Desmond Clarke (vice-chair PBS writes this morning:
The Times, behind the fire wall, have published a letter from Antonia Byatt with the heading, Arts Council: we support poetry.
It is a rather defensive letter and says that the Arts Council will be investing in poetry publishers and funding The Poetry Society. Antonia says "In our judgement the Poetry Book Society's reach and distribution was not as wide or effective as other applicants, which also demonstrated high quality work."
Well, to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies, she would say that, wouldn't she? But the PBS must press them hard today on the investment in the websites that have only just come on air - that is the future, and they not only encouraged the PBS to it, but also invested in it. That is where the expansion would come. The PBS really must beat it into them! Push their noses up against the websites.
And what of The Poetry Trust? - very wide reach and distribution, I would say. They too have been axed. No consistency. No proper policy, just a series of mean in-the-corner squabbles, now hastily justified in such insulting terms.
As for the Eliot Pize, which ACE will want to keep, a clear case of old fashioned asset stripping.
See also Charles Boyle's blog for more support for PBS.