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.


"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



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


"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.


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!


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.


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.


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 CafĂ©, 17 York Road, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Some ‘crowd reading’ slots available from