Poetry publisher hits appeal target in just two days after losing Arts Council grant

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A poetry publisher that unexpectedly lost its Arts Council grant has met its initial cash target within two days of launching a Crowdfunder appeal. The Poetry Business, a poetry publisher and writer development agency that includes the  Smith|Doorstop imprint and literary magazine The North  launched a Crowdfunder appeal to bridge a £14,000 gap after losing a bid for Arts Council funding.

After passing that target in just a few days the Sheffield-based organisation, run by Ann and Peter Sansom, has now increased its target to £20,000 to meet more costs, saying that the additional money would go towards autumn workshops and events, and the design and printing of autumn publications: “Any further funds we raise will provide us with more stability and will feed into our publishing and writer development work throughout 2019.”

On their appeal page the Sansoms said: “A loss in funding is a serious issue for the Poetry Business. Ironically this is at a time when we have never been more successful – when we have never reached as many poets through book and magazine sales and through our teaching, and crucially when we have an outstanding staff team.

“We have been fortunate in our projects, not least working with the best new writers – Mary Jean Chan, Kayo Chingonyi, Andrew McMillan and Helen Mort – to find the best younger writers for our New Poets List, while at the same time collaborating with Carol Ann Duffy on our Laureate's Choice series of pamphlets – and we hope a forthcoming Laureate's Choice anthology. In among we continue to publish new and established writers with the same care that has characterised Smith|Doorstop for over thirty years and which prompted Alan Jenkins, chair of the Michael Marks awards, to single the Poetry Business out as 'a byword for excellence'.

“Then there is, which we love maybe even more, the writer development side – our writing days above all and occasional residential courses (for the PB and with the Arvon Foundation), and not least a record number of applications for what will be our ninth Writing School for published poets. It is such a pleasure to work with so many talented poets, and this engagement will, we hope continue.”

They added: “We are confident that we can make a good case for our future work, and we hope that we can continue our relationship with the Arts Council who have supported us financially and in other ways, since the business was founded over 30 years ago.”

Write Out Loud’s resident blogger, John Foggin, said: “As Kim Moore has posted on Facebook, the support of the Poetry Business, of Ann and Peter Sansom, has been invaluable to me and to countless other writers, and we can't imagine the contemporary poetry landscape without the Poetry Business being part of it.

“Its Writing Days and residential courses have been the key that unlocked the world of poetry for so many of us. What makes it unique and irreplaceable for me had been its unwavering democracy, the way it welcomes the just-starting-out with just as much warmth as the much-published and established.

“Known and internationally respected, it’s an institution like Bloodaxe and Smokestack in ensuring that poetry is never an elitist or metrocentric affair. The North wears its title with a pride that’s never parochial. The annual pamphlet competition has been the foundation of dozens of careers in poetry, and the Poetry Business has gone the extra mile in championing and encouraging the work of young emerging writers. To me, it’s a family, a friend in time of need, a wise teacher, a national treasure.”

◄ 'Maybe the ghostly face in the window staring back at him'

Wayne Holloway-Smith wins National Poetry Competition ►


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M.C. Newberry

Fri 29th Mar 2019 15:23

Feels like a bit of poking from Woking! ?
I wonder sometimes why any creative line that can offer large cash
rewards often totalling many thousands of pounds in prize money
-noted on numerous occasions in the WOL news section, has the need to seek substantial cash support from the public purse (the Arts Council for example). The poetry world is a prime example of this conundrum.

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Greg Freeman

Thu 28th Mar 2019 17:05

Not at all sure that I follow your thread on this one, MC. No need to explain further, though. I'm sure you know best, and that there's nothing anyone can teach you about writing poetry. Thanks.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 28th Mar 2019 16:54

Certainly good news for all concerned in this enterprise. But the
essence is in the word "business" and it is the "business" of "business" to obtain support via custom for its "product". The
items I have been paid for and had published in commercial
magazines were chosen because they were suitable for that
magazine's paying customer base and not merely because
of any particular poetical profundity or attribute. Other poems
were accepted but not paid for in other media publications - as if
the situation was expected/justifiable Don't mention "business"!!
The commercial magazines had the edge, both in honesty and
business acumen. As for "teaching" poetry, I think I'll pass on that
one; Famed lyricist Sammy Cahn once wrote; "You can't teach
it" (lyric writing). Ergo, you learn as you go and possess the
basic values and attributes to help obtain success. No one ever
taught ME how to write poetry or song lyrics - and I have had
both commercially published.

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