|Butcher's Dog issue 3, cover art by Laura Hol.|
This weekend saw me return to Newcastle for the launch of the third issue of Butcher’s Dog, which I’ve spent chunks of the past 3 months editing alongside Sophie F Baker and Amy Mackelden, two very good writer friends whom I know from what now seems like ‘my other life’ in the North East.
The launch event – at the fantastic Toffee Factory down by the Ouseburn, which, as this article suggests, has had an interesting history as a building, most pleasingly as an actual sweet factory – as well as the preceding workshop, ‘Moments of Epiphany’, in which me and Amy got our participants furiously scribbling about transformative moments in their lives, was everything a poetry event should be: full of good people reading interesting work in a relaxed setting; the formation of new friendships and connections; and, of course, the after-party, which saw several of us quaffing craft beer and local steak pies ’til dusk in Newcastle’s best pub, The Free Trade Inn.
It was a significant Butcher’s Dog event for me, having not been able to make the launches of our previous two issues, which, I’m told, were equally well put together and attended events. The Dogs, as we’ve now started calling each other, formed this magazine on the back of workshops led by Clare Pollard and facilitated by New Writing North; and at the time, while we were all keen, I don’t think any of us would have envisaged it becoming as successful as it now has. Those successes could be measured statistically – by the bums we’ve had on seats, the copies we’ve sold, the subscribers we’ve got, or even the Arts Council funding we’ve secured – but I think it’s in talking to people at these events, which are clearly very appreciated, and hearing good feedback, that I realise that what I’m a part of is something much more significant: a poetry collective, yes, we are that, but I think we are one which extends our support and encouragement outwards, and while I’m sure all collectives say that, I genuinely think that Butcher’s Dog is a force for good not just for new and established poets in the North, but for writers, artists and thinkers across the country; for people who like to be challenged, entertained and – dare I say it – sometimes even amazed by the power of good a beautiful, tactile little magazine can do.
As for the future, submissions are open for issue 4 until the 10th August, so I would encourage everyone, not just Northerners, to submit. There’s going to be a London launch on the 7th August, too, so that our many Southern friends and contributors can be part of the fold. I’ll tweet details about that as I get them. For now, if you haven’t already seen it and my naval-gazing hasn’t scared you off, I’d just prod you towards this link, where copies are available. I would say it’s worth it, but I think you probably already got that one...
|The editors in the pub. L-R: Amy Mackelden, me, Sophie F Baker|