Minutes of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Board Meeting of May 4, 2021
The meeting was scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm via Zoom.
Present: Jennifer Jennifer Rood (President, Historian), Sue Fagalde Lick (Vice-President), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Rana Tahir (Treasurer), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary, Adult Contest Chairperson), Lorna Rose Hahn (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair)
Not Present: Rayn Roberts (At-Large)
I. Jennifer called the meeting to order at 7:08.
II. Approval of Minutes
A motion by Dan to accept the April 6, 2021 board meeting minutes was seconded by Rana and approved unanimously by voice vote.
III. Officer Reports
A. President’s Report (Jennifer Rood)
The April Pandemic 2020 readings were a GREAT success! Marc Janssen started us off by hosting the first reading highlighting Salem-area poets. That was followed by three readings highlighting the Portland area, and then four other readings highlighting other regions—Southern Oregon, Outside the Valley, Eugene, and an All Regions finale. In all, between 70 and 80 OPA members/Pandemic 2020 poets were highlighted in the readings. Feedback was positive, with many commenting on how they appreciated being part of this community of poets, and with many giving thanks to this (and the previous) Board for the work that went into making both the book (with special thanks to Dale Champlin) and the readings possible. It was a spectacular way to celebrate National Poetry Month 2021!
Banta Award My focus for May is opening up nominations for the Banta Award, to be conferred at the Fall Conference. The award, now in its third year, is given as recognition for someone who has contributed greatly to the promotion of Oregon poets and poetry. The committee is organized and ready; we just need nominations to start coming in! Former recipients were David Hedges and Linda Varsell Smith.
NFSPS—National Federation of State Poetry Societies NFSPS will be holding their convention online this year: June 10-13. Cost is $45 for the entire event. Registration deadline is June 1 (received). See nfsps.com for more information. I plan to attend the State Presidents’ meeting on June 10.
We still need to put together a Nominating Committee to recruit people to run for the October Board election. According to the bylaws, it should be a three-person committee, and only one person can be a current Board member. When we last met, Sue mentioned she was possibly interested. Sue will be helped by Dave, who has access to volunteer lists.
We need to get back to completing and launching the website redesign. When we last met, Rana and Dale indicated they were willing to take on getting the site ready for launch once the April poetry readings were over. The shell is built but needs content and tweaking. Old pages no longer needed should be trimmed. Discussion: Should we give active poetry community people who are OPA members a means of using the website? For example: include a “chapter page” with contact information for regional poets in active units. Rana commented that with a new hosting plan from Stacy in place, Bruce Parker will no longer need to handle website matters. GoDaddy will no longer be used for domain name but for hosting only. Jennifer commented that she has had requests for old Verseweavers copies. Dale said she would send the names of people who want old Verseweavers issues to Jennifer, who will send them to the people.
Lisa Baldwin, a former OPA president, sent information about the Miller Foundation Fast Track Grant (deadline to apply is June 30), which she hopes could be used to revive the Cascadia student contest (not held last year due to limitations created by covid issues). Jennifer suggested that even without a grant, OPA could fund the contest, but that a grant would allow OPA to run it without taking a loss. Rana offered to contact a grantwriter she knows who charges $55/hr. to see if it might be possible to hire out the grantwriting. Rana will follow up.
Paul Ward of Cerimon House in Portland, a nonprofit humanities organization that supports dance and the arts, asked to meet with Jennifer about a collaboration. She will pursue this.
B. Vice-President (Sue Lick)
C. Secretary (Dan)
D. Treasurer’s Report (Rana Tahir)
1. Past/Completed Business
– Wild Apricot is running smoothly. We have received online renewals steadily.
– Derek Sheffield’s Ecopoetry workshop has been listed.
– Verseweavers readings videos were posted on Youtube.
2. Ongoing Business
– Past treasurer files and data are being consolidated into one master sheet.
– A new OPA Treasurer’s handbook is being written and compiled.
– Todd Kaneko’s workshop is being finalized and planned for the second week of May.
– The pandemic reading recordings are being compiled and edited.
