In 2023, Vane Women Press celebrated 30 years of publishing. Since 1993, we have brought out 24 beautiful pamphlets, two full collections and eight anthologies. In addition, authors first published by us have gone on to have books published by other imprints.
Naturally some of these books are no longer in print, and they are listed on this page. You can find a list of our current publications here.
As if by Jo Colley
Jo Colley's first collection is shockingly honest in its nervy, ironic, high wire poems poised between safety and danger. Hers is a world of post-modern surrealism and somehow she's frantic to escape her dream landscape while enjoying a shiver of its dark imagination.
Uncompromising poems of zest, experience and attitude.
"wit and angst . . . warmth and wry stylishness" — Jenny Swann, Other Poetry
Dark Matters by Anne Hine
Anne Hine is a nun who has worked in prisons as a chaplain and with the homeless. Her love of God has genuine radiance without ever losing her clear-eyed view of life's troubles and misfortune. Her eloquent, unflinching poetry moves through her personal landscape with ease, celebrating beauty in sensuous word-play and jolting us with deeper meanings. This is no cloistered vision but a poetic dialogue with the world, bracing and embracing.
A collection which sings of a life’s journeying.
" . . .a poet of large vision, ambitious in her scope, celebrating the extraordinary within the ordinary." — Kay Cotton
Puritan Games by Marilyn Longstaff
Marilyn Longstaff's poetry comes like a stiff North breeze from her Salvation Army childhood. But what's this? The wind is turning to the South and playing games. Inside the dutiful daughter is another, more amorous one. Out of these contraries comes her arresting poetry: dynamic, original and full of teasing, passionate music. In the quaint puritanism of her upbringing she finds beauty; in the stoicism, pain. And she adds a pinch of sin (no more) for spice.
A first collection of a remarkable talent.
" . . .honest poems, exploring the light and dark in a fully felt life in a wide range of form." — Kay Cotton
She River by Linda Saunders
Linda Saunders’ poetry has the natural sensuality of a river with feminine curves. Mysterious landscapes — inner and outer — have a sharpness of observation which sees the shapeliness of the garden forever threatened with repossession by the wild. This isn't the nature of the reserve, more the primeval wildness always the undercurrent in our thoughts and unwilled desires. These beautiful poems are as subtly crafted as they are sensuous.
A fine collection of poems, shape-shifting and reflective.
". . . a thoughtful poet, teasing meaning from the metaphysicality of the concrete and the mundane." — William Oxley
" . . . meticulous observation . . . poignant imagery" — Mo Watson
plainSONG by Sarah Knight
Sarah Knight’s poems sing her world into existence at the pace of a gentle walk. This is the voice of a shy girl on the edge of a crowd, the caring mother, the wife growing old and rather blind, all the selves that lie inside one woman. Whether set by the banks of the Wear or on a street in Africa, her language has inner beauty as well as outward grace.
This is a moving and musical first collection.
"These plain songs have poetic complexity . . . They have beauty without ostentation and a lucid transparency that makes us trust them." — Mo Watson
Bitter Kisses by Wendy Iliff
Wendy Iliff is a dazzling, hip-swishing performer of her work. A stunning show-stopper. Now her many fans have the chance to read the poems which are as good on the page as Wendy is on the stage. Her themes re-write the sexual agenda. Men are pipped at the post and cuisine given glamour and zest.
This is a collection to savour.
The following books by members of Vane Women were published by other imprints and are no longer available from this website.
Flowers of Fever by S.J. Litherland
This book combines the powerful writing of S.J.Litherland with the haunting etchings of the poet's daughter Rachel Levitas, a combination which, even when dealing with joy, recognises the tragedies of human life. Both poet and artist are aware of the complex passions which inspire us and at the same time can overwhelm our instincts of survival. the work contains dialogues between poetry and art, tranquillity and intensity, passion and reason, spontaneity and constancy, joy and grief, the human and the divine.
"Litherland writes a verse which is poised, formal but not withheld . . . The poise is somewhere between the inner and outer world . . . Perhaps a poetry which 'works' traces the shapes of what in religious parlance is called 'Life Everlasting' within everyday experience." — Michael Standen
Twenty Four Preludes and Fugues on Dmitri Shostakovich by Joanna Boulter
Shortlisted for the Best New Collection in the Forward Poetry Prize 2007
“I want to be an honest man in all respects,” Shostakovich said to Solomon Volkov, “but now the person who knows the truth is the one who lives in fear.” Yet his instrumental music was still a critique, even if it did not take the form of words.
"Joanna Boulter's superb new book, a novella in an impressive variety of verse forms, translates the composer's life and fears into a musical language which, in all its respects, brings illumination to Shostakovich's gifts for honesty and truth under pressure." — David Morley
“Joanna Boulter’s long sequence raises many interesting questions about the relationship between an artist's life experience and his work, between individual creativity and the seat of political power, and between one art and another.” — Meg Peacocke.
“It’s not surprising that this book has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first collection. Unity of structure – the story of Shostakovich and his battles with Stalin and his own conscience – is coupled with impressive formal control. ” — Anne Berkeley.
Published by Arc Publications.
Twenty Four Preludes and Fugues on Dmitri Shostakovich by Joanna Boulter
The Hallucinogenic Effects of Breathing by Joanna Boulter
You must delve into Joanna Boulter's jewellery box of poems with caution. Certainly there are the brilliants which flash dazzlingly as the snakeskin she so luminously describes in one of her poems. The lure will be her gorgeous and assured choice of language. The sting will strike with its note of discord, disenchantment and fear. Her poems trap you with their beauty then deliver their harsh message of tough reality. This is the true voice of the poet . . . She is that rare modern being: an intellectual writer who trusts her readers. Read her work first for the beauty, then for the heart, and finally for the mind nudging us to look again — and again.
Joanna Boulter, the author of this fresh, witty and wise collection is, like her wide-awake cat, both observant and comfortable: observant in that she writes about what she sees and knows, comfortable because she has mastered the knack of bicycle-pumping to just the right degree of tension, and then squashing flat at the critical moment. Take, for instance, the poem Over the Heart in which a woman who has for years worn her deceased husband ‘like an old cardigan that still held his shape’ finds in the pocket of his best suit a photograph of ‘his long dead, never-mentioned first wife’. The last stanza reads ‘So she still wore their years / like an old cardigan stretched out of shape, / clutched round herself and him; and her as well.’ Lovely!
— Anne Stevenson (Northern Rock Award winner 2002)
On Sketty Sands by Joanna Boulter
Joanna Boulter's sequence of poems On Sketty Sands is an evocative collection of memories about her own family. By telling the stories in poetry, Joanna has recreated legends her mother told her. The poems tell of a time when parents struggled to raise children to adulthood and people were suspicious of strangers.
"On Sketty Sands brilliantly invokes an earlier age. The poems are wonderfully rich and colourful — read and enjoy!" — Alison Rowsell
". . . so beautiful it makes me cry each time I read it . . . an unerring and enchanting sense of line, rhythm and form." — Helen Nelson
Running with the Unicorns by Joanna Boulter
Joanna Boulter's startling first collection Running with the Unicorns came out from The Bay Press (1994) to great critical acclaim.
She is a "trenchant, word-dazzling poet" (Colpitts), whose "skill lies in dissecting the human condition" (Isobel Thrilling).
The Krakow Egg by Pru Kitching
Iftikhar Arif, renowned Urdu poet and Chairman of the National Language Authority of Pakistan, on The Krakow Egg by Pru Kitching:
This collection represents the life of someone who lives in art and with artists; the experience of these days and nights is reflected in poetry which takes me to a magical world of music, theatre and painting.
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