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Emergency Verse  (PDWS)

Great moments of popular resistance create their own poets the Morning Star
An extraordinary anthology Housmans


Above: the Poetry Library

launch Jan 2011 above; foreground: Chris McCabe,

Alan Morrison, Naomi Foyle, Judith Kazantzis, John O'Donoghue; background: Michael Horovitz, Simon Jenner

Above: Housmans relaunch May 2011, left to right: Jeremy Reed, David Kessel, Chris McCabe, N.S. Thompson, Dr Robert Ilson, Clare Saponia, Niall McDevitt, Michael Horovitz, Helen Moore, Philip Ruthen; front: Alan Morrison, Brian Beamish


EV cover
EV back cover

Emergency Verse - Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State is a co-operatively produced protest anthology of poetry and polemic from 112 contributors, mixing writing of many fired to verse for the first time in reaction to the austertity cuts with scores of well-established poets including Sebastian Barker, Andy Croft, Victoria Field, Michael Horovitz, David Kessel, Judith Kazantsis, Alexis Lykiard, Chris McCabe, Mario Petrucci, Angela Readman, Jeremy Reed, Michael Rosen, Barry Tebb, Brenda Williams, Ken Worpole and many others. This illustrated 300pp perfect-bound book was produced in a matter of weeks as a petition for the introduction of a Robin Hood Tax on the City and against the wholesale stripping of the British Welfare State by a brutalising £18 Billion. Patroned by Green MP Caroline Lucas, it is broadly an ethical socialist publication but its contributors come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs, all united in their collective opposition to the austerity policies of the Tory-led government. EV is stocked at Housmans Bookshop, King's Cross (; it is also available for borrowing at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, along with a full audio recording of the January 2011 launch at same venue.

Chronology so far

Caroline Lucas MP accepts invitation to patron the PDWS (Poets in Defence of the Welfare State) campaign and contributes a statement for inclusion in EV

EV published as an e-book poetry petition in August 2010 and emailed directly to all Con-Dem MPs

Featured in the Guardian, September 2010

Poetry Kit Book of the Month September 2010

More coverage in various newspapers and outlets including the Independent, Reuters and again in the Guardian

Thanks to donations from contributors EV is published as a full book in December 2010

EV launch to a packed Poetry Library in January 2011

EV featured in the Morning Star January 2011

EV featured with poem excerpts in the Big Issue February 2011

Positive reviews in various other titles, plus one or two predictably ferocious attacks in more reactionary outlets

Re-launch of EV at Housmans Bookshop in May 2011

August 2011: Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS Union accepts an invitation to be patron of the second PDWS anthology provisionally entitled The Robin Hood Book planned for early 2012

Audio clips Emergency Verse

Double click on the underlined words

'Shaving the Lion' by Jan Bradley

'The Privatisation of Air' by Paul Lester

excerpts from 'The Society of Broken Smiles' part one and part two by Alan Morrison

'Signing Your Life Away 09/03/04' by Stephen James Smith

Audio excerpts from Poetry Library launch will be uploaded here soon plus the full pdf download of Emergency Verse

"In spite of the Chancellor’s protestations, the 2010 coalition emergency budget was neither unavoidable nor fair. Instead it was a massively failed opportunity to shift the economy onto a fairer, greener pathway. Devastating public spending cuts are not an economic inevitability — they are an ideological choice. So I warmly welcome Emergency Verse and the campaign to bring together various voices in defence of our Welfare State and public services. "

Caroline Lucas MP

EV Patron

Great stuff. Amazing intro. Fantastic.

Michael Rosen

The presentation and write-up are excellent.

Mario Petrucci

an extraordinary achievement, full of exceptional poems

Andy Croft

I am extremely proud to have poems amongst such militant minded and skilled poets, yet again this book reveals the volcanoes of political poetry waiting to be vented.

John G. Hall

shaping up to be the first great political anthology of 2010

Todd Swift

An amazing compilation!

Sebastian Barker

Great idea

Denis MacShane MP, Labour

a vitally significant project

Brian D’Acry

Amazing book! Good for you for undertaking the task of telling the truth!

Alan Britt

Brilliant Initiative. You have my support

John McDonnell MP,

Labour Representation Committee

A remarkable affirmation of widespread solidarity managing balance political fervour, conviction & practicalities with uncompromising artistic finesse.

Michael Horovitz

I'm reading my way through it with something of a mixture between awe and humility... it's an amazing work; it should be in print...

Alan Corkish of the most important books you will ever buy. Just received my copy – not had chance to read everything yet but what I have has blown me away, brilliant work and honoured to have one of mine included.

Maria Gornell

It's such a great moment

Nyeger Gábor Ádám

It's a wonderful thing you've done. All your hard work is highly appreciated here.

Gwilym Williams

I feel really excited about it, and have high hopes that it can spark a much needed debate.

Mairi Sharratt

These are difficult times but this project is a small sign of hope.

Colin Robinson

What a monumental, marvellous piece of work.

Sam Smith

I'm really enjoying the book - and so are others who've seen it.

Will Daunt

this is terrific

Judith Kazantzis

Brilliant... I like the neo-Constructivist cover - it's very effective.

Norman Jope

an excellent anthology James Fountain

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