Friday, 1 December 2017

Launching Somewhere Between Rose and Black

We're very very delighted to start the advent run-up to Christmas 2018 with the launch of Claire Walker's second V. Press pamphlet Somewhere Between Rose and Black.

“There is a disquiet that moves through these poems. Walker explores what it means to create a sense of home, and how the people within it build our longings around us. Beautiful work by a rising star in poetry. These are words that linger after the last page.” Angela Readman

“Claire Walker’s quiet, almost still, narrative through these poems could reflect their rural setting or the sadness within the protagonist, yet that quietness is deceptive. There are passions here amid the juxtaposition of man and stag.  These poems will have you checking your fingernails for soil, seeing antlers in your peripheral vision.” Brett Evans

Somewhere Between Rose and Black is very earthy and very enigmatic.

A sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £6.50

BUY Somewhere Between Rose and Black now, using the paypal link below.

Somewhere Between Rose and Black (with P&P options)


I give up watching for antlers 
through the dark. Lying awake, 
I know their presence:
the gnaw of teeth against the night.

I’ve begun to identify with them. Come dawn,
I slip my feet inside the print of hooves,
touch their bite marks with my fingers, 
taste early shoots on my tongue. 

I plant for deer now; 
sow peas to feed hungry nights, 
realise nothing can grow to full height, 
accept the elegant destruction. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Review news & offers

V. Press is very very pleased to share extracts from a Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine review of Carrie Etter's Hometown.

"Longer pieces hint at deeper backstories; and throughout, the writing is pitch-perfect, with sentences carefully sculpted yet fully alive. The opening flash, 'Downs or Towanda Maybe', showcases Etter's neat line in keeping a narrative fresh... Elsewhere, Etter displays razor-sharp psychological insight...

"Praise too for V. Press  publishing poetry since 2013, they now offer a valuable new platform for quality flash fiction and have produced here a well-designed, well-presented pamphlet.

"... Hometown's stories are the real thing, the work of a skilled wordsmith and witness."

Michael Loveday in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Vol. 9 No. 2 

A sample fiction and more about Hometown can be found here.

Buy a copy of Hometown now

Hometown (with P&P options)


As we shared last week, V. Press is very very delighted to have been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Publishers' Award.

The award is a highlight of the poetry pamphlet publishing calendar and runs from July to July.  The pamphlets that V. Press had in for this year are: Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment, Nina Lewis' Fragile Houses, David Clarke's Scare Stories and Stephen Daniels' Tell Mistakes I Love Them.

Our special offer on each of these four pamphlets is available here.


V. Press poet Jacqui Rowe hosts her final Poetry Bites on Tuesday, 28 November, after more than ten years running the Birmingham poetry night. Jacqui will be one of the guest poets reading from her V. Press collection, Blink. The other guest will be Antony Owen, who has been a great supporter of Poetry Bites over the years, and given some memorable readings, both as a guest and from the floor. Antony’s collection, The Nagasaki Elder, has also recently come out from V Press.

Food will be served from 6.30pm and the event begins at 7.30pm. Entry: £5 (£4 concs) including readers. Venue: The Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Birmingham B14 7SA. Please contact Jacqui Rowe (jacquiroweAThotmailDOTcoDOTuk) if you’d like a floor spot.

(Poetry Bites will continue next year in the capable hands of Elaine Christie and Matt Nunn.)


The Poetry Book Society is delighted to announce the release of the new look Winter Bulletin featuring exclusive poems and unique commentary from major worldwide poets!

The Poetry Book Society was founded by T S Eliot in 1953 to ‘propagate the art of poetry’. Members get the best contemporary poetry books delivered straight to their door every quarter alongside the bulletin magazine.

To celebrate the new look bulletin, we’re offering V Press Blog readers a special 10% discount rate across all our membership options. Simply enter the code VPRESS at the checkout here. Christmas gift membership options are also available.

The Winter Bulletin will be launched from 7pm on the 8th December at the Poetry Society CafĂ© in London. We do hope you can join us for a stellar performance from five internationally acclaimed poets: PBS Choice Sasha Dugdale, PBS Recommendations Paul Deaton, Tim Dooley, Ahren Warner and PBS Special Commendation Fleur Adcock. Tickets are available here.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Michael Marks Awards Shortlisting


V. Press is very very delighted to have been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Publishers' Award.

The award is a highlight of the poetry pamphlet publishing calendar and runs from July to July.  The pamphlets that V. Press had in for this year are: Alex Reed's A Career in Accompaniment, Nina Lewis' Fragile Houses, David Clarke's Scare Stories and Stephen Daniels' Tell Mistakes I Love Them.

