An interesting thing happened a couple of days ago. I read an article in Civil Society with the headline Poetry Society Issues Full and Frank Explanation of Dispute. The 'Full and Frank Explanation' being referred to was the one read by John Simmons at the EGM... the one that was subsequently picked apart and scrutinised as a whitewash of trustee incompetence. That full and frank explanation.
I wrote to Civil Society, asking if their article had taken into consideration Judith Palmer's statement or indeed the audio-recording from the EGM. And guess what happened next...
The article was instantly modified to include a more even-handed account of events which referred to Palmer's statement and the secondary sources surrounding it... and I got an e-mail of thanks from the article's writer. "I have been in touch with the press officer all morning and all of yesterday and they neglected to advise me that this had ever been posted".
It would appear that Civil Society is not the only periodical to allow for a modified stance on the situation. I draw your attention to the following pieces:
- Guardian Letters - Betrayal of Trust at the Poetry Society
- The Independent - A row that shouldn't hide and important truth: poetry matters
- Civil Society - The Poetry Society Issues Full and Frank Explanation of Dispute
Whichever stance you choose to take in this debate, I think it serves as a fascinating example of how PR and the work done by PR companies has shifted from solid to liquid to gas in the age of Web 2.0 where the long tail wags the dog.
If you have not already, then I suggest you read Kate Clanchy on paranoid poets and this message from Anne-Marie Fyfe, former chair of the Board of Trustees. Both are important, well-written documents in and of themselves, but there is equal value in the representations of conflicting opinions occurring in the comments sections. Irrespective of people's personal bias, everyone involved in this conflict cares about the future of poetry.
NB. At time of writing the petition to reinstate Judith Palmer has 874 signatures.