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MOST RECENT OPA NEWS

  • Read the Winning Poems from OPA’s Poet Choice Category

    Fall 2021 Adult Contest Winners in the Poet’s Choice Category

    Judge – Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has seven full-length books of poetry, most recently One Small Sun, from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Willow Springs, Calyx, and the Internet’s Poetry Daily. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she received the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts. In 2013 she was Willamette Writers’ Distinguished Northwest Writer. The Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds chose a poem from her book The Voluptuary as the lyric for a choral composition that’s now part of the repertoire of the Choir at Trinity College Cambridge.

    Judge’s Comments: OPA poets submitted 136 poems in the Poet’s Choice category. And from those 136, I had to choose just 6 poems to be honored. Egads! Too many strong poems. Too few prizes I could award. So … ...

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LATEST BOOK REVIEW (EXCERPT)

  • OPA reviews Grim Honey, by Jessica Barksdale, reviewed by Alicia Hoffman

    Reviewed by Alicia Hoffman
    Grim Honey by Jessica Barksdale
    Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2021
    ISBN: 978-1-7354002-1-1
    Available at https://sheilanagigblog.com/sheila-na-gig-editions-quick-shopping/jessica-barksdale/

    Exigence and Apocalypse
    The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
    – William Faulkner

    Like the horrific tragedy of 9/11, everyone will remember where they were when Covid19 shut down the globe. In early March 2020, days before nation-wide school closures, I was standing in a room full of maskless high schoolers, reviewing for the upcoming AP Language exams. We were studying the rhetorical concept of exigence, the idea that writers often come up against a situation that demands action or remedy. It is this impulse, this urgency, that often calls us to act, that prompts utterance, that begs us to better understand our place in the world’s vast and complicated chess game.

    When the pandemic came ...

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MOST RECENT POET’S SPOTLIGHT

  • 2020 Spring Contest Winners: Poet’s Choice: 1st Place Winner

    June 3, 2020

    Baby, It’s Cold Outside

    (a Vivianne sonnet variation)

    Barbara Blanks

    As embryos we each explore the wall

    of womb that holds us. It’s the first place joy

    is felt—mom’s heartbeat like a lullaby.  

    Cocooned in touch, that’s how we interact.

    We’re chastised just as soon as we can crawl

    or walk. Just look! Hands off! That’s not a toy.

    We’re told to view, to listen, smell that, try

    a taste of this—but touch … and hands are smacked.

    And so begins our isolation. All

    those inhibitions finally destroy

    instinctive comfort found in touch, deny

    the core of who we are. Our lives contract.