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Twenty-one books in 2021? All the lastest news from Verve Poetry Press…


2020 was a strange year for everyone, and as a press that thrives on live events, we were definitely faced with some challenges. Still, with seven collectionsseven pamphlets and two anthologies published, a four-in-one zoom launch event under our belt and a submissions window that’s leading us into a bumper year of scheduled releases… it hasn’t been all terrible.

This year more than ever, people have been turning to poetry for comfort and connection. As always, we’re honoured by everyone who chooses to read from our library of work (which we’re trying our best to keep accessible during lockdown—read below!) and we’re looking forward to continuing to publish the vibrant and vital poetry we all need heading into 2021.


We were absolutely blown away by the results of our first-ever open submissions window in 2020, during which we were sent just over five hundred manuscripts from far and wide. After a long deliberation process (read: many, many cups of tea) we managed the extremely difficult task of choosing the collections and pamphlets which make up our 2021 publishing schedule. Scroll down to read about the first of these publications, out today(!) and to find out how you can submit your work to VPP this year.
tidal volume is estimated based on
what’s left in the lung as it closes
remember love is based on tides
as they come in closer remember
to bring your own ventilator
remember if they’re overwhelmed
they’ll save anyone before you.”
Our first release of 2021 is Jamie Hale’s Shielda pamphlet of sonnets written at height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Jamie was told that, because of their underlying condition, they wouldn’t be a priority for critical care treatment.
This work became Jamie’s first poetry publication, which follows them through the grief of facing death while newly married, and into a place of resilience, resistance, and a commitment to creation against mortality. Order Shield now
Jamie Hale is a poet and essayist based in South-East London. Their solo show, NOT DYING, has been performed at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith and at the Barbican Centre, while they have had poetry published in Magma, Rialto, and Poetry Quarterly. They have performed poetry at venues including Rich Mix, the Science Gallery, the South Bank Centre, the Saboteur Awards, and the Tate Modern.

They write for the Wellcome Trust on disability arts, and are a researcher and contributor for a Netflix show. In 2018 they won one of the London Writers’ Awards for Poetry, and in 2019 they were shortlisted for the Jerwood Fellowships.


Jamie is launching Shield with an online Zoom event on January 23rd, where you can hear them read from the pamphlet as well as talking about the role of the outsider in poetry alongside CN LesterRegistration is free but you can pay £10, £15 or £20 to also get a signed copy of the book, with all profits going to charities focusing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on BAME people / POC and disabled people.

You can also catch a screening of Jamie’s show 
‘NOT DYING’ at Kendal Poetry Festival on 22nd February, which will be followed by a live Q&A.


 2021 marks the first year of Verve Poetry Press being supported by Arts Council England, which means more hands on deck, more running around behind the scenes and, most importantly, more brilliant books. We’re absolutely thrilled to get this funding and keen as keen to see where it can take us going forward. Speaking of…



Thanks to our submissions window in 2020, we’ve got a HUGE line-up of publications coming up, with no fewer than twenty-one (twenty-one!) books set to hit shelves before the end of this year. Collections from Asma ElbadawiRushika WickSean Wai Keung & Elaine Beckett as well as pamphlets from Hannah Hodgson and Natalie Whittaker are already available for pre-order on the VPP website, with plenty more on their way!

Going into our third full year as a press, we’re incredibly proud to have such a brilliant and diverse roster of styles, genres and poets in our ranks. From the most dynamic accompaniments to performance poetry, to capital P Page collections, and all the wonderful words in between.

Head over to our website to read the full(ish) line-up!


Because we know you’re not able to go out to bookshops right now, we’re offering free postage and packaging on all our 2020 and 2021 titles for the duration of this lockdown. We hope it makes it easier for our readers to get their hands on books they love and for our poets to get the readership (and royalties) they deserve. If you need an instant fix, don’t forget that a whole bunch of our publications are also available as ebooks!


We’re super proud to see VPP poet Rushika Wick featured in the Winter 2020 issue of Poetry Review, with her poem ‘Hair’, which you can read on the Poetry Society’s website. She’s one of four featured poets reading alongside editor Emily Berry at their online launch event on 28th January. Tickets are FREE but limited and available here.

Rushika’s debut collection Afterlife as Trash is coming out with us on April 21st and is available for preorder right now on our website.


Interested in joining the ranks of Verve Poetry Press poets? In March 2021 we’ll be opening our inboxes once again, this time for full collections only—which we’re defining as 60+ pages. As always, we’re eager to read and publish all sorts of poetry, and if you think we might be right for you, head over to our website to read more about what we’re looking for.

…and that’s your lot!

(for now)
Check back regularly for all the latest Verve news, updates and exclusive sneak peeks at upcoming books as well as loads of other bits and bobs or sign up to our mailing list  to have it all delivered, direct to your inbox every month. Until then, take care and poet safely!
-Verve Poetry Press