Poetry Society

July 23, 2011

The Poetry Society, which recently managed to secure a whoppingly increased grant from the Arts Council at a time when other poetry outlets were having their subsidies savaged, has decided to spend a large amount of this money (£24,000 to date, and doubtless rising fast) on lawyers’ fees, as a result the ongoing squabble between personalities at the top of the organisation.

On Saturday an EGM seems to have plunged the Society into deeper chaos, with a mass resignation by the board of trustees, and an angry vote of no confidence by the members. A Guardian article describes the meeting.  I like the reported comment from one of the trustees: ‘I feel I will be well shot of it. Quite a lot of poets seem to be rather bloody unbalanced.’

A post on Jane Holland’s Raw Light blog gives the view of someone who attended, finishing with an optimistic flourish and a hope for a new dawn.

I can’t share her enthusiasm. But then I’ve never been very impressed by the Poetry Society or by Poetry Review. That generous Arts Council grant would, I suggest, have been far better spent on  support for independent poetry publishers. But for the Arts Council, the Po Soc is a solution – giving money to this organisation means that they  seem to have done their duty by poetry, without actually having to get involved in the stuff.

Snakeskin, of course, has never received a grant of any kind from any government or other official body.

Update 24/7/11: The clearest account of what happened at the meeting is by George Szirtes, on his blog.


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