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Devolutionary Readings

English-Language Poetry and Contemporary Wales


Matthew Jarvis

The September 1997 vote approving devolution, albeit by a tiny margin, was a watershed moment in recent Welsh history. This volume of essays considers the English-language poetic life of Wales since that point. Addressing a range of poets who are associated with Wales by either birth or residence and have been significantly active in the post-1997 period, it seeks to understand the various ways in which Wales’s Anglophone poetic life has been intertwined both with devolutionary matters specifically and the life of contemporary Wales more generally, as well as providing detailed scrutiny of work by key figures. The purpose of the book is thus to offer insights into how English-language poetry and contemporary Wales intersect, exploring the contours of a diverse and vibrant poetic life that is being produced at a time of important cultural and political developments within Wales as a whole.

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7. Poetry and the Public Purse: Publishing Grants for English-Language Poetry from Wales in the Post-devolution Era (Lucy Thomas)


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7   Poetry and the Public Purse: Publishing Grants for English-Language Poetry from Wales in the Post-devolution Era

ABSTRACT This chapter examines the effect of Welsh Government policy and public subsidy on the publishing of English-language poetry in Wales during the post-devolution period. It argues that without subsidy there would not be a significant range of books or body of writing that reflects the complex and nuanced experience of Wales and its people. Poetry publishing has benefitted in direct and indirect ways from a variety of funding initiatives and has held a relatively strong position as a consequence. The most important elements in the publishing of poetry will always be the talent, creativity and passion of its practitioners but, crucially, there has also been a funding structure in place that has gone some way in enabling its publication. While the chapter looks back on the post-devolution period as a time of growth for poetry publication, it also asks what lies ahead for poetry publishing in the era of austerity.

The publishing of poetry is where an art form intersects with the commercial world. It can be a precarious business; over the past few years articles in the publishing trade magazine The Bookseller have reported falls in the numbers of poetry books sold across the UK and we have seen the poetry publisher Salt cease to publish single-author poetry collections by all but the most prominent poets, favouring anthologies that...

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