can bear the worst of human music.
I’ve gone so very far, listening 
without moving. My roots are bound 
by ribbons in the earth
which lengthen into my back
and I sway, as it happens 
in these roots from my back. I listen,
and sleep between the dark 
and the dark
where my hearing is suspended.
And between this and my skull, 
it’s all dark matter, 
where earth and her sweetness
have darkened to gather each
bone to a bone, 
every coil to a chord.
I sing, though you wouldn’t know it.
My mouth is sunk in a pool
of old life,
it glitters and tries
to sing of its light,
and cries owl-cries
for a secret way out. Still, I bend
my thick spine 
to bare my neck, and touch you. 
You could almost be a stranger 
who's found me by a road,
you hold out your arms
as if you hold the great world,
you place your hands 
on my body and hair. Your tears 
catch on the quiet in the air,
and shake and glitter with the shakings 
of your hair;
something in your shape 
is like a tree, like me. I barely brush you
and your mouth comes alive on my light, 
I barely sigh I am a temple, I am 
soaking you with light.
If I could birth myself a second time,
I’d have your soul.  
You rock and sigh ‘oh I’m done, Mother,
I’m done.’  But the young, my love,
are free, or didn’t you know? There’s no 
god in this world. 
The closest thing to prayer is 
a child who says she hurts.


Unable Mother's cover image ‘Retreat’ by Katherine Sheers (http://www.katherinesheers.com/)


Monday, 27 August 2018

Reviews, new titles and forthcoming teasers...

V. Press is very very pleased to share some new reviews and news of titles out soon.

NEW REVIEWS

"Claire Walker’s Somewhere Between Rose And Black was shortlisted in this year’s Saboteur Awards, and it is easy to see why it is so well loved....

"Walker’s style is poised, trembling on a knife’s edge, eloquent on emotional frailty and unspoken intimacies. We follow the speaker through a whole narrative arc of temptation, infidelity, and the hope for forgiveness. The stag who causes damage to the garden brings trouble, but is, in the end, preferable to a pruned and suppressed landscape, reflecting the speaker’s own ‘untamed’ qualities and her desire for warmth and contact."

Becky Varley-Winter, Sabotage Reviews, full review here

More on the pamphlet and a sample poem may be found here.

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


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

"Written with love, honesty, and a hint of frustration at times, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache will take you from one end of the emotional spectrum and back again... A brilliant collection and I'm looking forward to more from Charley Barnes in the future!"

Daniel Burton, The Writing Dragon, full review here

More on the pamphlet and a sample poem may be found here.

BUY a copy of A Z-Hearted Guide to Heartache now using the paypal link below.


A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache (including P&P)

TEASERS...

Last blogpost, we revealed details of our first guest editors and the pamphlets they've selected as forthcoming V. Press publications.

V. Press is also very pleased to share the news of two new pamphlets by existing V. Press poets Alex Reed and Kathy Gee. Kathy Gee's forthcoming Checkout mixes elements of flash fiction, poetry and radio play to create a compelling and characterful poetry narrative. Working in collaboration with photographer Keren Banning,  Alex Reed's These nights at home is a longer pamphlet that both stands alone and continues the narrative from his earlier A Career in Accompaniment.

Early 2019 also sees the publication of John Lawrence's debut collection The boy who couldn't say his name so we're  already looking forward already to another year of very exciting publications!

More on all these titles to follow shortly, and just a reminder that  main decisions on shortlisted submissions from the recent submissions window have not yet been made - so don't worry if you're one of the shortlisted authors and haven't yet had a response.

NEW TITLES, NEW COVERS

Forthcoming this year, we also have Helen Calcutt's debut collection Unable Mother next month and Brenda Read-Brown's collection Like Love in November.

Unable Mother is a collection of poetry by Helen Calcutt that is very revelatory and very achingly poised. A sample poem and more about the collection can be found here.

A copy of the collection can also be ordered with the paypal link below.



Unable Mother (including P&P)

Meanwhile, Like love by Benda Read-Brown is a poetry collection that is very open and very unpredictable. A sample poem and more about this collection can be found here.

Like love can also be pre-ordered using the paypal link below. [The collection is published in November. Pre-orders are dispatched in the week of publication.] 


Like love (including P&P)

V. Press also has a new print run of Antony Owen's collection The Nagasaki Elder, complete with a new cover to celebrate his shortlisting in the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2017.

A sample poem and more about this collection can be found here. The Nagsaki Elder can also be ordered using the paypal link below.

We do have a few copies from the original print runs still, so if anyone would particularly prefer the new or old cover, please do request this when ordering.
(NB We will supply the prefered cover version where possible, but stocks are limited so this can't be guaranteed.)


The Nagasaki Elder with packing & postage