August 13th 2020
I'm going camping again, so here's Monday's comic extra early, and I'll be back with something new on the 24th. Unless you're going camping too? In which case, see you there? And for the opera-curious, I wrote the words for this transatlantic collaboration: A Man Drags the Carcass of a Deer. You can watch more mini-operas at the Opera Harmony Project website, and read about everyone involved in the official programme.

August 10th 2020
Hey, would you like to hear me croon in my bathroom? I posted this to instagram a little while ago.

August 1st 2020
I'm going camping, so here's the new comic a day and a half early.

July 27th 2020
I have expanded the number of available patron slots for the monthly color postcard tier in the new Buttercup Festival Patreon site. Postcards mail at the end of the month, so if you don't want to miss out on the first one, sign up now!

July 12th 2020
Thank you to everyone who has signed up to Buttercup Festival's new Patreon page. If you haven't yet, I hope you'll have a look. New strips are posted a week earlier on Patreon, and there's artwork and other bonus material that I'll be adding to every month.

July 6th 2020
Dear readers: exciting times here in Buttercup Festival land! I have launched a Patreon page for Buttercup Festival, which will let readers support my comic through small monthly donations. The most basic level of support, just $2 a month, gives you access to new strips a whole week early. To let the Patreon page get a week ahead, there is no new comic here this week -- so if you want to read the new comic now, simply become a patron.

At the $6 tier you also get exclusive access to new artwork and sketchbook material, bonus strips from the old BF books which have never appeared online, blogs/vlogs, and other nifty stuff I'll be adding every month. I'm kicking the bonus material off with a bumper crop of goodies, including two new pen & ink landscape drawings, a color illustration from my watercolor sketchbook, and three bonus strips from 2003 that have never appeared on the website, including one large-format strip and one featuring the much-missed Rodney the Second Grade T-Ball Jockey!

Beyond this, there's an even higher tier with physical-world color postcards in the physical mail on offer.

Please have a look at the silly video I made (stay for the whole thing), and consider supporting Buttercup Festival by becoming a patron. So many thanks.

June 29th 2020
Hi all. There's a new black and white landscapey thing at the top of the sketchbook.

June 3rd 2020
If you are looking for somewhere to donate funds to support the protests against police brutality, the National Bail Fund Network directory is a great place to find organizations working in your area. I'll hope you'll join me in making a contribution. And among all the excellent posts and statements out there, I found this from Trevor Noah especially useful for understanding what's going on. Please listen.

May 25th 2020
Several new pieces which I first sent out on social media have been added to the sketchbook.

May 18th 2020
You are all my favorite all.

May 4th 2020
As the opera world copes with losing a season of work, my composer pal Joel Rust and I have joined with soprano Rebecca Bottone, baritone Luke Sutliff and director Eloise Lally to create a new itty-bitty opera, A Man Drags the Carcass of a Deer, neverminding such obstacles as Covid-19 and the Atlantic Ocean. We're hoping to complete work over the summer. Updates in due course.

April 20th 2020
A couple new color sketches have appeared on my social media in recent weeks. I'll get around to putting these things on this website eventually, but for now check out instagram or whatever. Also appearing in recent weeks: flowers, insects, skunk cabbages, fresh comets from the Oort Cloud.

March 30th 2020
I hope you are all as well as you can be in these strange virus days. Please do the right things, and be generous with others, and reach out in all the ways you can to the people you care about. I've been thinking about this poem today, by Wallace Stevens, one of my favorites:

Wild Ducks, People, and Distances

The life of the world depends on that he is
Alive, on that people are alive, on that
There is village and village of them, without regard
To that be-misted one and apart from her.

Did we expect to live in other lives?
We grew used so soon, too soon, to earth itself,
As an element; to the sky as an element.
People might share but were never an element,

Like earth and sky. Then he became nothing else
And they were nothing else. It was late in the year.
The wild ducks were enveloped. The weather was cold.
Yet, under the migrations to solitude,

There remained the smoke of the villages. Their fire
Was central in distances the wild ducks could
Not span, without any weather at all, except
The weather of other lives, from which there could

Be no migrating. It was that they were there
That held the distances off: the villages
Held off the final, fatal distances,
Between us and the place in which we stood.

March 9th 2020
Shout out to the Nolensville Buttercup Festival in Historic Nolensville, Tennessee, taking place on April 18th this year. Nolensville's Buttercup Festival seems to have been born just a year before my own Buttercup Festival. I will go to your Festival one day, Nolensville. You look beautiful.

February 24th 2020
Walking across a meadow at dusk the other day, I had the chance to watch a barn owl hunting for a few minutes. It flew out toward a certain point, very intentionally, it seemed, and I saw that there was a hare, large and loping and black-tipped. Thank you, dusk.

February 17th 2020
It's just been one of those weeks, and I don't have a new comic ready. Regular programming will return next week, pinky swear!

And here's something else to distract you from today's lack of a new comic, something I can't let pass without comment. According to Wikipedia, Buttercup Festival first appeared on Feb 17th, 2000 ... twenty years ago today. And I'm forty now, which means that Buttercup Festival has existed for half my life. Not always updating, but always there. Have a look at the instagram account for photographic evidence of what half a lifetime of Buttercup Festival will do to a man.

I've also been posting odd bits of artwork and sketches to instagram and twitter, so even if you're not big into social media you might want to have a look from time to time. You know, if you're interested.

January 12th 2020
Two recent sketchbook drawings are available as prints!

