Wednesday, March 30, 2011

. . . und wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit? (Hölderlin, ‘Brod und Wein’)*

An extraordinary decision today by the Arts Council to cut all funding for the Poetry Book Society.

Chris Holifield, Director of the PBS, says: "We are stunned by the Arts Council decision which will impact on thousands of poetry lovers, poets and poetry publishers. We will try to find a way for the PBS to survive but its future must now be in doubt, and the poetry world and especially poetry readers will be the losers. It is ironic that an organisation set up by the Arts Council and strongly supported by our greatest poets has its future undermined by the same organisation."

You see, the Poetry Book Society was set up by the Arts Council in 1953!

"This news goes beyond shocking and touches the realms of the disgusting. The PBS was established by T S Eliot in 1953 and is one of poetry's most sacred churches with an influence and reach far beyond its membership. This fatal cut is a national shame and a scandal and I urge everyone who cares about poetry to join the PBS as a matter of urgency." Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate

* ‘. . . and who wants poets at all in lean years?’ ‘Bread and Wine’ (Michael Hamburger trans.)

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