Friday 28 October 2022

The V. Press Prize for Poetry and gearing up towards Christmas

2022 V. Press Prize for Poetry

V. Press is very very excited to share that the winner of the 2022 V. Press Prize for Poetry is Trudi Holland, with Amber Horne as a runner-up.

A shortlist of eight anonymous manuscripts was sent over for this year’s prize by the University of Worcester’s creative writing team.

Editor Sarah Leavesley said: “This year’s shortlist was exceptionally strong, demonstrating a strong sense of structuring and theming of the manuscripts as a whole, encompassing a wide range of forms, including experimental techniques, as well as striking imagery and lines within the individual poems.

“Picking a winner from these wasn’t easy, but I eventually went with ‘Braised in wine’ by Trudi Holland. An evocative use of food throughout this manuscript both whets the reader’s appetite and explores how what we eat feeds into (nearly) every other aspect of life, including body image, self-worth and relationships with others. This is also coupled with compelling use of the second person and a mastery of striking last lines.

“My runner-up is ‘Gates’s Monster’ by Amber Horne for its original slants and relevant contemporary feel combined with an impressive range of form and experimental techniques, as well as great use of sequences threaded across the manuscript.”


The Beautiful Open Sky

Reviewing Hannah Linden's "impressive debut chapbook", The Beautiful Open Sky, for Litter Magazine, Steve Spence writes: "Her mix of graphic imagery – ‘the sunk pits’ for example – within an exploration of thought and feeling has a genuine link to what I’m going to call confessional poetry, something which is increasingly difficult to pull-off post Lowell and Plath, especially given the internet overload of such material, but it works here very effectively. It’s that combination I think of thought and feeling which does the trick and the careful use of language[...]"

The full review can be found on Litter Magazine here. A sample poem, audio recording and ordering for The Beautiful Open Sky are available here.

You'll need an umbrella for this

"[...] Victoria Richards has created a journey through girlhood to motherhood that invites readers to travel along though her humanity, humour, wry observations and recognisable scenarios. These lyrical poems want to share their stories and show what it is to be human. Their multi-layered approach rewards re-reading."
Emma Lee, full review here.

A sample poem, more information and ordering for You'll need an umbrella for this can be found here.


V. Press is very very delighted to announce that Set a Crow to Catch a Crow by Mary-Jane Holmes is now available as an eBook on Amazon.

“These are stories that pulse with transformation, visceral, lush, and sound-rich. In Holmes’ lyrically-charged short fictions, worlds tilt, horizons thrum and yearnings come unmoored, and the language pulls us close to the bloodstream of her characters, feeling for their pressure-points, their broken wings. Their land and homescapes leap to life around them, set alight by breath-catching images that bind us into the textures and electrons of each scene, skin and earth, creek, board and bone. Each brief diorama in this volume delivers us a ‘quivering glint’ of characters caught in slipstream instants, lingering on the verge of fission, or hauled into ‘dark runnels of the heart’ where currents of longing and threat inescapably converge. Holmes’ writing rubs the fibres of life between our fingers, so we feel its restlessness and wonder.” Tracey Slaughter 

“The stories that fill Mary-Jane Holmes’ Set a Crow to Catch a Crow are perfect, precise, highly burnished narrative shards that describe a moment in time but imply both what came before this moment and very likely may come after. It might only be a grain you are offered but you get a whole world. It is only writing of a very high order can pull off the feat that is pulled off here.” Carlo G├ębler 

Set a Crow to Catch a Crow is very textured and very liminal. 

A sample flash fiction from Set a Crow to Catch a Crow can be enjoyed here.



V. Press is very very delighted to announce that Powerless Rangers by Jack McGowan is now available to pre-order.

“There is such an open-hearted charm, an immediacy and pleasure of recognition to these poems that it takes a moment to realise how they’re working on you. The forensic attention to nostalgia, popular culture as a natural and built environment; what surrounded us and moulded us and exerts invisible influence over us to this day. McGowan is a master of engaging humour and subtle melancholy. I dislike the word ‘relatable’, but I expect that’s the easiest term people will reach for, even as the poems themselves unpick our complex relations to our world.”
Luke Kennard

“The poems in Powerless Rangers enchant through their spoken power. They are clear-eyed about what makes us who we are and show true strength through their openness, compassion, and self-knowledge. The humour, language, and energy will win over readers and audiences alike.”
David Morley 

“McGowan’s poems are loud, with their energetic wit and playful meanderings, but they disguise a romantic, nostalgic centre and when it surfaces the audience or reader are encouraged to switch from one emotion to another in a second – which is a delight.”
Ruth Stacey

Powerless Rangers is very nostalgic, and very nineties.   

ISBN:  978-1-7398838-3-6   
34 pages
R.R.P. £6.50

A sample poem and pre-ordering for Powerless Rangers can be found here.


