Poet's Hardship Fund

Poets Hardship Fund (UK) is, according to their website, a volunteer-run and donation-reliant hardship fund for poets in the UK:

After a decade of punitive austerity and a brutally mismanaged pandemic, we thought that a simple way of getting a bit of money to poets who require it is both long overdue and much needed. While the scale of what we’re dealing with far exceeds any of our individual capacities for making change — the problems we’re seeking to address extending far beyond any discernible ‘poetry community’ — we see this fund as, at least, ‘a start.' As a result, we’re looking for donations to build up a modest fund for the duration of the pandemic, and maybe beyond, with the aim of beginning to distribute money on Monday 22 February 2021. The premise is simple: give when you can and take when you can’t.

You can make a donation directly at Poets Harship Fund

The group publishes a related magazine, Ludd Gang

I asked for a bit more context on the campaign. Alex Marsh, Dom Hale, and Tom Crompton replied for the otherwise anonymous group, noting that while we aren’t anonymous, we are reticent in putting our names all over everything in the interest of confidentiality and not wanting to take ‘ownership’ of the fund. Here is what they wrote:

In terms of context, I suppose it depends a bit on what you mean. Like you suggest, the poets we publish in Ludd Gang do put the fund and magazine in touch with a certain context or ‘tradition, implicative of a formal and often a material politics (loosely ‘radical’ or ‘left-wing’ in both cases). We’ve each been involved with different scenes, events, reading series and publications which would fit under at least one of these headers.  Of course, the relationship between a poet’s formal and material politics isn’t always a steady one. Perhaps because of this, we started to think about how we could participate in ongoing efforts to realise the radical potential of poets and poetry in the UK in a fuller sense  i.e., not only in poems, but alongside the poems already being written, to the end of countering the realities of successive decades of austerity and Tory governments which have structured most of our lives, all recently compounded by a brutally mismanaged pandemic. In other words, an opportunity to back what we sing, and sing what we back in new ways. 

In the process of working out how we might do this, we had a lot of conversations about the experiments with poets unions carried out by Bob Cobbing, etc., in the 1970s, and we are also in touch with Mark Nowak and his worker writer workshops in the US.  These projects amongst others are and remain crucial influences on what we’re trying to do. That said, we want to make the fund as open as possible to any poet in the UK, regardless of their aesthetic allegiances, influences, etc. As we see it, the project existence is equal to those that identify with it, need it, or help out and get involved with running it. So, while it’s important for us that the poets and poetries we publish in Ludd Gang resonate in some way or another with what the PHF is about — being fundamentally opposed to while remaining embedded in the realities of class, gender, racial, and ecological violences wrought out daily under capitalism — how these political commitments are expressed needn’t be consistent; sometimes its blatant, sometimes its more of an attitude or a feeling, sometimes it’s just being involved with what we do. On this final point, I guess we hope that agreeing to be involved with the PHF/Ludd Gang acts as a guarantee that we are all on the same page in some way. Whether those requesting money from the fund share those commitments to the same extent we do is beyond our control. … However, 1) we don’t see this as a prerequisite for requesting donations, and 2) it’s important for us to make clear that Ludd Gang and the PHF is an open church. … We hope that by constantly attempting to poets involved with the project in touch, we can make space for poets to form new and interesting solidarities (material, aesthetic or otherwise) across ‘traditions’ and generations, etc. In that way, I suppose the context is what we’re making!

Please note the related U.S. organization, Poets in Need.