Monday, 27 March 2017

Launching Scare Stories

V. Press is delighted to launch Scare Stories, a poetry sequence by David Clarke.

“The poems in Scare Stories offer us exactly that: a series of richly populated narratives that show the contemporary moment as a grotesque and fearful nightmare. This is a world of war and refugees, high politics and helicopters, sex and suffering as entertainment. Somewhere at the root of things is money. It’s all delivered in sharp quatrains whose flamboyant rhyming makes it more brutal, not less. It’s a vision, in the Hieronymus Bosch sense, funny and horrifying, but it’s redeemed at last by our futile wishing for redemption. Scare Stories would have had Gottfried Benn cheering wildly, and if that's not a troubling idea I don't know what is.” Tony Williams

“David Clarke conjures up post-apocalyptic visions that are uncomfortably close to our present. All of humanity is played out here, from gamers to generals, the whole bitingly observed. Scare Stories is a frightening mirror, but it’s also compelling and hypnotic, I dare you to look away.” Claire TrĂ©vien

Scare Stories is a sequence of poems that is very unusual and very unsettling.

David Clarke's sequence-length pamphlet Scare Stories is published by V. Press in March 2017. Clarke's pamphlet, Gaud (Flarestack), won the Michael Marks Award in 2013. His first full collection of poetry, Arc, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2016 and was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

A sample from the pamphlet can be found below.

Buy Scare Stories now using the paypal link below.

Scare Stories (with P&P options)

From Scare Stories...

We buzz our personal shopper in –
            her face glitched on a tiny screen.
            In this, the cocktail hour, we sheen
our gums with bitters and sapphire gin,

recline as the video wall dilates
            with shots of ocean swell, segues
            into copper sundowns. Displayed
across the coffee table, the latest

linens, white, but piped with clay
         or teal, moccasins in ivory
         suede. Our personal shopper’s very
much on the money. We wave her away.

Launch Events

David Clarke will be doing his first reading of the pamphlet in a Nine Arches Showcase on Saturday, 13 May at St Andrew's Church, Cheltenham. 
Doors Open at 4:30pm
From 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Ticket Price: £5.00 - £7.00*
*booking fee applies

Box Office: 07510143944 - 

More info is available here.

He will also be launching a performance developed with Helen Dewbury of Elephant’s Footprint at 7.30pm on 30 June at Deepspace Works in Cheltenham.

Friday, 3 March 2017


We’re very very delighted to share news of reviews of not just one but four V. Press titles in the latest The Journal. The following are from reviews by Sam Smith.

“Instant poignancy, poems telling of instances in the progress of a partner’s multiple sclerosis. Hope against fatalism, how care has to, of necessity, come to the fore. That loving and caring beyond love and regret perfectly expressed here in descriptions that come alive: ‘Most mornings as I open the gate, / he’s there. Ancient Labrador at his heels, / John’s a tall man with a gardener’s tan. / He occupies the slow rhythm of retirement, / a gentle aliveness that reveals itself/ when all the rushing’s done.’ Comrades. A gift of his pain this booklet, has print that will blur at times through your tears, but will leave you the stronger for having read. Thank you Alex Reed.” Sam Smith, The Journal

BUY A Career in Accompaniment (R.R.P. £5.50) now using the paypal link below

A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing

Book of Bones by Kathy Gee 

“…And just when I was wondering how else to fairly describe the contents I arrived at Traces and relief – to find those ingredients also here. That almost indefinable that skirts around mind’s edges, the not obvious, not quite, but that we know it is there, we know it’s right. Her Provenance  too took me back for a second reading. Also, and probably reflecting my taste for the estranged, Book of Bones  worth getting for Northerner in the South and Orientation –

A map is not the landscape, 
shows the journey, not its ending,
knows the road but cannot tell you
how to find your way.

Life’s a chart of known unknowns
where here-be-dragons curl
and monsters guard the Empty Quarter.

This is nothing new. Don’t worry.
Home is always split
between at least three different maps.
We live beyond the contour lines.”

