Saturday, September 2, 2017

Get Ready for Ohio Poetry Day Festivities

The Ohio Poetry Day Association has asked that we make sure Ohio Poetry Association members receive a copy of the registration form for Ohio Poetry Day which will be held on October 6 and 7 at the Troy Hayner Cultural Center in Troy Ohio. Winners of the annual poetry contests will be honored and the 2017 Ohio Poet of the Year, Kathy Fagan will do a reading from her latest book, Sycamore. It's a wonderful time of fellowship in the celebration of poetry. If you did not receive an invitation by mail, you can print out this registration form and mail it to Amy Jo Zook, 3520 State Route 56, Mechanicsburg, Ohio 43044 by October 1.






Directions

Monday, May 8, 2017

OPA to Co-Sponsor 2017 Sun & Moon Poetry Festival – Delaware, Ohio


Don’t miss the fourth annual Poetry at Perkins benefit reading event preceded by a day-long series of activities on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at various locations throughout Delaware, Ohio. The Sun & Moon Poetry Festival promises to provide a full spectrum of poetry activities and readings. It starts at the Delaware County Library with a workshop led by Dr. Susann Moeller, secretary of the Ohio Poetry Association, on the topic of Space Junk. In the afternoon, a reading hike is scheduled though Stratford Ecological Center that will feature poets from throughout Ohio at various points along the path. In the evening, there will be more poetry from Ohio poets at the Perkins Observatory. Check out the full details below.

Full/Crescent Press, a Columbus-based poetry press, has hosted “Poetry at Perkins: In Celebration of the Night Sky” as an annual event since 2014. Bill Hurley was one of the first poets to be involved and acted each year as Master of Ceremonies. A poet and amateur astronomer, he was instrumental in helping to make the program such a great success. Sadly, Bill passed away last year. He has been greatly missed.

Full/Crescent Press wanted to do something special this year, largely in tribute to Bill, and thought of expanding the evening event into an all-day science and poetry festival. After speaking to friends at Stratford, who were delighted with the idea of putting on a similar benefit reading there, Full/Crescent reached out to the Ohio Poetry Association to see if it might like to host a morning event as well. Susann Moeller's eco-poetry workshop focusing on Space Junk worked out as a perfect way to frame the full day.

According to Paula Lambert, managing editor, “Full/Crescent Press is so pleased with the way things have fallen into place, and so grateful to the marvelous array of poets who have donated their time and talents to both Stratford Ecological Park and Perkins Observatory. Many of the poets knew Bill well, which makes it even more special. It’s bound to be a wonderful day.”



10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH

Space Junk: An Eco-Poetry Workshop is sponsored by the Ohio Poetry Association and will be led by Dr. Susann Moeller. Moeller will introduce participants to the topic of garbage in space using a variety of documentary clips. She will provide a brief introduction to various elements of poetry and a sample reading to get your creative juices flowing. Coffee and light refreshments will help participants toward the conclusion of a guided writing process.

Moeller is editor of the eco-poetry anthology Open Earth (PM Books), serves as Secretary of the Board of OPA, and is a certified master gardener, urban farmer and Ohio naturalist. She is vested in the community at large through her environmental justice advocacy.

This workshop is free and open to the public, no registration required.

2:00 p.m. – 6 :00 p.m.
Stratford Ecological Center, 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH

Poetry at Stratford Ecological Center: A Celebration of Nature is a benefit poetry event. After a welcome and brief reading in the main building, guests will embark on a nature hike where they will hear poets, stationed at various spots throughout this lovely preserve, read their work. Guests will then return to main building for a Haiku Death Match hosted by Stratford apiarist and haiku poet Dave Noble. Please note that all events are rain or shine and family friendly; the trails are easily accessible. Featured readers are Joanna Schroeder, Louise Robertson, Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Fred Kirchner, Susan Hendrickson, Sayuri Ayers, Chuck Salmons, Aimee Noel, Fred Andrle, Susann Moeller, Pat Hurley, Natalie Noble, and Mindy Hall. Light refreshments served.

Tickets are $5/person, $10/family, available online at www.statfordecologicalcenter.org/store or by calling (740) 363-2548. 100% of proceeds directly benefit Stratford Ecological Center.

8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Poetry at Perkins Observatory: In Celebration of the Night Sky!
Perkins Observatory, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, OH

This will be the fourth annual Poetry at Perkins benefit reading. Eight poets will read work related to the cosmos, to be followed—weather permitting—by night sky viewing through the open dome. In case of clouds or rain, guests will enjoy a guided tour of the observatory led by observatory director Tom Burns. This year’s readers are (host) Dave Noble, Charlene Fix, Geoff Anderson, Louise Robertson, Mark Jordan, Izetta Thomas, Herbert Woodward Martin, Pat Hurley, and Amit Majmudar.

Tickets are $10 each and available by calling (740) 363-1257. Seating is limited, and 100% of proceeds directly benefit Perkins Observatory.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

OPA member Kari Gunter-Seymour wins NFSPS Competition

Contact: Joseph Cavanaugh
jcavanaugh1@gmail.com

Poet Kari Gunter-Seymour is selected national winner

April 16, 2017 – The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) is pleased to announce the 1st place winner of the 2017 BlackBerryPeach Spoken and Heard competition, Kari Gunter-Seymour of Albany, OH. BlackBerryPeach is a major NFSPS competition that challenges poets to present their original poetry in print and spoken word, requiring submission of an audio file in mp3 or WAV format of four poems along with a manuscript.

Kari Gunter-Seymour
Vice President Joe Cavanaugh, chair of the contest stressed the importance of reaching out to all poets, by recognizing stage poetry in its many forms as a powerful poetic genre. All entries were reviewed for compliance and approximately 100 entries were selected as finalists and sent on to an independent judge for final selection.

As 1st place winner, Gunter-Seymour receives the grand prize of $1,000 and is invited to speak her work at the NFSPS national convention in Ft. Worth, TX on July 1, 2017. “NFSPS is excited to showcase Kari and her signature Appalachian poetry and voice,” Cavanaugh says.

Twice a pushcart nominee, Gunter-Seymour holds a B.F.A. in graphic design and an M.A. in commercial photography and is an instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University. She blames her method of writing and performing on the rich soil of Appalachia, her wildly eclectic family and neighbors and her upbringing. Her chapbook Serving was chosen runner up in the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Annual Chapbook Contest. Her poems can be found in numerous literary journals – Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Still: The Journal and Stirring, as well as on her website: www.karigunterseymourpoet.com.

Gunter-Seymour is the founder/director of the “Women of Appalachia Project,” an arts organization in it’s 8th season she created to address discrimination directed at women from the Appalachian region. The project encourages participation from women artists (spoken word and fine art) of diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to come together, embrace the stereotype, show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors people use to judge her — providing opportunities to share art, receive recognition and encouragement, and build strong networks. In doing so, diverse populations are introduced to one of Appalachian’s greatest assets, its artists. (www.womenofappalachia.com).

The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (www.nfsps.com) is a non-profit organization, exclusively educational and literary. Its purpose is to recognize the importance of poetry with respect to national cultural heritage. It is dedicated solely to the furtherance of poetry on the national level and serves to unite poets in the bonds of fellowship and understanding.

A video of Gunter-Seymour’s convention performance will be posted on YouTube via the NFSPS website and NFSPS will design and publish the prizewinning entries from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, four poems from each, in a 6" by 9"chapbook that it will market on Amazon.com.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Take Time to Celebrate National Poetry Month 2017



With April’s arrival comes the beginning of National Poetry Month, and in 2017, there’s no shortage of great events and activities to experience in Ohio. If you haven’t yet kicked off your celebration by attending a great reading or just plain reading great poetry this past weekend, take a look at some of the things offered by both OPA and local groups throughout the state, as well as offerings at the national level.

Events

LaWanda Walters
John Drury
OPA is pleased to offer another of its free poetry workshops at Otterbein University on Saturday, April 8, when we welcome from Cincinnati the husband-and-wife poetry team of John Drury and LaWanda Walters. Get the full event details from the OPA website and come prepared for an engaging afternoon of wordsmithing.

 If you’re looking to make a weekend of poetry in the Columbus area, why not put the Ohioana Book Festival on your list? OPA is excited again to be partnering with the Ohioana Library to bring the 11th annual festival to life. Happening this weekend on April 78, the festival kicks off on Friday night with a poetry reading at The Book Loft in the German Village neighborhood, featuring some terrific Ohio poets, including Nin Andrews and Rikki Santer. Click here for details


Saturday features a book fair, readings, and plenty of panel discussions. If you go, stop by the OPA table and say hi to Grace Curtis and Logan Morales. We’ll also have copies of the new ekphrastic anthology available for purchase. Get complete festival info here.

Juan Felipe Herrera
A drive to Toledo on April 13 would be well worth it to hear a reading by the current U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. He’ll be reading at the Main Branch of the Toledo Public Library. Get full event and ticket info here.

Amit Majmudar
 And speaking of poets laureate, you might want to mark your calendars for April 2122 and head for the Hocking Hills Festival of Poetry in Logan, Ohio. The Check out the Power of Poetry website for complete details on this free event. The theme this year is Three Generations and features current Ohio Poet Laureate Amit Majmudar, the venerable Herb Martin, and performance maven Shameaca Moore.



Other Tools & Resources

Need a little help finding poetry events in your area? Never fear, OPA website and Facebook page to keep up to date on happenings. We share info about OPA events but also info that’s passed along to us by other groups and organizations. The Resources & Links page on the OPA website is a great resource for info on Ohio presses, festivals, and more.

as there are a number of tools at your disposal. First, use the the Ohio Poetry Calendar is also a great way to learn about poetry events, including readings, workshops, and more. And if you’re looking or an open-mic venue to share your work, try openmikes.org.

Looking for tools to help spark your own writing? Or did you dare to take the 30/30 challenge during National Poetry Month? If so, try signing up for the Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry email list is a great way to read the works of Ohio poets and to get a daily prompt for writing your own poems.
Other resources worth exploring include the Wick Poetry Center, the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Foundation.

In the coming days, we hope you get inspired to write, to read, and to share your own work or perhaps a poem you love with friends, family, fellow poets, or even perfect strangers. One way to share is on Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27. Take time that day to share with someone the magic that comes from poetry. Whatever steps you take to celebrate National Poetry Month, we hope you have a great time doing it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ohio Poetry Day Contest -- May 15, 2017 Deadline for Submissions

Don't miss this opportunity to be a part of Ohio Poetry Day. May 15 is the deadline for the dozens of contests that are a part of the event.

Here is a copy of the submission form. We realize the type is small. This is how it comes to OPA from Ohio Poetry Day staff in the mail. It's chocked full of great contest information, and as a result, the type is small. OPA recommends that in order to see it best, you should print a copy of the form which is in jpg or photo format. You can do that by saving the image to your computer and printing it.

You can also use your own paper as an entry form if you don't want to print off a copy of the form. Be sure to provide all the information required, including which poems you want to be considered for which contests. Follow all the submission instructions. (Many photo viewers will allow you to zoom out thereby enlarging the type so you can check to see that you have included everything.)  It is recommended that you contact the Ohio Poetry Day by writing to Amy Jo Zook at 3520 St. Rt. 56, Mechanicsburg, Ohio 43044, and ask to be placed on their mailing list so that next year you will get a form delivered to your home.





Friday, February 24, 2017

Ohio Poetry Association Releases New Poetry Anthology Focused on Art in Ohio

A Rustling and Waking Within cover
The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is releasing a new ekphrastic poetry anthology, titled, A Rustling and Waking Within. The collection is a celebration of art and poetry in Ohio. The 139-page perfect-bound book contains poems written by friends and members of OPA in response to various forms of art featured in Ohio's museums, galleries and many other venues, including homes. Works by Ohio artists, both older art and more contemporary, are included.  On the cover is a painting by Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), titled, "The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather " used by permission from the Toledo Museum of Art. The project marks the culmination of four OPA writing events that were held in major art centers in Ohio.

An initial release event, at which contributors will read their poems against a visual projection of the art to which they responded, is slated for Saturday, March 11, 2017, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210. The event is free and open to the public and promises to be of interest not just to poets and artists but also to the general public. Along with a multimedia poetry reading, the afternoon will feature food, beverages, and raffles. Books will be sold at the event and poets will be available to sign them.

