Perjink Press

Dorothy Lawrenson founded Perjink Press in 2005. Perjink is part publisher, part design-and-print agency. Scroll down for details of Perjink publications.

Dorothy combines a poet’s sensitivity to the written word with a background in visual art, to produce pamphlets that are closely allied to the tradition of artists’ book making. Much of the production is done by hand, meaning that Perjink pamphlets are able to incorporate features such as handmade papers and hand-sewn bindings.

If you would like to discuss a publishing/printing project, please contact Dorothy.

Tardigrade

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Alexander Hutchison, the author of Scales Dog (2007) and the forthcoming Bones & Breath, both published by Salt, is described by August Kleinzahler as "a Scots Martial, but with the unabashed tenderness and exactitude of John Clare... a mentor, a bristling master, and a total original." In Tardigrade he assumes the voice of one of these amazing microscopic creatures, managing within the confines of a pamphlet to take the reader on a breathtaking journey from the bottom of the Mariana Trench all the way to outer space.

If you would like to buy Tardigrade, please email the poet.

2013, 16 pp, ISBN 978-0-9569352-4-3

The Year

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Dorothy Lawrenson's second pamphlet collection is a mature meditation on travel, time and mortality. It includes September, chosen as one of the Scottish Poetry Library's Best Scottish Poems 2011.

You can purchase The Year here.

2012, 28pp, ISBN 978-0- 9569352-3-6

Oidhreacht/Inheritance

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Rona Fitzgerald has been living and working in Scotland for eighteen years. Many of her poems are inspired by living in Glasgow and by the Scottish landscape, but the background of her native Ireland is also strongly present. Blues and purples run though the poems collected here, and the pamphlet has been themed on these colours, contrasted with the pale yellow of the moon, "a bright yellow globe in an indigo sky."

2012, 22pp, ISBN 978-0956932-2-9

Holding

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    2012, 28pp.

Designed by Perjink and published by New Voices Press, this is Maggie Rabatski's second pamphlet. Her first, Down from the Dance, was shortlisted in the First Book category of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Awards 2011. Hebridean by birth and upbringing, Maggie now lives in Glasgow, and writes in both Gaelic and English. This collection includes Sacrifice/Ìobairt, one of the Scottish Poetry Library's Best Scottish Poems 2012.

2012, 28pp, ISBN 978-1-906708-14-6

Abune the Toun

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George T Watt was born and raised in Scotland. A passionate advocate for the Scots language, he writes almost exclusively in Scots, and his adopted home city of Dundee is the focus of Abune the Toun. The cover and endpapers feature watercolour paintings by Ann Wegmuller RSW RWS.

You can purchase Abune the Toun here.

2012, 28pp, ISBN 978-0-9569352-1-2

Upon a Good High Hill

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    2011, 22pp.

Upon a Good High Hill brings together poems Helen Lawrenson has written during a lifetime spent visiting Hadrian's Wall. The poems evoke the landscape of the area, and re-imagine the human drama of daily life during the Roman occupation. Shortlisted for the 2012 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award.

You can purchase Upon a Good High Hill here.

2011, 22pp, ISBN 978-0-9569352-0-5

Semi-Detached

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Michael Brown’s first collection is the product of his MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. The cover photograph shows the interior of a disused Victorian asylum. Michael explains "a lot of the poems in the collection are about interiors of some sort... and I became interested in the opposition between people's interior lives and the desire to break free of those constraints."

2010, 34pp, ISBN 978-0-9560903-2-4

Critical Mass

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The poets contributing to this anthology met on the MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Critical Mass features Helen Broom, Michael Brown, Louise Hislop, Sara Ing, Ellen Phethean and Sue Spencer.

2009, 38pp, ISBN 978-0-9560903-1-7

Wild Flowers

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Wild Flowers is a collection of poems by Giles Conisbee, published to complement an exhibition of paintings by Kirsty Lorenz. The paintings are reproduced in full colour.

You can purchase Wild Flowers here.

2008, 33pp, 15 illus., ISBN 978-0-9560903-0-0

For 'visions' read 'meteors': found poems, and an alphabet, from the John Murray Archive

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This is a pamphlet co-published with the National Library of Scotland, the result of poet Ken Cockburn’s residence at the John Murray Archive during summer 2006. Further information about the archive can be found at the NLS website.

2007, 16pp

Thin Bright Blade

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Thin Bright Blade comprises winning entries from the 2006 William Soutar Writing Competition, and was commissioned by Perth and Kinross Libraries.