Sam Smith, The Journal 

BUY Book of Bones (R.R.P. £9.99) now:

Book of Bones with P&P

Fragile Houses by Nina Lewis

“Opens with anecdotal poems of childhood and family members, moves on to objects and absences. Every childhood owns similarities, none the same. As the differences grow so do the poems in Fragile Houses become more interesting – the single-parent mother lauded, absent father defended: “He didn’t wait for old age to be eccentric.’ A Mother’s Heart to Heart. She even takes us to when the backwards genealogy of self is no longer predominant, self subsumed into the expanding and disparate life to come.” Sam Smith, The Journal 

BUY Fragile Houses (R.R.P. £5.50) now using the paypal link below. 

Fragile Houses (please select correct postage & packing option below)

The Old Man in the House of Bone by David Calcutt, with illustrations from Peter Tinkler

“David Calcutt’s poems outnumber Peter Tinkler’s illos, but given the power of the drawings, especially the first two, I can see why the cover gave them equal credit. All the poems relate to the indefinite memory of an old man inable to identify himself, of the searches he makes inside himself where everything is almost something else… The old man’s thinking about the war, and contains these lines – ‘…he goes on speaking/ but the silences have stopped listening and his words / drop soundless to the cold depths where the silences / eat them…’ Having been a nurse on psycho-geriatric wards everything here rang true, is the best description of the process of dementia I’ve come across. A piece of work I’d recommend to anyone looking after a dementing relative or friend, to have some idea of what their patient is going through.” Sam Smith, The Journal 

BUY The Old Man in the House of Bone (R.R.P. £5.50) now using the paypal link below

The Old Man in the House of Bone with postage & packing

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Submissions Update

Making final decisions on submissions is probably both the most delightful and most difficult time on the V. Press publishing calendar.

We had a very very impressive shortlist to choose from and, in terms of quality, all the manuscripts that made it through to the final round were very publishable.

But, of course, we don't have the time and resources to take on them all and the final, difficult, decisions were sent out 2-3 weeks ago.

I'm delighted that we will be publishing three poetry pamphlets, two flash pamphlets and two full collections from the latest submissions window. We also already have Gram Joel Davies' collection Bolt Down This Earth scheduled for the end of March, and are keeping in contact with several other poets.

We're not going to release all of the title details yet. But if you follow us on twitter (, you may get a sneak preview of some of the pamphlets lined up for 2017...

Meanwhile, looking ahead to the next submissions window, we don't yet have a definite date but do hope to have an open window again at some point in 2017. Please keep an eye on the website or follow us on twitter/FB for the latest news on this.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A very very merry Christmas & some special offers

With the start of December and Christmas excitement, we've put together a range of special Christmas offers that would make great festive reading bundles or last-minute stocking fillers.

Festive Offer 1: a dash of flash & poetry

2 pamphlets: Carrie Etter's Hometown (flash fiction) and David O'Hanlon's art brut (poetry) for just £7.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

Festive Offer 2: Northern strength & caring

2 poetry pamphlets: Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment and David O'Hanlon's art brut for just £7.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

Festive Offer 3: The way home...

2 illustrated poetry pamphlets: David Calcutt's The Old Man in the House of Bone and Nina Lewis' Fragile Houses for just £7.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

Festive Offer 4: No bones about it!

1 poetry collection + 1 illustrated poetry pamphlet: Kathy Gee's Book of Bones and David Calcutt's The Old Man in the House of Bone for just £12.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

Festive Offer 5: Life, death & so much more in between

2 poetry collections: Kathy Gee's Book of Bones and V. Press editor Sarah James' plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press) for just £12.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

All offers valid until end of December 2016 only and while stocks last.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone from V. Press, and with thanks to Rexy the dog, for his absolute cuteness starring in our Xmas fliers!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Skill & sensitivity - A Career in Accompaniment reviewed

"Alex Reed has skill and sensitivity..." A detailed review of Alex Reed's  A Career in Accompaniment is now up at Sabotage Reviews.

More information and a sample poem from A Career in Accompaniment can be found here. The pamphlet can be ordered using the paypal link below.

A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Chez Nous Recommendations for Fragile Houses


Sit by a window, probably an old one criss-crossed with leading, overlooking a lawn, but just as well a sunny dormer across roofs sketched in aerials. Pick up Fragile Houses and open it. The photographic art of Sarah Leavesley is rye bread to Nina Lewis' relish, these bitter-sweet poems.