It's been a delight to publish these pamphlets and V. Press is very very proud of all its authors - the press is its writers, readers and all those involved with it, including our fabulous poetry covers from V. Press designer Ruth Stacey.

The Awards will be announced at a dinner at the British Library on Tuesday, 12 December, where Sarah Leavesley will be giving a three minute presentation about the V. Press 2016/17 pamphlet list.

Other presses shortlisted are Mariscat Press, The Poetry Business/Smith Doorstep and Rack Press. The awards are run by The Wordsworth Trust and The British Library, with the generous support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, in association with the TLS and Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS), in Washington DC and in Nafplio Greece. More about this year's shortlisted presses and individual pamphlets can be found here.

The judges’ comments include: "The V. Press offering of four remarkably diverse pamphlets included a mix of established and new writers. We fell in love in particular with Alex Reed's pamphlet ‘A Career in Accompaniment’ about looking after his wife - quiet poems, carefully crafted, with enormous emotional heft and dignity. "

To celebrate this shortlisting, all four V. Press pamphlets from this 2016/2017 are available below with £1.50 off their usual price. [This offer is for U.K. delivery only and runs until the end of 2017, and through the links below only.]

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

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

Fragile Houses is very authentic and very fervent.The pamphlet includes a photographic sequence from S.A. Leavesley that is directly inspired by the poems’ vivid mix of fragility and sharpness.

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. This poetry of “fragile places” is very intimate yet very universal.


V. Press finishes 2017 with publication of  Claire Walker's second V. Press pamphlet Somewhere Between Rose and Black at the start of December.

2017 has been our busiest year yet, with four poetry pamphlets, three full collections and two fiction pamphlets.

The first V. Press poetry pamphlet for 2018 is How to Parallel Park by James Davey, followed by Jenna Plewes' Against the Pull of Time in summer 2018.

Also for 2018, V. Press has Unable Mother, a debut poetry collection from Helen Calcutt, a poetry collection from Brenda Read-Brown, a flash fiction novella  that draws on the techniques of prose poetry by Michael Loveday and a flash pamphlet from Tino Prinzi.

But the press will be looking for new poetry titles for later in 2018...


V. Press managing director and editor Sarah Leavesley was pleased to take part in a short interview with Jim Harrington about the press at Six Questions For... (The questions and answers here.)

Although titles for the start of 2018 have been scheduled,  V. Press is hoping to re-open a general poetry submissions window early next year. The press will be looking for poetry titles for the second half of 2018 and going into 2019.

For more information about new titles and submission windows, please follow V. Press on twitter at @vpresspoetry and sign up for the press newsletters (below or the side-bar on the right-hand side of the webpage).

Monday, 16 October 2017

Launching Blink

V. Press is very very delighted to launch Jacqui Rowe's debut poetry collection, Blink.

“Jacqui Rowe’sBlink shares extraordinary visions of personhood and place, giving voice to the many voiceless figures in her finely tuned ekphrasis and emotive allegorical poems inspired by the likes of Apollinaire, Verlaine, and Lorca. Combined with plaintive elegies for both loved ones and her heartland, this is syntactically refreshing poetry that serves to move and inspire.” Robert Harper

“Sometimes a poetry collection won’t let you put it down. This is one such collection. In Blink, Jacqui Rowe has transcended the mere act of description, lifting the poems from the page with a lyrical palette knife, painting each scene with an intelligent, witty and moving style. This is how to write poetry. I will return to these poems again and again.” Wendy Pratt  

Blink is very very vibrant and mercurial.

A sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £9.99

BUY a copy of Blink now using the payapl link below.

Blink with p&p options

Life in a Day

Our day was daffodils. I opened my eyes
in equinoctial dawn, shaped by winds
and cloud, saw buds crack
that would be fruit for our descendants.
No gloom until an evening star
told me I was ageing.

Night born, sun
starved, he was forged
in darkness, swaddled himself
in blindness to sleep, sometimes woke
frozen in memories of the sickle moon.

Yellow afternoon we met and wed,
he showed me chronicles of the asparagus
years, epochs of oysters, powdery
engravings of ancient snow

and something he called roses.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Exceptional reviews!!!

We're very very delighted to share more wonderful reviews of Antony Owen's The Nagasaki Elder.

"Antony Owen’s fifth collection, The Nagasaki Elder (V Press), is one of those compelling slim volumes that reminds you what poetry can do when it confronts the big themes of our times – or any times. Those themes don’t get any bigger than war, and its obscene effects on civilians sacrificed on the altar of geopolitical manoeuvres. What marks out Owen’s work as exceptional is the illuminating perspectives he brings to a subject that is already so well travelled...