2007, 30pp, ISBN 978-0-905452-51-7

Other Harvests

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Other Harvests is the debut collection by Helen Lawrenson. Helen lives in Fife, works in Perthshire and spends as much time as possible in Northumberland. She has won a number of awards for her poetry. This is her first collection.

You can purchase Other Harvests here.

2006, 42pp

Woodcuts

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Woodcuts is a short story collection by writer and broadcaster Carl MacDougall. Carl is the author of three novels including The Lights Below - according to George Mackay Brown "one of the great Scottish novels of this century." He introduced and edited the classic compilation of Scottish short stories, The Devil and the Giro, and has presented television programmes including Writing Scotland and Scots on BBC2 Scotland. In between all this he found time to select the short stories for this pamphlet, which are by turns amusing, incisive and poignant.

If you would like to buy Woodcuts visit Carl's website.

2005, 24pp, illustrated

Under the Threshold

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A collection of Dorothy Lawrenson’s poetry complemented by photographs and line drawings. The poems are linked by themes of art, history and landscape. Shortlisted for the 2006 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award.

Click to hide poem

Echoes (Killhope)

Deflated hills slope gently
under a low, leaden sky.
Galena grey is the Pennine landscape,
the wind a chisel.
Smooth steel on wheels, we glide
down the valley, park neatly, picnic.
Park Level ploughs into the ground
straight as a gutter. Clumsy rubber
safety boots splash and plod as we are
guided down;

the hewer’s booted foot is sure,
his clarty cap hides a wary eye.
Blasting the grey vein,
sweating the cold sweat,
drinking the cold tea,
in paraffin glow. His lamp burns low –
still, the pitman heeds no caution
whar a candel will not burn;
but howk the grey ore out
and then collect your pay.

Down tunnels darker still,
the Coffin Level’s murk dispelled
by tallow’s splutter;
the miner of a darker time
squirms all day in this stone cocoon,
his chisel worming at a single groove,
corkscrewed in so deeply that
claustrophobia, lurking in the shadows, amplifies
stale water’s short dread drip.

The bright light sanctifies
ten rocky feet or so
of tunnel; coaxed
from the dark’s stifling grasp,
we make for the sun’s embrace,
clambering out and hurrying
from the chattering echoes.
Yet they are there,
with the pregnant shadows.

Click to hide poem

Peggy

In the first days of the year
they made a fleeting first-foot visit.

They’d not stop long.

Alec stood at the gate
while Peg stayed in the car;
that’s my memory of her,
seeming stuck in the passenger seat,
baggy, immobile by then.
I was maybe eight, and in my head,
a logical connection formed
with mum’s bulky old peg-bag,
shirt-shaped to hang on the line,
a down-to-earth yet strangely
awe-inspiring sight.

Decades since she’d worked a loom
– in Dundee, a ‘limb’,
like an extension of the body;
one woman might work three or four,
dancing shifting bobbins
among the din and the dust.

She was adamant:
‘They say weavers shout,
but we dinnae shout;
we can aw lipread!’
– then she’d break off and bawl
from her fourth floor window
to the bairns in the court below.

And the wailing o’ the bummer and the clacking o’ the looms
brought the women o’ Dundee oot o’ their beds;

dancing down through time
with their past pride intact
they seem as strong as hessian,
with the same coarse beauty
and ultimate exoticism.

That’s my memory of Peg:
frozen in space and time
as if ready for the off –
a sack-full of the past, to be glimpsed
then whisked away.

They’d not stop long.

Click to hide poem

I'm being followed                             Dorothy Lawrenson

I’ve got something to tell you
I’ve got something to tell you
I’m being followed
I’m being followed

I’m being followed by Alexander McCall Smith

He followed me here and he’ll follow me home
(Or would, if I lived in the New Town)
He’ll be lurking in Dundas Street, waiting
With a philosophical digression at the ready
He’ll write me, thinly disguised, into tomorrow’s Scotsman
(He’s got most of my friends already)
He won’t let me rest, he’s completely obsessed,
He’s turning me into an Edinburgh type!

I’m being followed by Alexander McCall Smith

And it doesn’t stop there
Inspector Rebus moved in next door
I moved house – but that Rankin’s too clever
He transferred his detective to Gayfield Square
So I’m still on his beat
There’s no escape
There’s no escape when you’re being followed by a fictional policeman

So you won’t catch me in the Cumberland these days
I don’t go near the Oxford Bar
Leith is out of bounds
(I don’t like the way Irvine Welsh has been looking at me)
In fact you won’t catch me out much at all
       I don’t go out much any more
                 I mostly just stay in and read…

You can purchase Under the Threshold here.

2005, 30pp