Thursday 7 October 2021

Happy National Poetry Day 2021!

V. Press is very very delighted to celebrate this year's National Poetry Day, with its theme of 'choice'.

As ever, we have lots of poetry titles for readers to choose from, either by browsing our online bookshop or our thematic listings and author articles in The Reading Room

We're also delighted to share some recent review news, details of a forthcoming collection out shortly and the biographies of two new V. Press poets.


Something so wild and new in this feeling

"Drawn from the diaries of Dorothy Wordsworth [...] The contemporary poet brings these selected snippets together with all the care and consideration of a professional florist – or expert in Ikebana – resulting in marvellously original pieces that are a sheer joy to read. The poem about walking, which also manages to rhyme, the rhythm of the lines strolling along as you journey through it and alongside the I of the poem, was a particular favourite." Mab Jones, buzz, full review here.

Although it was only published in March, Something so wild and new in this feeling is already onto its third print run! For a sample poem, more information and to order a copy of Something so wild and new in this feeling please click here.


“Re-imagining the research of Laing and Esterson, Alex Reed’s multi-vocal knots, tangles, fankles asks important questions about sanity, madness and the family in a time before the digital became part of the story. This story revolves around Hazel, a young working class girl with the odds stacked against her, and it is both everyday and appalling. A shifting constellation of voices, overheard from behind closed doors, animates an insightful and sensitive collection of poems to think, learn and feel with. Carefully choreographed, all the protagonists earn our sympathy. They hold up a mirror to the human predicament – in black and white, compelling and filmic, concealing as much as they reveal, getting under your skin and staying with you long after reading the last page.” Linda France

“Alex Reed’s debut poetry collection knots, tangles, fankles tells the powerful, heart-breaking story of Hazel, sixteen years old and diagnosed as schizophrenic. Demonstrating a deft, versatile, and compassionate hand, Reed unveils Hazel’s true plight, not only through the surreal imagery of her thoughts, but also through the voices of those both hindering and healing her: from alarmed and hyper-protective parents, to institutionalised hospital staff, to the grounding, reassuring, real-life Dr Aaron Esterson, who along with R. D. Laing sought to uncover the source of mental illness in families using unconventional theories and methods. Though this is Hazel’s journey, each of Reed’s characters is undergoing their own personal struggle and anguish. In a setting similar to Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and based on true cases, Esterson enables Hazel ‘but for the first time to hear [her] own voice’. It speaks to Reed’s ability as a poet that such a moment is so keenly felt and quietly celebrated by the reader, especially in the light of what follows.” Charles G Lauder Jr

Knots, tangles, fankles is a very poignant and very penetrating poetic sequence in multiple voices.

ISBN: 978-1-8380488-3-9      84 pages       R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem can be enjoyed below and the collection pre-ordered here.


clackety-clack     rattity-tat
fast as my clockwork legs can take me

past the room where the nurses drink tea
a voice on the telly is talking about me

this is a story about the woodentops
mummy & daddy woodentop

their woodentop girl whose name was hazel
& the biggest spotty dog you ever did see

one day daddy came home for his dinner
mummy was busy in the kitchen

little hazel was nowhere to be seen
that girl was always disappearing

mummy woodentop said to daddy woodentop
the girl’s not right, we’ll have her mended

let’s call for the woodentop doctor
he’ll saw her head open, hack out the rot

paint her fresh eyes & a pretty red mouth
fix her with glue just like new

clackety-clack     rattity-tat
down the corridor to meet the doctor

but dr esterson didn’t have a saw
never did much, just sat in his room

smiled when she came through the door
then lit up his pipe & winked as he asked

did you ever wish to be real
not made of wood?


Photo by Bettina Adela
SK GROUT (she/they) is a writer, editor and poet. She grew up in Aotearoa New Zealand, lived in Germany and now splits her time between London and Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. She holds a post-graduate degree in creative writing from City, University of London, and is a Feedback Editor for Tinderbox Poetry. Her poetry and reviews are widely published in the US, UK, Europe and the Pacific, including Cordite Poetry ReviewdialogistGlass and Finished Creatures. She was 2nd in the Ambit Poetry Competition 2020. Her poetry annals micro chapbook is to be female is to be interrogated (2018). A debut pamphlet, What love would smell like, is forthcoming with V. Press. SK Grout's website

VICTORIA RICHARDS is a journalist, writer and senior commissioning editor at Indy Voices at The Independent. She has been: shortlisted in the Bath Novel Award and Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize; highly commended for poetry in the Bridport Prize and third in The London Magazine Short Story Competition 2017. In 2020, she came second in the Magma Poetry Competition and won the ‘Nature in the Air’ poetry competition. A selection of her work was published in 2019 in Primers: Volume Four, with Nine Arches Press. Her debut collection, You’ll need an umbrella for this, is forthcoming with V. Press. Follow her at

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