Search This Blog

Friday, 14 November 2008

Poetic injustice, Part V

The Waterstone’s saga continues – but, then, sagas have a habit of doing that.

In case you're not familiar with the tale, see here, here, here and here for the background.

I’ve just received a second email from Waterstone’s MD, Gerry Johnson – this one unsolicited, but referring to my first one to him – that makes allegations against the offended poet, Patrick Jones.

Robinson says:

The poetry reading was organised and planned in good faith between our store and the publisher. However, it would appear that shortly before the event took place, the author deliberately took provocative action to create a furore around the publication of his book. These actions were taken without prior discussion with the store or their consent and altered the nature of the pre-agreed event. For this reason and because of the risk of disruption to the store, our staff and customers we felt it appropriate to cancel the event.

The publishers, Cinnamon Press, deal with this on their website, thus:

I [we don’t know who “I” is, but presumably one of Cinnamon's team] was also told on the phone that Waterstone’s considered Patrick Jones had taken actions that instigated the cancellation of the event. Having followed this up with the author it is clear that this is not the case. In fact the leader of Christian Voice [Stephen Green] had published remarks several months ago that Patrick had responded to in verse. This was a separate and historical incident and not related to the launch in any way. The leader of Christian Voice is well known for his attempts to sabotage anything that does not meet with his approval and there is no doubt that he would have orchestrated this bigotry even if he’d never previously heard of Patrick. The cancellation was not due to Patrick’s actions, but only due to Waterstone’s decision to accede to a very small threat in a way not consistent with your previous policy. To cave in to threats of disruption or any implied threats of violence is an appalling betrayal of civil values. If threats were made (or implied, as seems likely from the language of “going to the battleground” and being prepared to “fight”) it is a matter for the police, not for capitulation.

1 comment:

Rowan Fortune-Wood said...

Thank you for all your excellent blogs.