A Letter from the Director

Jules Mann

2005 has been a watershed year in that Poetry Society staff have travelled extensively to events around the UK to meet members and help support our jointly-produced events in Cardiff, Oxford, Ledbury, Dartington, Beverley, Isle of Wight and Aldeburgh. We hope to expand the Society's new festival exchange programme which we piloted with Ledbury festival this year. It starts with an evening hosted by the Poetry Society at the London Review Bookshop, followed by a related event at the festival a month or so later. We felt it was a good way of helping festivals promote what they do to a curious but possibly unadventurous audience, giving them a taste of Ledbury in the hope it would tantalise them to travel up to the festival for more. As you might imagine, the possibilities are endless for each of the main poetry festivals around the UK. We're delighted at the prospect of Poetry Society links with festival events, and the potential benefits this holds for our members.

As forecast by her first issue entitled 'Poet as Traveller', Poetry Review Editor Fiona Sampson plans to hold two launch events for each issue, one in and one outside London. Following a July launch in Dartington, the next one is scheduled for late October at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea.

Our association with the Poets' Church officially launches on 4 October, followed by what we hope will become an annual event on the literary calendar, presented by the Poetry Society, the London Review Bookshop and St Giles-in-the-Fields: a December Lecture Series to be inaugurated on 5 December by Professor George Steiner. For details ring our Marketing dept on 020 7420 9895.

I don't need to tell you, our members, about the importance of reading, but it's always thrilling to see initiatives that focus on promoting books of poetry and the reading of poetry, not just the writing. What better than to actively cultivate the next generation of readers? Chris Holifield from the Poetry Book Society writes about the re-launch of the Children's Poetry Bookshelf on page 7. This coincides with National Children's Book Week (3-7 October) and the annual Children's Bookshow national tour – this year featuring Children's Literature in Translation. Poets involved with the Bookshow are Matthew Sweeney and Owen Sheers (at Manchester Poetry Festival 6 October), and Andrew Fusek-Peters presenting Eastern European poetry in translation for children (22 November at The Phoenix Arts Centre in Leicester).

Don't forget to check the National Poetry Day website for up-to-the-minute blogs, downloadable resources and information. The place to look up or register events during September and October is www.poetrysociety.org.uk/landmark/ – the Poetry Landmarks of Britain (currently listing over 500 landmarks).

This issue of Poetry News is produced earlier than usual in order to arrive prior to National Poetry Day. Your issue of Poetry Review (if you are a full member) will arrive towards the end of October. In between these two, you will receive a separate mailing this year of our Annual Report (2004-05), Audited Accounts, Notice of Annual General Meeting (10 November) and for the first time a postal ballot in which you may cast your votes for candidates running for the Board of Trustees of the Poetry Society. Look for this in your letterbox towards the end of September, and be sure your ballot arrives in our offices by 8 November.

Due to the timing, this is also the last issue of Poetry News before Christmas, so I'd like to announce that we are working with Salt Publications to produce a second edition of our wildly popular Poetry on a Plate – a book of poems and recipes. The second edition vastly increases the selection of main dishes, thanks to poetic recipes contributed by Sir Terence Conran, Paul Kitching, Antony Worrall Thompson, Matthew Fort, Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, and poems by Alison Brackenbury, Michael Symmons Roberts, Owen Sheers, Gillian Clarke, Linda France and Matthew Welton that interrelate with the recipe ingredients. A truly unique gift, and £1 from each sale goes to support National Poetry Day. It's available from December on www.saltpublishing.com.

Happy National Poetry Day/Week(s)! As my predecessor Christina Patterson memorably remarked, "Every day is National Poetry Day at the Poetry Society".

Poetry News, Autumn 2005