November 25th 2019
You can read a poem of mine, Acadia, on Northern New England Review's website, because they're kindly putting it forward for a Puschart Prize. And there is, of course, a guineafowl drawing on the sketchbook page.

November 4th 2019
A few new things have found their way on to the sketchbook.

September 16th 2019
You can read, did you know, a new poem of mine online at the Northern New England Review.

August 19th 2019
Some fine folks have created a Subreddit for Buttercup Festival discussion, so get on over and discuss if that's your thing. There is also a fan-run facebook page. And hey, do you have any interest or involvement in opera? Composer Joel Rust and I are looking for partners to help bring our science fiction opera to the stage (or clever non-traditional venue).

July 8th 2019
Here is some news which has basically nothing to do with Buttercup Festival: my book Ted Hughes and Christianity has just been published by Cambridge University Press. At least, it's been published in the UK; the US listing will come online next month and is available for pre-order. Like most academic books it's silly expensive, but if you want to read it you can try requesting a purchase through your public or college library, and this flyer has a code for 20% off. It's 250 pages of theorizing on poetry and theology, it features a whopping big chunk of Sylvia Plath discussion, and it has index entries for Pearl Jam and John Denver.

There are a few new armadillo things on the sketchbook.

May 6th 2019
Two recent pictures have been added to the sketchbook.

March 18th 2019
I'm taking part in a couple poetry readings this month. Both events will feature motley international crews. If you're a Lancashire or Yorkshire person, please come along and say hi.

Thursday March 21st: World Poetry Day: 7pm, Livesey House, Heatley Street, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2XR.

Friday March 29th: Wretched Strangers: Poetry & Migration: 7pm, Waterstones, 15 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL.

And speaking of poetry, I have two poems in the latest issue of Alaska Quarterly Review.

February 4th 2019
So starts Buttercup Festival Series 3! There are three new strips to kick things off, and a new strip will appear every Monday. I plan to keep this series going for a long, long time. Hard to believe it's been five years since Series 2 ended. Five years! What have I been doing? I had another kid. I did a PhD, and a book related to that will be out with Cambridge University Press in July. I wrote the words for an opera called The Conifers. I've added some detail to the About page if you're curious to know more.

There are beautiful new Buttercup Festival t-shirts for sale from the good folks at TopatoCo. If you buy a shirt, send me a picture of you wearing it, and maybe I'll put it just to the right there, instead of the boring product image I've got right now.

There are prints for sale as usual, and I've decided to start selling my original artwork. Hang a little piece of me on your wall.

Thanks for reading, everyone. It's good to be back.

September 2018
Last month gave Joel Rust and I the chance to work with even more fabulous people on The Conifers, our sci-fi opera. And I have four new poems in the excellently named journal Meat For Tea (the lotus blossom issue), plus two poems in the recent issue of Under the Radar.

June 2018
New things in the sketchbook. If you live in southeast England, maybe come to this event on August 24th and listen to about half of the opera I have been writing with Joel Rust, followed by a q&a session. I have a poem in Wretched Strangers, a new anthology for an age of migrants.

September 2017
It's been too long, it's been too long. As I write this I'm in the final throes of my PhD, weighing up options for the future. The giddy slipstream of change and uncertainty. There are a bunch of new pieces in the sketchbook (the last new one is the sketch featuring the BF guy). And speaking of the Buttercup Festival guy, I thought I'd teasingly mention that the notebook in which I write scripts for future BF strips now has over 60 entries, and I've put drawing pen to paper on a few new strips for a new series. Don't hold your breath, not just yet. But things are slowly, slowly in the works.

Other creative projects? It's been a great year of working on The Conifers (formerly called Blue Fire), the opera I'm writing with Joel Rust with support from Aldeburgh Music, who have given us the chance to workshop material with some wonderful singers and musicians. Here's a little interview we gave about it.

I've got a couple new poems over at Antiphon Review (there are audio recordings of me reading them, if that sort of thing thrills you).

Renaming of the Birds has now sold out: the last thirteen copies were bought in fine style by a small Canadian start-up that wanted a copy each for their board members.

This means that there's not much left to buy here, but anyone looking for a lovely gift for themselves and/or someone else is encouraged to check out Standing in the Sea, a postcard collaboration with my excellent printmaking friend Laurie. Each set is £ 5 + shipping. Can we tempt you?

Where to?
Thanks for stopping by. Don't be a stranger, now.

August 2016
Hi all. It's been a busy summer so far, not least because our second child was born in June. There's some new stuff on the sketchbook page, maybe more in a few weeks. (old news)

May 2016
There are nine new drawings on the sketchbook page. I forgot to mention this in the January update: I have a two-page color comic featuring the guy from Renaming of the Birds in Over the Line, a great anthology of "poetry comics." And Joel Rust and I have just been awarded Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowships to help us develop Blue Fire, a science-fiction opera we are currently writing.

January 2016
I've just added a chunk of new artwork to the sketchbook page. I recently contributed three blog posts to the blog for Carcanet's New Poetries VI: one, two and three. There are just a few dozen copies of Renaming of the Birds left to buy. I think that's all the news for now. Sometimes I get emails asking if and when Buttercup Festival will restart. The answers to those questions are (1) yes, but (2) no time soon. My days are busy with lots of interesting things, but not, sadly, comics. But I do have a notebook dedicated to ideas and jokes for future BF strips: 48 and counting. So there is hope!

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