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Petition to reinstate Judith Palmer as Director of the Poetry Society

July 27, 2011

Petition to reinstate Judith Palmer as Director of the Poetry Society

(Please see the note below*)

_____________________________________________

Proposed by George Szirtes:

As readers of poetry, poets, and members of the Poetry Society, we are distressed that the Poetry Society has experienced problems of governance so severe that the Arts Council has suspended its grant funding.

To help restore the Arts Council’s confidence, and to avoid an otherwise necessary suit for constructive dismissal by the former Director, we call on the Trustees to restore Judith Palmer immediately, (that is, before August 19th, the date by which such a suit must otherwise be filed) to her post on the contract she held on April 1st 2011.  We further call on the Trustees and the Society to work with all parties concerned to identify and resolve the underlying problems which led to the breach, using all appropriate processes of the constitution and recognised good practice for mediation.

We ask this without apportioning blame and in the interests of a new start; and as the best hope for the Society which serves the art form we all love.

Liz Lochhead, Makar of Scotland

Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate

Jo Shapcott, former President of the Poetry Society

Simon Armitage CBE, Professor of Poetry, University of Sheffield

___________________________________________

NB – you DON’T have to log in to Facebook in order to sign the petition. You can go directly through PetitionOnline’s signing-in form beneath the Facebook logo on the Petition page.

Please check your signature: If you haven’t already done so, please return to the PetitionOnline page and check that your name has been added as a signatory. It seems that several people who signed in through Facebook have not been added to the list.

Verification: You should have received an e-mail with a verification link after signing the petition. Please make sure that you have verified your signature. If your name is followed on the list by ‘(unverified)’, you haven’t. Your e-mail address remains confidential and is never shown, and even I can’t get at it to ask you to click on the verification link.

___________________________________

*Note: This is a corrected and slightly altered version of the actual petition which, sensibly, I could not meddle with once the first signature had been added. Please read the ‘real’ petition at PetitionOnline carefully before you sign, because it is the PetitionOnline version to which you are adding your signature. The changes and corrections made above, which are not material to the matter of the petition, are as follows:

‘necessary’ replaces ‘inevitable’ in paragraph 2; the mis-spelling of Lochhead and the abbreviation of National have been corrected; Simon Armitage’s name has been added.

The responsibility for these errors and omissions is mine. Many apologies.

Martin Alexander – Admin

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2011 8:51 pm

    Thank you for the response, John. But this petition is nothing to do with Fiona Sampson and it only harms the case if specific people are targeted for criticism. I have no evidence of any problems with the editing of Poetry Review or anything else regarding the editor.

    I know this may seem bland but it seems absolutely right and important to me.

    With all good wishes,

    George

  2. July 30, 2011 2:52 pm

    IMPORTANT: The signature list is growing! As I write this, Don Paterson has recently signed it. This is incredibly heartening. But when you sign it you MUST MAKE SURE that your signature is VERIFIED.

    If you try to sign the petition without having first registered on the site, you might think you’ve signed, but you haven’t. You have to register, then sign. You’ll know when it’s worked, because you’ll get a page saying thank you, you have signed the petition.

    This is URGENT because there are lots of people who have “(unverified)” next to their names – and those people think they’ve signed, but they won’t be counted. If you are one of these people, first make sure you have no confirmation email in your spam or somewhere (you need to open it, to be verified) – and if not, then go in and re-register and sign.

    Thanks.

  3. Martin - admin permalink*
    July 28, 2011 9:05 pm

    NB – you DON’T have to log in to Facebook in order to sign the petition. You can go directly through PetitionOnline’s own signing-in form beneath the Facebook logo on the Petition page.

    Please check your signature: If you haven’t already done so, please return to the PetitionOnline page and check that your name has been added as a signatory. It seems that several people who signed in through Facebook have not been added to the list.

    Verification: You should have received an e-mail with a verification link after signing the petition. Please make sure that you have verified your signature. If your name is followed on the list by ‘(unverified)’, you haven’t. Your e-mail address remains confidential and is never shown, and even I can’t get at it to ask you to click on the verification link.

    ___________________________________

    *Note: This is a corrected and slightly altered version of the actual petition which, sensibly, I could not meddle with once the first signature had been added. Please read the ‘real’ petition at PetitionOnline carefully before you sign, because it is the PetitionOnline version to which you are adding your signature. The changes and corrections made on this site, which are not material to the matter of the petition, are as follows:

    ‘necessary’ replaces ‘inevitable’ in paragraph 2; the mis-spelling of Lochhead and the abbreviation of National have been corrected; Simon Armitage’s name has been added.

    The responsibility for these errors and omissions is mine. Many apologies.

