Bill Greenwell

After Roger Woddis died, I wrote to the then editor, Steve Platt, and asked if he would consider trying me out. I had one piece of stiff competition: Gavin Ewart wanted to do it, and we had a slightly awkward conversation about it. He wrote a satirical poem and sent it in and it was published on the letters page. The three editors for whom I wrote (it was the golden age of the fax: I had to send it in on Monday morning for publication on Friday) were Steve Platt, Ian Hargreaves and Peter Wilby. Steve Platt printed most of my submissions, and Andrej Krauze illustrated most of them quite brilliantly. Ian Hargreaves, a committed Blairite, wanted me to attack Blair on the basis that he was bound to win the 1997 election, and that there was open season on him. Peter Wilby kept me on until 2002, even granting me a whopping rise of £10 from £30 to £40 when I asked for one – drolly writing to congratulate me on being the first person on the NS payroll to get a 33% pay-rise. In 2002, the magazine had a makeover, and the market research concluded that younger readers didn’t like poetry. It was a pity, but I enjoyed every minute of it. The Weekly Poem site was encouraged by Peter Wilby.

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