Correspondence received

On Mon, September 6, 2010 20:43, Antony Francis wrote:

Dear Lawrence,
In light of Adrian ’s resignation as co-organiser and the circumstances surrounding his resignation, we are writing to express our concern about the future of Writers Forum.
Writers Forum workshop is rightly focused on innovative and experimental writing. This is a particularly exciting time for such writing, with many poets producing important work. However, we feel that neither the Writers Forum workshop nor the press are fulfilling their potential in this exciting time. New poets are not being attracted to the workshop and more established poets are not being retained because of the way the workshop is currently organised. The danger is that if this situation persists, the workshop will simply ossify.
The solution that we envisage is an overhaul of the way the workshop is run, with the current situation replaced with a genuinely collective arrangement that utilises the many skills that WF attendees possess. This is the view of the majority of regular attendees to the workshop. It is something we would hope you, with your long and important involvement with WF, would recognise. We want a vibrant workshop that encourages work that pushes the boundaries of writing – an aspiration we know you share.
However, we also recognise that there is no democratic mechanism in place by which our majority view can be expressed and acted upon. As a result, in the meantime, we are in the process of starting our own alternate workshop focused on innovative and experimental writing, in which the best traditions of Writers Forum can be carried on, and the workshop open to new members, and the collective impetus of all its members.
We do want these things to be discussed openly with you – yours is a towering contribution to Writers Forum and to poetry in general. But
Writers Forum needs to change if it to keep up with the exciting times we find ourselves in. This is a difficult set of issues to raise with you, especially as none of us would deny that you have not received the credit and recognition you deserve for your work, along with Adrian, in keeping the workshop and press alive. Given the scale of the job required to maintain both the workshop and the press, it is a wonder and a credit to both yourself and Adrian that either still exist at all. We want to build upon the work you have done, and to ensure that WF is taken seriously by, and is accessible to, the ‘innovative’ poetry community on a wider scale than is at present the case (we do not propose any lessening of its creative or poetic ethos in this, of course).
We would be happy to meet and discuss this further – discussions are always more amicable face to face than via email. We look forward to your reply.
Best wishes,
Antony, James, Jamie, Jeff, Johan, Linus, Matt, Nat, Sean, Stephen, Steve, Wayne.

[Readers of this letter may like to know that, at the time of this letter proposing democratic control of the WF Workshop and offering good wishes, 5 of the signatories were regular attenders, 2 less regular attenders and 5 were non attenders. A commentary follows]

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