Archive for November, 2010

Last and next workshop

Friday, November 26th, 2010

As reported in the previous post, at the last workshop on 20th November 2010, we launched Collaborations for Peter Finch by Lawrence Upton and the late Bob Cobbing, first published in 1997

Lawrence Upton gave a short talk about the book; and that talk will be published on this site in due course; and later Upton and Benedict Taylor performed two pages from the book.

There was the usual broad range of poetry and everyone present, it seemed, had a very good time.

The only disappointing thing was the discovery that someone has gone into the pub and removed the leaflets advertising Writers Forum and its publications, presumably to deny people information about alternatives t what they know of.

The next workshop and the last one of the year Saturday, 11 December 2010

All are welcome, with or without poetry to perform!

Reprint of important publication

Friday, November 26th, 2010

At the last Writers Forum Workshop, at The Betsey Trotwood, we launched Writers Forum‘s latest publication, a paperback reprint of:

Cobbing, Bob & Upton, Lawrence; Collaborations for Peter Finch; 64 pp; ISBN 0 86162 784 9; October 1997; reprinted 1998, reprinted November 2010

Price UK incl postage £7.50

Overseas price soon

WF ID Theft – Correspondence received

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Everything about recent events has seemed very strange to me.  Not least that I was kept entirely out of any talk about the creation of a ‘new series’ of Writers Forum despite regularly performing original work at the Betsey and engaging in many discussions with other regulars – in the pub or walking up the road or waiting at the bus stop!

And all of the regulars at the Betsey have my private email too as Adrian Clarke used to send out group emails from time to time without ever masking addresses.  Despite these things no-one sounded me out or dropped a hint or two in an email.  And as no-one from the ‘new series’ talked to me about what was happening I have been forced to speculate as to what their reasons might have been for bypassing me.
1.    I’m not innovative.  Well, an innovation scale would be a difficult one to measure anyone against.  And didn’t someone say something about a democracy?  Was there an undemocratic debate to decide whom to include in the ‘democratic’ debate?  Was a list drawn up of those who are in(novative) and those who are not?  Or perhaps a list based on some other unstated criterion? Who decided? And who decided who decided?
2.    I offer no routes to poetic fame.  This is undoubtedly true.  I’m not a career-driven poet.  Associating with me is unlikely to get anyone a cushy poet-in-residence or editorship of an esteemed poetry magazine.
3.    I’m a woman.  This is undoubtedly true.  I’m not quite ready to jump up and down screaming misogyny but my pointing finger is twitching right now.
4.    I’m from Not-London.  The Midlands in fact.  Perhaps this automatically discounts me from inclusion in anything innovative or interesting.  I mean, it’s not like anything good ever came out of Not-London.
5.    I would have mentioned any ‘issues’ to Lawrence.  This is undoubtedly true.   And that could have caused some problems for the person or persons trying to appropriate the Writers Forum name and reputation.

Those who have abandoned Writers Forum should give themselves an entirely different name; so that there is no confusion; they have no moral right to the name.  And they should stop timing their meetings to clash with Writers Forum.

Tina Bass 25th November 2010

Re recent posts – ID Theft

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

There will be some comment in due course on what is being posted; and I think maybe a repositioning of pages here so that this nonsense does not occupy the eye too much.

Briefly, the thing about comments being off  is that it was never intended as a discussion forum. Those exist. I don’t particularly want to moderate discussions; though I am happy to have them and there are many channels for that.

This is a site to tell those interested in Writers Forum what’s going on. When it was initiated at the start of the year, identity theft was not on my mind.

Those responsible for the scam could have communicated. Instead they hide behind phrases like “it was felt that…” – I quote from Stephen Mooney on Facebook recently. What Chris Goode has called “sub-DCMS” (department for culture media and sport – which in itself needs no comment) in a post quoted here

They can’t even write the language they propose to subject to innovation

It’s all very tiresome

Apologies for my poor fork-tongued fellow bipeds


Commentary received

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Sun, 14 Nov 2010 18:21:31 -0500
cris cheek posted in reply to Chris Goode’s printed below

(all reprinted by permission of authors’)

Writers Forum Workshop (New Series)

I am one of those for whom this is the first i had heard of it. I’ve now read all of the stuff online that i can access.
It’s a bit like an icky old-fashioned, even old-fashionisti, putsch! so people want a different workshop character (location, organizational ethos . . . or whatever) and have come to think that xxx is not serving their purpose or interests . . . times change and or time to move on etcetera . . .
but I find it extraordinary that there is any need felt to use the same name.
paucity of imagination anybody???
just pick a different name. start something else (no Something Else, that’s already been taken ;=)) spirit of Bob Cobbing, start something different, something that makes a difference cris

On Nov 14, 2010, at 4:56 PM, Chris Goode wrote:

A number of people have already been in touch to say this is the first they’ve heard of any of it. At least I’m not alone in feeling outlooped sometimes.

Lawrence Upton’s account of the story so far can be found at the Writers Forum blog:

I’m not aware of any direct responses from the ‘new’ group in the public domain, partly I suppose  because there is no provision for comments at the WF blog (or, rather, such provision has not been enabled). There is however an open Facebook group for the ‘new series’:

and perhaps others can point to further sources of information and illumination.

It is curious, given that both these pages are in fully open public sight, that I feel like I’m snitching, or intruding on private grief. Can’t help thinking that’s indicative in itself.


