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Featured poets at the 2015 OPA Picnic and Business Meeting

The annual picnic is a favorite OPA event. Poets from all over the state gather in one of Ohio's beautiful parks for food, fellowship, and poetry. It's like a family reunion where every member of your family cares about poetry as much as you do. This year's event promises to once again deliver that spirit of camaraderie along with great poetry.

It will be held at, Jeffrey Park, Memorial Shelter, 1965 N. Parkview Ave., Bexley, Ohio 43209. A short business meeting will be conducted from 10:30 - 11:30 am. The carry-in style picnic will be from noon until 3:45. At 1 pm, poets Kerry Jensen Trautman, Steve Brightman, and Wendy McVicker, as well as Student Voices winners and other special guests, will read poetry. There is an open mic too, so bring a poem or two to share.

As a lead up, we have asked each of the three featured poets to answer some questions about their poetry. We'll share their individual responses each week before the event.

Kerry Jensen Trautman

*photo by Adrian Lime
Do you draw inspiration from other poetry? If so, whose and why?  

The first poet I felt a real connectedness to Edna St. Vincent Millay. My high school American Lit teacher was a fan, and I memorized two of her poems to recite for an assignment. I remember having this sense that I could embody her words, that it made sense for her words to come from me in a way not other poetry had up til then. Linda Pastan is another influence. Both poets wrote from an unabashedly female perspective. Pastan writes about motherhood in a way I hadn't yet encountered, and I was a young mother at the time I found her work. It was validating to hear a woman writing through marriage and motherhood--finding the time and inspiration.

What three words best describe your own poetry?  

I hope: genuine, attentive, unpretentious. 

Do you have a writing routine? If so, describe it briefly. 

For a years I woke at dawn to write before the kids awoke and I had to begin my stay-at-home-mom-ness. It was a lovely to have coffee and the dark house all to myself. Eventually, though, the kids started waking earlier, and I find it hard to write with them all stirring around. I think I need a sense of privacy, of isolation, though I can write in public place with no problem. So now the work is piecemeal, with notebooks and scraps of paper in my purse, bedroom, coffee table and car. I'm always jotting notes as lines and ideas come, and I get them polished into real poems whenever I find time. 

Aside from poetry, what do you like to read? 

I wish I had more time to read. I get two daily newspapers, Poets & Writers Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. I read some fiction, usually short stories, because they're easier to read in a quick gulp. I always have a stack of lit journals/zines which are my go-to for free afternoons, doctors waiting-rooms and airplanes.

What other activities do you enjoy (e.g., art, cooking, music) that may/may not influence your writing? 

I love movies and tv, and I enjoy baking/cooking, especially for friends. I fit in yardwork when I can, and I love wandering art fairs, and antique stores. All those things find their way into my writing.


Ohio born and raised, Kerry is a founding member of Toledo's Almeda St. Poets, and the Toledo Poetry Museum.  She is often seen at local poetry readings and events such as Artomatic 4-1-9, 100-Thousand Poets for Change, Back to Jack, and the Columbus Arts Festival. Kerry's poetry and short fiction have appeared in various journals, including Midwestern Gothic, Alimentum, The American Journal of Nursing, The Fourth River, Mock Turtle Zine, and Third Wednesday; as well as in anthologies such as, Tuesday Night at Sam and Andy’s Uptown CafĂ© (Westron Press, 2001), Mourning Sickness (Omniarts, 2008), Roll (Telling Our Stories Press, 2012), and Journey to Crone (Chuffed Buff Books, 2013).  Her most recent poetry chapbook is To Have Hoped from Finishing Line Press, 2015.


  1. Hello dear, I am very new in New York and next month I will have to plan couple of corporate events for my business partners and friends. So can you please tell me which location is good for my party and events?


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