A huge thank-you to everyone that supported our fundraising appeal - you did us proud!
A heartfelt thank-you to all those who contributed - some more than once - to Write Out Loud's Crowdfunder appeal, which ended on 1 February. Although we didn't reach our target figure, we are more than grateful for what we have managed to raise in these tough times. We achieved a total just short of £4,500. Most if not all of that sum should qualifty for match funding by One Community, which could bring it close to £9,000. That's a magnificent amount. Meanwhile we're still savouring Thursday night's fundraising poetry event, compered by Matt Abbott - an inspirational, uplifting, and heart-warming moment, with leading performance poet Tony Walsh telling how Write Out Loud was "life-changing" for him, "when I first shuffled on to the Manchester, north-west scene, with my hastily scribbled poems". Also on the bill were Louise Fazackerley, another performance poet who first trod the boards at Write Out Loud, Luke Wright, Rachel Long, Antonia Jade King, and Robert Garnham, with open micers Lee Campbell, Rod Whitworh, Isobel Clarke, Peter Taylor, Rachel Burns and Heather Moulson adding their contributions to the mix. Write Out Loud's tireless founder Julian Jordon added a few words, too, about how he first came to be involved in grassroots poetry, in Bolton, and realised how many people "wrote in secret". He saw how you "just need to give people a venue, and a round of applause". The free event was broadcast live on Write Out Loud’s Facebook page.
Although our Crowdfunder appeal has ended, you can still donate to Write Out Loud here.
Write Out Loud has made a huge difference to people’s lives – through poetry - in the past 18 years. But don’t just take our - or even Tony Walsh's - word for it.
Here’s Neil Astley, widely respected editor and publisher of Bloodaxe Books: “Write Out Loud is a great resource for everything going on in poetry from the grassroots upwards and outwards. The more people have used it, written for it, and fed it their news and poems, the more it has grown into an even lively and more accessible network which has become an online lifeline for many during the pandemic ... Write Out Loud want to develop its essential work still further and needs your help. Do support them.”
In a video message, leading performance poet Luke Wright said: “These days I’m asked for my advice, how do you get started in this game? One of the first things I always say to people is check out Write Out Loud. You’ve got a gig listing, you’ve got stacks of articles, interviews, features, news stories, you’ve got a place to share your work, and a genuine online community of people who practise the art of spoken word. It’s not only a vital resource, I feel it legitimises us in a way, it makes us seem proper. We’re very lucky to have it. So please support Write Out Loud.”
Performance poet Kate Fox, a regular on BBC’s Saturday Live and a recent star of University Challenge: “Write Out Loud has long been an invaluable resource for the live poetry scene. It recognises how the world of poetry is an ecosystem with professional events and poets, amateur open mikes and poets all entwined and interdependent. With its competent journalistic approach, wide regional coverage and responsive listings, Write Out Loud has long been a notable part of that ecosystem (and personally, often the first place I’ve approached with stories or things I’ve wanted to publicise) I’m excited and chuffed that they’re being ambitious in these changing times and happy to support their plans. As we move to a hybrid of live and online events, and as the poetry world continues to be an interdependent ecosystem, then having an organisation passionate about linking disparate dots up is even more vital.”
Stand-up performer and poet Elvis McGonagall says: "Write Loud is a well established and vital resource not just for the UK poetry community but further afield around the globe. For nearly 20 years it’s been providing news, reviews, discussions and support as well as being the UK’s no.1 poetry gig guide. Until now it’s been fuelled solely by the passion and commitment of the wonderful people who run it. That’s a labour of love. Like everyone else Write Out Loud have been working out how to adapt and survive during this pandemic and the changed world beyond. In order to expand their digital presence and content, curate online events and workshops and build on their multinational links they’ve decided to move from being run by volunteers to becoming a fully professional organisation. In order to achieve this they need to raise some money. If you can afford to make a contribution I’d urge you to do so. It can sometimes feel like a lonely business being a poet. Write Out Loud brings poets together and makes you feel part of something bigger. And in a time where we’re all enduring isolation of some sort that’s a really important role."
Veteran Beat poet Michael Horovitz said: "Write Out Loud has provided a uniquely wide-ranging performance poetry service over the last 18 years, bringing together a remarkable ongoing chronicle of poetic energies around Albion pretty second to none I’m aware of. Its achievements strike me as all the more to the point now that the Covid Plague is cutting the communications networks of so many valiant (counter) cultural outfits abounding – fulfilling the invoked continuity of the spirits of Mayakovsky, Adrian Mitchell et al. In 1959, the year I first launched New Departures/Poetry Olympics, Adrian was prefacing his first book of ‘Poems’ with the salutary observation: “Most people ignore most poetry/because most poetry ignores/most people”. That this situation has pretty diametrically reversed that counter-productive philistine stasis, has happened & continues largely because of the painstaking energies of Write Out Loud. May they go on flourishing for many infinitely proliferating moons."
And here’s Briony Bax, poet and editor of the long-running quarterly magazine Ambit: “Write Out Loud - you deserve support from everyone you've helped over the years!” Plus Caroline Griffin, winner of Write Out Loud’s Beyond the Storm competition last year: “I hope Write Out Loud goes from strength to strength. Poetry is so necessary, not a luxury, particularly now.”
With your help Write Out Loud intends to continue supporting the poetry community throughout 2021 and beyond. We want to be equipped to enable, champion, inspire, and connect poets no matter what happens during the pandemic, and continue that once it’s over.
This includes those schoolchildren we will be introducing to writing their own poems, and reading them out loud (our recent Giant Poetry Party was just the start); local groups operating via Zoom or face-to-face (eventually); freelance artists and groups whose work we will continue to report on; or individuals discussing their work in our online community.
Once more, a colossal thank you to everybody who supported our appeal.