Monday 9 September 2019

V. Press Autumn News & Reviews

It's been one of those summers, shaking off the damper days' August rain and getting ready for the start of autumn colour and Keats' "mellow fruitfulness", but not the mists!

On the V. Press front, we've been celebrating a whole range of news, including:


"This heart-wrenching flash collection tells the story of a poverty-stricken Irish family dealing with the effects of loss and alcoholism. Each flash story can be read as a stand alone yet together they culminate to form a bigger story. Some stories run to a couple of pages in length and other are less than page. Each succeeds in creating a depth of atmosphere and characterisation that is truly impressive. [...]I absolutely loved The Neverlands. It is stunning from start to finish. [...] If you have never read flash fiction before then this collection is an excellent example of the form at its best."

Yasmina Floyer, TSS Publishing, the full, detailed, review here.

The eponymous mosaic flash (first published in Jellyfish Review) that inspired The Neverlands has also just been named one of the Best British and Irish Flash Fiction (BIFFY) 2018-19.

A sample flash, more information and orders of The Neverlands here. And on Monday, 14 October 2019, Damhnait will be be reading from the pamphlet in her Guest Feature at Loose Muse: Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, Hants SO23 8SB. With Guest Feature poet Katrina Naomi as  Time:  7.30-9.30 p.m. Cost: £6 at the door.

"Natalie Linh Bolderston’s The Protection of Ghosts presents a phenomenal, haunting collection of poems considering family, culture, trauma, grief, and so much more. [...]

"In fewer than 40 pages and just 15 poems, The Protection of Ghosts provides more than a quick read—it’s truly a sensory experience that lingers long after you’ve left its pages."

Juliette SebockThe Poetry Question, full review here.

A sample poem, more information and pamphlet orders here.

“John Lawrence’s The Boy Who Couldn’t Say His Name (V. Press) is a look at living a good life beyond childhood trauma. It’s narrative and emotive and feels like looking out the window and watching time and people move maybe a step below real time. It’s cigarettes, love songs, betrayal, and Christmas morning.”

Christopher Margolin, The Poetry Question, full review here.

"Poetry, whether spoken or read, has the power to console, to annoy, to amuse, to empathise. It’s a complicated relationship between the poet, the poem, and the reader or audience." John Lawrence talks about his collection The boy who couldn't say his name and the power of poetry on the page and in performance in an article on The Poetry Question here

Author insights, themes and readers' notes for many of our titles can also be found in V. Press's The Reading Room here.

While we're sharing reviews, one too for How to Parallel Park by James Davey:

"Only when I’d re-read the pamphlet did I realise how cleverly this poem offers parallel parking as a wider image. If you want to write about the past what do you do? You halt at an appropriate point in your life, look back, start to travel backwards carefully, manoeuvring yourself into the perfect space from which to write — and you may be surprised at what you discover.

"You also bring your sense of humour along for the ride."

D.A. PrinceSphinx, the full OPOI (One Point of Interest) review here.


This summer we've been busy with new print runs on a number of V. Press titles, including The Protection of Ghosts by Natalie Linh Bolderston, Checkout by Kathy Gee, The Neverlands by Damhnait Monaghan and Michael Loveday's Saboteur Awards shortlisted flash fiction novella Three Men on the Edge. We like to keep titles in print for as long as possible, but at the same time predicting demand isn't an exact science. Some titles do sell-out fast, so it really is a case of buy these while you can!


Just published earlier this month: the illustrated autumn pamphlet John Dust (poems by Louise Warren, illustrations by John Duffin).

Like a character from a contemporary Somerset folktale,  John Dust is very atmospheric and very bewitching.


V. Press director, editor and odd-jobber (such is the glam life of small press publishing!) Sarah Leavesley will  be taking in part in two events at next month's Big Poetry Weekend festival in Swindon.

Saturday, 5 October, 2019 – The Big Poetry Weekend, Swindon – Poetry Publishing Panel & Reading

3-4pm Poets & Publishers: Carrie Etter in conversation with Claire Crowther, Deputy Editor of Long Poem Magazine and Sarah Leavesley, Editor of V. Press. £7.

Claire Crowther has published three full collections from Shearsman and five pamphlets, the latest of which, Knithoard from Happenstance, launched in June 2019. Her first collection was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Prize. Her poetry has been published in many journals including London Review of Books, Poetry Review, Poetry London, PN Review, Poetry Wales, and Times Literary Supplement. She writes reviews, teaches creative writing at Oxford University, and was poet in residence at the Royal Mint.

Sarah Leavesley/Sarah James is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer, featured in the Guardian, Financial Times, on the BBC, and in the Blackpool Illuminations. Her work ranges across nature, place, the environment, family, relationships, disability and more. Her latest books are How to Grow Matches (Against the Grain Press) and plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press), both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Awards. She also runs V. Press, a poetry and flash fiction imprint.

4:30-5.30 p.m. Reading by Claire Crowther and Sarah Leavesley. £7.

