Poetry Wales releases the following statement in regards to the publication of a conversation with Kate Clanchy in the Summer 2021 edition of the magazine:
As part of its aim to explore and promote all aspects of poetry, Poetry Wales recently featured a conversation with Kate Clanchy about growing up neurodivergent and writing poetry. We are appalled to have since learned that, in her book Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me (Picador, 2019), Clanchy uses language and descriptions that we and many others know to be racist and ableist.
It was not the intention of Poetry Wales to platform racist and ableist views, or to perpetuate the harmful stereotypes to be found in Clanchy’s book. Following public statements from Clanchy and her publisher on 6th August 2021, we are dismayed by the denials of responsibility they contain. This is a time when everyone, particularly those in positions of power, must work hard to recognise, unravel, and end the harmful assumptions, language and actions they take into their classrooms, workplaces, newsrooms, books, writing, art and wider society. We presumed that other authors, editors, publishers and award-givers shared our values, but it is apparent that this presumption was faulty, and our trust in the industry was, and is, entirely misguided.
In line with our work to make our magazine a welcoming and inclusive space, we are establishing new policies to help guide everyone involved in the production, oversight, and management of Poetry Wales to ensure that the content of the magazine truly reflects our aims. A statement and article about this will appear in the forthcoming issue of the magazine. We will continue to work hard to make poetry and poetry resources more accessible, welcoming, and inclusive.
We apologise to our contributors and readers, to everyone who has trusted us, and to all who have been harmed and hurt by Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me. In publishing the conversation with Clanchy, we contributed to the distress of peers, strangers, and friends. We have undermined our own values by publishing this item, making our magazine a less safe space, especially for writers of colour, disabled writers, and neurodivergent writers, which is entirely the reverse of our aims. Poetry Wales condemns all forms of discrimination including racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and Antisemitism.