We set up this forum for members of the Poetry Society to communicate and be informed – in the first instance – about the current crisis.
Our only concern is to increase transparency; foster understanding; protect the principles upon which the Society is founded; and to allow it, unhindered by the likes of the current fiasco, to be the powerful and inspiring voice for poetry, poets and audience, according to its stated purpose.
This is a public site, accessible to anyone, and it doesn’t take any specific poetic or political stance. It exists to fill what seems to be a vacuum that has intervened between the Board and the members it is supposed to represent.
The site was originally set up to provide a forum where proxies might be contacted by Members unable to attend the EGM. It was very much our intention that a range of proxies with differing views should offer themselves, and that Members might then choose a proxy who reflected their views. It was specifically NOT set up to harvest voters for a particular cause.
Visitors asked for more information and, since the EGM had been called precisely because of a lack of information, we started to collate information. Following that, and growing out of information posted on the site, a considerable amount of discussion arose among Members and the concerned public.
Though some may doubt it, it was our express intention to be open to all verifiable facts and perspectives. I can understand that a close reading of the site might suggest that there is largely a single view and perspective expressed here. This is not for want of trying. All the parties involved have been invited to use the site freely, and particular invitations have been made to the Acting Chair and the Board as a whole.
Inevitably, choices have to be made but we hope they have been sensitive, fair and consistent. One commentator began with an unpublishable rant; I wrote a personal e-mail, we discussed it, and he (or she) re-posted with an intelligent, detailed and helpful post. My intervention was about tone and ad hominem remarks: I didn’t agree with the content, but of course I was happy to post the comment. Why wouldn’t I?
One other commentator has been blocked. Again, this was after considerable personal (and, I thought, private) correspondence. Much of it is now posted of the commentator’s Facebook page. If you’d like to read it, contact me and I’ll send you a link.
A final point for this section – if the scope and remit of this site isn’t as broad as you would like, please feel free to set up a site of your own. I’d be happy to include a link to it.
Comments and Moderation
At the moment, there is only one moderator, so please don’t suspect a conspiracy if your comment isn’t approved immediately.
- Please stay on topic and be constructive: we are trying to find a way of helping the Poetry Society get through the current crisis.
- Don’t make personal attacks on anyone. Don’t use offensive language. We’re poets, dammit. We care about vocabulary.
- We don’t approve ad hominem remarks or off-topic soapboxing. We publish at the moderator’s discretion. The moderator tries not to be capricious and can be contacted by e-mail here: ThePoetrySocietyUK@GMail.
- If your comment isn’t approved, it isn’t necessarily because you’re a troll, though of course that is a possibility. I have had innocent comments of mine inexplicably removed from the Guardian. I’m outraged and spitting righteous venom because I can’t complain. Here, though, you can write to me and I’ll try to explain. However, I do have a full-time job and this one is voluntary, unpaid and time-consuming.
To download a copy of the Constitution, click on this link: Poetry Society Constitution
If you have any questions, please post them through a comment here or get in touch either through ThePoetrySocietyUK@GMail.Com or by writing to Martin@Alexander.Org – we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Finally, a message from the site administrator…
In the interests of transparency, let it be known that this site was set up and is moderated by Martin Alexander, a recent immigrant from the Far East who has always seen the Poetry Society as a wonderful beacon and is anxious that it should not be allowed to go out. Leaving the cover of the third person, I am a poet and poetry editor, most particularly of the Asia Literary Review. Contrary to the assumptions of at least one person, I am not, never have been and don’t aspire to be a Trustee* or member of Poetry Society staff. Before July this year I neither knew not had met or had any contact with any of the people involved in this site and its concerns.
*Since this was written (some time ago!) it was suggested, to my great surprise, that I should be nominated as a potential Trustee. When I started this site, as I’ve said, such a thing stood beyond the prospect of belief. To be clear: my nomination is not part of a long-established cunning plan.
15th September 2011 – I have now been elected to the Board of Trustees and ought to say that according to my obligations as a Trustee, any future comments I make on this site under my own name should continue to be taken as personal and not be assumed to be a reflection of the view of the Board. I also need to find out whether I should hand over management of the site to someone else. We haven’t yet had our first meeting but I’m sure that decisions and announcements on this – and on more important issues – will be made as soon as possible. My warmest thanks to all who have contributed to the site, and apologies to any whom I may have exasperated.
If you’re looking for the official page of the Poetry Society, click on the icon below: