The Down Towne Poets, a monthly reading held in Dan and Sarah Goyette’s Down Towne Coffee House, in Talent, was started in 2005 by Deborah Thornley, who moved to Tucson in 2007, leaving the program to be coordinated by Dave Harvey. Co-host Carol Brockfield and he have continued to hold it on the second Thursday evening of each month. All poets are welcome to read, and there is coaching as well as applause.

The group which plans and coordinates all Rogue Valley OPA activities agreed that it’s time to make Down Towne Poets a function of the OPA’s Rogue Valley Unit. The Poets’ big event comes on the second Thursday of April each year (April 9, this year), when the winners of the year-long contests are announced and receive prize certificates and money.

At this year’s meeting, we will announce Down Towne Poets’ new formal status as an OPA program. Debbie Thornley has told us she will come from Tucson to be present.

On January 29, Friends of William Stafford invited several local poets to read at an evening commemorating the life and work of William Stafford. Angela Decker, Samara Diab, Michael Jenkins, Amy Miller, Julian Spalding, and Pepper Trail each read one by Bill and one of their own, related to the Stafford poem each had chosen. Other audience members were invited to read Stafford poems that were especially meaningful to them.

Workshops at the Medford Branch Library are held on second Saturdays. In November, Dave Harvey gave one on “Light Verse,” looking at, and encouraging the participants to create their own examples of, such forms as the limerick, clerihew, dorklet, pompouselle, and Ogden Nashie. In February, Dee Chadwell repeated her Valentine’s Day workshop of a year ago: the sonnet, especially the sonnet expressing love. Linda Barnes plans one in March, using body movements to inspire poems.

Amy Miller gave a workshop on using CreateSpace to publish your book in early February. It was so well-attended that she has a plan to give a repeat in March.

Laura Kimberly, Branch Manager of the Medford Library, plans to furnish seven pies for our annual Poetry and Pie event in April Further workshops are planned for March and May, with a planned “throttle-down” for the summer.

— Dave Harvey



Marys Peak Poets sponsored two workshops by Oregon Poet Laureate Peter Sears based on William Stafford’s poem “Ask Me”. One workshop was held at the Philomath Historical Museum and the other at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. The workshops were coordinated by Linda Gelbrich and Sandy Lizut.  Be Davison Herrera created a William Stafford Display at the library. She gave workshops and readings on both coasts in November and December.

Marys Peak Poets give readings, attend poetry events, publish and take poetry classes to promote poetry in our area. Several Marys Peak Poets will be judges as well as sponsors of the Spring Youth Poetry Contest in conjunction with the Corvallis Arts Center.

— Linda Varsell Smith




This spring the major project of the MVPS is a National Poetry Month exhibit of Oregon poets and artists’ collaborative works in the Capitol April 13-17. Works to be exhibited include artist’s books containing poems by Paulann Petersen and Ellen Waterston. Pieces from Paul Merchant and Ingrid Wendt collaborations with sculptors will be shown, as well as new work from collaborations with painters by A. Molotkov and Colette Tennant. There will also be several poem-photo composites and pairings created through photographers’ collaborations with poets Rita Cavin, Margaret Chula, Henry Hughes, John Van Dreal (a poet better known as a painter), and Dawn Diez Willis. An opening reception will be held Monday, April 13, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, MVPS members continue to write a monthly column in the Statesman Journal with the new title of  “Oregon Poets.” Read them on the OPA website.

The poetry column “Line Break,” which MVPS member Ruth Hudgens has been curating for Salem’s alternative newspaper, Salem Weekly, has expanded to include prose poetry, flash fiction, and other prose genres and has a new title, “Salem Writes.”

MVPS meetings are held monthly on second Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. They are open to anyone in the greater Salem area who is interested in poetry.

~ Eleanor Berry, Chair