New faces and YOU at Write Out Loud
April 2018 saw the introduction of some new faces here at Write Out Loud, the arrival of whom marks a key moment in the development of this, the online poetry portal of choice. Earlier this year Editor-in-Chief Julian Jordon put a tentative call out to test the water for new people and resources and was almost overwhelmed with the wealth of interest he received in response, in particular from a younger generation of poetry enthusiasts. “It is heartening and humbling that so many talented, experienced younger people want to be a part of the madness that is Write Out Loud” said Jordon, “We are not your classic Arts Council funded organisation, but a grassroots, non-elitist organisation that has somehow survived all these years by putting its values up front.”
And as it would be polite for us all to say hello to each other, please let me begin! I am your new Write Out Loud Editor, Mike Took, yours truly, and I am honoured and excited to be selected for the job although I can’t quite claim to be one of the “younger generation”, whistful as that thought may be. My broad goal is to keep Write Out Loud firmly committed to grass-roots poetry in every form, and to encourage the introduction of new, diverse, even quirky opinions from our contributors while spreading the poetry love far and wide. I will soon be welcoming exciting new Contributing Editors who will add their voices and opinions to our pages.
Laura Potts is now our Gig Guide Editor. In many ways the Gig Guide has been the backbone of Write Out Loud for many years with thousands of listings helping to put people in touch with poetry events near them at home and when they are out and about in the world. Laura has an impeccable poetry pedigree and brings a phenomenal enthusiasm to everything she does. She is already developing the Guide to be an even more comprehensive tool than it has always been, and we are extremely lucky to have her on the team. If you haven’t checked the guide lately why not have a look and see if there are any new listings near you?
I am also delighted to welcome Jade Cuttle to the team as my first Contributing Editor. Jade is a regularly-published poet and celebrated freelance journalist of some renown with many accolades to her name. She is currently nominated as Best Reviewer (Editor’s Choice) in the Saboteur Awards to be revealed later this month. The strength of Jade’s voice can be seen right away in her very first Write Out Loud article published here, and we are thrilled to be able to look forward to much more of her fascinating and insightful writing.
I asked the boss, Julian Jordon, what this influx of new people meant to him and the other Write Out Loud directors. Positively beaming with delight, he told me that it was “a marvellous boost to the existing team, an injection of new energy, ideas and experience from across the wide spectrum that is UK poetry today. New colleagues, new friends in poetry. It is a validation of our profile in the world(s) of poetry, that so many people are keen to be a part of what we are trying to do, both act as the information hub, and as encouragement to individuals and organisations to get more people gaining the fun and fulfilment that poetry provides, in all its settings and manifestations, and especially those who weren¹t previously sure it was for them: I don¹t like poetry, but that was fantastic (quote from an accidental audience member).”
The new appointments are all part of a plan of structured development at Write Out Loud as exciting new ideas, initiatives and people are set to emerge in the very near future. We will soon be providing a host of new resources to complement our existing structure, no details to give away yet but things will be happening soon!
When asked about his vision for Write Out Loud’s future, Julian replied “Write Out Loud emerged from the grassroots, open-mic poetry scene, whose growth over the past fifteen years owes something to the work we have been doing in encouraging more people - via the existence of our gig guide for example - to offer opportunities - setting up local groups - for people to share their work and, thus, to find their own voice. I would like to see Write Out Loud build on this foundation and on our nascent poetry directory to provide all those interested in poetry as a medium for self-expression with a single source of information of who¹s doing what, where?”
So, we have some important work to do here at Write Out Loud, with exciting times ahead for everyone. Would you like to be part of the growth? I am looking for experienced writers, poets and reviewers to become regular volunteer contributors to the News & Features section. We are also seeking volunteers with key skills to join our management team: we are looking for anyone with web-design and webmaster experience and we are also very keen indeed to talk to anyone with a knowledge of Grant Applications and Fund Raising. Interested? Might this be the thing for which you could step forward? Please email me here, and here's to the future!