The Open Mouse will close in July 2018, but there’s still room for a few more submissions. Submissions in the body of an email to Colin Will. Please include ‘Open Mouse’ in the subject line of your message, otherwise it will risk being spam-trapped or ignored. Please send a two-line biography if you would like that to appear in the Contributors page. This can include a link to your website or to your publication. I reserve the right to edit it down if it’s too long.

If you’ve had a poem in the Open Mouse, please wait three months before submitting again.

This website was originally created as an adjunct to the Poetry Scotland broadsheet magazine (see the ‘About’ page for more information). It’s open to contributors who wish to offer good poems for online publication. This is a ‘no-frills’ operation, so to keep editorial work to the minimum, please read the following guidelines carefully:

  • The Open Mouse editor is the poet, editor, short story writer and publisher Colin Will. His decisions will be based solely on the quality of the poems (as he judges their quality), and are final.
  • While poems may be sent by poets from anywhere in the world, for editorial reasons only poems in English or Scots will be considered for Open Mouse.
  • If the poem is accepted, I will let you know, and it will be posted within four weeks. If not, you will get a simple ‘Not this time’ message, the poem will not appear, and that’s it.
  • There’s a waiting list for publication, so please don’t send me topical poems – the reasons for writing may be shorter-lived than the length of the waiting list.
  • I normally put a notification on Facebook when  a new poem is posted, and that’s normally where readers post their comments.
  • Posting a poem on The Open Mouse constitutes publication, in the legal definition of the term.
  • No correspondence can be entered into, and no further messages will be sent. You are welcome to submit other poems after three months, whether or not your poems have been accepted.
  • No advice or suggestions can be provided in relations to poems offered. I do not have the time to correct spelling and/or grammatical errors, not to suggest how poems might be altered to make them more acceptable. If your poems have such errors, they just won’t be published.
  • Long explanations, notes and justifications in accompanying messages will usually guarantee that the poem(s) will not appear.
  • Please don’t send me your ‘qualifications’, your CV, or your list of previous publications. If I like your poem, it goes in.
  • No images can be accepted, either as illustration or wallpaper.
  • No adverts will be accepted.
  • No fancy typography or page layouts can be reproduced (except simple layouts like left, right, and centred text). In particular, HTML doesn’t recognise the TAB character, so indented lines aren’t straightforward without spending a lot of time (which I don’t have) on formatting.
  • Some email programs can muck up your formatting in transmission to my email program. In particular I’ve noticed a problem with writers who use Open Office. I’ll try to fix problems if you email me or contact me on Facebook. I recommend you use [Shift + Enter] at the end of lines, rather than just the [Enter] key.
  • Poems MUST NOT be sent as attachments – they can only be accepted in the body of messages. Attachments won’t be opened or read.
  • Multiple poems can be sent, up to a maximum of five poems per message. If you send me more, I will only read five.
  • Poems sent must not have been published elsewhere – in print or on the web – at the time of sending, and must not contravene earlier copyrights. This does not affect an author’s right to publish elsewhere later, in print or other form.
  • Poems must be the sole work of the author(s) named.
  • Copyright is retained by the authors.
  • Poems must not, to the knowledge of the author, contravene any laws within the jurisdiction of Scotland, the European Union, or of the home countries of those submitting. In particular obscene or defamatory poems will not be accepted.

PET HATES: centred poems, villanelles, long thin poems, hectoring poems, wittering poems, boring poems.

PET LIKES: imaginative use of language, freshness of approach, unusual viewpoints, emotion.

Submissions by email only to Colin Will. Please include ‘Open Mouse’ in the subject line of your message.


One Response to Guidelines

  1. james brown says:

    It’s okay Colin, found it. jim

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