Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sphinx and The Poetry Business

I’ve finished writing four reviews of chapbooks for the excellent Sphinx magazine. I’ll let you know when the next issue is due.

The best of the chapbooks was 19th Century Blues by Patrick McGuinness, published by Smith/Doorstop, the imprint of the Huddersfield based Poetry Business, who also produce UK poetry magazine, The North. I’d thoroughly recommend buying 19th Century Blues. At £3, it’s a real bargain, and probably the best written poetry chapbook I’ve read all year.

In addition, you’d be doing The Poetry Business a favour, as Kirklees council has withdrawn their funding for the next three years because (in the words of a councillor) they are “now not working as effectively as other applicants to contribute to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the district.” (!)

But it seems that no literature organisation within this borough now gets a council grant. You can find out more here.


Matt Merritt said...

The whole Poetry Business thing is appalling, but I'm not sure the arts are actually being treated any differently to sports, or individual sports at least. I've been involved in cricket administration and coaching for years, and one of the obstacles is the fact that funding is given, then cut off when another sport is in vogue, then restarted again, and so on. At the moment, with the Olympics looming, we're out of favour again. There seems to be no real long-term strategy for any sport, and I suspect the same is true for the arts too.
I think, as Katy Evans-Bush points out on the forum you linked to, one of the big problems is that funding bodies have this bizarre idea that they should be promoting things that everybody can be good at. And of course, such things don't exist.
A storm of protest might have some effect though - I hope all poetry bloggers will get on board.

Anne said...

Rob, I agree McGuinness is great - though the others are impressive too. (Maybe it's a gender thing.) Do Poetry Business a favour and buy the lot! And complain to whoever listens.

I'm appalled at the cutting of the grant. Don't have a clue what lies behind it, except that local authorities are strapped for cash, big time. Government caps are part of the problem. Arts are a soft target for cuts, along with leisure facilities and public conveniences.

Rob said...

You're probably right, Matt, sadly.

Anne, I've only read the McGuinness from this year's pamphlets, as I was asked to review it. If the others are as good, they'll definitely be worth reading, no doubt about that.