Red Wheelbarrow Day

One of the real joys of working on contemporary poetry is the sense of working in contemporary poetry. At the same time, I am also concerned by elements which effect my field. I’m disappointed to see that Amazon is buying The Book Depository because I feel that the monopolization of bookselling has a negative effect on publishers and in turn poets, poetry and readers. This week Mslexia also claims that most educated women have a phobia of poetry – which is to say nothing of my crippling fear of those who fear poetry (namely potential future students).

I’ve also been very distressed by the ongoing issues at the Poetry Society. The situation has been fairly well documented in the papers, and on other blogs – and I certainly won’t be launching into any allegations on here. For those of you who aren’t aware, the Poetry Society promotes poetry, runs a number of educational programmes, national competitions, publishes a journal and newsletter and does all of this, by and large, very well. In the past two months there was some schism between the trustees and the staff, resulting in a number of high level resignations and much concern from poets and poetry enthusiasts. Due to the lack of information, a requisition calling for an EGM (or rather seeking to ensure that our concerns are addressed at the GM already called…) is being delivered to their central London offices this afternoon in a red wheelbarrow. Might this be a red letter day for their governing trustees.

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

– ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’, William Carlos Williams.

And, might Red Wheelbarrow Day be a reminder of our happily shared purposes for poetry and be the beginning of an end to all this mess.

Welcome to the ‘Big Society’

In the time that I’ve managed to tear myself from the Guardian live blog on the Arts Council funding decisions (and the emotional rollercoaster that is the #artsfunding tag on Twitter) I’ve made some headway with the sample of writing for transfer.

The National Portfolio decisions are being portrayed as winners and losers, but ultimately these decisions mean that more broadly we will all be worse off for at least the next three years. One of the organisations I’m a Trustee of has received bad news today, despite valiant work. Others for which I work on a freelance basis have maintained and even in some cases increased on their funding bids. Today has been a game-changing day, that is for sure.

Of course, cuts will also have an incredible impact on how the higher education sector develops in the coming years. The other big funding story in my little world was the accusation by The Obersver at the weekend that the AHRC are to prioritise research into the Big Society. The AHRC are denying it though. I’m starting to wish I’d just become a banker.

More positively, in the short term, I’m now not far off 3/4 of this work done. Funny how re-thinking the introduction in a notebook at midnight can change the pace so drastically. An article from The Thesis Whisperer on ‘How to write 1000 words a day (and not go bat shit crazy)‘ is timely this week – although it might be too late on the bat shit crazy front.

7021 / 10000 words. 70% done!

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