"He writes universally, but with an insider’s eye. In doing so, he has written a collection that bridges past and present, and could not be more timely."

Neil Young, The Poets' Republic, Autumn 2017 (The issue containing the full review may be bought here.)

"As the world watches today in apprehension and disbelief as test missiles from North Korea pass over Japan, his motives must be applauded. Owen has taken care to distil his anger and pity. His poetry is not in-your-face protest, but crafted, lyrical, and resonant."

Greg Freeman, WriteOutLoud (Full review here.)

More information about The Nagasaki Elder and a sample poem can be found here.

BUY The Nagasaki Elder now, using the paypal link below.

The Nagasaki Elder with packing & postage

Thursday, 28 September 2017

National Poetry Day 2017 - sample & 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 freedom, which isn't quite the same as free poetry, but we are offering this 'free' video sample of some of our publications.

The video (created for our submissions window last 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.

Those who have been following us for a while will realise that these are all titles from before last year's National Poetry Day.

This is because our list has more or less doubled over the past 12 months and V. Press editor Sarah Leavesley has been busy editing new titles.

Our full range of pamphlets and collections can be found in our online Bookshop, along with links to sample poems/flash fiction.

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'* 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 1 - using the paypal links below. (Please take care to choose the correct button!)

2 'surprise selection'* 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!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Review news & Free Verse 2017!!!

We're very very delighted to share the latest reviews - of Romalyn Ante's poetry pamphlet Rice & Rain and Jude Higgins' flash fiction pamphlet The Chemist's House.


"This is a powerful debut that demonstrates a control of language and emotion typical of poets at more advanced stages in their careers. In her editorial blurb, Jane Commane says Ante’s poems are ‘a real feast for the senses.’ Indeed, by focusing on sensory details – from listening to the ‘rattle’ of ‘monsoon raindrops’ and the ‘tarri-tik’ of the ‘hornbill lizard’, to smelling a mother’s ‘tamarind-scented fingers’ – Ante’s work richly exploits sensory awareness of her homeland, The Philippines."

Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Sphinx, full review here.

BUY Rice & Rain now using the paypal link below.

Rice & Rain with p&p options


"Jude Higgins has created a particular rendition of the universal experience of childhood and adolescence, a microcosm explored with a light but thorough touch, and in particular through taste and smell."
Cherry PottsSabotage Reviews, full review here.

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

The Chemist's House with packing and postage


This year’s Poetry Book Fair takes place on Saturday, September 30 at Conway Hall in London and I will again be taking V. Press.

As well as a stand, this year we also have a V. Press reading by Stephen Daniels and Nina Lewis at 3pm at the GARDEN CAFE in RED LION SQUARE.

“Unbroken : V. Press poets celebrate connection/disconnection. Stephen Daniels reads from ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’, exposing social nerves and poking at the wounds with very vulnerable and very poignant poems.

Worcestershire poet laureate Nina Lewis offers a very authentic and very fervent glimpse of 'Fragile Houses' – tender and sharp snapshots of people, places and memories carried through life.”

The fair itself is free to enter and is open to the public from 11am - 6pm, with an Evening Do from 7pm onwards, at Conway Hall (25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL).

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Nagasaki Elder - review news!!!

We're very very delighted to share not just one but two reviews of Antony Owen's very very hard-hitting yet very tender The Nagasaki Elder.

The collection was only published last week and already has reviews in The Morning Star and the Hong Kong Review of Books.

The Nagasaki Elder (V. Press, £9.99) is Owen’s fifth collection of poems, and his best yet. The book has the inspired ferocity and prophetic fury of those British poets like Edith Sitwell, Randall Swingler, EP Thompson, James Kirkup and Adrian Mitchell who have protested so eloquently against nuclear weapons. There are some fine individual poems here, notably ‘How to survive a nuclear winter’, ‘To feed a Nagasaki starling’ and ‘The stars that wandered Hiroshima’. One of the most memorable is ‘The art of war’”
Andy Croft, Morning Star (Full review here.)

"The poetry in this book is stark and vivid. Owen does not mess about, casting solid images, the burnt shadows of the victims, and more pertinently the survivors who bear witness to these awful events. Antony applies presence and absence, the point of impact contrasted with the eerie stillness that follows flattened earth and muted lives. I particularly enjoyed the Senryu poems, that apply a haiku-like form to leave powerful and indelible images that haunt you long after the poem has been read and absorbed."
Adam Steiner, Hong Kong Review of Books (Full review here.)

