MOST RECENT OPA NEWS
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 … ...
- Posted: October 28, 2021
LATEST BOOK REVIEW (EXCERPT)
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Reviewed by Alicia Hoffman
Grim Honey by Jessica Barksdale
Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2021
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 ...
MOST RECENT POET’S SPOTLIGHT
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
(a Vivianne sonnet variation)
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.