Mike Barlow set up Wayleave Press for poetry pamphlets in 2014. Here he answers some searching questions:
Mike, as a poet-publisher you’re a poacher turned game-keeper! ‘Wayleave’: permission granted to cross or enter territory from which one has been previously excluded (explained on your website). Is publishing the territory you’ve given yourself permission to enter? Or does Wayleave let in poets who might otherwise be shut out?
A bit of both, really. It all started with self-publishing. I had a collection of poems of a particular nature, cryptic and slightly elusive, which I thought went well together. I doubted, however, that many editors would be interested and anyway didn’t want to have to submit and wait endlessly for rejections. I believed in the poems and decided to use our local printer to produce a pamphlet with an illustration of mine on the cover. It was well-received by those I sent it out to, and the whole process felt relatively straightforward and satisfying.
The next step was to try and do the same for others. I had in mind one or two fellow poets with a good body of work who hadn’t had any success in the major pamphlet competitions but whose work I admired. The title ‘Wayleave’ seemed apt for them. I liked the idea of giving permission for work to be out there despite competitive arbitrariness.
Your website is lovely. Simple, elegant, easy to use. Did you do it all yourself or did you have to get help? What skills did you need, or who did you need to know?
Though I had an idea of what I wanted, something clean and simple, I’m hopeless at that sort of thing and asked someone living nearby who sets up websites for local organisations. He used a Wordpress template that fitted my needs as near as possible. He’s shown me how to add and edit and so far all seems well. He remains on hand for technical support and any difficult tasks.