Saturday, 24 June 2017

Celebrating Flash Fiction - submissions & offers

We're very very delighted to celebrate National Flash Fiction Day with a special flash fiction bundle offer and by opening our submissions window for flash fiction for a month.

Today is both National Flash Fiction Day and the start of the Flash Fiction Festival  in Bath, where Jude Higgins will be launching her The Chemist's House

The short fiction in The Chemist’s House is very evocative and very colourful.

“A collection that pokes softly at the spaces between people: sister, brother, father, mother, neighbour, friend. Higgins’ stories reveal moments where small truths, and lies, dwell. Understated and quiet, these small fictions paint lives gently, but oh so colourfully.” Michelle Elvy

More about the pamphlet, and a sample story, may be enjoyed here.

Buy a copy of The Chemist's House now


The Chemist's House with packing and postage

Jude's pamphlet follows on the success of V. Press's initial flash fiction publication: Carrie Etter's Hometown.

Hometown brims with emotion-charged stories, distinctive characters and situations of hidden and not-so-hidden tensions in everyday lives in the American Midwest. From characters’ differing sense of responsibility to themselves, their friends and their families, to the wide-ranging aftermath of a white man’s accidental killing of a black man in central Illinois, these flash fictions illuminate the daily struggle of being human. Hometown proves very immediate and very engaging from start to finish.

"Etter's stories climb into your head and reboot it from the inside, from the squealingly joyous to the darkly sad, some with gear changes that fling you backwards in your seat, some told in voices so strong you could lean against them, and then some fragile, as if the page held nothing but the faint impression of a delicate and long-dead insect. I can't wait for more." David Gaffney

More about the pamphlet, and a sample story, may be enjoyed here.

Buy a copy of Hometown now

Hometown (with P&P options)

NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY 2-PAMPHLET BUNDLE

We have more fiction in store for readers this summer, and are also on the look-out for next year's V. Press fiction pamphlets.

Meantime, readers can enjoy both V. Press pamphlets for £12 (including packing and postage in the UK only) with this special flash bundle available until the end of July 24.


NFFD 2017: 2 pamphlet flash fiction bundle with P&P for UK only

WALKING BACKWARDS

PRE-ORDERS for our next pamphlet of short fiction - Walking Backwards by Charlie Hill - are available here, along with a sample story and more information about this forthcoming pamphlet.


SUBMISSIONS

The V. Press flash fiction (NOT poetry) submissions window will also be open for the next month (30 days)  (until July 24). Please check out the submissions page  for how to submit work, making sure to follow all the guidelines.

(N.B. We are not currently open to general poetry submissions. However, if you are a poet already in discussions with us about a specific manuscript, this month would also be a good time to submit, before we re-open to poetry submissions generally.) Thank you.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Launching The Chemist's House


V. Press is very very delighted to launch The Chemist’s House by Jude Higgins, a pamphlet of flash fiction that is very evocative and very colourful.

“A collection that pokes softly at the spaces between people: sister, brother, father, mother, neighbour, friend. Higgins’ stories reveal moments where small truths, and lies, dwell. Understated and quiet, these small fictions paint lives gently, but oh so colourfully.” Michelle Elvy


“In interconnected, finely wrought flash fiction stories, Jude Higgins creates a  coming-of-age tapestry — of family love and conflict; and of a girl’s passage into womanhood. Higgins' flash pieces blend into one masterly and moving whole: poignant, loving, and profound in emotional impact.” Meg Pokrass

A sample story from this pamphlet, 'Out of bounds', can be found below, along with launch event details.

ORDER a copy of The Chemist's House now, using the paypal link below.


The Chemist's House with packing and postage

Out of bounds

That day, my brother dared me to put pennies on the railway track. I lay on the bank waiting for the train to steam by, close enough to hear the crunch as the pennies flattened out. Because I didn't have my sweet money anymore, my brother dared me to nick liquorice and sherbet lemons from the sweet shop while the slow old lady fumbled out the back. I scooped two handfuls from the open jars and refused to share them with him. So we had a fight and he prised open my fingers and snatched away most of the liquorice.

