As the national representative body for poetry in Australia, Australian Poetry (AP) wishes to expresses its deep dismay at the decision this week by the University of WA to axe its 84-year-old publishing arm, UWAP, with operations set to cease imminently. Led by UWAP’s brilliant, indefatigable publisher and poetry publisher, Terri-ann White, this decision not only leaves in limbo forthcoming poetry books (15 in total), it significantly impacts negatively the future landscape of Australian poetry overall.
As one of the poetry majors in Australia, Terri-ann and UWAP have earned universal respect for their vision and lists – at this point, a 320 back-list includes 60+ individual poetry collections by Australian poets, alongside UWAP’s iconic Collected series, featuring the likes of Francis Webb, Lesbia Harford and Fay Zwicky. And in terms of recent contributions to the flourishing of contemporary Australian poetry, they have published 40 individual collections alone in the new series they began in October 2016. This is an incredible achievement, and if UWAP is able to continue, via this axeing decision being reversed, this series would continue to offer essential pathways for so many emerging and established poets. Without it, our art-form palpably suffers. Poets whose collections have been scheduled for February are David Stavanger, Jill Jones, Thuy On, Nadia Rhook and Graeme Miles.
AP would also like to express support for all others, organisations (including Westerly) and individuals, who are protesting this decision. ACT poet Melinda Smith’s petition currently sits at over 6,000 signatures, and many have contacted the UWA Deputy Vice Chancellor, Tayyeb Shah, directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). The link to the petition is below. AP stands in unstinting solidarity with UWAP over this decision and believes it should be, and can, be reversed.
Best, Jacinta (Le Plastrier) AP CEO / Publisher email@example.com