Saturday, 13 July 2019

V. Press Poets at Ledbury Poetry Festival this weekend, Features & Reviews!


"...the heart is tricky and a witch, and doesn’t always actually know what the heart wants. […] But long “Before birth and death / your hands first touched mine in the dark”, and eventually we find forgiveness and love and purpose on the Blue Peninsula."
Christopher Margolin, The Poetry Question, full review here.

Becky Varley-Winter also has a beautiful and fascinating article on The Poetry Question about the Power of Poetry and how it works for  her as both a reader and a writer. You can read that here.

A sample poem, more information about Heroines and ordering are available here.


The boy who couldn’t say his name by John Lawrence is a darkly entertaining debut, bristling with humour and heart in spite of the heart-wrenching story behind the title...

“All the while, these poems remain deeply attentive to musicality, finding rhythm and magic even in the mundane…”

Jade Cuttle, Versopolis Poetry, full review here .

A sample poem, more information about The boy who couldn't say his name and ordering here.


“Margaret Adkins’ debut poetry pamphlet, Mingled Space, celebrates myth, folklore and witchcraft with impressive care and control. The poet commands a highly evocative use of language, which occasionally forages into formal playfulness…

“There’s a strange charm to these poems, caught in the captivating throes of violence [...] Despite the danger and harm that lurks behind these bizarrely vivid poems, there’s a great deal of gentleness at work, tending to the shadows and silence of the world.”

Jade CuttleVersopolis Poetry, full review here.

A sample poem, more information about Mingled Space and ordering here.

Memories, Moments & Mingled Space: Margaret Akins shares how French philosopher Gaston Bachelard influenced her pamphlet Mingled Space, and considers the mingled spaces of Ledbury Poetry Festival, in an essay for Versopolis.


“In Like love by Brenda Read-Brown, there’s a powerful negotiation of feelings at play, as flesh and fantasy intertwine with spine-tingling and sinister results. These poems are refreshing in that they comment on romance with a cynical somewhat comical tone…

“Besides the romance, these poems are beautiful odes to family love too. ‘Empty rooms’ plunges into the pain of clearing up a child’s bedroom after they have left home, whilst others trace the decline of loved ones, then deal with the gaping hole that’s left once they’re gone. At the same time, the book proudly carries the stamp of superficiality that contemporary society has been conditioned to crave […] There’s a light-hearted glee and glamour to this writing.”

Jade CuttleVersopolis Poetry, full review here.

A sample poem, more information about Like love and ordering here.


This year's Ledbury Poetry Festival includes three V. Press poets, Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown, giving FREE 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14.

Photo by Leah Adkins
20 Minutes with… Margaret Adkins
12:20 pm - 12:40 pm

Margaret Adkins will read from her debut pamphlet, Mingled Space. It won the inaugural V. Press Poetry Prize in association with the University of Worcester, and was launched in May. These poems inhabit real and imagined everyday spaces. Other work features in recent issues of Under the Radar and Prole magazines.

20 Minutes with… John Lawrence
3:20 pm - 3:40 pm

John Lawrence will read from his V. Press debut collection The boy who couldn't say his name. His poems are packed with heart, humour, and a unique slant on everyday life. The Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin reviewed The boy who couldn't say his name as ‘… a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic...’

Photo by Andy Smith
20 Minutes with… Brenda Read-Brown
5:20 pm - 5:40 pm

A look at the sharper edges of life, love and laughter, performance poet Brenda Read-Brown has turned to the page with her new collection, Like love (V Press). “The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching...” Brian Patten. "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

Romalyn Ante is also a Nine Arches/Poetry School Primers:Volume Three poet reading on Saturday, July 13. (You can find details of her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain which won the Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet here.)

(Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) The festival runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 14 and you can check out the full festival programme here.

PS V. Press editor, Sarah Leavesley, will be camped out at the festival at various points, as well as at the V. Press readings. So please do come across and say hello or ask questions about V. Press, our author, the submission process or poetry and publishing in general!

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