At home, our parents were busy in the pharmacy so we went into my brother’s bedroom to drop marbles on people walking down the street. We were already in trouble after our father came out of the shop and shouted that we could kill someone doing that. But my brother dared me to go into the attic when everyone was asleep. The attic was out of bounds because that’s where Mr Perkins, the previous chemist, had stored arsenic for sheep-dip.  It was still there, in cardboard boxes. My father didn’t know what to do with it, now it was banned. My brother said I had to stay in the attic for an hour even though he knew Mr Perkins’ ghost came roaming at night. And while I was up there I had to taste the arsenic. If I didn't do that, he’d say I stole the sweets.

That night, I crept up the stairs while my brother watched from the doorway of his bedroom, timing me with his new watch. Even though I tiptoed very softly, the floorboards in the attic room swayed and creaked like my grandfather’s dentures. The room smelled of dust and something sweeter, like gone-off cherries. Moonlight filtered through the cobwebbed skylight and lit up the staring eyes of the toy lamb used for window displays. I thought I saw a shape in the corner of the room, heard a rustle and froze. But it was only my brother coming in to watch. He pointed to the boxes of arsenic.

                “You’ve got to tell me what it tastes like,” he whispered. “Then you can have the last piece.” He dangled a string of liquorice in front of me. “I'll tell on you, if you don’t.”  
             
I poked the tip of my finger into the white powder and licked up a few specks.

                “It doesn’t taste of anything.”

                “It won’t hurt you, then.”

When I’d gone downstairs, eaten the liquorice and swilled out my mouth under the cold tap, I looked in the mirror and opened wide as if I were at the doctor’s. My tongue was still black, like the inside of an oak tree struck by lightning.

I wanted to show my brother, but when I opened his bedroom door, he was already asleep.    

Launch event

The Chemist's House will be launched on National Flash Fiction Day, Saturday, 24 June at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bath. Jude will read from her pamphlet during the Evening of Readings.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Review delights!!!

We're very very pleased to share fabulous review news on not just one but three V. Press titles!

TELL MISTAKES I LOVE THEM

"...It’s a wonderful way to conclude a very accomplished debut:

'for however long it lasted
I believe we were flying'

In a field of increasingly homogenised writing, Stephen Daniels’ book stands out, earmarking him as a distinct, honest and self-deprecating voice."

Ben Banyard, editor of Clear Poetry, from a detailed review here.

A sample poem and more details about Tell Mistakes I Love Them can be found here.

BUY a copy now using the paypal link below.


Tell Mistakes I Love Them (with P&P options)

BOLT DOWN THIS EARTH

"From the sublime to the electric. This superb debut collection permits Davies' original and distinctive wordsmithery full rein. Electric? Let's begin with the opening couplet (from 'How Can I Mourn a Man Still Living?'):

'At the edge of my ears, a single nerve
rings like a tungsten bulb'

I'll leave that there to ponder, but I could write an essay on that one image. And the delights keep coming. Davies is as adroit with language as he is with imagery...Like I said, Davies' poetry is electric – and I love it!"

Andy Hickmott, from a detailed review in The Journal

A sample poem and more details about Bolt Down This Earth can be found here.

BUY a copy now using the paypal link below.

Bolt Down This Earth with P&P


SCARE STORIES

Finally, and particularly aptly perhaps ahead of tomorrow's election voting...

"Each page an untitled poem, snatch of eavesdropping, a rapidfire confession, the reader has to guess at the identity of the speakers and whereabouts and what of which they speak. Told throughout in first person plural, narrators could be terrorists, boat crews, refugees, security guards, viewers, readers, lookers-on, scientists, gameboys, cult members, audience, patients, snipers... The scare here being the world and time we inhabit and which is seeking to destroy us. So taken with what was being said I didn't notice until I was 20 pages in how it was being said. Then I realised that each piece was following the same form  – 3 stanzas of 4 lines apiece, with each stanza having an ABBA rhyme scheme. Usually I find the clunk of end-rhymes an impediment to my engagement with a poem. So my not having noticed please take as high praise. Indeed there is far more to be gained from this collection than I have allowed myself space here to tell."