Venue: Tent Palace of the Delicious Air at Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road (corner of Day House Lane), Coate Water, Swindon, SN3 6AA

Full programme here.

Tickets (including weekend passes, and day passes at £15) here.


Sample poems, information endorsements and pre-orders are now available for October's poetry collections: The Aesthetics of Breath by Charles G. Lauder Jr and Cuckoo by Nichola Deane; and Novembers's pamphlet Patience by Nina Lewis.

V. Press editor Sarah Leavesley has also just started going through a select number of submissions from writers whose work we loved but couldn’t take on last submissions window, as well as new titles by existing V. Press authors.

There will be decisions on these over the next few weeks… Meanwhile, the first new title V. Press has taken on for next year is Diane Simmon's flash fiction pamphlet An Inheritance and we're very excited to have this to share with readers soon!

Thursday 5 September 2019

Launching John Dust

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the launch of John Dust with poems by Louise Warren and illustrated by John Duffin.

“Louise Warren uses grief as an artist uses a sharpened pencil to delicately illustrate that what we leave, we inevitably return to whether through memories or myth.  Nature and Death are dancing partners in this beautifully moving collection of poems which explore the idea of roots in family and place. An earthy reverence combined with the keenest observation brings Somerset alive from the ashes of the past. Here, we find apples, owls, folklore, riddles, hedgerows, all linked by the character of John Dust, who is so much more than mere mortality: “I will be your Silhouette, your Diplomat, your Compass” (‘Swifts’). Indeed, the footnote lets us know that these are all caravans. We are in sympathetic imaginative territory to Jacob Polley’s award-winning Jackself where the reader is engaged and often lulled, only to be taken by surprise. It could be argued this how the process of bereavement works – you think you have arrived at a certain point, only to be off-balanced, but the sense of re-discovery of something lost in these poems, is a joyous reclamation. Many of the poems have found recognition in poetry competitions, but this is more than a collection of standout poems; it is the whole that makes it remarkable. The pamphlet is also illustrated with fine drawings by the artist, John Duffin, which match Warren’s words with their deft yet delicate strokes and serve to highlight the wistful strength of this collection.” Lisa Kelly

“Riddles and rhythms weave the wonderful spell of John Dust – Louise Warren's original Somerset legend is a brilliant feat of imagination, and will leave you wanting more stories of this mythical man and his exquisitely off-kilter world.” Kate Garrett

Like a character from a contemporary Somerset folktale,  John Dust is very atmospheric and very bewitching.

ISBN: 978-1-9165052-8-5
36 pages     
R.R.P. £6.50

John Dust sample poem  by Louise Warren and illustration by John Duffin can be found below.

BUY John Dust using the paypal buttons (with delivery options) below.

John Dust (including P&P/delivery options)

The Marshes

In the barn, my sofa stands in its puff of white breath,
heavy, patient, packed in tight with the herd,
waiting. I wait for it.

Downstairs, the afternoon moves heavily around the house,
a washing line turns slowly on its stalk,
the carpet in the hallway runs a sluggish ditch.

Back then, before they built on it, back then
the path stumped short into nettles, just fields,
arm of the sky bent round, empty.

Empty as pockets, empty as churches,
empty as milk pails rusting on gateposts.
I look out the windows milky with flat screens,

empty as ditches,
cold in the kitchen, biting like nettles,
sheeny as hoar frost.

Deep inside the bathroom I undress myself for you,
John Dust.
Down to the sedge and water, down to the beak of me,

sharp in the reed bed, down to the hidden.
I strip the light from my skin until I am overcast,
become cloud cover.

John Dust.
My man under the motorway,
flat out in the dark fields, seeding the hedges,

scratching your chest hair, wispy as larches,
pinking like evening, stitchwort and abattoir, bloody as Sedgemoor,
lipped up with cider, scraggy as winter.

You fetch each room, one by one, back to the marshes.
Plant forks and teaspoons, chairs for the heron’s nest,
propped up and broken,

the sky rusting over, smashed up with egg yolks,
water as mirror, water as leather, water as smoke, as trick,
a light under the door.

I stand in the empty
waiting for nothing.
Birds in the buckthorn, a house full of berries.


Friday, 6 September 2019
Venue: 49 Great Ormond St, London WC1N 3HZ
6.30 (doors open at 6.15) TO 9.30.
Louise Warren will be reading from her new pamphlet John Dust, with guest poets.
Followed by a wine reception.

Thursday, 3 October 2019 (8pm-10pm)
Reading at Fire River Poets at the Creative Innovation Centre (CIC), Memorial Hall, Paul St, Taunton, Somerset TA1 3PF.

Monday, 2 December 2019
Wells Fountain Poets, Venue tbc, Wells, Somerset
Please look at website for further details: Fountain Poets.

Thursday, 2 April 2020
Venue: At the Chapel, High St, Bruton, Somerset.
Please look at website for further details:

Thursday, 30 April 2020
Words and Ears, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire.
Please look at website for further details: