My name is Peter Philpott, and I am editor of this site. Great Works carries on the name and traditions of a publishing venture between 1973 and 1981. Great Works published seven issues of a magazine, and a small number of books, aiming at surprise, innovation and delight in writing, especially poetry, hovering on that unstable cusp between modernism and postmodernism.
Greatworks.org.uk carried on this idea. It was initially set up more as a homepage, to ensure publication of a sequence IL, constructed rigorously as a matrix, therefore begging for hypertext rather than linear print. So why not see if anyone else could be published, too? This element grew rapidly. I published on the Web material sent in to and chosen by me, (some requested) to give a deliberately heterogeneous assemblage, varying between intriguingly innovative practices, and effective and direct modernist annotations on our world. Think of Great Works as a constantly changing sample of what some people were writing, filtered through the attention and tastes of its editor, with an ever increasing bank of material appended relevant to what was published. As a professional teacher (in Further Education) the urge to give more information could never be resisted, and lists of links were soon built up.
Between 2006 and 2011, Great Works was produced as discrete issues, roughly once or twice twice a year, until personal circumstances and some sense of dissatisfaction with the project led to its hibernation. A separate site, www.modernpoetry.org.uk, had been set up, laden with information about the sort of poetry (in its British context), I published. This too fell into slumber, despite attempts to see if others would be willing to assist or even take it over: I had kept on being told how useful the site was.
So here we are again — back to what is at present largely conceived as a glorified homepage, with the object of selling the first (and maybe only! Don't send your MSS in!) publication this millennium from Great Works, the volume Within These Latter Days, a Second Life. I have found that though people used and responded to the site as a magazine, the couple of long sequences I had placed on the site, which was best way of embodying their complexity of form — hypertext predates the the Web remember — well, they might as well have been sealed in lead coffins for any sense of their being read. Books plainly have a much greater chance of being revoewed and responded to.
I'll keep up the Archive, and foreground material from it I wish to publicise. I even plan to get a leaner www.modernpoetry.org.uk up and running, not obsessed with logging every bloody website & manifestation. Though at a certain stage I shall, I guess, just be too old, too cut off from the new things that bring rebirth and hope to make it worthwhile. Not yet, though: there may for a while be something to watch out for here.