A second release event will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017, at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St., Toledo, Ohio 43620, beginning at 2:00 pm. Several more events at Ohio's art museums, coffee shops, and bookstores throughout the state are being planned. Information on these events can be found on the OPA website or on the OPA Facebook page as it becomes available.

The anthology was edited by Sharon Fish Mooney, herself a contributing poet and OPA member. Mooney organized the book by region of the state based on the art, and within each region, she organized poems based on when the art was created or displayed. She says: "The Ohio Poetry Association hopes that through this collection, the reader will want to view art that is currently located in Ohio or that has traveled through Ohio. We want the reader to get up close and personal by visiting the various venues where the art resides. Through these poems, we hope readers will experience some of what we as poets experienced when we viewed it."

The book features an introduction by Terry Hermsen, Professor of English, Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. In his introduction, he suggests "that the primary task of ekphrastic writing, whether in the form of poetry or not, lies in seeking out a dialogue between that original silence" that is art "and the cradle of words" that is poetry. He goes on to state: "Through entering that open space which lies like a hidden valley somewhere between a painting and poem, we might come to know art all over again."

A complete list of the 48 poets and poem titles featured in the book, as well as links to the art that inspired their poems, is available at the OPA website: ohiopoetryassn.org. Any organization that would like to sponsor a reading should email team@ohiopoetryassn.org.

The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA), chartered originally as the Verse Writers’ Guild of Ohio, is a nonprofit, educational volunteer organization with a 501(c)(3)Federal designation and a member of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Chartered in 1929, the Ohio Poetry Association promotes poetry and supports Ohio poets of all ages and in all stages of their writing lives by providing a variety of learning events, readings, and contests.

For more information about the event, contact Chuck Salmons, President, Ohio Poetry Association, at charles@ohiopoetryassn.org.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Selecting a Poet: Ohio Poetry Day's Process



“I've been an Ohioan my whole life, and I'm honored to be recognized in my home state,” says Maggie Smith, the newly crowned Ohio Poet of the Year. A big congratulations is certainly due for this wonderful accomplishment, awarded by the Ohio Poetry Day (OPD) Association.

    Started in 1938, this non-profit organization is interested in promoting quality writing, often through its blog, chapbooks, and contests. Long-standing member Amy Jo Zook, who functions as both treasurer and contest chairman for OPD, graciously shared the process of selecting a winner. 

These books can be nominated by any well-read person, and mostly come from publishers, literary groups or organizations, libraries, or independent sources such as friends and family. A poet may never nominate oneself and will likely not know of their nomination unless told by the nominator, or until they win the title of Ohio Poet of the Year. Similarly, Smith stated “...I honestly [knew] nothing about it. I did not know my book and I [were] being considered. I received a call while on vacation... informing me that I was selected as Ohio Poet of the Year for The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and I was delighted, of course.” 

As one can imagine, there are quite a few choices to narrow down, typically into a selection of four to eight books. This is the set that the judges, members of OPD who are handpicked each year, examine. 

When asked what the judges hope to see, Zook replied that the best pick is “neither too simplistic nor too abstract.” The book should be recently published, so as “to best capture the poet’s current style.” Like Smith’s work, many of the past winners’ books contain poems about or related to Ohio, but this is not required. However, and understandably so, it must be of high quality. Zook added that “the goal is to find something accessible to a large audience,” something challenging in content that would make the reader crave more of the poet’s work.

The judges then vote after comparing all the choices, and this step is done individually. Zook believes that, by waiting until after voting to discuss the poetry with the other judges, the final pick does not become a compromise. Instead, the election is more clean and clear. 

And so the election this year led to Maggie Smith, who says her book “...was largely inspired by fairy tales and folklore, but it blends those influences with my Ohio roots.”

“Many of the poems are set in or reference places that are important to me, including my childhood home in Westerville, Alum Creek, and Schiller Park in German Village,” she explains. No doubt some of these poems will feel familiar to Ohio readers! 

To hear Maggie Smith’s luncheon reading and speech, come join Ohio Poetry Day at Heidelberg University on October 15 for the award ceremony. The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison and her other publications will also be sold there. If your interest is peaked for more of Maggie’s poetry, please visit her website maggiesmithpoet.com

For more information on Ohio Poetry Day 2016, see the following articles on the OPA blog:   

Written by Logan Morales