Buy The Nagasaki Elder now, using the paypal link below.

The Nagasaki Elder with packing & postage


The Nagasaki Elder will be launched on Thursday, September 7 at Inspire Bar (Christchurch Spire, New Union St, Coventry CV1 2PS) from 7.15pm to 9.15pm.

More about the collection and a sample poem may be enjoyed here

Friday, 1 September 2017

Launching The Nakasaki Elder

V. Press is very very delighted to launch The Nagasaki Elder, a full poetry collection by Antony Owen.

"Antony Owen closely examines the human toll and the indiscriminate effects of chemical warfare in this new and affecting collection.  Owen’s exploration is both tender and melancholic, and his imagery of flesh transmuted is as beautiful as it is horrific.  This book sings and weeps of loss; it is a testimony to the survivors and the wounds that they carry; to the dead and the shadows they leave on the earth.” Helen Ivory

 “Antony Owen is the bravest British poet of his generation. He goes to places poetry doesn't visit and lingering there, crafts acts of testimony and tribute. He does what art is supposed to; raising us the highest so that we can see the deepest. The Nagasaki Elder in its stunning evocation of human suffering is simply his best work yet.” Joe Horgan

The Nagasaki Elder is a beautiful and harrowing account of a journey through the bombed cities of Japan.  Unlike most poets who hold forth about atrocities, Antony Owen has been there.  He has spoken in depth to the Hibakusha and transformed their voices into some extraordinary poems.  And we must listen, if we don't want our world to end as theirs did.” Merryn Williams

The Nagasaki Elder is very very hard-hitting yet very tender.

Launch details and a sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £9.99

Buy The Nagasaki Elder now, using the paypal link below.

The Nagasaki Elder with packing & postage


The Nagasaki Elder will be launched on Thursday, September 7 at Inspire Bar (Christchurch Spire, New Union St, Coventry CV1 2PS) from 7.15pm to 9.15pm.

To feed a Nagasaki starling

She said don’t go to the shadows without water –
I have tried to erase him for sixty-four years
and my wrists are tired;
I have scrubbed the darkness of my son
so he could be buried at last in sunlight.

Don’t go to my son without removing your shoes –
I have tried to bathe him with prayers and carbolic
but he only gets blacker;
I have lived for ninety-nine years
and starlings are beginning to land by my feet.

Don’t wind the paralysed clock,
it is rebuilding the world with seared hands –
I have tried to turn back time
but God will not allow it in Nagasaki;
I had tried to make another child but gave birth to pink curd.

Don’t tell them my name,
and look me in the face when you see him –
I have tried to understand
why ink is only spilled by vaporised kin;
I have tried to write a haiku
for the willow which strokes my son.

Don’t disturb my son
when the raven plays in the shape of his spectre –
I have tried to shoo it away and it quarrels with my broomstick;
I have tried to tell my son that he was ten yards from living.

I have tried to feed a Nagasaki starling
when it drank the black rain;
I have tried to get it to sing so this wraith could be comforted –
 don’t disturb my grave and desecrate me

with twitching shadows.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Launching Rice & Rain

We're very very delighted to launch Romalyn Ante's Rice & Rain - a poetry pamphlet that is very rich and very distinct.

“Romalyn Ante's poems are exquisitely detailed and a real feast for the senses. She has an instinctive talent for crafting precise and finely-tuned poetry that captures the exact sensations –  potent, close to home and as incisive and accurate as a scalpel's first cut. Whether it is the sun's rays that ‘infiltrated your bones, filling them with gold’, or the heart which breaks open like a pomegranate, ‘the seeds, / rusty-red like rivets, / contour a constellation’, life's preciousness is measured here carefully in its proximity to death. These poems are gracefully poised and balanced perfectly, alive with their own irresistible songs of love and longing.” Jane Commane 

Rice & Rain is an impressive first collection of poems that take us from the Philippines to Cannock Chase. The poems are confidently written – Romalyn Ante’s surprising and original imagery shows us how to fatten a boy with the boiled water from rice-rinsing; a handbag mirror made from solidified gin; cornflake sunsets.
“Her poems explore sickness and separation – the longing for the sour-sweet taste of home – but there is also emphasis on nurturing and nourishment. With many references to food from ‘sheen pieces of bullet tuna wrapped in banana leaves’ to ‘luggage stuffed with sun-dried squid’ it is a book you feel you could almost eat.” Jane Seabourne

A sample poem from the collection may be enjoyed below, along with details of Romalyn Ante's launch readings.

R.R.P. £6.50

BUY a copy of Rice & Rain now using the paypal link below.

