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This report is taken from PN Review 58, Volume 14 Number 2, November - December 1987.

An Open Letter to Michael Schmidt Peter Jay
An Open Letter to Michael Schmidt
Dear Michael,

Receiving your Poetry Live issue ('the official Poetry Live magazine' - beware of imitators?!) and recently copies of the Book Trust/Poetry Society British and Irish Poetry 1987 booklist edited by John Medlin for this jamboree and ensuing Book Trust exhibitions, and also the new Password catalogue, has prompted a lot of conflicting thoughts. I'm sure that most of them have occurred to you, and I'm addressing you as a fellow book-publisher as much as in your capacity as PN Review editor, as well as the magazine's readers, some of whose eyebrows I trust have flown ceiling-wards when they opened number 56.

My thoughts are on marketing and poetry; on promotion and poetry; on selling books and poetry - but not much on poetry and poetry. Of course I shouldn't complain, because nobody asked me any more than you to be a poetry publisher. (Or to join the Poetry Live committee . . . personally, I've hated the idea of being on committees ever since Poetry International, resigning from which in 1973 I swore I'd never again have anything to do with one, an oath which only my place on the Password board has broken.)

Well, since we can't beat them, we're joining them for this festival - sorry, promotion is the operative word - as wholeheartedly as we can: for the sake of the poets we publish, or some of them (the marketable ones - pity ...

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