Monday 13 November 2023

Exciting news!

V. Press is very very delighted to share an exciting prize announcement as well as a whole batch of wonderful reviews, recent/forthcoming titles and events news.

The Human Portion by Nicola Warwick has been shortlisted in the poetry category of the coveted East Anglian Book Awards 2023, which celebrate the very best of publishing, writing, and reading in the region.

V. Press is so pleased to see this beautiful pamphlet recognised and sends big congratulations to Nicola that can probably be heard all the way from Worcestershire to East Anglia!

The full shortlists for all categories of the award can be found here and the category winners will be announced in the Eastern Daily Press in January.

The winning book from each category will be considered by a final judging panel of representatives from Jarrolds, Eastern Daily Press, National Centre for Writing and University of East Anglia. One of these six finalists will then go on to win the overall Book of the Year Award announced later that year.

Meanwhile, you can find details below of a recent review of The Human Portion and a forthcoming online V. Press showcase that Nicola will be reading at.


Not Enough Rage

"Davies’ first collection, Bolt Down This Earth, also published by V. Press in 2017, was an exciting debut which I believe was the first book I reviewed for Litter online. The follow-up is a mature collection, reflecting some of the same preoccupations but with the distance of time and experience to bring both focus and depth to what is essentially a very personal outlook on the modern world. 

"The subject matter involves issues of class, rural life, the relationship between virtual and ‘real’ reality, claustrophobia (in its broadest sense), poverty and disaffection based on circumstance and questions of mental health. [...]
"These poems are filled with anxiety and disturbing imagery yet they are also very much of their time, here and now, a present filled with uncertainty and a future best not projected into. There’s a confidence though, reflected in the form and variety of the writing [...]"

Steve SpenceLitter, full review here.

"Gram Joel Davies turns a forensic eye to working class life in these poems, amplifying the voices of the disadvantaged who are too busy existing and have too much to lose in feeling the rage to overturn systematic oppressions he wants to draw attention to. 

"It is so refreshing to read about working class life without feeling as if the writer is just ranting or using ‘edgy’ vocabulary to trot out stereotypes. Davies is raw and chronicles lives that get overlooked and does so with craft and class."

Emma LeeEmma Lee's Blog, full review here.

Not Enough Rage is also November and December's Featured Publication on Atrium here, including three sample poems from the collection.

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and ordering for Not Enough Rage can be found here.

"Sarah Doyle's latest V. Press pamphlet, (m)othersongs, is a gorgeous, courageous publication. At the centre is a woman's experience of reaching middle age, having been unable to bear a child. Doyle's poems are a "complex harvest". Her willingness to be vulnerable, and her arresting language, creativity, and attention to craft make this collection shine."

Robin Blackburn McBridehere.

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and ordering for (m)othersongs can be found here.

Sarah can also be heard reading some of her (m)othersongs poems and talking about (m)otherhood, menstruation and more with Wendy Allen and Charley Barnes on the What we've been reading podcast here.

"In The Beautiful Open Sky, also published by V. Press, Hannah Linden shows what it is for a child to be emotionally abandoned by her mother. As the work unfolds, Linden reveals the later struggles of that grown child, a single mum making a life with her family in social housing. Offsetting the serious subject matter is the poet's quirky humour. A haunting and tender study of resilience."

Robin Blackburn McBridehere.

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and ordering for The Beautiful Open Sky can be found here.

"Her poems are moments of unsettling tension between the symmetry we see of ourselves in nature, and our oblivious disconnect. Warwick’s subtle glimpses of the individuals in her poems are unpredictably moving. Warwick shows us trying to bring the universe closer. Going to sleep, we still hope the birds outside call us to join our portion to the whole, as: ‘I watch them from the window for their exodus, / Count them out, count them all back in’."

Wendy Kyle, London Grip, full review here.

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and ordering for The Human Portion can be found here.



“It’s rare for me to recognise, and feel kinship for, a lot of contemporary poetry. I recognise and feel kinship with this. Not Enough Rage is like a series of controlled explosions. Trembling houses. A burning voice. Experience dismantled and sewn back together with glowing needles and a mouth full of stars.”

Bobby Parker

“Like a Dylan Thomas of the age of mental illness, Gram Joel Davies leaps and flies through the world with dark exuberance. These are speakable poems, full of love for unlovable places and impossible people. In touch with but not tied to rap's rhymes and rhythms, this collection, for me, shifts the modern world into the painful focus of real poetry.” 
Peter Oswald

Not Enough Rage is very heady and very gutsy.

ISBN: 978-1-7398838-7-4
62 pages
R.R.P. £10.99

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and ordering can be found here.


“Combining a scientific eye with a poetic sensibility (and a sharp sense of humour), Martin Zarrop’s work is thought-provoking and wry. These poems take the long view and they never shy away from difficulty, each expertly using form to amplify content. Turn Around When Possible is an enlightening, enjoyable read.”

Helen Mort

“Whether he is looking back fondly on the seemingly mundane details of a working-class childhood or exploring the vastness of interstellar space, Martin Zarrop’s poems are distinguished by their metaphysical wit, humour, and sheer accessibility. There is a mathematical precision to every poem in this collection, a focus on details, that leads inevitably and, with a minimum of fuss, to memorable insights into love, affection, the ineluctable passage of time, and humanity’s place in the universe. Turn Around When Possible is a delight from start to finish and shows Zarrop writing at the height of his very considerable powers.”
David Cooke

Turn Around When Possible is very uncertain and very quirky.

ISBN: 978-1-7398838-8-1
74 pages    
R.R.P. £10.99

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and ordering can be found here.


“Sheila Lockhart has created something special with this pamphlet. Brother is a poignant study of remembrance but one that manages to be almost joyful in its close observation of this lost life and the still-living world that goes on without it. It is special writing – clear, brightly configured, riven by pain, and perfectly formed.”
Niall Campbell

“These calm and clear-eyed poems are remarkable in their refusal to be afraid. Holding darkness and light in delicate balance, they move from suffering and loss into what comes afterwards and later, finding consolation in the dogged aliveness of the natural world and, no less importantly, in the patterns and shapes of language itself.  Sheila Lockhart has written a bold and beautiful book.”
Katharine Towers

The poems in Brother are a very heart-felt and very unflinching consideration of grief and healing after suicide.

ISBN: 978-1-7398838-9-8                                
36 pages
R.R.P. £6.50

More information, endorsements, a sample poem and pre-ordering can be found here.


Martin Zarrop will also be reading from his new V. Press collection, Turn Around When Possible, at a range of forthcoming events:

Friday, 17 Nov 2023, 7pm  at Manchester Poets, Chorlton Library, Manchester Road M21 9PN;

Wednesday, 22 Nov 2023, 7.30pm at Wednesday Writers, Golden Lion, Fielden Sq, Todmorden OL14 6LZ;

Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023, 7pm at Black Cat Poets, The Locks Coffee House,13-15 Derby St, Marple SK6 7AH;

Thursday, 7 Dec2023, 7pm at First Thursday, Linghams Bookshop, 248 Telegraph Rd, Heswall, Wirral, CH60 7SG;

Monday, 5 Feb 2024, 7.30pm at Poems & Pints, The Button Warehouse, Stanley St, Macclesfield SK11 6AU.

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