Monday, 13 April 2015

Butchers Dog newsletter

Here is the latest Butchers Dog newsletter:

Issue five is nearly ready...

Y'alreet hinny?

Greetings from the Butcher's Dog team.

Spring is definitely springing, and although we might seem to have gone quiet recently, rest assured that it's all going on behind closed doors. Andrew, Amy and guest editor Carolyn Jess-Cooke have been debating and finalising their choices for the upcoming issue five, and everyone who submitted should hear from us very soon, if you haven't already, as to whether you've been successful.

The rest of us Dogs have had some top secret cover previews and tantalising tasters trickling through by email, and I'm happy to confirm that it's going to be what we seem to specialise in creating: a cracking issue full of sparky, thought-provoking and energetic poetry. We can't wait to read it in its full printed glory! If you can't either, then why not subscribe, and be one of the first to receive it, direct to your door?

BD Flyers in progress...If you'd like to help us celebrate - and we really do hope you do! - then we'll be launching the next issue at the Live Theatre in Newcastle on 9th May. All the details about the event are below. But, in brief, there will be poetry, and prizes!

Keep scrolling down for a mini writing workshop and a brief interview with Jake Campbell, as well as a small roundup of what a couple of us are reading at the moment. Enjoy.

Sophie F Baker and The Butcher's Dogs

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Mini Writing Workshop

An exercise here adapted from one by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux in their book The Poet's Companion, A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. The workshop was originally written after a poem by Carolyn Forché called 'The Morning Baking'.

Having recently encountered Forché's stunning and powerful work thanks to her visits to the UK for The Poetry Society's annual lecture and, more recently, readings at StAnza and NCLA, it seems impossible to be able to write like her. But this take on a family-inspired poem is, perhaps, a good way to capture something of her approach into your own work.
  • Make two lists: one headed 'good' and one 'bad'. Write down some of your own traits that your children (whether you actually have any or not) might inherit: some that are good and some that you hope they don't get.
  • Use these lists to write a poem addressed to these possible children. Steal Forché's structure to help you form the poem: “You blame me for... But you'll be glad...”
  • Include something specific that they would know about, too: a holiday destination, a hospital or a family recipe.

Issue 5 Launch

We’re revisiting one of our favourite venues in the Toon for an extra special launch event for issue five. Featuring, as ever, readings from some of our fabulous contributors, issues for sale and blackout poems and prizes. Details of who will be reading at the event will be available soon - keep your eyes peeled online!

9 May, 8pm. Tickets are just £6, available online from Live Theatre, and include a copy of Butcher's Dog. Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne.


Around the Dog House:

Jake Campbell

It seems we've started a bit of a tradition in the vein of the Radio 4 interview programme 'Chain Reaction' of late. Here's the next instalment, a mini interview with Jake Campbell.

Why do you think Butcher’s Dog is a good place for writers to send their poems?

Several reasons! Firstly, and I think most importantly, all of the founding editors really, really love poetry. We enjoy discovering new poets as well as featuring more established ones, but above all, we just bloody well love publishing the best material we can. Secondly, our ever-popular guest editor scheme has added a real vitality to the magazine, without compromising on what I would say has become an enviable and recognisable house style. I think keeping one eye on our roots and another on the future is what makes us distinctive and allows us to publish an eclectic range of voices. Thirdly, our magazine looks and feels the absolute business. We really take pride in making it something people want to physically grasp and look at. Using great contemporary artists for our cover designs definitely helps, as does the overall tactile quality of the magazine – each issue is like a mini anthology: bespoke and carefully-crafted, but also risky, fresh, alive. We really seek that special sense of uniqueness in each edition. (Submissions for issue six will open soon!)

What other poetry or literary magazines do you rate and read, and what is it about them that you like?

I’ve had poems in Brittle Star and Under the Radar recently, both of which I think are terrific little magazines that mix poetry, fiction and reviews really well. Online, I think The Ofi Press is amazing in its scope and ambition, and I constantly come back to The Rialto as a benchmark of quality.

What are you, personally, working on right now?

I’m finishing off the manuscript for my second pamphlet, The Coast Will Wait Behind You. It started life when I worked on a big public arts commission in South Shields in 2012, but has since morphed to include newer poems based around a project I’m currently working on out on the Sefton Coast between Liverpool and Southport. I’m hoping to get it out in the late summer, as a sort of bespoke artist’s book, but in poetry pamphlet form. Watch the tide times for more...

