Arts Council defends Poetry Book Society cuts

Arts Council defends Poetry Book Society cuts

The Arts Council has defended its funding cut to the Poetry Book Society (PBS), claiming its "reach and distribution was not as wide or effective as other applicants'".

In a letter to the Times, Antonia Byatt, director of literature at Arts Council England (ACE), said ACE has "actually increased its investment in poetry and poetry publishing". She said: "Following the cut to the Arts Council budget we said tough choices would have to be made and that regretfully we would not be able to support some excellent organisations."

She added: "We will be investing in poetry publishers and the Arts Council is also funding The Poetry Society, which publishes Poetry Review, while the Poetry Archive and new entrants to our national portfolio, National Poetry Day and Poet in the City, will focus on building new audiences."

Her letter follows one sent to the newspaper on Friday by nine poets, including poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Don Paterson, published in the Times on Friday, calling for ACE to "urgently reconsider their decision" to withdraw funding.

The PBS will lose its regular funding from ACE from April 2012, as part of the implementation of its new portfolio funding for the arts which followed the Government's cuts in its spending review of October 2010. It is receiving £111,299 from the Arts Council in its final year of funding for the 2011/12 financial year.

ACE will meet with PBS board members today [4th April].