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Drum roll please, the essay is submitted (and other news)

End of my first year on the MA Poetry & Poetics

On Tuesday I submitted my Spring term essay (HURRAH!), and well before the deadline, so no stress, except for not being able to find anything on my desk under the various piles of articles, but they are now all filed away. (This is the module I’ve been studying, if you’re interested). I’ve sent back the four library books I still had. I’m catching up with blogging, emailing and various house and garden jobs.

It’s all been rather strange, distance-learning with very little contact with other students or tutors. I’ve never actually set foot in the University library. Bizarre! If I go back for the second year I’m going to enjoy mooching about the library, going for the odd tutorial, having the odd beer with course-mates and doing all the things I remember as being What Students Do. We shall see how things pan out. There’s no teaching in the Summer term, so that’s my academic year over, pretty much, and universities have been told they can’t offer any face to face teaching in Arts subjects anyway. But I’ve been very lucky. I’m already set up to work from home, I don’t have to worry about accommodation or jobs or a career. But it must have been a pretty awful academic year for most students.

Butcher’s Dog magazine

Another nice thing was to have a poem accepted for the next edition of Butcher’s Dog magazine. Editor Jo Clement was recently being praised on Twitter for the quality and sensitivity of her rejections. It almost made me wish I’d had one. Now that’s perverse for you! I’m a new subscriber to the Dog (see more about it on this recent post) and although I’ve submitted there before this is my first acceptance, so I’m very pleased. Poetry magazines do rely on subscribers though, and I think the way it’s described on the Butcher’s Dog website puts the case for subscribing very well:

Why Subscribe?
Pre-ordering helps keep us in press. Subscribers directly contribute toward advance printing costs and press maintenance. Buy today and you’ll support the mix of emerging and established poets we strive to publish annually.

How does it work?
Prices reflect the complete checkout cost. This includes postage, packing and transportation costs for the first twelve months of your subscription, which includes two magazines: Spring and Autumn.

The virtual Needlewriters

The Needlewriters, the writers’ collective which I belong to, hasn’t been able to host its quarterly readings in Lewes, but we dipped our toe in the Zoom water last night and presented our four readers online: Julia Webb (poetry), Emily Bell (prose), Karen Smith (poetry) and Jackie Wills (prose). The readings were excellent, and we were thrilled with the turnout. Although it was free, many people very kindly made donations which has enabled us to stay in the black. Even though we haven’t had any live readings in the last year, unfortunately there are fixed costs that never go away, like web hosting. So it was a success all round. Next event in June, and then in the autumn we expect to be back in the pub and able to socialise, which personally I find impossible on Zoom.

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Robin Houghton 2021
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