About OPA

Founded in 1956, the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) OPA is Oregon’s oldest literary organization, and with over 350 members, we are Oregon’s largest literary organization.


Who We Are

OPA embodies the diversity of Oregon.

We are young and old. Teachers and students. Nationally-known, award-winning poets with many books and poets new to writing. Although most of us live in Oregon, not all of us do. Those who do are in major cities and large ranches, small towns and coastal villages, expanding suburbs and rural counties, farms large and small, and places easy to get to and places hard to find.

OPA members are involved in poetry in many ways. You can find us in both print and literary journals. Our books are available on Amazon and through university presses, independent publishers, and small presses. We participate in community arts events, poetry readings, school functions, workshops, critique groups, and regional units. We are editors and publishers, contest coordinators and contest winners, manuscript judges and small press owners. Many of us have web sites, and you can read more of our work on our individual sites.

OPA poets collaborate with musicians, visual artists, textile artists, and writers of other genres. Many of us create art other than poetry; members are knitters, sculptors, quilters, mixed media artists, photographers, crafters, painters, and potters.

We are white-, blue-, pink-, and no-collar workers. We are retired and too young to have started working. We are raising families and focusing on school. We are constantly moving about and we are never far from our birthplaces. We are volunteers. We are pinching pennies to get by. We are changing jobs mid-life. We are still deciding what we want to be when we grow up. We have never had to worry about money. We are doing okay.

As poets, we write haiku. Prose poems. Sonnets. Free verse. Light verse. Experimental pieces. Blended genres. Ghazals. Sestinas. Villanelles. Haibuns. Ballads.

Our poems are about everything in and beyond Oregon’s borders. If someone can write a poem about it, at least one of us has.

Mostly, we learn from one another. We share. We encourage. We inspire. We want the best for each other. We come together in small groups and as a whole organization to teach, learn, encourage, and inspire, and also for no other reason than to be surrounded by like-minded people who have a passion for poetry. We get together to laugh with old friends, make new friends, and help each other, as friends do.

We are Oregon Poetry Association. We hope that you will join us.


Meet our current Executive Board

  • President: Bob Sterry
  • Vice-President: Kate Ristau
  • Secretary: Debra Wöhrmann
  • Treasurer: Aaron Erhardt
  • Historian: Sher Schwartz
  • Member-at-Large: Juan Cervantes
  • Member-at-Large: David Goodrum
  • Member-at-Large: Elisa Carlsen
  • Member-at-Large: Sharon Johnson

OPA Special Positions:

  • Adult Contests Chairs: David Goodrum
  • Spanish Language Contest Chair: Juan Cervantes
  • Youth Contests Chair: Sharon Johnson
  • Contest Support: Sherri Levine
  • Conference Chair: Kate Ristau
  • Newsletter & Publications Editor: Dale Champlin
  • Book Review Editor: Carolyn Martin
  • Webmaster: Kate Ristau
  • Social Media Editor: Lorna Rose

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