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.

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