Letter from the Director

Jules Mann


Since Spring…

The Poetry Society's new constitution was voted in by members attending the 25 May Extraordinary General Meeting. Many thanks to all who attended for their support – the final vote was 31 yes, 1 abstention. We now have a new procedure for our annual process to elect Council members. Each year one third of the existing Council retires by rotation (though they may be proposed to run again). Enclosed with this Summer issue of Poetry News is the Call for Nominations and information about how to request a nomination and candidate information form. Please note that signatures and candidate's statement will need to be received in the Poetry Society office by 26 August in order to be submitted as part of the proxy ballot in the Autumn mailing of Poetry News.


We hope members who were able to attend enjoyed the translation reading events that took place in the Poetry Studio in London, Corpus Christi College in Oxford and (by the time of this mailing) festival events at Ledbury and Dartington 'Ways with Words'.


Hurrah for our new line-up of 'respect slam' 2005 spoken word stars, and for the dedicated alumni of that project, our very own Poetry Slambassadors, who wowed an audience of nearly 1000 at the Human Rights Watch event at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on 13 June.


Funding was received from Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts for our National Poetry Day 'Poetry Laboratories', so those will be set up with our regional partners over the summer to launch in autumn (and run through early 2006) – details will be added to the Poetry Landmarks as they come together. Do look for:

- Newcastle – a conference in Spring 2006 for poets and scientists working together, part of a project now in progress at the Newcastle Lit & Phil Society; l Warrington – a poet working with a Warrington library poetry group, two local prisons and a Young Offenders Institution;

- Isle of Wight – a project in schools supported by the Poetry Society Stanza group on the Isle of Wight that will culminate in an event at the Quay Arts theatre on 6 October;

- London – poet Stephen Watts working in schools with a Kurdish poet, dealing with issues of language through translation.

- Cornwall – this is top secret, to be unveiled at the end of November, but there will be some very interesting poetic activity throughout schools and libraries in Cornwall as part of the NPD Poetry Laboratories;

- Birmingham – an exchange between young performance poets from the Birmingham area and the Poetry Slambassadors in London. Mark your diary…


In the penultimate event in our translation reading event series, London's Goodenough College welcomes the Poetry Society, with support from the Ratiu Family Foundation, in what should be a lovely evening featuring readings from the shortlisted books and by the winner of the Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation 2005. PS members of course receive a discounted entry to this event on Thursday, 8 September.


October marks a turning point for the Poetry Society's venue options for artistic programming, which was previewed by our June EGM meeting and reading: on Tuesday, 4 October we will officially launch a new association with St Giles in the Field, in whose parish we reside, and which boasts a very special connection with poets. Enclosed in this mailing is a flyer with full details but I wanted to point out that Poetry Society members will be given an exclusive opportunity for advance booking until 15 August. This is a nice way to mark the growth of National Poetry Day to a week of celebrations – don't forget the equally special reading at the Beverley Literature Festival on Saturday, 8 October, where you can celebrate with a Poetry Society event in Yorkshire.


Members' News

We're delighted to see the Stanzas taking off – we now have 18 across the country and they are added as they come in to our Poetry Landmarks website.

And finally, may I remind you that Poetry Society members receive discounts to all of our events – do enjoy your membership benefits and take advantage of these offers. Our membership manager Carl Dhiman keeps a lively members web page; last I checked there was a fascinating list of a dozen various discounted or free items of interest to members, and nearly a dozen bookshops offering exclusive discounts.