Minutes of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Board Meeting of January 18, 2022
The meeting was scheduled to begin at 7:02 pm via Zoom.
Present: Sue Fagalde Lick (President), Nancy Christopherson (Vice President and Adult Contest Committee Chair), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Rana Tahir (Treasurer and Webmaster), Dave Mehler (Membership Chair and Publications Liaison), Lorna Rose-Hahn (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair, Events Committee Chair), Priscilla Hunter (Historian), and Lauren Mallett (Cascadia Contest Chair)
Not Present: Rayn Roberts (At-large)
I. Sue called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.
II. Approval of Minutes
Approval of the December 9, 2021 OPA Board meeting minutes was moved and seconded, and the Board voted unanimously to approve.
III. Officer Reports
A. President’s Report Summary (Sue Fagalde Lick) [FULL REPORT LINK]
1. The new website is up and running successfully.
2. The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) Presidents’ Meeting was held on Saturday, Jan. 15. Oregon has more members and activities than many other states. NFSPS has much to offer and we should consider getting more involved in the organization’s activities.
- Each year we submit our latest membership list and dues of $3 per member in January. The membership list is used to verify membership for those who enter the NFSPS contests.
- The national NFSPS contest is planned for June in Ohio, but may not be in person. They hope to offer a hybrid conference, with Zoom connections for those who cannot go to Ohio. They are also looking for states to host the conference in future years. Has OPA ever done this? Would we be interested?
- NFSPS is putting together a national calendar listing events in all the states. I will look into submitting our activities for that.
- I have three print copies of the Strophes newsletter to share if anyone wants me to mail one to them. Let me know. You can also read it at the NFSPS website.
- They have a large number of contests currently underway for adult and student poets. We need to encourage OPA members to submit. Their Blackberry Peach Slam poetry contest is more spoken word or poetry in performance than rap-oriented. Poets are asked to submit four poems in writing and in video form via Submittable by March 15. Video of 2021 winners is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGTxQ9D_bck&t=8s
- NFSPS is sponsoring the first annual national Blackberry Peach slam competition in October in Florida. They encourage each state chapter to select a state champion to send to the event. OPA would pay travel expenses. OPA member Eleanor Berry is on the organizing committee and could guide us. The NFSPS board think this would be a good way to attract younger poets to join state chapters. The website for this contest is http://www.nfsps.com/bbpps.html
OPA is not geared up to hold a slam contest and select our own slam master this year. However, we could look into finding the best slam poet from existing competitions, collaborate with or sponsor the winner of an established slam organization like Slamlandia, hold a workshop or practice open mic slams, and add a spoken word category to our future contests. After discussion Sue agreed to research the possibilities and present a proposal at the next board meeting.
B. Vice President’s Report (Nancy Christopherson)
Nancy contacted Jennifer Rood, who currently has the Historian’s box, to get information about it. According to Jen, the “box” is actually a tub of 10 assorted boxes, a 2 x 6 ft OPA banner, and two bags with photo portraits of past Oregon Poet Laureates (except for our current one who did not respond to requests for his photo. Other materials include past Verseweavers and past Cascadias, OPA bookmarks, OPA book bags, and lots of old agendas and minutes. They are in good condition. Basically, it’s all the OPA historian stuff plus some things used at in-person conferences.
We need to find a new location for the box (see E (2) below).
C. Secretary (Dan Liberthson)
D. Treasurer (Rana Tahir)
OPA’s net worth is $47,585. Our NFSPS dues were paid. Rana is catching up on compliance with tax regulations related to OPA’s nonprofit status.
E. Historian’s Report Summary (Priscilla Hunter) [FULL REPORT LINK]
Priscilla submitted a 2021 Year End Report including a revised proposal for an Online Vault of Archived Historian Books and a discussion of the unresolved issue of the Historian’s Box.
1. Proposal and action plan for an OPA Digital Historian Book
After discussion at the last board meeting and further research, Google Drive (rather than DropBox) was determined, on the bases of cost and capabilities, to be the best place to house the digital Historian Book (HB). Nancy suggested a generic name for the HB so we don’t have to change it whenever there’s a new Historian. The HB will be organized by calendar year. An HB task force will be constituted to create, starting in February 2022, a pilot program to develop and implement on Google Drive a trial online historian book. The process of online book implementation would remain in the preparation stage for as long as it takes to successfully inaugurate a trial online historical record of OPA activities, actions, and events, targeting installation of complete records of the OPA year of 2022, proceeding to the installation of official documents as they come in to the Historian after the trial book begins operation and, as feasible, the simultaneous recapturing and installing of earlier 2022 documents to round out the 2022 year. The Google Drive online historian book would archive the all HBs permanently, including some or all documents shared initially on the website.
The HB committee’s long-term goal is to design, implement, and maintain an effectively functioning system of data collection and storage. One project objective is to ensure good user accessibility for use in future historical record keeping and use by the Board of OPA and others. The committee will begin creating and trouble-shooting the new historian book pilot in February. No deadline for completion of any stage of the pilot program has been set.
