Sometimes the poetry communities and networks I kind of live inside notice that we are way too — well OK, too a lot of things, but especially — white.
I recently came across Kate Nepveu’s Con or Bust project, which uses crowdfunding to help people of colour to get to science fiction conventions.
I’m not exactly sure how to extrapolate something like Con or Bust to poetry. (Is there anything like this out there?) SF conventions can cost hundreds of pounds, whereas most poetry events cost a fiver. (Though I guess when you add transport, the cost of a few pamphlets …)
Or — another way of construing “the cost of getting to poetry events” — a part-time MA costs thousands and thousands of pounds, and that seems like more than the poets’ shallow pockets could feasibly furnish.
And maybe the idea has a cringey tokenistic feel. There are other ways of addressing diversity and they’re probably better. And of course diversity is not yet decolonization.
But as an AND or as an UNTIL, nor as an OR — can we think about what poetry costs? Can we think about the kinds of bursaries or grants or scholarships or other projects that we could set up, just by passing around a massive hat?