Friday 17 February 2023

Spring-ing into 2023!

It's been a busy and exciting start to 2023 at V. Press, with review news and lots of forthcoming titles now ready for pre-order and scheduled in for later in the year.

We hope all our readers, writers and supporters have had a gentle but bright start to the year, with lots to look forward to over the next 12 months.

Here, there's so much to share that it's working out where to start...


"In The Beautiful Open Sky Hannah Linden shows us the nature of a childhood presided over by a mother who is unfit, and unable to nurture her children. I was astonished how quickly I became immersed in this world. [...]The poems work like a prism splitting the experience of this childhood into a spectrum of graphic images. They draw on fantastic myths and fairy tales as well as details of a working-class Lancastrian background. The language is always simple, penetrating, gets straight to the point, but there is a shift, subtle at first, a sense of the narrator getting a perspective on the situation and preparing to move on [...]"
Anne Bailey, OPOI, Sphinx, full review here.

"The Beautiful Open Sky is a poetry collection that takes leaps and bounds through an emotive and somber narrative that enrobes the reader in a sense of suffering far beyond what may ever be considered normal. What a powerful, sorrowful read of suffering crafted most exquisitely."
A.R. Arthur, Full House Literary, full review here.
More information, a sample poem and ordering for The Beautiful Open Sky can be found here.

A One Point of Interest review picks up on the nineties nostalgia and catchphrases in Powerless Rangers by Jack McGowan. 

"And given that ‘catchphrases’ have always been around, there’s some mileage in the idea that this is because people like Jack McGowan have an ear for them, and are noticeably good at generating their own. [...]McGowan really does catch the ear with his phrases: ‘small as a thumbnail, big as a future’."
E. T. Michie, OPOI, Sphinx, full review here.

More information, a sample poem and ordering for Powerless Rangers can be found here.

A One Point of Interest review explores the gender assumptions, dual meanings, ambiguities and more highlighted by the use of strikethrough in Creature Without Building by Ray Vincent-Mills.

"I’ve read individual poems that make use of the strikethrough before, but never a collection that uses it so consistently to explore hesitation, power and permission around language."
Ramona Herdman, OPOI, Sphinx, full review here.

More information, a sample poem and ordering for Creature Without Building can be found here.


V. Press is delighted to have two March-release poetry chapbooks now available to pre-order, as well as one out in April.

“Nicola Warwick’s poems take place in entrancing, liminal territory in which the human sensibility encounters the natural world. Deep kinship, mystery and otherness are conveyed through acute observation and transformative imagination. The language is precise and often surprises. Take, for instance ‘the sky, red as a swallow's throat’ (‘Late high summer’), or ‘roots easing through earth / were a voice making itself unheard’ (‘And the trees (said)’). These poems reveal a special sensitivity and to read them is to feel our ‘Human Portion’ enlarged. Highly recommended.” Moniza Alvi

“‘How to speak of this’ Warwick asks in these nuanced, thoughtful poems concerning landscape, seascape and wildlife. Encompassing intimate losses of family and nature, the collection delicately explores our ‘egg-tight grief’ in distilled moments of striking imagery and accomplishment. Ultimately, these poems hope that we may find in nature, as  ‘The Courteous Farmer’ does, a ‘second heart’.” Heidi Williamson

The Human Portion is very liminal and very grounded.

A sample poem, endorsements, more information and pre-ordering for The Human Portion can be found here.

bed takes us on a heart-wrenching journey through hospital admission and discharge, opening doors inward and outward as it explores the divides of self and space and asks: ‘where do I belong’? This astounding collection locates the ‘I’ in innovative form as much as in content: the ‘empty / stem’ of the ‘I’ is evoked in poems that run narrow – yet stand tall – on the page, stanzas re-assemble into ‘I’ shapes and, achingly, the ‘I’ is an ideogram for ‘a goodbye / hug’. Amid disappearances, erasures and elisions, bed is a collection that recovers the ‘I’ from an overwhelming ‘landscape of white static / white and muted’. These pages crackle with inventiveness; here is an electrifying new voice.” Sarah Barnsley

“I love bed most for its clarity and depth. Its language, imagery, use of form, and framing, are all wonderfully delicate. From its diminutive, lower-case title on, bed invites its readers straight inside to experience ‘a life pared down to a spoon’. These poems are like tiny islands – boats – beds – drifting and bumping on their sea – ward – of white space and grief. It’s stunningly generous, as these seemingly small pieces offer up huge insights, both compassionate and enlightening. They draw a self struggling to navigate a bruising landscape. This is work that is both refreshingly direct and beautifully crafted.” V. Press Guest Editor Charlotte Gann

bed is very raw and very real. 

A sample extract, endorsements, more information and pre-ordering for bed , which was guest-edited by Charlotte Gann, can be found here.

Although the poems may appear light-hearted on the surface, D.D. Holland's food-infused Braised in Wine is cut with a sharp knife.

This illustrated pamphlet from the winner of last year's V. Press Prize for Poetry, run with the University of Worcester, is out at the end of April.

Braised in Wine is a striking debut from D.D. Holland. There is a veritable smorgasbord of ways (case in point) in which food can make its way into common parlance, but Holland breathes new life into her subject matter, exploring the familiar and at times painful emotions that eating can elicit. The poems contained within Braised in Wine unpick how food can fashion the self through memory and relationships, using taste as a way to express a deeper well of feeling. Through small and large acts of confession, Holland conjures powerful and poignant images that bury themselves in the mind. I can’t wait to see what’s next.” Dr Jack McGowan 

“A book about eating disorders and abuse might sound like a tough read – but, although these poems teeter on the edge of an abyss, they are written with healthy doses of warmth and humour, and an appetite for life that proves moving and uplifting.” Dr David Swann

“Braised in Wine’s evocative, compelling and moving poems whet the appetite, while also exploring how what we eat and drink may feed into other aspects of life – body image, self-worth, relationships and more.” Sarah Leavesley, V. Press prize judge

Braised in Wine is very amusing and very genuine.

A sample poem, endorsements, more information and pre-ordering for Braised in Wine can be found here.

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