Reviewed by Sam SmithThe Journal

A sample poem and more details about Scare Stories can be found here.

BUY a copy now using the paypal link below.


Scare Stories (with P&P options)

Monday, 5 June 2017

Launching Tell Mistakes I Love Them

V. Press is delighted to launch Tell Mistakes I Love Them by Stephen Daniels.

“In poems at once energetic, tense, and original, Stephen Daniels' first pamphlet compellingly explores everyday experiences. By turns funny and poignant, Tell Mistakes I Love Them is a refreshing debut.” Carrie Etter

“What Stephen Daniels does here is to lead us with wit and wisecrack absurdities over to the other side of the looking-glass and then leave us there staring at our scary selves, unable to put back together the uneven pieces of our daily eruptions and catastrophes. This is humanity caught botching it through life, but Stephen’s choice is to float over the nausea and master the downwards flying that is our constant falling.” Cristina Navazo-EguĂ­a Newton

“Stephen Daniels’ poems deal with the difficulty of growing in an uncomfortable world. These poems are structured to be as uncomfortable as the stories they reveal, they are awkward and honest, show the true damage of childhood shame rising into adulthood – they take unexpected turns: human trauma in a real twisted, surreal reality. A striking first pamphlet!” Hilda Sheehan

“Stephen Daniels takes the ordinary, the everyday and makes it strange and sinister – revealing how ordinary life is, in fact, rooted in strangeness. Daniels takes us on a journey through childhood and modern family life. But these are not happy or sentimental poems; they don’t shy away from the more difficult aspects of domestic life – often exploring ideas of miscommunication, regret and how families are casually cruel to one another. Daniels is a master recreating the implied sense of threat that often lurks behind the everyday. The language of the poems is deceptively light and playful, which make them a joy to read: “we stole a real imaginary lorry/that smelled of circus” (Grounded), but the real power of these poems is in the way he uses surreal and sometimes disjointed language in the spinning of his tales. The effect is not unlike finding yourself in a dream where everything is slightly off kilter. This wrong-footing made me want to revisit the poems again and again – and on each reading I discovered something new and exciting. Daniels is definitely a poet worth watching.” Julia Webb



Tell Mistakes I Love Them exposes social nerves and pokes at the wounds with poems that are very vulnerable and very poignant.

A sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £6.50

PRE-ORDER a copy of now, using the paypal link below. (Tell Mistakes I Love Them is officially released on June 5, 2017. Pre-orders will be sent out in the week of publication.)



Tell Mistakes I Love Them (with P&P options)

From Tell Mistakes I Love Them:

Grounded

Yesterday, when we were nine,
we stole a real imaginary lorry
that smelled of circus.

It had an elephant engine
with a flame-juggler sound.
It had unicycle seats
and lion-tamer windows
which we stole together
but stopped before the trapeze started.

Then we saw the shadow runners.

A tightrope chase caught us
with one leg over the fence
and the other not.

An ankle-drag pull
and we’re chained to the big-top prison
waiting for acrobats to take us home,
made to place our heads
into the roaring mouth of our lion-angry mum.

Our punishment, a ringmaster ear-clip
and a bedroom full of sad clown faces.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

More reviews delight - "powerful stuff"

V. Press is very very delighted to share news of Gram Joel Davies' Bolt Down This Earth reviewed in Litter.

"These poems are peopled by vulnerable, troubled characters, outsiders, who project a fractured and disturbing light on what we might call ‘normality’. In ‘The Buzzing Crowd’ the natural world feels as abrasive and out-of-sync as its human protagonists – ‘Those rooks, / they’d peck your brain and pull love right / from out your sockets.’ 

"Davies evokes psychological states of inner turmoil via language which is estranged and troubling, yet beautifully constructed in its disaffection – ‘ Your carpet crawls like droplets on a hotplate / and the fear of tiny mouthfuls grows, exponential / to fleabites’. (from ‘Creep’). Powerful stuff indeed."

From a review by Steve Spence, Litter, full review here.

