Poets United began in June 2010, founded by Robert (Robb) Lloyd. He set up the Blogroll and introduced Poem of the Week, Poetry Blog of the Week, weekly prompts (under the heading The Thursday Think Tank), The Poetry Pantry, and Classic Poetry – all of which have continued, some with variations to the name or the time of the week (e.g. Classic Poetry morphed into The Living Dead).
At first Robb slotted people who joined into groups of four, with the idea that they would support each other with regular visits to each other's blogs to read and comment on the poems there. There was also a membership list. Some names we still know well were here from the beginning.
It grew so fast that the membership list became hard to maintain – and unnecessary, since we also had the Blogroll. The groups, too, soon seemed unnecessary. We became one big group instead.
Eventually, instead of doing it all himself, Robb had help from other feature writers. They included (in random order – and please let us know if we've left anyone out) Kim Nelson, Ella Wilson, Jacob Knowles-Smith, bkmackenzie, Larry Peterson, Eileen T. O'Neill, Danny Earl Simmons, Marian Kent, a.m. (Amy) trumble, and of course Sherry Blue Sky.
In May 2011 he acknowledged it was a big commitment which he could not have kept going without behind-the-scenes help from "two very wonderful and supportive ladies": Mary and Sherry. He called for more help, which is when most of the above-named came on board.
In the same month Poets United launched its anthology, The Poetry Pantry: Thoughts That Breathe, after months of work by a number of people. This is still available, both as paperback for a small price and in free digital download. Check the link at top right.
When Robb left Poets United in 2012, Mary took the helm, ably assisted by Sherry.
Things evolved through various features, presenters, and gradually-arrived-at best practices. By 2015 the staff supporting Mary and Sherry, and presenting their own features, were Rosemary Nissen-Wade, Susan Chast and Sumana Roy.
In 2019 two new team members joined us: Magaly Guerrero and Sanaa Rizvi. This gave Mary and Sherry the freedom to acknowledge they were feeling burnt-out after so long, and make the difficult decision to retire – though they are still part of our wider community.
Then Susan and Sumana announced that their other commitments had increased and they too would be stepping away from the team, whilst remaining committed to their writing and continuing to participate here when possible. They generously decided to stay on until the end of the year, to give the new team time to settle in.
We subsequently recruited Rommy Driks. From 2020 the team will consist of Rosemary (Coordinator), Magaly (Assistant Coordinator), Sanaa and Rommy. We plan to keep most of the regular features people have come to count on, though perhaps arranged a little differently, and to maintain the welcoming and respectful qualities which make this a safe space for participants – whilst accommodating all kinds of literary daring!