Thursday, 31 March 2011

Cut It Out

The news that the severe arts-funding cuts of the Tory-led British government have led to the Poetry Book Society (established by the Arts Council in 1953 by TS Eliot) losing all its funding have set up howls of rage and surprise from Britain's best and brightest poetry lovers.  Meanwhile, same perplexed poets have noted on Facebook, with something akin to rebel-Libyan rage, that commercial behemoth Faber and Faber have been given £40,000.

There is an irony here - the PBS is about as establishment as one can get in British poetry - it awards the TS Eliot Prize that often goes to Faber poets (Walcott this year for instance), and which, if any organisation does, brings poetry to "poetry lovers" in the UK.  I don't belong to the organisation, for reasons that it would seem mean-spirited to mention now - one doesn't kick a horse when it is down, unless one wants to upset a philosopher.  Yet, I think it is a part of the landscape one wouldn't want to see go.  Like selling off all the forests, this doesn't make sense.  It really is a total slap in the face, and confirms that, in secular Britain, after religion goes, next is poetry.
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