Poetry to our ears

Adam Newey ("Death by a thousand cuts", 23 July) is right: new readers are the future of poetry. How can the Arts Council of England help? By supporting the promotion of poetry in libraries and schools, by assisting publishers to develop websites, which will in turn help direct sales, by funding organisations such as the Poetry Society and the Poetry Book Society to organise tours, readings and national poetry promotions.

We haven't given up on bookshops but, rather than create "a vast and expanding poetic smog", we are looking creatively at alternatives to the traditional routes to readers. We already are, as he suggests, taking "a much stronger lead in improving the demand and distribution side of the market".

Gary McKeone
Literature Director
Arts Council of England
London SW1

This article first appeared in the 30 July 2001 issue of the New Statesman, So what tribe do you belong to?