I went to my first meeting of The Poetry Society in 2004 after being a passive member for some years.
I had been amused and somewhat appalled by the content of the Society's Newsletter and of Poetry Review, the Society's quarterly magazine, over which it exercises no editorial control. Poetry Review contained little of what I would call true poetry.
In 2004 a new Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Society were being drawn up. The Society is a Registered Chairty. Some members were concerned that in the new draft constitution it was proposed to abolish the voting rights of members.
An Extraordinary General Meeting was held in March 2004, and there wasa subsequent poll in the matter.
The Annual General Meeting was called for November 18th, the main business of which was to hold an open consultation on the Council's new Memorandum and Articles of Association of The Poetry Society.
I attended the meetiing and made an early intervention which I asked to be minuted.
I then wrote to the Director of the Society:
I received this reply:
There was no reply from the Director to this letter; but on about the third of February I received this:
I then sent this letter to the Director:
And this to Mr Bennett:
This letter was sent to Poetry Society Members prior to the Extraordinary General Meeting:
There were, as I remember, about sixty people present at St Giles'. I early observed that there were no minutes being taken of the Meeting, and questioned the procedure. Mr Edward Matyjaszek, Council Member, duly began to take notes on the back of an envelope, and he subsequently sent me a copy:
I later wrote to the Poet Laureate:
He never replied.
Next, I received this letter from Ms Ruth Padel:
This was my reply:
This was Ms Padel's response:
Things stayed quiet until the following summer. The Poetry Society is supported by The Foyle Foundation. This Foundation is a grant-making Trust which 'has three main areas if support: Learning, the Arts and Health'. The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is overseen by The Poetry Society, and Members are each year sent copies of the anthology of the winning 'poems'.
This was the accompanying letter on this occassion:
And this is what I sent to the Director of the Poetry Society, to which letter there has been no reply as yet:
The Ledbury Poetry Festival was fast approaching, and I and my other officaer in The True English (Poetry) Party, Ms Dorli Nauta (who is, of course, my woman and agent), were gearing up for it.
I sent this letter to Ms Ruth Padel who I knew would be there as all the events on one day of the Festival were provided or sponsored by The Society:
Events at Ledbury will be described in the next part of the story. To Read Part 5 please click on the panel below: