Oregon Poetry Association Board Meeting of June 15, 2020

Meeting scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm. via Skype

Present: Bruce Parker (President, Historian), Diane Corson (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair), Jennifer Rood (Vice-President), Carolyn Adams (Treasurer), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Stella Guillory (Adult Contest Chair)

Not Present: Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary, Fall Adult Poetry Contest Chair)

  1.  Call to Order

President Bruce Parker called meeting to order at 7:02 pm.

II.  Approval of May 8, 2020 Minutes

Acceptance of the May 8 minutes was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.

III.  Reports of Officers

A Motion was made to cancel the Fall Conference and passed unanimously.

The issue of what to do about a webmaster was discussed. There are two aspects of the job: the technical side for which a contractor must be hired and the content side, which will presumably be addressed by a volunteer OPA member. One bid is in hand for the technical side and one or two more will be sought. An ad for for both sides will be placed in the newsletter. A motion was made to get get bids from web techs and advertise for a content management volunteer The motion was tabled until the searches can take place.

A Motion was made and passed to discuss adding a new audio category to the OPA poetry prize competition. The discussion was begun, including how to promote the audio category. Susan Morse will spearhead this as contest chair, so motion was tabled till she is at meeting

A motion was made to review and edit the OPA Mission Statement, the Who We Are text, and related material. Dave Mehler amended the motion to be limited to revising the mission statement. The motion was defeated 6 to 2, so the Mission Statement will not be changed. Discussion about revising other text will continue.

An Action Item was proposed: that the Board will pass around a master copy of the Who We Are text for all to redline, Bruce Parker will amalgamate the proposed changes and the Board will then endorse the new text.

A proposal was made by a University of Oregon professor that OPA to collaborate with them in making a statement about nondiscrimination for their contest. In the discussion of this proposal it was agreed that Bruce Parker would get more information. Dan Liberthson suggested saying that we are open to all without discrimination.

Diane Corson proposed forming a volunteer committee to work on setting up an internet conference. The volunteers were Diane, Dave Mehler, and Dale Champlin.

Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn Adams): Report submitted separately by email.

IV.  Adjournment The next board meeting was scheduled for July 22 at 7 pm. This meeting was adjourned at 8:32 pm.

Oregon Poetry Association Board Meeting of May 8, 2020

Meeting scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm. via Skype

Present:  Bruce Parker (President, Historian), Diane Corson (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair), Jennifer Rood (Vice-President), Carolyn Adams (Treasurer), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary, Fall Adult Poetry Contest Chair )

Not Present: Stella Guillory (Adult Contest Chair)

  1.  Call to Order

President Bruce Parker called meeting to order at 7:06 pm.

II.  Approval of April 4, 2020 Minutes

Acceptance of the April 4 minutes was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.

III.  Report of Officers

As there were no action items to be discussed, Board President Bruce Parker proposed an agenda in which each board member would discuss how he or she was doing during the COVID 19 lockdown and also ideas of how OPA as an organization can survive this new order. Following are summaries of what was said by each member.

Bruce: Time just passes, I’m a bit dead in the water, not getting a lot done, but riding my bike more. My life as poet is almost bill but I’m reading a lot, and I have written some short poems about the lockdown but indirect, not head on. Someone mentioned Little Somethings Press (https://littlesomethingspress.com/) as a place to submit short poems. I’m not optimistic about future of OPA as it has been, as “normal” life will not return until a vaccine is available, 1-2 years from now. I’m avoiding large indoor crowds and would only go to the Fall OPA conference if it occurs only because I am President. I worry that OPA will wither if not pumped up as an online organization, for which the newsletter will be key.

Carolyn: I’m busy sewing masks for family and friends, volunteering for the Oregon Historical Society (I’ll make masks for them), and doing volunteer home-delivery grocery shopping for the elderly. I’m reading a lot and sorting my books, and writing lots of poems, many inspired by Mary Oliver’s work. Amsterdam Quarterly is considering one of my poems. Attic Institute in Portland (http://atticinstitute.com/) was meeting Friday for presentations and is starting an online poetry workshop and seminars. Something like this might be good for OPA to provide. Thanks due to Dale for a great job on the newsletter, the informal publishing of members work has been well received and has brought some new members. We should continue this, and solicit submissions of bulletins announcing group activities, and visuals (collages, photos). We should encourage friends to become members and then submit to the newsletter. When lockdown and distancing are over, small informal cafe gatherings would be helpful to get people engaged and publicize contests and other activities of the OPA. 

Dale: I’ve been writing a lot. I have a collection done and I’m on the way to another. I’m in two Zoom groups, including Annie Finch’s workshop. OPA could do more outreach, e.g., if a group of poets wants a forum, provide it. We could do another anthology aside from Verse Weavers, perhaps with themes (e.g., Covid19) We could anthologize newsletter submissions, print, and sell them. Bruce added: We could start an OPA poetry group or a journal.

Dan: I’ve been doing a lot of remodeling projects on our house and yard in Cottage Grove, some we’ve done ourselves and some with contractors. I’ve written a few poems, not surprisingly many on the theme of mortality, spent time playing with our two kittens, and been pursuing self-publishing a spy novel that I’ve worked on off and on for 40 years. All that has kept me busy enough. I can’t add to what other board members have proposed for OPA’s future course of action and strategies to survive and hopefully thrive after this difficult time.

Dave: I’ve been doing a lot of writing. Fifteen new members joined OPA so they could submit their work to the newsletter, bringing total membership to about 260. OPA should do as much on-line as possible. We could have a Critique/discussion workshop via the newsletter or our website. We could expand Verseweavers to include more publishing aside from the contest winners. Diane has workshop format where they send out poems and critique them in advance and then have a Zoom meeting to work on them.

Diane: One day just like the other for me during this lockdown; nothing really happens. Membership is OPA’s biggest concern, as there have been only 2 renewals and 1 new member in last 6 weeks. As the Fall Conference probably won’t (and should not) happen and that is a major membership recruitment forum, we could have a “Memorial for the Conference”–an online celebration for the membership–in lieu of an actual conference. Board members could do video, read poems and essays about OPA. 

Jennifer: As an English teacher, I’m not liking working remotely. I want to read poems to kids in person. Teaching on line is more work and less satisfaction. I send out a daily poem from work that’s out there to staff and students. I’ve been gardening a lot to get away from the computer, and not writing much because there’s no time and too much computer work. I also think we should not have the Fall OPA conference. Instead we could have people send videos of themselves reading their poems to the Facebook site manager and post them Diane added: This could be a conference substitute all through October, a virtual celebration. Airlie Press (http://www.airliepress.org/) is doing video spots of people reading for 5 min for $8. Bruce added: it’s premature to cancel the Conference now as Governor Brown has only banned gatherings of more than 25 until September, so we could not invoke force majeure until October to withdraw from the contract.

Susan: I had conference on Zoom with Midvalley poetry society, just finished a contest, and will have a virtual celebration OPA could have a month-long virtual zoom presentation instead of the Conference, perhaps charge a small fee for participants via Zoom, assuming presenters are interested. A Ghost Conference Memorial for the Death of the  2020 OPA Conference. I will be taking over the OPA adult contest from Stella, with her help getting started.

Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn Adams): We got $500 in new member dues via Submittable from 14 members.

IV.  Adjournment

The next board meeting was scheduled for June 15. This meeting was adjourned at 8:28 pm.

Oregon Poetry Association Board Meeting of April 4, 2020

Meeting scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. via Skype

Present:  Bruce Parker (President), Diane Corson (Membership Outreach), Jennifer Rood (Vice-President), Carolyn Adams (Treasurer), Dave Mehler (Submittable and Membership List), Dale Champlin (Newsletter)

Not Present:  Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary)

  1.  Call to Order

President Bruce Parker called meeting to order at 7:17 p.m.

II.  Approval of March 9, 2020 Minutes

It was moved and seconded that the minutes be accepted with an amendment, to be included in the April minutes. One action item was left out: Bruce was to contact Erik Muller to tell him that OPA approved a donation of $500 for the La Grande meeting series and ask for an address to which to send a check. After agreement to add the above statement to these April minutes, the March minutes were accepted by voice vote without objection.

III.  Report of Officers

            A.  Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn Adams):  Submitted on-line on April 3. Total available nonrestricted funds were $13,325. Restricted Cascadia anthology production funds were $320 and contest prizes totaled $350 All anthology copies were mailed out.

            B.  President’s Report (Bruce Parker): Conference Status:  There was a discussion about canceling the October annual conference due to the corona virus crisis. If we cancel within the next month, we would lose 50% of our deposit, about $1600, but if we don’t cancel, given that membership has declined by a third and there may be continued or recurring virus crisis/social isolation requirements, we would likely have fewer than 100 attendees (the break even point), and could lose up to $8,000. Most conference attendees are older, and they might be reluctant to attend even if the crisis has eased. Jennifer noted that the bylaws require a general annual meeting for the election, and asked do we need to change the bylaws in order to cancel? Action item: Bruce will check the bylaws. He suggested we could have an internet general meeting or ballot by mail. Dave said that many people might join at the conference, so if we cancel it we may sacrifice member recruitment. Motion to cancel the conference tabled pending an extraordinary emergency board meeting to be held April 11 at 7 pm, at which a decision will be made. Action Items: (1) In the coming week, Bruce, Diane, and Jennifer will contact the hotel to see if they will reduce the cancellation fee, and (2) Bruce will contact State officials to see if we can avoid this fee because the crisis constitutes an unforeseeable “act of god.” 

            C.  Membership (Diane Corson): It is unclear why OPA lost so many members from last year. 204 memberships were up for renewal and 100 haven’t renewed; overall membership is down from 340 to 250-60. The members we do have are very committed. Dave sent out a postcard mailer mid-February and an email and second reminder after the March 1 expiration date. It might be that some members who joined in August and then would have had to pay again by March 1 might have resented getting only 6 months membership and so did not renew, but there were no complaints about this. Bruce asked why the membership year starts March 1. Dave suspects it was to avoid Xmas and tax time. Action Item: The committee will discuss whether to change from March 1 to January 1, the fiscal year end, or another date. Bruce asked past President David Hedges what he did to increase membership, which included mailing news releases and public service announcements about contests. Bruce said we need to push publicity harder and perhaps have open-enrollment periods before conferences, so people could enroll and join conference at same time. Hedges said that chapters used to actively recruit, and Bruce suggested asking them to do so again. Diane asked what was the structure for enrollment during Hedges time (late 1990s to early 2000s). Action item: Bruce will ask Hedges about this. All agreed it is not a good time to raise dues.

IV.  Spring Poetry Contest (Contest Chair Stella Guillory)

Report submitted by email on April 3. 123 poets participated, including 6 very interesting individuals in the new “Under 30” category, which Stella recommends keeping. Three judges have submitted their selections and three have yet to do so. Winners will be announced in early May.

 V.  New Business

            A.  Action Item: Pursuant to Stella’s suggestions, Bruce will write letter about OPA in this time of corona virus crisis to communicate with membership via the newsletter. Stella suggested soliciting poems from members, to be send to her email address so she can post them. All thought this a good idea. The date of the next Board meeting will be decided at the Extraordinary session of April 11.

 VI.  Adjournment

            The meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.