Saturday, September 20, 2014

2014 Fall Retreat Recap

"Whether we like it or not, we all come from someplace. And at some point in our lives, we have to make peace with that place." This quote from Jeffrey Stepakoff (from The Orchard), one of several shared by workshop leader Diane Kendig last weekend, established the theme for the recent OPA Fall Writers Retreat at Malabar Farm.

And this year's fall retreat reinforced for me why these events are my favorite that OPA sponsors. There are few places in Ohio that will move you--and give you room to move--to write. And how fitting Diane chose to lead workshops focused on poems of place, inspire also by her latest book, The Places We Find Ourselves.

On day 1, the weekend challenged all in attendance to explore, through their poems, places they'd never written about--first by creating a list of those places and then approaching the poem with one of three focuses:
  1. Through meaningful description--making the place come alive.
  2. Exploring the significance of the place.
  3. Using the place as a setting for a poem.
After sharing the poems and discussion the night moved into social time with food, wine, a bonfire, and as always, good conversation.

A fourth approach to poems of place was discussed on day 2, where poets tackled a new place poem by combining or juxtaposing two places. The choice was ours whether to write about the same place from day 1 or to choose a new place.

But whether this place or that, every poem presented different challenges, forcing the poet often to reach deep into memory for those smallest of details that carry significance of place in our lives. 

For myself, two poems drafted warrant further exploration, fleshing out new details new description. But I think it's safe to say everyone found something to carry home--and to carry them home--wherever and whenever that home might be found.

--Chuck Salmons

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ohio Poetry Day 2014 Events

Troy Hayner Cultural Center, 301 W Main Street, Troy, OH 45373

Friday Evening, October 24 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Evening Workshops
& Overnight Contests

Saturday Morning, October 25 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Evan Lodge Memorial
Poetry Workshop
One dollar Admission

Saturday Noon, October 25 Lunch
Box lunch will be provided –
Contact Amy Zook to prepay:
Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Rte. 56
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044

Saturday Afternoon, October 25 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Readings by the Ohio
Co-Poets of the Year
& Contest Winners

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ohio Poetry Day Announces 2014 Co-Poets of the Year

An Announcement from Ohio Poetry Day 2014:

The 2014 Ohio Co-Poets of the Year, Dzvinia Orlowsky, (of Marshfield, Massachusetts) and David Lee Garrison (of Dayton, Ohio) have been named by the Ohio Poetry Day Association.

This award has been given annually since 1976 to a poet or poets on the basis of a book published in the previous year or two years.  The award consists of a money prize, an honorarium as speaker, and a plaque commemorating the event.  In addition, a poem by each poet will be included at the beginning of the Ohio Poetry Day 2014 prize poems collection, Best of 2014.

For 2014, Orlowsky's collection is Silvertone and Garrison's is Playing Bach in the D.C. Metro.  The winners are invited to speak and to read from their work at Ohio Poetry Day, which will be observed on October 24 - 25 at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy, Ohio.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thank You to The Columbus Foundation!

The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is excited to announce it has been awarded a grant of $1,710.00 from The Columbus Foundation (TCF) Community Arts Fund, marking the third consecutive year that OPA has been awarded a grant through the fund.

“The grant couldn’t be more timely,” said OPA President Mark Hersman. “It will enable us to tighten our infrastructure and complete our ekphrastic workshops, followed by another anthology of ekphrastic poems.”

This year’s grant is the largest that OPA has received through the program. Previously, OPA received grants of $500 and $740 in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

“The Community Arts Fund is a unique grantmaking offering that we’re pleased our Governing Committee has made a community priority,” said Dr. Lisa Courtice, Executive Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management at The Columbus Foundation. “The Community Arts Fund is unique in that it supports organizations through operating funds. We’re pleased to see the continued good work of the Ohio Poetry Association, and encourage its continued success and capacity building.”

The application process for the Community Arts Fund program involves two steps. First, the OPA organizational portrait must be updated on the TCF PowerPhilanthropy website. OPA officers gather information and financial data for the previous year to share, along with organizational goals, programming initiatives, and officer profiles.

“The PowerPhilanthropy website is a great way for potential donors to learn more about OPA and how its efforts impact the arts community,” said Chuck Salmons, OPA Vice President. “People can use it to donate to OPA at any time. It’s been very helpful in raising funds, especially during the past Big Give events sponsored by The Columbus Foundation.” To view the OPA portrait on PowerPhilanthropy or to make a donation, click here.

Once the portrait updates have been submitted, the Community Arts Fund grant application can be completed and submitted by the deadline in early February. The application also involves compiling financial and demographic data and describing the forthcoming goals that the OPA has in using a grant.

“The process isn’t necessarily difficult, but it is robust,” said Salmons. “And it helps to have all our ducks in a row, especially financially. Our treasurer Rinda Sansom has done a great job keeping the books.”

The Ohio Poetry Association is extremely grateful to The Columbus Foundation for its continued support. For more information, visit the TCF website at www.columbusfoundation.org.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

OPA Picnic and Scrabbletry on July 12th in Bexley


Will Ohio Have a Poet Laureate? (by Steve Abbott)

Steve Abbott testifying on behalf of S.B. 84 on May 21st
in Columbus [photo by Michael Salinger]

BIG news for poetry in Ohio: the State Senate is considering legislation that would create the post of Ohio Poet Laureate.

The proposed law, Senate Bill 84 (SB 84), was introduced by Senator Eric Kearney, D-Cincinnati, (9th District). Under provision of the bill, the Ohio Arts Council would administer the selection process and provide recommendations to the Governor, who would make the final selection.
Most other states have already established Poet Laureate posts. Ohio neighbors West Virginia and Indiana have two of the more successful programs.

OPA Vice-President Chuck Salmons and Common Threads Editor Steve Abbott met with Senator Kearney on April 9 to discuss the bill, offering suggestions that OPA believes will strengthen it. These included shortening the term as Poet Laureate from four years to two and modifying language defining the qualifications for the post.

Most state Poets Laureate serve two-year terms. OPA also recommended to Senator Kearney that anyone nominated to be state Poet Laureate should have significant peer-reviewed publications that go beyond self-publications and vanity presses. Further, OPA suggested that the requirement of providing four annual readings include the stipulation that readings include both rural and urban counties to ensure that all Ohio residents have the opportunity to attend readings by the state Poet Laureate.

SB 84 is significant and long-overdue legislation, and OPA members, our audiences, and our friends can assure its passage. Legislation becomes law when constituents push their elected representatives to approve it. The most effective way to do that is direct contact.

Legislators weigh constituent contact using a simple scale: phone calls are at the bottom, e-mails come next, and letters are golden. So choose how effective you hope to be and contact your state senator and representative. Contact information is available at www.ohiosenate.gov or www.ohiohouse.gov. A short communication identifying yourself as an OPA member and urging your legislator’s support for SB 84 and why it’s important will do the job. Tell your friends to get on board, too. Also, please cc Sen. Kearney on all email or postal letters.

We know this matters, let’s make it happen. Do it NOW.


[JUNE 5th UPDATE:  The Ohio Senate passed S.B. 84, and it has now moved on to the Ohio House for consideration.  So thank your state senator if he or she supported the bill.  And now it's time to write to your state representative.]