– GoDaddy website hosting will be canceled and Stacey’s Milepost24 $49.50/month plan (dis counted $50 for OPA’s nonprofit status) will be used for hosting, yielding net savings and better service.
– Waiting to hear from Sandra Mason about a bequest to OPA, which will fund a new James Mason contest and award. Rana will draft a letter of acceptance.
3. New Business
– A request to train someone to help set up events on Wild Apricot and use the Youtube channel. Dave suggested asking Lorna as she handles media matters, or a new board member after the election.
– We need protocols for event planning. Discussion: We need to optimize the process of recruiting workshop and other presenters to avoid unnecessary complexity, including taking too much of the presenters’ time with repeated requests. Dan suggested that the board discuss potential presenters’ proposals, compile any questions we have for them, ask them just once to avoid multiple ongoing queries, and then decide on the basis of their answers whether or not to hire them. Dale suggested that we ask no questions but trust the poet based on his or her reputation and achievements. Dave suggested having a workshop committee rather than whole board assess potential workshop presenters and compile questions for them if any. Lorna asked about how best to promote workshops. Dale suggested using a presenter’s bio, credits, workshop description, and headshot. Rana noted that using a presenter’s copy can speed things up.
4. Current Budget
– Total Funds Left in 2021 Budget: $36,454.35
– Bank Balance: $46,333.52 (increased because Wild Apricot makes deposits as they come in).
IV. Committee Reports
A. Membership (Dave Mehler)
We have 340 members, many new, and 70-80 lapsed, some of whom renewed after a reminder. This is an improvement over the past two years. The increased membership may be owing to a smoother renewal process with Wild Apricot and OPA’s higher profile and many offerings this year.
B. Contests (Susan Morse)
All results are in for the 2021 Verseweavers contest and the winners announced. 369 poems were submitted, vs 424 for Fall contest. Instituto de Cultura Oregoniana (ICO) requested OPA’s help with promotion of their upcoming contest. We decided to advertise the contest in our OPA newsletter. Discussion: Jennifer commented that we can put links for “units” (regions or language groups) on the OPA website without requiring that the unit members all be OPA members (see III A 5 above). Susan said that finding judges for unit contests, especially language groups, could be challenging because some groups are small and it is hard to find a judge who doesn’t know everybody in the group. Jennifer noted that the board hasn’t decided to expand the contest to languages other than Spanish (which we want to keep), though this has been discussed. Susan mentioned that the OPA might do something to support poets who can’t afford to enter our contests, such as offer scholarships. Jennifer commented that some contest winners have donated their winnings for this purpose. The topic was tabled for future discussion.
C. Verseweavers, Pandemic 2020 Anthology, Newsletter (Dale Champlin)
Dale asked for submissions to be a featured poet in the newsletter and said that the 2020 Verseweavers volume is in the works.
D. Social media (Lorna Rose Hahn)
Lorna said that OPA’s social media exposure is good. She directs most of her attention to Facebook. We aren’t followed much on Twitter, but that is typical for location-based writing organizations. Lorna said she would help with Wild Apricot and Youtube (see III D 3, item 1, above). Rana mentioned that we have a Youtube channel and that she has put the Verseweavers reading recordings on it and will add the Pandemic reading recordings. Lorna said the event notices are nicely formatted on Wild Apricot, which encourages people to register for the events.
V. Old Business
Rana mentioned that the Derek Sheffield workshop was definite, but registration low so far. She is discussing with Todd Kaneka which of his two workshops to offer in May: Jennifer Forcing the Metaphor or Writing the Vertical. The board favored the latter and Rana said she would confirm and schedule it.
VI. New Business
Jennifer mentioned we need to begin planning for a Fall conference, and asked whether it should be in person or on Zoom. The board agreed that given the exigencies Zoom would be best, as we did last Fall. Jennifer will send out the set-up for last year’s conference. We will need to contract for technical support this time; these services were donated last Fall. Possible future events were discussed: Sue suggested doing more open mics on themes and asked for suggestions: e.g., Dogs, Pets, etc.
The next board meeting will be on Tuesday, June 8 at 7 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:51 pm.
Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary