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

WITH NINA LEWIS' 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 http://gramjoeldavies.uk.

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:

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY DAY 2016!!!

* 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


Monday, 3 October 2016

Launching Fragile Houses

V. Press is delighted to launch Fragile Houses, a debut poetry pamphlet by Nina Lewis.


Home is more than a brick building, family trees or ancestral bones. In Fragile Houses, Nina Lewis explores the people, places and memories carried through life. Vibrant imagery and precise insight reveal strength in the most tender places. The pamphlet includes a photographic sequence from S.A. Leavesley that is directly inspired by the poems’ vivid mix of fragility and sharpness. Fragile Houses is very authentic and very fervent.

“In this engaging debut pamphlet, Nina Lewis deftly examines the human condition through the lens of family relationships. There is more than memoir here; issues of connection and disconnection, presence and absence, are gently explored while always acknowledging ‘These years can’t be backtracked or re-spent’ (from ‘Fusion’).” Angela France


“Nina Lewis’ debut pamphlet from V. Press explores memory and family. These are exact, concisely-conceived poems which find their power in restraint and understatement – ‘In our family, minds go missing’. She writes observantly about memory, and its trickeries, caught ‘somewhere in the space/ between those two lost letters, / as vivid as gold-dust,/ falling to the earth.’ Throughout the pamphlet Lewis maintains a voice which is sometimes sad, but truthful and grown wise, with some really memorable images which successfully convey the strong emotions she deals in – ‘He stayed away. Radio silence. / An opaque circle was drawn around our house/ filled with white noise.’” Jean Atkin

R.R.P. £5.50

Nina will be reading from Fragile Houses at a launch event at Birmingham Waterstones this evening (Oct 3) also featuring Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and fellow V. Press poet Claire Walker. (Further details for this are in the poster at the end of this blog post. Waterstones 24-26 High Street, Birmingham, B4 7SL.)

To buy a copy of Fragile Houses now, please use the paypal link below, taking care to select the correct postage & packing option). 




A sample poem may be found below, along with a sample image from the pamphlet's  photographic sequence by S. A. Leavesley.

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.



'Fragile: Spilling' by S.A. Leavesley



Thursday, 8 September 2016

Birth to Bone


This week poets Kathy Gee (left), Claire Walker and David Calcutt took their V. Press pamphlets to Waterstones in Birmingham for a special V. Press reading.

The 'Birth to Bone' event featured a combined and interlinked set, carefully co-ordinated to bring out the poets' unique voices and striking lines.

Their collections/pamphlet can be ordered by following the links here: Book of Bones, The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile and The Old Man in the House of Bone.

With thanks also to Birmingham Waterstones,  Stuart Bartholomew and the wonderful audience for making is such a cracking night!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Review of A Career in Accompaniment

We are delighted share details of the latest review for Alex Reed's autobiographical poetry pamphlet A Career in Accompaniment.

The following snippets are taken from a review by Beth McDonough in Dundee University Review of the Arts, which can be enjoyed in full here.

“Opening with the prose poem “Things illness stole”, we find Jan, prior to diagnosis, at the cusp of their relationship; rather as Les Murray’s poem “It Allows a Portrait in Line-Scan At Fifteen”, does the much-needed job of untangling his son from his autism, this offers a vibrant ten line picture of a woman, completely charged and changed by the title’s significance. The magnitude of their loss is caught in the final, soon-to-be-ironic words – “Everything’s going to be alright” – happily lipsticked on her mirror. Ominously, these words hang over a deliberately disproportionate whitespace.”

“never flinching in its pained and painful observation”

“V Press demonstrates that same integrity”

“Alex Reed can write.”

“In his final poem, he hymns…

Remove yourself.
Take these things –
pencil, prayer-wheel and blade
to fashion an opening.


In A Career in Accompaniment, Alex Reed has done all that, with dignity, courage and respect to his partner, their situation and to poetry.”

The full review and analysis by Beth McDonough can be found here


A sample poem and more information about the pamphlet may be enjoyed here

To order a copy of A Career in Accompaniment use the paypal link below


A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing

Monday, 8 August 2016

Chez Nous Recommendations for The Old Man in the House of Bone

Chez Nous Recommendation for ‘The Old Man in the House of Bone’ by David Calcutt, with illustrations by Peter Tinkler.

To enjoy this fascinating poetry sequence, prepare a slow roasted lamb shank. As you pull the meat off the bone, let the narrative unfold. As you suck the juice, hear the rich words. No-one will disturb you because:

            No-one comes calling at the house of bone
            there are no foot shuffles on the front step
            no yoo-hoos through the letter box...

The atmosphere is gothic, so light some candles, preferably in an old, tarnished candelabra. Imagine a mansion, with dusty corners, such as Miss Havisham might live in. It is full of whispers and silences:

            Listen, the house of bone is talking to itself
            mumbling something, charms and incantations, maybe
            fragments of old fairy tales, and the old man’s trying to overhear
            straining to catch the drift of those gummy mutterings...

The old man at the heart of the narrative is the centre of a fragmenting world, He tries to hold on to its integrity but cannot manage it. He is not strong enough. Fortify yourself with a glass of vintage poet. Relish it while you can. Calcutt speaks of the fragility of memory, of life itself. The illustration on the last page is an empty chair and a single shoe, casting their shadows. Each poem has a summative last two lines, separated from the rest by a stanza break and italics. Take a sip of your port and savour those summary couplets. Together they make a shortened version of the sequence. Each one is a prayer or a spell:

            Let the house of bone be a church
            where you kneel and pray to nothing

            Let the house of bone be the map of your world
            that stain on the bottom of the teacup

Let the house of bone be a leaf
clinging to the last branch of the tree

 Your plate is empty, apart from the shank, stripped of its meat. Your port glass is sticky with the port lees. You have walked with the old man on his last journey. You have held space for him. The old man could be anyone. There is magic in this book. These poems are knitted from cobwebs and love.

Angela Topping

Buy The Old Man in the House of Bone now using the paypal link below:


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


A sample poem and illustration from the pamphlet can be enjoyed here.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Submissions Window Closed

A big thank you to everyone who has sent in work during our recent 2-month submissions window, which closed at the start of this week.

We are looking forward to reading the poems and flash fictions, and anticipate some tough decisions ahead. All submissions sent according to our submission guidelines will receive a reply. We hope to respond to the initial sample selections in September/October, but please bear with us, as reading this volume of submissions takes time and care.

Meanwhile, samples of some of the work we've published so far can be enjoyed in the video below.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Read it, devour it, savour - Carrie Etter's Hometown reviewed

We're very very delighted to share another detailed and considered review of Carrie Etter's flash fiction pamphlet Hometown.

"...there is only one action to take with Hometown: read it, devour it, and savour these stories in your mind, but be prepared for them to linger for a long time afterwards." Santino Prinzi concludes in his review on Bath Flash Fiction Award.

 The full review, which includes thoughtful commentary on a number of Etter's individual flashes within the pamphlet, can be enjoyed here.

Buy a copy of Hometown now

Hometown with P&P

Monday, 18 July 2016

Review News

V. Press is very very delighted to share review and reading news for The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile by Claire Walker.

"In her review on the pamphlet's back, Carolyn Jess Cooke speaks of how 'nothing is taken at face value.' I, too, discovered this, and liked how it was often images from the natural world that, fairy tale like, transformed human beings into something other... The poems themselves pulled me in, and left me wanting to read more of Walker's work." From a review by Deborah Tyler-Bennett, Under the Radar, issue 17.

Buy a copy of The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile (RRP £4.99) now:

The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile P&P options

Claire Walker will also be reading from The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile at tonight's Leicester Shindig.


Chez Nous Recommendations for A Career in Accompaniment

A Career in Accompaniment by Alex Reed draws us into an intimate experience of caring for a lover that leaves your palate aching for tea – strong, comforting tea.

I recommend the high-tannin punch of the mighty Assam leaf, or for the connoisseur, the coppery tones of Sapphire Earl Grey, with just a touch of bergamot and blue malva flowers. Infuse longer for a more robust flavour – you will need it to be strong to help you through this journey of love, loss and challenge in the face of long-term illness. 

From a "beery dance" club on a Northern quay to a lonely cafĂ© table in Padua –the observations of a trip that becomes a fall and then "the trace of a limp" will leave your palate dry. Dry as the "flame licking dry wood" of Reed’s love and stifled rage (in ‘Woken by your Cough’) as he tries to hold on to what he is about to lose:

“Ambiguous loss. But I’d prefer
to say that I am haunted
by the ghost of her motion,
the flow of her - ”
(from ‘Ghost’)

This is definitely a read for a rainy day, tucked away with teapot and cup in a dusk-filled room. Let Reed take you to his lover sitting "at her table by the bay window - a flask of tea…within easy reach" (‘Long Day’). 

Sip. Savour. Reflect.

“The trees almost bare
just a few leaves hanging.
Rothko red. Framed by nothing
but pure air.”
(‘Leaving’)

Jane Campion Hoye

For  a sample poem from A Career in Accompaniment, please click here.

You can buy a copy of the pamphlet, RRP £5.50, using the paypal link below.

A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing



Monday, 11 July 2016

Launching A Career in Accompaniment

V. Press is delighted to launch A Career in Accompaniment, a debut poetry pamphlet by Alex Reed.


A Career in Accompaniment is a pamphlet of love, loss and surprising lightness. Based on Alex Reed’s personal experiences, these poems witness what it is like to care for a lover with severe illness and to live with a future where there is no “escape without damage”. Spare and accessible language of the everyday reinforces the emotional power and resonance of “all the falling” but also recalls moments of great tenderness, when “the world lit in her eye”. This poetry of “fragile places” is very intimate yet very universal.



“Reading these poems, you are struck by their striving for truthfulness – as if that might be the key to making sense of a seemingly senseless situation, a life no one could prepare for. And yes, truthfulness seems to work – opening into absolute presence, careful observation of detail and moment-by-moment tenderness and courage. Here you are listening to a generous, unassuming voice, drawing our human vulnerability and capacity for endurance closely together, with space to breathe and gather what threatens to scatter. Restraint and discretion characterise the poems as well as openness – a hard-won but lightly-worn congruence. ‘A Career in Accompaniment’ reminds us what poetry makes possible.” Linda France


R.R.P. £5.50

Order now using the paypal link below


A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing

A sample poem from the pamphlet can be found below:

A clearing

Inch the door a fraction further, look
for the tell-tale rise of her sheet,
my vigil of four days now. The doctor
said Just keep going. I try

to hold her presence like a breath
in this room; tread softly as I can,
like a walker in the woods who sees
a deer in a clearing. Until a twig

snaps underfoot. She is far away
and I am here – I picture her
waking, startled a second, then her eyes
drink me in; her thin arms, bare breasts,

her hand behind my head, I dream
of a lover, dream of the lovers we were.



Friday, 8 July 2016

Hometown reviewed in New Welsh Reader

“In Hometown Etter creates engaging vignettes of, yes, ‘normal’ life. Even the aftermath of an accidental death is notable for its banality: the killer’s wife visits him in prison, eats homemade sandwiches and drinks Diet Coke; the killer himself brushes his teeth, lifts weights and prays his wife won’t divorce him; their daughter watches Sesame Street and sings along. What’s moving is that this normality in the face of horrific circumstances feels so real, so plausible, and reminds us that a nightmarish twist of fate could be around the corner for any of us…

“This is the first fiction venture by V Press and it’s encouraging to see new small presses championing experimental and innovative forms of writing. Etter’s voice is honest and irreverent and shows that ‘normal’ life can be very strange indeed.”

From a review by Vicky MacKenzie in New Welsh Reader, Issue 111.

To buy a copy of Hometown now



Hometown with P&P

A sample story from Hometown can be read here.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Less than a month left to submit!

Yes, that's right, less than a month left now if you're planning to make the most of our current submissions window.

Still thinking about it? Enjoy extracts from some of V. Press's existing titles, a little graphic fun with our logo and details of our submissions window.




V. Press is open to flash fiction for the first time this year, on top of the usual poetry submissions. The fine print details can be found here.

Even if you've read or submitted before, please do take the time to read the guidelines (there are some updates!) and make sure you give your work the best chance possible - by following them.

Yes, we do ask for a few specific things. But there are good reasons for them. And the time and care that these take to include is a very small fraction of the time that it takes us to read submissions carefully. It's also an even smaller fraction of the time and care that we put into the manuscripts which we take on to publication.

Looking forward to reading your  work!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Launching The Old Man in the House of Bone

V. Press is delighted to launch The Old Man in the House of BoneV. Press's first illustrated pamphlet, with poems by David Calcutt and illustrations by Peter Tinkler.

Dramatic language and absorbing images blend together seamlessly into this very dark and very surreal account of ageing and loss.

"'Who’s there? Who is it? Who is it? 
Who’s there? The house of bone puts its finger to its lips. 
Says nothing. It’s keeping its secret to itself.’

David Calcutt’s The Old Man in the House of Bone is an invitation inside a shadowy and mysterious dwelling, one that is also full of curious magic and charismatic strangeness. Questions and secrets abound – does the occupier occupy the house, or does the house occupy its resident? Readers will find themselves irresistibly drawn in, and pondering these enigmas, too. This precise and striking series of poems is both consequential and sequential; each one building on the previous and the following like sediment, creating a brooding and disquieting atmosphere. Calcutt’s poetry is alert and surefooted – written with a humane touch, and always compelling.” Jane Commane

The Old Man in the House of Bone is a fable, a fairytale, is a humane and tender account of an old man’s mental and physical decline into the final silence.  David Calcutt’s imagery grows from the page and fixes itself inside the skull.  He is a master magician, a seeker of darkness.” Helen Ivory

R.R.P. £5.50

Order now using the paypal link below:


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

A sample poem and illustration from the pamphlet can be enjoyed below.

No one comes calling at the house of bone
there are no foot-shuffles on the front step
no yoo-hoos through the letterbox
or if they do come calling they come as shades
escaped from hell through the trapdoor in the cellar
wrinklings of light and smoky silences
that twist their way in under the door
to float like mote-dust, like flies around the fruit-bowl
and the old man thinks he might just recognise a face
or the echo of a gesture, or the shape of a voice
but even as he reaches out to touch it, it vanishes
and he has only his own feet to look at
his glasses case, his empty cup, his own hands
lying crumpled anyhow on the table, like unopened letters
each one labelled with the wrong address.



Let the house of bone be a needle
slowly threading its way through to the heart







































Listen to David read one of the poems from The Old Man in the House of Bone:




Recorded by Robin Valk for Brum Radio.