Important reprint

Monday, November 15th, 2010

It is intended to launch (copies have arrived from the printer)

Collaborations for Peter Finch by Bob Cobbing & Lawrence Upton; 64 pp; paperback; ISBN 0 86162 784 9

at Writers Forum Workshop on Saturday 20th November 2010 at The Betsey Trotwood at 3:30 for 4

This book was first published by Writers Forum in 1997. It was reprinted in 1998 but has been out of print for over a decade.

New publication

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Other things being equal it is hoped to launch

Hypothetical by Lawrence Upton; A4 landscape; card cover, comb bound; 36 pp; ISBN 978 1 84254 140 1

at Writers Forum Workshop on Saturday 20th November 2010 at The Betsey Trotwood at 3:30 for 4

Commentary received

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The following was posted on “UKPoetry” on Sunday, November 14, 2010 8:43 PM by Chris Goode and is reprinted here almost in its entirety.

I have omitted the final paragraph which does not address issues related directly to Writers Forum

It is reprinted with Chris Goode’s permission

Subject: Writers Forum Workshop (New Series)

My commitments away from the world of poetry — sometimes, it feels, a very long way away — mean that I sometimes, regretfully, have the sensation of being rather out of the loop. (The loop, happily, does fine without me.) Thankfully I’m not so estranged as to miss out on everything, though, partly because I still keep half an eye on this list and a few other useful online portals and trapdoors. It’s been particularly heartening to witness, again without being able to be quite in the thick of it, the different kinds of engagement being made, both here and in connected zones, with the imperatives arising lately in attempting to respond publicly to the assaults being perpetrated on the education system and on arts funding, &c. In fact I received an email just now which I thought pretty heartening and exemplary in its determination to ensure that our anger keeps being translated into direct action, adventurous critical thought and plausible collectivity.

In that context, wherein more than ever we (many of us) want to feel that we stand together — and feel that it’s true when we say so — I would really welcome a few words from any of the individuals who have taken it upon themselves to hijack the name of Writers Forum in establishing a new workshop series that seems, as far as one can tell from the currently visible information, intent on supplanting and presumably obliterating the series that, since the death of Bob Cobbing, has been run by Lawrence Upton and, until recently, Adrian Clarke.

I myself was only briefly a regular attendee of the WF workshop, while I was  running the venue that offered its hospitality to WF during a period between about 2003-05; it is certainly true that I was aware even then of a level of discontent (largely muttered behind hands) about some aspects of the running of the series — not least, at that time, the unsuitability  of that venue. (Fair enough.) To a degree I am surprised that it’s taken until now for a similar workshop, inspired by Cobbing’s model but run instead by those who’ve felt unhappy with current WF proceedings, to emerge: and probably on balance it’s not a bad thing that it has. Were I ever in a position to attend either, I would quite like to attend both.

Can I ask, though — perhaps someone involved in the so-called “new series” would be able to comment? — whether it’s correct to say that their workshops are deliberately being programmed to clash with the, hm, “old series”? (WF Classic? — No, hang on, fuck off: Writers Forum.) And whether any serious discussion has taken place as to the ethical propriety of using the name of Writers Forum in doing so? Or whether this is intended as deliberately — to be polite and collegiate as ever — provocative? I have read a small number of ad hoc defences of this manoeuvre; none of them seem to get beyond “there’s nothing to stop us doing so”.

I’m puzzled because many of the signatory movers behind the “new series” are friends and colleagues towards whom I feel nothing but affection and respect (and whom I dare say would, and will, make a good job of running a workshop of this kind): so I sort of imagine I must be missing something. From the outside, assuming I have an accurate picture —  and I concede I may not, from this distance — their actions look wilful, treacherous, competitive and bullying. All of which are things we have plenty of room to be, because no one will stop us, no one owns the means to do so.

As far as I know, no discussion of this wretched situation has been essayed here, and on a couple of occasions when I’ve tried elsewhere to ventilate my concerns informally I’ve been met only with embarrassment and fudging. I wonder would anyone care to set the record straight? I wonder if I might encourage them to do so front-channel, even? I am a bit sick of the amount of behind-the-hand whispering that goes on in a group of two hundred people. It is, to say the least, one of the characteristic behaviours that make my time out of the loop a little easier to bear.

Recent posts

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Three posts have just been posted

One reports on the last workshop and announces the next

A second is a letter received by email

A third is a commentary upon that letter

The second and third were held back until it was time to send our newsletter. That has now been sent.

The information is arranged the way it is quite deliberately so that those who have no interest in or really do not want to know about the theft of Writers Forum‘s name do not have to read about it.

Having said that, I hope that you will read it. As Cobbing handed over the workshop in 2002, it was quite clear that he cared about it – then possibly more than his own work: I have written elsewhere that it was the workshop he most cared about. I am sure that he did not make it one of his central concerns for nearly half a century to have it taken over  by those who do not apparently grasp what it is about, who have no right to it and are apparently incapable of making their own arrangements.

I have given quite a lot of my life to it and I intend that it will continue undamaged from now on

Lawrence Upton

The last workshop and the next

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The workshop of 30th October 2010 was excellent. We were joined by Richard Tipping and others and launched his new book from Writers Forum, Off the page (and back again) which may now be bought by post for £9.00 (UK) or for £7.50 by participants in forthcoming workshops.

We heard a variety of poetries including one ongoing systems piece, two voice work, computer-based  audio work and computer-based audio / video work.

There were Writers Forum publications on sale and other publications by WF Workshop participants

The next workshop is on Saturday 20th November 2010 at 3:30 for 4 pm

All of good will are welcome. Our numbers are growing again, but there is room for more. No charge!

We hope to launch the new reprint of Collaborations for Peter Finch by Bob Cobbing and Lawrence Upton (“hope” because it has not yet arrived from the printer)