BUY Bolt Down This Earth now, using the papyal link below:


Bolt Down This Earth with P&P




Friday, 14 April 2017

Review news & pamphlet longlisting

V. Press is very very delighted to see David Clarke's Scare Stories longlisted in this year's Saboteur Awards.

We're also very very pleased to share details of the latest review of Fragile Houses by Nina Lewis.

"In this slim pamphlet, Lewis investigates all aspects of memory, its deficiencies and its glories. The tremendous warmth and descriptive power of the poet gathers us up and makes us complicit, allowing an exploration of joy, loss and sadness, without ever being overbearing. The writing is clear, precise and evocative, not given to exuberant flourishes. The poet has a beautiful intuition for the controlled breath down to the final beat of each poem, and she uses this tension to deliver some of her most poignant thoughts...

"Lewis is adept at using capitalisation to full advantage. I’ve seldom seen it used so expressly as a device. There are delightful repetitions and the occasional game with pronouns...Fragile Houses is a deft and thought-provoking debut." 

Rachel Stirling, Sabotage Reviews

The full text for this considered and thought-provoking review can be found here.


BUY Scare Stories now, using the paypal link below:


Scare Stories (with P&P options)





BUY Fragile Houses now, using the paypal link below:


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

Friday, 31 March 2017

Launching Bolt Down This Earth


V. Press is delighted to launch Bolt Down This Earth by Gram Joel Davies.


Bolt Down This Earth pulses with energy. These poems hang between ambition and loss; they span survival in the home and on hilltops, stretch over break-ups and break-downs. Gram Joel Davies strips back the boards of existence to look at the wires—searching for human voices where the breeze hums though cable or branch. Adolescent ritual turns to a “lightbulb crushed into light.” His imagery is electrifying. Harmony and dissonance cause unexpected meanings to crackle and spark, while scenes and relationships fuse, so that a “power station is an ice cube / across the mica flats / and cider stymies us.” Bolt Down This Earth is very vital and very charged.


“Linguistically bold and alive to the thisness of its moments, Bolt Down This Earth is a debut collection of lyric energy and inventiveness, full-throated and confident in its own power to convince. An arrival to be celebrated.” Martin Malone


“Gram Joel Davies’s first collection slips deftly between a West Country past and the present. The poems are full of taut observation and meticulous attention to detail. And though there is an urban feel to many of them, the collection is brimful of nature. The poems are often peopled with the troubled or misunderstood, and the worlds they move in are shadowy and uncomfortable versions of those we know – almost dystopian at times. There is often a sense of the narrator or central character being the outsider (a boy almost drowning, two teenagers exploring a derelict hospital, a father too fond of his drink) and there is a disquieting and almost violent sensuality too. The complexity of the worlds these people move in is echoed by the complexity of the way Davies puts words together – sometimes joining two words together to create new words; weaving something rich and new that casts its melancholy spell over the reader, but never excludes them. In these poems the uncomfortable tinnitus of the past encroaches on the very real tinnitus of the present. This is compounded in the powerful Tinnitus sequence that is dotted throughout the collection like a central column that the other poems hang on. The cumulative effect of the layering of numerous and various language is both troubling and stunning. These are poems whose subtle inventiveness works its way into your subconsciousness, poems that you will want to revisit time and again.” Julia Webb

A sample poem from the collection can be found below.

Buy Bolt Down This Earth now using the paypal link below


Bolt Down This Earth with P&P



Coming Up For Air

She makes him taste of tarragon,
olive oil, black pepper.
He does not rinse his beard.
He wants to wear it

into the warm street like a lit flume.
People gull around his wake,
scenting his beard
comb the line of hers.

A man with rolled sleeves
sniffs and wants to plunge
his tongue
but, through a window, a cab driver

draws breath, tasting
how he waited on
her nipple.
In the foyer, a clerk’s hand

floats over keys,
watching lift-numbers
kiss up her ribs, back down.
The lift fills with pepper

and tarragon. He parts the way,
his beard glowing like her olive
glow, he licks spiced lips
and remembers: goes in.


AND THERE'S MORE...


Bolt Down This Earth chosen for Other New Books in Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin 2017