Tuesday 28 June 2011

Poetry Society resignations, and call for an EGM: update

There are rumblous thunderings over central London.  That’s not an attempt at pathetic fallacy but a description of the weather, which is heading this way.  I live on the side of a hill, so can see it coming.  

Kate Clanchy’s list of Poetry Society members calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting – see my last post – has reached 222 names, almost two-thirds of the way to the 340 names needed.  Do email her at kateclanchy at gmail dot com if you want to join the list.

The Poetry Society trustees issued a statement yesterday.  This uses Judith Palmer’s resignation as an excuse not to comment on what’s going on.  At least it says something about what the trustees are doing, though I think it’s much too late for that to be enough.  A bit like one of those political situations where there’s a lot of pressure for change, but too little is offered too late, and what might have been accepted at an earlier stage is no longer enough, so pressure builds for more change…  Which reminds me of the current situation in Syria – just to put things in perspective. 

Some people abbreviate the Poetry Society to PoSoc, which adds a nice Orwellian touch.  There have been two doubleplusgood blog posts on PoSoc by Rob Mackenzie (today) and Katy Evans-Bush.  

While I was writing this, the weather arrived in Greenwich.  Lightning and thunder cracked and crashed right overhead.  I’ll put any more updates in the comments below, because I don’t want this to turn into a blog about the Poetry Society. 


  1. 293 signatures now, only 50 to go.

  2. 323 signatures now. Nearly at original target of 340. But a lot of people have been joining (or re-joining) the PS in the last few weeks, so more signatures will be needed!

  3. The requisition for an EGM has now reached 380 signatures, easily over the 10% needed. Many well-known figures in the poetry world have signed. The Board of the Poetry Society has appointed an interim director, who has a lot of arts admin experience. The chairman of the Board resigned last week. Its new chair (one of the existing trustees), in an attempt to seize the initiative, has called a General Meeting on Friday 22 July. That doesn’t stop members calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting as well, if they don’t think the other meeting would be satisfactory.

    There is lots of stuff going on. I’m not going to comment on it, except to say that trust between the two sides seems low. I’m not sure how the Board could recover its credibility at this stage.

  4. There are now over 400 signatures, and Kate Clanchy says the requisition will be delivered to PoSoc HQ tomorrow, Tuesday, at 3.30, in a red wheelbarrow, with a couple of white chickens if anyone can provide them (I think a Tyger would be good too).

    I've been living with Edith Soedergran and will post on her next.

  5. There's now a website set up by Martin Alexander where you can read all you need/want to know about this, and book a proxy if you're a PoSoc member and can't attend the meeting on 22 July. http://thepoetrysocietyuk.wordpress.com/

    There seems to be some manoeuvring about the meeting - the requisitioners have called for an EGM, which by law has to be held. We are still expecting that the EGM should take precedence over the PoSoc's own general meeting (the 22 July one). No point, and much expense, in holding 2 meetings at different times and places. The new site will no doubt keep us updated.

  6. Have just had an e-notice from the Poetry Society (thanks to a kind friend, since I seem to have dropped off their emailing list). They are finally calling the 22 July meeting an EGM! (ie. a members' meeting calling the board to account, rather than a meeting owned by the board). I was beginning to wonder if they thought they could get away without doing this -which common sense suggested they couldn't, but their behaviour so far suggested they might think they could. The notice isn't perfect, but I'm sure the requisition experts will scrutinise it.

  7. Kate Clanchy has been given some information – verified and documented, she says – about what’s been going on at the Poetry Society. The fact that her info confirms some of the stories that have been going round doesn’t make it any less shocking. You can read it here. http://thepoetrysocietyuk.wordpress.com/the-mail/

  8. My latest comment is so long I've had to make it a new post... so much for my resolution not to turn this into a blog about the Poetry Society.