Poetry Society AGM, 28 November 2012
Election to the Board of Trustees: candidates' statements

Name of candidate: Martin Alexander

Name of Proposer: Sir Stephen Irwin
Name of Second Proposer: Robert Hutchison

As a writer, editor and organiser, I think I can contribute positively to the Society. I have been a Trustee for the past year and hope that I have contributed a little to the Board during a difficult time. Until 2010, though, I lived exclusively in Asia, where I have long been active in the Hong Kong poetry community and, more recently, as Editor in Chief of the Asia Literary Review. I have some experience of literary publishing and messing with the web. Since the inception of the HK International Literary Festival I have brought in poets and managed poetry events. As an editor, I've published work from a wide range of poets and other writers, both internationally acclaimed and previously unpublished. I also work as a scriptwriter, translator and poet.

In education, I have managed departments, chaired examination panels and have been directly involved in the management of conflict and change: as a union official, as a member of a school council and as a delegate to an international educational foundation. I have not been a member of any clique or faction to speak of and am reasonably dependable, relatively sensible, a fairly receptive listener and usually good-humoured.

Name of candidate: Jon Sayers

Name of Proposer: Sir Stephen Irwin
Name of Second proposer: Robert Hutchison
Name of Additional Proposer: Christopher Reid

I am a long-term member of the Poetry Society, a fervent student of poetry, and have over 25 years’ experience as a copywriter and creative director in leading London advertising agencies. I successfully ran my own agency for some years, whose clients included a mix of public and private sector clients, such as British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Food Standards Agency, Prison Reform Trust, the NHS, and the Labour Party. We worked across all media to help clients attract awareness, funds and members – experience I would draw on directly to facilitate the work of the Society. I have educational experience, too – I work with poetry to train advertising copywriters in the UK and abroad, have taught creative writing at Pentonville Prison, and led seminars for MPs and their staff at the House of Commons on improving communications with constituents. I am based in central London, near the Society’s headquarters, and live part-time in Hastings, affording me a non-Londoner’s perspective, too. I would now like to put my experience in business, marketing, fundraising, and education at the service of the Society, with a view to helping it achieve short-term stability and, in the longer-term, ambitious growth.

Name of Candidate: Michael Schmidt

Name of Proposer: Sir Stephen Irwin
Name of Second Proposer: Robert Hutchison
Name of Additional Proposer: Deryn Rees-Jones

I am a writer, editor, publisher and literary historian. I have served for one year on the PS Board and am seeking re-election. The Poetry Society is integral to our poetry culture and contributes to reader development and access. Its success in increasing its Arts Council and other funding and her sense of vision are taking it forward in significant ways. The Board has asked the right questions and is now looking forward with. If I am re-elected to the Board my duty as a member will be to continue the responsibility of being watchful and available to the Director and staff and to my fellow Council members. My experience as a publisher and editor, as a senior academic who has run writing programmes in three major universities, and with many hours of voluntary work in the poetry and educational sectors, are the qualifications I continue to offer.

Name of Candidate:  Neil Reeder

Name of Proposer: Robert Hutchison
Name of Second Proposer: Kona Macphee

I am proud to have been asked to join the Board as a co-opted member, and am fully dedicated to working with the rest of the team to continue to put the Poetry Society back into shape.
I have a long-standing interest in poetry. This stems from a creative writing course in Greece, where I began the journey of summoning ideas, emotions and events from my past and committing them to paper. My poems have since been published in The Rialto, Equinox and Soul Feathers.
A Fellow of the Young Foundation, and director at Head and Heart Economics, my main areas of expertise are business planning, finance and policy design for public services. Further, in voluntary work as trustee in two charities facing difficult times, I took chair and treasurer positions and used my abilities in diplomacy, analysis and determination to see them through to financial stability.
If elected, I hope those abilities will continue to be of use, and I will press the Board to be increasingly consultative and committed to growing the Society’s important poetry advocacy and education roles.

Name of Candidate:  Jesper Groenvold

Name of Proposer: Sir Stephen Irwin
Name of Second Proposer: Heather Neill
Name of Additional Proposer: Henry Fajemirokun

As a former Trustee I have been pleased to observe the recent work by the team, Director and Trustees to get the Society back in shape after a period of instability.

Apart from my interest in poets and arts in general I have an interest in working with not-for-profits to use my business background and financial training in a constructive manner.

The Society matters to me as I see it as a bridge between cultural tradition and a developing society.