The Poetry Business recently celebrated twenty-five years. They produce The North poetry magazine and Smith/Doorstop books, a well as running monthly writing days in Sheffield and an annual competition. I read, or heard somewhere, that Smiths/Doorstop was named after a Smiths typewriter and the expectation ( a fairly realistic one in the world of poetry publishing) that many publications would end up being used for this purpose. I also read an interview in which Peter Sansom said the name of the organisation was ironic, the two words ‘poetry’ and ‘business’ being unrelated.
As well as running the above mentioned, Ann and Peter Sansom are individually among the finest british poets (and I’m not just saying this because they are such lovely people!). I am lucky enough to live within striking distance of Sheffield and have been able to attend a number of writing days which I would recommend to anyone. Even on occasions where the writing exercises have not prompted me to produce any new work, I have enjoyed listing to others read back the results of Ann and Peter’s prompts. Another benefit is meeting and chatting with poets, new and established, in a friendly and focused environment. Also, given that Peter and Ann have been descried by The Guardian as ‘the best writing teachers in the world’, I think the price of the day remains a bargain.
The PB website has just been updated and looks fabulous (see sidebar for link). It includes news of festivals and events as well as a comprehensive list of Smith/Doorstop publications and an online writers forum and discussion pages.