My friend Sally Evans started the broadsheet magazine Poetry Scotland in the mid-1990s. Soon after the launch, we were discussing it in Grindle’s Bookshop, which she and Ian King ran at that time. We thought it would be good to have an online companion to the magazine, and since at that time I was building websites for other people, I offered to do one. It was intended to be interactive with the magazine’s readers, with competitions, quizzes, photos and artworks. But all these things take time to organise, my time became increasingly constrained by writing, publishing and other tasks, and eventually the one interactive element which survived was The Open Mouse, a page which publishes poems by writers from all the airts.
I’ve run it since then, and it has published over a thousand poems by hunners of poets (I could do the stats, but I’m not inclined to just at this moment). However, reader confusions between magazine and website, always present, have become acute in recent months, and Sally and I have agreed that the Poetry Scotland website will remain, to provide essential information on the magazine – subscriptions, submissions, back numbers etc – and links to Sally’s website for news and reviews, information on the Callander Poetry Weekend, Diehard books and Sally’s blog posts. But the Open Mouse will become a separate spin-off site, on a new platform, which will make it easier for me to manage.
It will launch in June, with submissions from May, and thereafter will be updated monthly with new poems submitted by readers. The new site will contain a guidelines page, and a page of links. I intend that the high standard of publication will be maintained, and we’ll see how many submissions come in. I expect the comments feature will increase the amount of feedback authors receive, so it will still be interactive, possibly more so than it has been of late. Comments will of course be moderated.
PS: Word has got out about the new site (which is being fine-tuned), so I might as well announce it. It’s at http://theopenmouse.wordpress.com