Poet stirs up religious storms over latest book
Patrick Jones, brother of Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers, has caused controversy with his latest collection of poetry. The Cardiff branch of Waterstone’s has accused Jones “of deliberately provoking a “furore” about his latest collection, forcing the company to cancel its official launch”, reported the BBC. The bookseller’s called off Patrick Jones’s book-signing after a campaign by a Christian organisation. The author confirmed that he e-mailed his poems to Christian and Muslim groups and to the far-right organisation Combat 18 before the event in an attempt “to spark debate”. A campaign by activists Christian Voice pronounced the book “obscene and blasphemous”. The bookstore has now released a further statement defending the cancellation, saying: “The poetry reading was organised and planned in good faith between our store and the publisher.”However, it would appear that shortly before the event took place, the author deliberately took provocative action to create a furore around the publication of his book. These actions were taken without prior discussion with the store or their consent and altered the nature of the pre-agreed event. For this reason and because of the risk of disruption to the store, our staff and customers we felt it appropriate to cancel the event.” The issues in Jones’s poems include religion and domestic violence against men. He had this to say: “I sent a few poems to many different organisations on 2 November and I said ‘Please find a few poems. I would appreciate your feedback’,” he said. “I was hoping that maybe they would come out and have a debate. That’s within my rights to do that. Even if they had come out to protest, that doesn’t mean Waterstone’s should give up [on the launch]. That’s freedom of expression.” Er..Yeah? Another blow to the artist in my opinion. Why have some religious organisations been powerful enough to effectively close down one man’s launch? And why is nobody getting hot under the collar about it?
UPDATE: An internet campaign has been launched urging people to boycott Waterstone’s following the cancellation of Patrick Jones’s event. The Facebook protest was launched by mental health nurse Matthew Evans in support of the poet. So far more than 150 internet users have signed up. Join the campaign.
Photograph by Jane Newman Jones. Taken from Patrick’s website