This post comprises a copy of the letter published today (07/04/2011) re, Dún Laoighre CC’s decision to ‘abandon’ the Poetry Now Festival (Irish Times) :
Madam, – Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council bravely supported a fledgling poetry festival in 1995. Following on from its forward-looking decision, Poetry Now has become an established fixture on the literary calendar: feted by audiences, publishers and poets as one of the world’s great poetry festivals; supported annually by an impressively large, regular and eclectic audience; and reported by Irish as well as by American and British media.
As outgoing curator Belinda McKeon said at this year’s festival, “It has taken 16 years and the goodwill, generosity, energy and talent of many people to build.” (Loose Leaves, Weekend Review, April 2nd). It seems lax, irresponsible and especially shortsighted to abandon its investment in this festival, rather than continuing with a necessarily scaled-back version. We urge Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to reconsider its decision to cancel Poetry Now as an independent festival. – Yours,
What really interests me at the moment is how short-sighted funding-bodies are, this is discussed here in relation to the funding-cuts to the Irish Writers Centre and to the Western Writer’s Centre on Poethead. Our Imprints, our writers and literary magazines need these festivals, as they need good publishers.
We have seen , how insipid short-sighted cuts have caused nine poets in England to query the ACE funding and how Salt publishing, Arc Publishing and the Poetry Book Society are suffering from what is inherently an approach to Arts (specifically Poetry) that is profit-driven and short-sighted. I am of the opinion that this is because Arts Officers are not really qualified in the arts anymore and have not the literacy nor ability to make judgements on the basis of what comprises ‘Art’ as opposed to ’Profit’.
0% funding in the literary arts is a new precedent started by the Irish Arts Council , under the tutelage of Martin Cullen TD and is continued into the CC in Dún Laoghaire , it is an ignoble disgrace in decision-making terms.