Apparently, funny things are going on at the Poetry Society. Directors and Presidents resigning all over the place, and lots of rumours abount Editors of the Poetry Review only being interested in a certain cadre of poet-friends. Etc etc...
But frankly, I can't say I care very much. When was the last time that the Poetry Society was actually relevant to the real range of poetry going on in Britain today? Oh, sure it does lots of work in education... but is it just reinforcing a certain staid establishment view of poetry, or is actually reflecting poetry as it is? Poetry as it includes the mainstream and the non-mainstream, the page and the performance, the literary and the visual. Philip Larkin and Bob Cobbing.
And yes, it's full of arguments and disputes about what constitutes "real poetry": just as every other art form does, and should. If people don't get passionate about it, what's the point of it? I don't like all of it, and you won't like all of it. If the Poetry Society wants to be representative then it should reflect these things.
Poetry (Chicago) has been quite successful in reflecting the different forms of poetry by having 'specials' on visual poetry, flarf/conceptual poetry and translations. Can you imagine the current editor doing a special on visual poetry these days? If not, why not? Does she ever step out of her office to see what's going on in the non-mainstream scene, or in the regions?
The Poetry Society is largely irrelevant to most poets in this country. Maybe it's time to ask what its enormous grant from the government can do if it's redirected to something useful.
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