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Spring Releases at Verve Poetry Press

2022 is rolling on and Verve Poetry Press are continuing to work to bring you brilliant work from fantastic poets . To celebrate Spring (we’re ignoring the weather here) we’ve put together a round-up of our recent releases and the details of how you can get your hands on them – enjoy!

For more on these and our upcoming releases, check out our Coming Soon page here.

Peter deGraft-Johnson – A Testament To Life & Death

feb 22

'Exciting, energetic and revolutionary, this is a brilliant and powerful testament to life and death from one the UK’s most prophetic and passionate new voices.'
Salena Godden

The debut pamphlet from The Repeat Beat Poet contains poems written for their utility, their intensity, and their tenderness of spirit. For Peter, these poems function as blessings, memorials, prophecies, and survivor’s guides for soldiering through modern life while being Black in Britain. A writer as comfortable in the cadence of preachers as easily as the flows of rappers, Peter engages his poetry to celebrate life, chronicle suffering, and point towards paths of survival and freedom. 

For the poets who are right with us from graveyard to cradle
For the poems that keep us stable
For the poets everywhere
and the poetry that got them there
This is For The Poets

Peter deGraft-Johnson

Peter deGraft-Johnson is The Repeat Beat Poet, a Hip Hop writer and broadcaster working to capture and extend moments of time, thought, and feeling. Peter, a British-born Ghanaian has performed across the UK and internationally at venues including the Southbank Centre and Ronnie Scotts in London, alongside writers like Margaret Atwood, Salena Godden (FRSL) and Roger Robinson (TS Eliot Prize).

Betty Doyle – Girl Parts

mar 22

’Tender, fierce, full of joy and rage. I wish I’d written so many of these poems and I’m thankful that Betty Doyle has. A must-read.’
Helen Mort

‘In the opening poem of Betty Doyle’s Girl Parts, there is deft shift from tenderness ‘this place again. It’s where I wake up / and recall I have no daughter’ to anger ‘or…turn on the news and feel thankful I have no daughter’. This oscillation between vulnerability and rage is on show throughout this confident collection; a striking exploration of the pain, exhaustion and fear that comes with living in a female body: ‘Sometimes it carries keys / between knuckles’.

Girl Parts is Betty Doyle’s debut pamphlet.

Betty Doyle

Betty Doyleis a poet from Merseyside, UK. Her work has appeared in Flash Journal, Cake, Lunate, Another North, Give Poetry A Chance anthology, and has been accepted by Agenda. She was longlisted for the Mslexia and Poetry Book Society Women Poets Prize in 2018, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. Her debut pamphlet, ‘Girl Parts’, is due to be published by Verve Poetry Press in Spring 2022. She is currently studying for her Creative Writing Ph.D at Manchester Metropolitan University, analysing infertility in contemporary women’s poetry.

Erica Gillingham – The Human Body Is A Hive

mar 22

'Amidst the joys and complexities of queer family-making, Gillingham offers us tender, sensual and profound poems suffused with a tensile strength.’
Mary Jean Chan

Composed in two halves, Erica Gillingham’s The Human Body is a Hive is a playful and observant reconception of queer love and queer family-making. Opening with a shameless celebration of sex and desire, the collection expands the boundaries of love to include friendship, romance, and lifelong partnership. The latter catalogues the cyclical heartbreaks and wonders of fertility treatment through the microscopic lenses of nature, medicine, and art. Both quietly moving and profoundly celebratory, this exciting debut evokes tenderness and resilience.

Erica Gillingham

Erica Gillinghamis a queer poet and writer living in London, England, via Siskiyou County, California. She is a bookseller at Gay’s The Word, Books Editor at DIVAmagazine, and Poetry Editor at The Signal House Edition. Her poetry and essays have been published by Cipher Press, Muswell Press, Monstrous Regiment, Pilot Press, Fourteen Poems, Untitled, Impossible Archetypeand clavmag. The Human Body is a Hiveis her debut pamphlet.

Qudsia Akhtar – Khamoshi

mar 22

“Can one experience diaspora / in the body?” Qudsia Akhtar’s poems are silted with female loss, a kind of silence that builds slowly inside generations of migrant women. Through partition, nationalism, racism, sex and filial duty, these poems ask to whom do we belong if not our selves? A motherland calls to its daughters; an adopted country demands to hear her voice. Akhtar’s language is rich and exact, fearing sentiment, turning on its heel towards a path entirely of its own.   

– Sandeep Parmar 

​‘Qudsia Akhtar’s thrilling debut collection Khamoshi (Silence) traces the complexity of living as a British-Pakistani writer with great courage, integrity and insight. Akhtar’s vision takes in the broader historical perspectives of the trauma of partition and the experiences of racism and sexism while focusing on the embodied tensions of a self that is never fully at ease with itself: ‘I hear / my voice call / my self / imposter.’ In dialogue with Muhammed Iqbal’s philosophical poem The Secrets of the Self, Akhtar asks unflinchingly ‘can I be from here if my roots / lie elsewhere?’, ‘what does the British-Pakistani want?’ ‘can Herstory / be rewritten?’, creating a precisely articulated poetry full of vivid images and passionate thinking. If Akhtar does not shy away from the challenges she presents (‘the chaos of collective identity’), nevertheless this is an enormously optimistic book in which she wears ‘the flag / of hope’ whilst paying homage to ‘all / the voices / in me.’ This is an adept and provocative work which firmly establishes Akhtar as an important new voice for her generation.’  

– Scott Thurston 

Qudsia Akhtar

Qudsia Akhtar is a Manchester-based poet who is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Salford. Her work has appeared in Acumen, The Tower Poetry Anthology, The Ofi Press, and Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal.

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