Thursday, 2 June 2016

FOR SHAME: THE CLOSURE OF A POETRY CHARITY IS A TRAGEDY

WE NEED TO BUY MORE POETRY BOOKS, LESS JUNK FOOD OF THE MIND
Here is a wake up call for British poets, and British society over-all - the closing down today of the Poetry Book Society charity (founded by TS Eliot and friends in 1953) is a cultural tragedy. The PBS was not without controversy, and some argued it favoured mainstream presses and poetry books over the avant-garde and the performance-oriented; but it did much to foster poetry reading nonetheless, and its aims were noble in the main.

It is hardly to be understood how a nation of tens of millions of university-educated readers cannot find time or money to keep alive a few fragile poetry organisations that form a bulwark against the general ignorance flooding in from the world of sensual-visual pleasures that roil about us. For shame! Put down your EL James, JK Rowlings, Lee Childs, and Dan Browns, and set aside a small penance for poetry. When a society's poetry organs wither, the head is ill. Yes, booklets and prizes have been harvested, shorn off for other bodies to run. But when a PBS goes, what is next?
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