V.Press shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets

The Awards are now established among the most significant awards in contemporary poetry. They are designed to raise the profile of poetry pamphlets, recognising the enormous contribution that they make to the poetry world.’

‘Judges’ Comments: 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.’ 

We have a special offer at V.Press at the moment to celebrate the press being shortlisted for the awards, please follow this LINK to find out more.


Katy and I had a brilliant day at the Free Verse Poetry book fair. Imagine you are a stamp collector and you went to a stamp collecting convention. A room full of people that share your peculiar passion. Well, that is what the book fair was for us. Hundreds of people who spend all their time wrangling words into the correct place. Pondering for hours about an adjective or a comma. Poetry geeks. It was heaven. Being able to screech in delight at a particular table that had an array of beautiful books was so much fun. Or chat to a friend who you usually only get to speak to online; finally meeting in real life was very satisfying. The whole room was full of enthusiastic, delighted people. Poetry is an unusual addiction, so it is good to be with like-minded people.


We read from our collaborative pamphlet, Inheritance, published by Mother’s Milk Books. I enjoyed writing with another poet; it created an excellent dialogue. I liked the tiny threads we picked up from each poem and the way that was woven into our own work. The garden cafe was a relaxed place to read and we had some great conversations after with members of the audience who enjoyed the poems.

I also enjoyed hearing V.Press poets Stephen Daniels and Nina Lewis (albeit briefly) reading in the garden and Silhouette Press poets, Jamie Thrasivoulou and Andrea Mbarushimana reading earlier in the day.





Magnetic Diaries Play

I really recommend seeing this astonishing play. It is an incredible, intense performance that discusses depression and the space that creates within a marriage. The narrative is told through carefully articulated poems that focus on tiny moments that are illuminated through Sarah James’ highly polished language selection. Each word of this play is honed for precisely the right image. The theatre company and actor produce an emotional, unforgettable experience.

After an amazing performance at the HIVE, as a part of Worcestershire Literary Festival, the play will now be performed at the Market Theatre, Ledbury as part of the 2016 Poetry festival.

“Emma Bailey is a modern day Madame Bovary, battling with a stifling middle-class lifestyle, thwarted dreams and untreatable depression. In desperation, she leaves her family behind to embark on a course of pioneering brain therapy, documenting her journey through raw, beautiful poetry.

Based on Sarah James’ poetry collection,which was highly commended in the Forward Prizes 2015, the narrative springs to life through subtle physicality and a haunting musical score.

Introspection and the powerful rhythms of poetry reveal that beauty and tenderness can exist even in pain.”

Date: 5th July, 2016

Time: 8.30pm

Ticket Price: £9

Location: Market St, Ledbury HR8 2AQ

More from Sarah James here: www.sarah-james.co.uk

Review of Queen, Jewel, Mistress

Eleanor of Castile, b.1241 d.28 November 1290, first wife of Edward I and Queen Consort of England. Sixteen children.

Sarah James writes a micro review on her blog HERE

“If history lessons at school had been anything like Ruth Stacey’s Queen, Jewel, Mistress: A History of the Queens of England & Great Britain In Verse (Eyewear), then I’d have paid better attention.

I know Ruth, she’s a good friend and I love her work. This collection demonstrates why. Each queen is a given a distinct voice, in poems that take a range of poetry forms and styles befitting their time. They’re women’s viewpoints, but the worlds they belong to and are set in mostly men’s; its depiction therefore unconfined. The imagery is wide-ranging: nature, animals, birds, blood, war, lust, secrecy, politics, violence and the hidden messages of nursery rhyme.

The poems are full of memorable lines and metaphors. Some of the poems are thoughtscapes, others landscapes. Some carry a narrative, others spark against each other to create a bigger story. All of them are very human, and very much recommended.”

The Magnetic Diaries poetry play: 4th July 2015

Write On Festival


Follow LINK for tickets


A narrative of love, lust, betrayal and depression, The Magnetic Diaries re-envisages the characters and storyline of Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary in a modern twenty-first century English, poetry setting. The contemporary heroine, Emma Bailey, battles with romantic idealism, illusions about love, a stifling middle-class lifestyle, boredom and depression.

Moving lyrical fragments and crafted poems reconstructed by fictional researchers from Emma’s diary and treatment notes are set alongside the voices of her doctors and emails from her husband Carl. But will modern medicine save Emma and her marriage in the wake of two affairs?

Written by Sarah James


Vey Straker who plays Emma Bailey

Poetry and Place at the Hive

The Hive, Worcester

On April 11th there is the first of three poetry events happening at the Hive. The events are organised as a collaboration between the University of Worcester, Ledbury Poetry Festival and the Worcestershire Lit Fest and Fringe.

There will be four  poets on the 11th, all for the amazing price of only £5 a ticket. The event starts at 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased from the Hive. It is a great chance to see some brilliant regional poets read in Worcester.

‘Four  poets with assured and distinctive voices for whom ‘place’ is not just the geographical or natural environments that inform the poems but also the human histories that unfold there, the people who are part of the landscape and part of the poem.’

David Caddy

Fiona Sampson

Angela France

Martin Malone


The next event is May 9th ‘Poetry Pollination’ and will feature Sarah James and myself, with guest slots available. Please email me at ruthstacey@hotmail.co.uk if you would like a reading slot. It is 7.30pm and costs £5. The Hive made us think of bees and pollination: ‘To transfer poems from one to another.’


The last event is slightly different, a Thursday night and the start time is 7pm. Carol Ann Duffy will be reading from her book, The Bees. Ticket price is £10.


Tickets can be purchased in person from The Hive, Level 1 Information Desk or by phone from the University of Worcester Arena. The phone number for booking enquiries at the Arena is 01905 54 44 44. They can also be purchased from the Arena reception in person. Arena Box Office 9am- 4.30pm