I am going to let in the frosty air, breathe in "electromagnetic memories." It's these little moments when life runs most real. Lewis writes with class and clarity. Her poetry is earthly but inhabited by spirits. A grandmother looks at a photo, "the young girl turns."

Let's try food laced with tradition to go with this. Identity, and a simplicity that is not easily achieved. "Dining tables with black and white prints, a tablecloth of lives" make me want to admire exquisite dishes of sushi, before carefully selecting each one.  A little square plate on the cushioned window seat.

Nina Lewis' precise household scenes are deceptively colourful, blackly outlined. I have chosen Japanese food to go with this book, to throw the Englishness of her work into high contrast. In both cases, I am nourished by the strength of cultural identity and belonging.

Like Leavesley's accompanying illustrations, the poems are assembled from bric-a-brac and love. Each is rounded off with such a deft flick, unexpected or even abrupt but satisfying every time. I'm thinking of neat Japanese single malt to follow, smooth going down and fiery on the inside.

The poetry is "split like a spilled yolk / between love and something darker". The family history Lewis invites us into is tender to the point of hurt, and inseparably loyal. The rice has a gentle vinegar to it, the seaweed brings with it all the flavours of the deep. Then you taste the wasabi.

Gram Joel Davies

Photo by Robbie Elford
Gram Joel Davies lives in Devon. His poetry has appeared in Lighthouse, Magma and The Moth, to name a few. You can find him at

For a sample poem from Fragile Houses, please click here.

TO BUY Fragile Houses now using the paypal link below. 

Fragile Houses (please select correct postage & packing option below)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

National Poetry Day 2016 - samples & special offers

If you love poetry and you live in the UK, then it's hard (we hope!) to miss that today is National Poetry Day.

This year's theme is messages, and we have two V. Press messages to celebrate the day with - the first is to invite you to enjoy some of our poets' words in the video and poem below and the second is to offer you two special offers...

The video (created for our submissions window earlier this year) features poetry snippets from Jacqui Rowe's Ransom Notes, David O' Hanlon's art brut, Claire Walker's The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile, Kathy Gee's Book of Bones, Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment and David Calcutt's The Old Man in the House of Bone (with illustrations by Peter Tinkler), as well as prose from Carrie Etter's flash fiction pamphlet Hometown.

New to the 2016 V. Press pamphlet selection is also Nina Lewis' Fragile Houses (with a photographic sequence from S.A. Leavesley), which was launched earlier this week. A sample poem from this pamphlet may be enjoyed at the end of this post.

More information about all of these books can be found by following the links in their titles. (Copies of individual titles can be ordered this way.) However, to mark National Poetry Day, we are offering two special U.K. poetry pamphlet bundles: 

two 'surprise selection'* 2016 V. Press pamphlets for just £10, including P&P in the UK;

three 'surprise selection'* V. Press pamphlets for just £12.50, including P&P in the UK.

These offers run for the rest of this week - so until midnight on Sunday, October 9 - using the paypal links below. (Please take care to choose the correct button!)

2 'surprise selection'* 2016 V. Press pamphlets for £10, including P&P in the UK only:

3 'surprise selection'* V. Press pamphlets for £12.50, including P&P in the UK only:


* Order, then sit back and see which pamphlets we pick out for you!

Ambiguous Answers

Teaching us ‘antonyms’, she asked:
‘What is the opposite of sweet?’
I remember stretching my arm up so high
I had to balance it against my left hand
to stop the aching.

I stared right at her.
I knew this; I knew it.

I was picked third;
‘Chocolate!’ I announced proudly,
being sure of applause.

She didn’t smile.
Looked at me as if she was trying
to work something out.
Some children sniggered;
she reprimanded them.
This made me think I was right after all.

She asked why I thought it was chocolate
and I explained how, with weekly pocket money,
Dad would take us up to the post office
and we could either afford sweets
or chocolate,
but not both.

I didn’t really know ‘sour’,
but the look she gave
demonstrated it perfectly.

Nina Lewis