Open Mouth celebrated our fourth anniversary this fall. In those four years, we've grown a lot. We started out hosting one visiting writer per month; we weren't able to offer a stipend, and the best we could do for traveling poets was pay for the occasional plane ride with personal skymiles (something we still do sometimes), and offer a place on one of our couches. Now, we've reached a place where we can pay all of our monthly featured poets a stipend of $150, put them up (sometimes still on our couches!), and also host a festival in the fall, a retreat in the summer, and other special programs like the Harvest Workshop we hosted this September with Ross Gay.
Most of this work is supported by our Patreon account, and we are really grateful for this sustainable funding! It enables us to pay for stipends and for lodging and places to stay for our visiting writers. But we'd also really like to be able to reimburse visiting poets for their travel expenses when they go out of their way to get to us!
Right now, we're hosting about 20 or so visiting writers every year. Some fly in, others drive. By our estimate, $6,000 would enable us to reimburse plane tickets for up to 12 of these poets, and gas for the rest.
We love bringing nationally touring poets to Fayetteville, and we love doing our part to support poets financially! Doing this work has made us very aware of how often touring poets are taking money out of their own pockets to bring their art to Northwest Arkansas—often visiting our state for the first time—especially when we aren't already a convenient stop on the tour. This also means that sometimes when we invite folks, we end up hearing that traveling to our area is just too expensive.
This travel fund will help us make sure that we can get poets to Fayetteville to share their amazing work with us. Will you kick in?