Just a reminder that if you're looking for a Christmas gift, our The Reading Room contains themed listings for some of our titles to help you pick out the perfect present for a reader with particular interests. New listings have just been added which extend the range even more than before! You can get to The Reading Room by clicking here.

Thursday 6 October 2022


V. Press is very very delighted to share that a poem from Sarah Doyle's chapbook Something so wild and new in this feeling has been chosen for this year's National Poetry Day resources. You can enjoy her poem 'Birds sang divinely to-day' here.

The website has lots of other poetry resources that can be used for this year's National Poetry Day celebration, themed 'The Environment'.

Another sample poem and more information about Something so wild and new in this feeling can be found here.


The Beautiful Open Sky

Hannah Linden's The Beautiful Open Sky has been selling so well that we've had to order a second print run in the week of its publication!

The Beautiful Open Sky opens with an extraordinary run of poems, heartbreaking and precise, about the damage done by a narcissistic mother. As it progresses, the poems accumulate symbols, becoming increasingly phantasmagorical, before the patterns of a new life emerge as if through broken cloud.  It works as a story, direct and emotional, but is also a meditation on how we remember – on the limits of reason and metaphor as ways of understanding the past. This is a fine model for a pamphlet: a focused set of beautiful poems, cunningly arranged, which draw power from each other. A wonderful debut.” 
Tom Sastry

“Truths are slippery and sometimes sinister in this stunning exploration of familial relationships by Hannah Linden. It can be hard to know who to trust, or who is parenting whom. But there is beauty here too, and a positivity that shines through despite the odds. Self-reflective and superb, Linden’s use of language is playful and imaginative. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Julia Webb

The Beautiful Open Sky is very past and very present. 

A sample poem, audio recording and ordering for The Beautiful Open Sky is available here. If you don't already have one, get a copy while you still can!

Meanwhile, Victoria Richards' full collection, You'll need an umbrella for this was only published at the start of July and we've already had to get a new print run for this too!

“The title isn’t messing about: these poems soak the page with language that is visceral, immediate and sharp. An exciting debut full of vitality, pain and joy.” 
Luke Wright

“In this gorgeous debut, Victoria Richards asks ‘What are girls made of?’ And the poems answer: cans of Strongbow; ballpoint tattoos; dirty jokes; ghost bikes tied to lampposts; Ingrid Bergman’s eyeballs. All of the above and so much more is contained in this collection. A world of mothers, journalists, children and girlhoods are all drowned or on fire in You’ll need an umbrella for this. Richards tells us these stories with love, humour, lyricism and the sort of eye for detail which leaves an impression on the heart. I will read these poems for years, pass them onto friends: part secret, part gossip, part gift.” 
Lewis Buxton 

“Victoria Richards’s remarkable debut, You’ll need an umbrella for this, is more than a book of poems, it is a best friend. These poems will be there for you in the middle of the night when you are lovesick or broken hearted; they will glance you a knowing look when you need one most and make you laugh even when you think you’ve forgotten how. In these poems, without reserve, expectation or apology, Richards is offering us her heart. Accept it and she will make a fire out of beauty and pain, pour vodka on the flames and dance with you in the light.” 
Amelia Loulli

You’ll need an umbrella for this is very wild and very windswept.

A sample poem and ordering for You'll need an umbrella for this  is available here.


"[...]Hannah Linden’s pamphlet is full of love, compassion and insight. Her use of language is colloquial yet rich and deep. This is a wonderful debut pamphlet from a poet with many more books inside her. Its first print run sold out within a week!"
Rachael ClyneLondon Grip, full review here.

A sample poem, audio recording and ordering for The Beautiful Open Sky is available here.


V. Press is very very delighted to be working with Charlotte Gann on a new forthcoming title that she will be guest editing...

Charlotte Gann
 is an editor by trade – she worked as Editor of Health Which? magazine, for instance – and also works, within poetry, as Editor of The Understory Conversation (of which she’s Founder), and Co-Editor of Sphinx Review. She has an English degree from UCL and an MA in Creative Writing and Personal Development from the University of Sussex. She’s also a poet, with one pamphlet – The Long Woman (Pighog), shortlisted for the 2012 Michael Marks Award – and two full collections – Noir (2016) and The Girl Who Cried (2020), both published by HappenStance. Her main focus in recent times has been on developing and convening The Understory Conversation, a hub for creatives curious to explore the underside. She is guest editor of Georgia Gildea's forthcoming V. Press poetry pamphlet bed.

GEORGIA GILDEA is a writer from Oxford. She is a graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme (2016) and holds an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published poems in MarbleLunate and The Cardiff Review. Georgia is interested in writing that emerges from a place of voicelessness, and in the complex process of claiming a voice. Her forthcoming V. Press poetry title, bed, is her debut pamphlet.