How’s the poetry scene looking from where you are?

It’s looking healthy! I moved to the North West about 18 months ago, and I would say that the North is definitely alive and kicking. The ‘scene’ – If I can call it that – is pretty small over in Chester, but I try to get to things in Liverpool and Manchester, and also North Wales, which has a rich heritage of poets, particularly in the oral tradition, which are being played and experimented with in interesting ways. At my heart, though, I’m still a Geordie and I really do think the North-East literary and poetry scenes are the best in the country. The Bloodaxe Archives project at Newcastle University is fascinating, and I constantly hear about new voices emerging on the spoken word scene and through small presses such as Red Squirrel. Nationwide, I think organisations like the Poetry School and the Poetry Book Society are doing some fantastic work, and in general I think people support each other. All of which is to say I think 2015 is looking like a good time to be reading and writing poetry.

What’s your favourite joke?

Are you ready to cringe?

A bear walks into a bar.
Bear: “Can I have a gin…
…and tonic please?”
Barman: “Sure. But why the big pause?”
Bear: “*Waving paws* Because I’m a bear!”


What we're reading...

Sophie's reading a lot of fantasy or historical (fantasy) fiction, including Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings and, on the recommendation of George RR Martin (and in anticipation of the new series of Game of Thrones), The Iron King by Maurice Druon, Book 1 of The Accursed Kings. Also, I've recently finished The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. A great fantasy SF debut that I hope has a follow-up soon. Plus, as an anecdote to all that heady prose, some poetry in the shape of Rosemary Tonks's Bedouin of the London Evening and Finuala Dowling's Notes From the Dementia Ward. Fantastic, surprising and powerful stuff both.

Degna's reading The Forward Book of Poetry 2015. Much as I find Jeremy Paxman an irritant in the run-up to the general election, his advice to a young reporter (retold in his introduction to the Forward Book of Poetry 2015)makes me forgive him a little – ‘read a poem every day’. Even if you’re not a poet there’s something about the urgency of poetry, the immediacy of it that can really strengthen your writing. Besides, there are worse habits to pick up than a daily dose of poetry (picking your nose and eating it, for one).

I’m also about to (re)read: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. The first time I read ‘Through the fathomless deeps of space swims the star turtle Great A’Tuin, bearing on its back the four giant elephants who carry on their shoulders the mass of the Discworld’, I was hooked, and I spent most of my late teens and early twenties with my head in the Discworld (the real world was a bit shitty and dull in comparison to be fair). I loved the completeness of the universe created, I loved the way the corrupt politicians got what they deserved, I loved how much it made me laugh and above all I loved the characters. So, I’m going to do what so many other fans having been doing since Sir Terry Pratchett died, I’m going to grab a well-thumbed copy from my shelf and inhabit the Discworld again.

News and appeals from our friends

Call for Submissions: Deseeded Vol. 3
Do you remember those workshops where you're told to write what you know? Well, stuff that. Julia Darling had the right idea… find out more.
The Poetry School summer programme is now open or bookings. There are some great online courses as well as face-to-face workshops, including Liberating Poetic Chaos with BD4 contributor Steve Ely, and an online reading group ‘Out of the ash I rise’ – reading Sylvia Plath’s Ariel, with Clare Pollard - who is also one of the tutors on the brand new Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry. This exciting MA was launched in partnership with Newcastle University. You ca find out more on the CAMPUS website.

MIEL press are celebrating their fourth year as a publisher! Why not support this impressive young press by subscribing to some of their upcoming books? Reasonably priced, fine work in beautiful editions. What's not to like?

The Poetry Society have a brand new website. A lovely, clean design, with much easier access to a fantastic archive of poetry, including poems by past BD contributors Maggie Sawkins, John Wedgwood Clark and Steve Ely. And, while you're at it, why not become a member?

Congratulations to Keith Hutson, issue three contributor, who won third prize in the Poetry Business's Yorkshire Poetry Prize, judged by the wonderful Billy Collins! And to Siegfriend Baber, issue three contributor, who is the latest member of the Telltale Collective.
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Butcher's Dog
c/o New Writing North
3 Ellison Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST
United Kingdom


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