The Poetry Foundation – The way forward

A FEW weeks ago Fondazzjoni Poezija was born. The Fondazzjoni Poezija (Poetry Foundation) is an initiative launched by the literary group Poezijaplus with the aim of stimulating more interest in poetry.

It has now been a long time since we had something similar taking place on the local scene. Following long discussions and shelving of the project to a later date, the group decided it was time to take the plunge and come up with the idea of a dynamic programme of initiatives that would lead to the annual publication of books of verse in a collection mode. This would need the assistance and enthusiasm of the authors and book lovers who would join to sustain the Foundation with their membership fee.

In the nine years of ongoing activities, Poezijaplus has confirmed that love for poetry is not a chimera and that people from all walks of life are committed to writing poetry every so often. The monthly meetings at the Manoel Theatre’s Courtyard has shown that contrary to the perception of many, poetry is a living reality that only need spaces where it could be shared, exchanged and appreciated.

The success of Poezijaplus encouraged the organisers to work harder to identify new ways how to bring poetry closer to the people. After all, this is what the group is all about, a platform for people to express themselves in verse. With a positive experience as backdrop and the necessary drive to make the whole thing operative, the concept of a co-owned Poetry Foundation started taking shape fast. From the onset, it was clear where the mentors wanted to take the project, especially in view of the limited market that poetry occupies, and the difficulty that limited circulation puts on publication houses to accept a manuscript of poems for publication.

In agreement with the Klabb Kotba Maltin (KKM), Poezijaplus maintained that in order to see more books of poetry in circulation, a structure for this aim was needed. The structure had to consist of an executive committee and a Chair, who together with the KKM would appoint an independent board of experts to choose from manuscripts received for publication. The idea was that the Foundation publishes at least two poetry books every year, subject to the advice received from the autonomous selection board and the number of members enrolled with the Foundation. The KKM has offered to shoulder the expenses pertinent to the design and format of the books.

The Foundation intends fostering the idea of continuation in the field of publication and strives to disseminate its publications (which will be on sale at a very decent price) wherever it is possible for books to be available and availed of. The Foundation does not intend doing profit from its activity, as the sole revenue (generated from the registration fees) will go directly to the publications’ fund. An annual General Meeting will take place to give an account of what the Foundation has been doing during the past year, and to give a detailed breakdown of the revenue and expenses incurred as well as announce the way forward. The Foundation is committed to total transparency and accountability and will entitle its members free access to its accounts.

All poets are invited to embark on this historic experience with a view to give the Maltese language and its literature the importance that they so much deserve. Poetry is by far the soul of a nation; it marks distant points of departure and arrival and makes understanding of ourselves more visible. Giving this wealth of experience, the possibility to be shared through publication is what drives the group forward in its endeavours and igniting dreams.

More details can be obtained by dropping on e-mail at [email protected] .