I’m not usually all that interested in the political and largely Sydney-centric nature of Australian poetry politics, but it sounds like big changes afoot with the Poet’s Union and the Australian Poetry Centre. This came from a recent newsletter; I’ve got to admit some of it sound pretty exciting:
As you will know from previous correspondence, the Poets Union and the Australian Poetry Centre are to merge at the end of the year to create a new, truly national poetry body, Australian Poetry Limited. This merger is supported by the Literature Board of the Australia Council, Arts NSW and Arts Victoria. For the first time poetry will receive a more sustainable commitment from Arts funding bodies in order to provide a professional service to members, support poetry groups and have a greater influence on the reception (and promotion) of poetry nationwide. Australian Poetry will have an office in Melbourne and Sydney in 2011, with a brief to include all cities, states and territories in projects and opportunities. The purpose of this newsletter is to let you know about the arrangements and the effect they will have on your current membership of the PU or APC.
Structure and Governance
Australian Poetry will be governed by a National Board. The members of the current Board are: Chris Wallace-Crabbe (Chair), Anna Kerdijk-Nicholson (Secretary), Nell White, Marcus Powe, David Musgrave, Margaret Bradstock and Martin Langford. The Board will be responsible for the strategic direction of the organisation and advising the National Director in regard to all future plans for Australian Poetry. A National Director will report to the Board and have responsibility for the artistic program, working with a team initially based in Victoria and NSW to deliver an exciting national education, events and publications program, including the publication of high quality poetry journal. A National Advisory Council will be made up of leading poets and representatives of key poetry organisations to advise the Board and National Director in regard to the program and strategic direction of the organisation.
Following national advertising and interviews, Paul Kooperman has been appointed National Director of the organisation. Australian Poetry is currently advertising for a Publications Manager and other positions will soon be advertised for including a NSW Director and National Administrative Officer. Please watch the websites for these advertisements. You will be advised of these appointments as they are made.
The NSW Director will be responsible for the delivery of the national program in NSW and for initiating specific NSW projects. It is anticipated that there will be a need for a volunteer committee to assist the NSW Director. The exact nature and function of this committee will be advised following the appointment of the NSW Director.
Current APC members will be invited to roll their membership on into the new organisation without having to pay extra joining fees. Current Poets Union financial members will automatically become members of the new organisation and receive free membership until June 30th 2011, at which time you will receive renewal notices. From then on membership will date from time of joining. Membership fees have not been finalised. They will be slightly higher than a single membership of either organisation but cheaper than being a member of both organisations. They will offer more for your money than comparable organisations. The next newsletter will provide the fee structure.
The Board of Australian Poetry is determined that the new organisation will provide services nationwide. The services may be different from the ones which you have come to expect and specific projects will change according to circumstances but the core services will include:
A National Journal, published 3 times a year (replacing Blue Dog, twice a year, and Five Bells, four times a year)
A national Website, offering a members’ only section offering updates and opportunities restricted to members only
A monthly E-Newsletter, including national opportunities, competitions and updates
Discounts to national events, readings, workshops, courses, festivals and opportunities
Discounts to other relevant organisations, bookshops and other stores who are partners of Australian Poetry
The Next Newsletter
We will be posting another newsletter later in the year which will advise you of the formal procedures for winding up the PU and APC. At this time we should be able to announce all appointments. In the meantime, please keep your eye on our respective websites for interim information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions about the merger have been posted on the website http://www.poetsunion.com
These answers expand on the information contained in this newsletter.
Chairperson, Australian Poetry Centre
Chairperson, Poets Union