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Judith Palmer reinstated as Poetry Society director

19th August 2011

A petition by some of the country's best-known poets has resulted in Judith Palmer being reinstated as director of the Poetry Society.

Palmer resigned in May, citing 'grave concerns' about the governance of the society and was soon followed by president Jo Shapcott, chairman of the board Peter Carpenter and financial officer Paul Ranford.

This was the catalyst for a chain of events that included angry members issuing a vote of no confidence against the board of trustees over the way the organisation was run and the Arts Council indefinitely suspending funding for the society.

However, following a petition by poets George Szirtes, Simon Armitage and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, among others, the outgoing board of trustees has announced Palmer will return to her post with immediate effect.

Speaking to the Guardian about her initial decision to leave, Palmer said she had 'no faith' in the board as her working relationship with the trustees deteriorated, but returned following the vote of no confidence.

'The fact that the board [has] resigned speaks for itself. There will be a new board in September and there is a really strong field of candidates and a universal determination to chart an even course,' she added.

The outgoing board of trustees wished Palmer well and apologised for 'any of its decisions, statements or actions that may have contributed to the current difficulties'.

Palmer's first task will be to convince the Arts Council that the Poetry Society is in a solid position once more and persuade it to release pending grant payments.

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