Rice & Rain with p&p options


My chromosomes got divorced in 2006.
The papers on the narra table parch
with apoptotic blotch. The screams

that fragmentise picture frames
and wine canisters remain free-floating
in the dark cytoplasm of the cellar.

The swearings at each other’s mother
accumulate in the lounge rug.
Even the sword corrodes, its gleam

fading after a saber-arch wedding
many summers ago. Forget about the picnic
in the grove, the colour of sky that day.

Forget about the accidental discovery
of a kingfisher with gun-shot wing.
Forget about the scintillating moment

when XX chromosome, young and dumb,
threw her sandal to the river, certain that
my future father would recover it for her.

Poster by Suriya Chadawong

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

More review delight!

We're very very delighted to share news of the latest review of David Clarke's pamphlet-length poetry sequence, Scare Stories.

"Causality and chaos. These could be our governing gods at present. They are certainly the governing gods in David Clarke’s Scare Stories – a 25 poem sequence in the third person plural set in ‘possible near futures or versions of the present’.

"The poems cover horribly recognisable ground: consumerism, refugee crises, despot generals, video-game violence, genocide, corporatism, sex and death. These are neat, short poems that form a coherent whole. But the work is full of contradictions that undermine the slick surfaces.
"What impressed me most about this collection were its delivery mechanisms. Not necessarily ‘what’ is said in the poems, but ‘how’ Clarke chooses to construct and present them. It’s a masterclass in how to embed more questions into the work. Fitting for the highly questionable circumstances we’re currently living in."

Heidi Williamson, reviewing for The Poetry School

The full detailed and thoughtful review can be found here. A sample poem and more about the collection can be read here.

Buy your own copy of Scare Stories now, using the paypal link below.

Scare Stories (with P&P options)

Monday, 3 July 2017

“a lingual leyline” – review news

We’re v. v. delighted to share the latest review of Gram Joel Davies’ Bolt Down This Earth.

“Bolt Down This Earth is a courteously eye-catching debut collection, a lingual leyline buzzing with a flexed perception blending a revenant reflex with lyrical confidence…
A worthy arrival. I look forward to Davies' next book.” Grant Tabard, The Lake

The full detailed and thoughtful review by Grant Tabard can be found here

Buy Bolt Down This Earth now using the paypal link below

Bolt Down This Earth with P&P

More background to the collection and a sample poem from Bolt Down This Earth can be found here

Friday, 30 June 2017

Launching Walking Backwards (+ fiction offers & flash submissions)

The short fiction in Walking Backwards is very human and very distinctive.

"With Walking Backwards Charlie Hill gives us dense fragments of closely-observed lives, obsessive interiors and broken, unspoken loves. The result is touching, funny, melancholy.”  AL Kennedy

“Charlie Hill dissects the solitary, dignified struggles of day to day life with great tenderness – his stories are beautiful and moving, a balance of cool observation and tenderness. A brilliant collection.” Catherine O'Flynn

“Charlie Hill writes artfully about the gaps between people, of those caught out by love or hushed by pain, or others seeking order within chaos, solace in the face of change.” Catherine McNamara

The title story from the collection may be enjoyed below.

R.R.P. £6.50

ORDER a copy of Walking Backwards now using the paypal link below.

Walking Backwards (with package & posting options)

Walking backwards

The man who walked backwards lived in a house for people who had no house to live in. The house was called Ilfracombe House. I don’t know why.

When I moved into Ilfracombe House, I met the man who walked backwards. He was always there, walking backwards through the house. He walked up and down the stairs backwards, in and out of the lounge backwards, through the kitchen backwards. He even walked backwards along the hall.

One day, I asked the man why he walked backwards. He said he’d read that our hearts only beat a certain number of times before we die, and, if this were so, it made sense that we could only take a certain number of steps too. Each time we took a step forwards then, we were literally moving a step closer to the end of our life. Whereas, if we walked backwards, we were moving away from it, cheating death a step at a time.

It’s been a while since I saw the man who walked backwards. I don’t live in Ilfracombe House any more. I’ve moved. I live in a house called Barnstaple House. I don’t know why. But I think about him every time I see people walking forwards, moving step by step towards the end.

FICTION BUNDLES (UK delivery only)

Continuing or National Flash Fiction Day celebrations, a three-pamphlet fiction bundle,containing Charlie Hill's Walking Backwards, Jude Higgins' The Chemist's House and Carrie Etter's Hometown, may be purchased for just £18 (including packing & postage for the U.K. only) using the paypal link below. This offer is valid until the end of July 24 (U.K. time).

3 fiction pamphlets offer (with p&p for U.K. only)


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.