    Martin Alexander – Admin

    • Eva Salzman permalink
      July 28, 2011 9:13 pm

      Apologies but just don’t see the link here that takes me to PetitionOnline. Want to check my name was in fact added. Can’t recall if I got verified message…Sorry, this stuff not my forte..

      • Martin - admin permalink*
        July 28, 2011 9:27 pm

        Dear Eva, Go back to the home page of this site, and click on Petition in the list of topics under the banner at the top of the page. Click on the heading above the petition, and that will take you to the PetitionOnline site. You’ll need to add your name and e-mail address (which will remain confidential) and click on the SIGN button.

        You will shortly afterwards receive an e-mail from PetitionOnline. Click on the link in the e-mail to verify your address. (The purpose of this is to make sure that unsavoury characters don’t sign up several times under different false e-nail addresses.)

        Finally, refresh the PetitionOnline page, and your name should appear as signatory 577 or higher!

        (I’ve just checked and couldn’t see your name on the list from your earlier signing.)

        If this doesn’t work, send me an e-mail: Martin@Alexander.Org and we’ll see what we can do.

  4. July 28, 2011 12:55 pm

    Regardless of what heart or head says, it strikes me as eminently sensible to reinstate someone who appears to have been wrongly dismissed; wind the tape back and allow the new board to investigate and reveal exactly what happened, then and only then can a considered and sensible judgement be made as to whether any changes to the management and it’s structure need to be made.

    And, by the way, doesn’t anyone think that the outgoing board should still be brought to account for the expenditure of £24,000, or whatever it is, for legal advice..? Please don’t tell me they can get away with murder..!

    • Eva Salzman permalink
      July 28, 2011 3:16 pm

      Poetjanstie,

      In reply to your first paragraph: it strikes me too.

      In reply to your second paragraph: I do.

      This non-blogger has wandered around taking advantage of leading (and excellent blogs) to say just this, about which issue the charity commission surely would have opinions too.

      Your first paragraph’s points seem a priority, however, hopefully followed quickly by your second paragraph’s points.

    • July 28, 2011 5:23 pm

      The spending of money on legal fees by the Board seems so ill-judged, reckless, unprofessional etc. Has anyone suggested that, perhaps, the Board may be personally responsible for paying the bill? Seems the easiest way to put that amount back into the Poetry Society Pot?

    • Alan H. permalink
      July 29, 2011 9:41 am

      I agree, especially concerning the legal fee expenditure.

      It seems this was an excessive, extraneous, and indecently personal expense that need not have occurred had proper management procedures been followed. It seems to me that incompetence has been allowed to override good sense. This is not a great recommendation for the board…

      Alan H.

  5. July 28, 2011 9:45 am

    I’m not going to sign the petition. Not because I don’t want Judith Palmer to be reinstated but because I think the new trustees should, as an elected body, make decisions without pressure. The current trustees have no mandate, and I don’t see the urgency as Ms Palmer says she has no intention of taking legal action – maybe I’ve misunderstood this?

  6. July 28, 2011 8:34 am

    Thank you for setting up this site and giving such a clear and unprejudiced account of the situation. I’ve put a link to this site and petition on my blog Rivertrain. As a member of the Poetry Society I wish it all the best for the future.
    Morelle

    • Martin - admin permalink*
      July 28, 2011 9:30 am

      You’re very welcome – thanks for the comment.

  7. Martin - admin permalink*
    July 27, 2011 10:05 pm

    NB – you DON’T have to sign in through Facebook in order to sign the petition. You can go directly through the form below the big Facebook sign on the Petition page!

  8. July 27, 2011 2:24 pm

    Why has the petition been removed?

  9. Sue Kindon permalink
    July 27, 2011 2:21 pm

    This could be the way forward.

    PS Please can you spell our former President’s name correctly.

    • Sue Kindon permalink
      July 27, 2011 2:27 pm

      Thank you – I see it has been corrected.

    • July 27, 2011 2:30 pm

      Gulp. Done – that was the typo. I’ve you’ve already signed, please do so again.

  10. battypip permalink
    July 27, 2011 2:21 pm

    I’d like to add my name to this petition as well. Pippa Hennessy.

  11. Duncan McGibbon permalink
    July 27, 2011 2:19 pm

    I welcome this petition and sign my own name to it. Duncan McGibbon

  12. Eva Salzman permalink
    July 27, 2011 2:13 pm

    I really hope this takes flies.

    Is it inappropriate to include this petition a call for reinstatement of Ranford too, considering the vital part his statement played substantiating events, at his personal cost?

  13. July 27, 2011 2:11 pm

    I agree.

Trackbacks

  1. Poetry Society reinstates Judith Palmer as director « Readersforum's Blog
  2. Updates « Poetry Society members
  3. Reality back, please. « Poet on the rocks

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