The present HB committee will consist of Rana (Treasurer and Webmaster) and Priscilla (Historian) Priscilla will contact Jennifer Rood and Bruce Parker, former OPA Historians, in January and invite them to participate in the process. The next steps in the process will be expansion of the committee, creation by Rana of a Historian gmail address and registration of OPA or the OPA Historian as a user of Gmail storage and communication services, and an initial committee planning meeting in late February to map out a plan and schedule for further work.
2. The Historian’s Box
The problems of the box full of old historian books/records are time and space and the logistical obstacles they present to accessibility and storage of the information in the box. In the current arrangement for handling the box archive, accessibility to information is limited both by the records’ material format and their constantly shifting localization, and their organization (a table of contents) doesn’t seem to be noted outside of the box itself. The box of annual historian books, whatever form they may have taken over the years, have, for a while now, been accessed by a limited number of people (usually board officers) or one person (the historian) in any given year. But OPA historian books may contain information that future board members and non-board members and, with appropriate permissions, even non-affiliated members might find beneficial (historians, arts historians, other arts organizations, etc.). How might the Board approach integrating the box into the projected online HB?
- Alternative A – Immediately or soon, form a separate, perhaps non-board committee or task group that would design a method, means, and schedule for evaluating, coordinating, digitizing, and integrating into the online Historian Book the contents of the box, working with the HB team when feasible in 2022.
- Alternative B – Immediately or soon, hire an OPA member or other poet as an executive assistant who can run, oversee and facilitate the retrieval and transferal work of that committee as described in A above, working with the HB team when feasible in 2022.
- Alternative C – In 2023 or so, turn the search for a solution to the box problem over to the current online book pilot team (Priscilla and Rana) once the pilot Google-Drive program is in place and functioning effectively for easily collecting and storing data and has the approval of the Board.
As proposed in prior board meetings, to address the box issues, we could decide to define and establish one or more OPA internships to be supervised by OPA and fulfilled by college students in exchange for institutional credits or payment by OPA. A box-integration committee would be needed to define reasonable internship objectives, provide supervision of and useful meetings with any interns, and carry the internship project to completion. Any college internship should be designed in collaboration with faculty and departments of some or all Oregon universities, colleges, and community colleges. In such internships, the student intern(s)—if for credit—would have to be supervised and “graded” by OPA, with grades reported back to the crediting department according to term deadlines. The OPA intern supervisors would need to commit to following through a whole term supervising one or more interns.
Nancy has compiled a list of Oregon institutions of higher education that might be helpful in finding institutions interested in internships for their students. Southern Oregon University (SOU), for example, is organized into seven academic divisions, of which two are relevant: Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU and the SOU division of Humanities and Culture.
IV. Committee Reports
A. Membership and Publications Liaison (Dave Mehler)
Membership stable at 365. Dale Champlin is working on the next Verseweavers book.
B. Adult Contests Summary (Nancy Christopherson) [FULL REPORT LINK]
The Adult Poetry Contest will be ready to go on February 1. The judges have been retained, their websites and bios will be put on the website, and advertising will go out Jan 19. The categories and judges are: Members Only (Beth Wood), New Poets (Sherri Levine), Traditional Form—Shakespearean Sonnet (John Witte), Theme—Ars Poetica (Susan Rich), Age 30 and Under (Marc Janssen), and Spanish Language (JM Persánch)
C. Youth Contests Report Summary (Lauren Mallett) [FULL REPORT LINK]
Cascadia, the OPA’s Oregon Student Poetry Contest, serves to nurture the talent of young Oregon poets by providing an opportunity for their poems to be widely shared, published, and celebrated. The four separate divisions in the contest are grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The schedule for mounting the contest includes drafting marketing materials, a press release, and Submittable copy (January); notifying superintendents, teachers, and literary organizations (February, first week); follow-up with marketing contacts (April), contest/Submittable deadline (May 1); OPA board, the judges, reading and selecting winners, notification of winners and invitation to read, poems put on website, launch of Cascadia online winners’ poems (May); publicizing and payment of winners (June). Winning poems will be published in the inaugural online issue of Cascadia and winning poets will be invited to read their poems on June 1 via Zoom. The winning poems in both the middle and high school divisions are eligible for and may be sent to the 2023 Manningham Trust Student Contest sponsored by NSFPS, which awards cash prizes and anthology publication. Full details and reminders are on OPA’s Facebook page.
There was a discussion of the criteria by which board member judges will evaluate entries and how to convey what we’re looking for to students and teachers, as well as whether to close the contest on May 1 or May 14.
D. Social Media/Events (Lorna Rose)
E. Webmaster (Rana Tahir)
The new website has successfully gone live.
V. Old Business
A. Verseweavers readings by winners of the adult poetry contest are set for Feb. 1 and 3; full in formation is on the website. Sue will invite the readers.
B. Sue will appoint a new board member to finish the term of Rayn Roberts, who is no longer on the board.
VI. New Business
A. Should OPA host a Slam poetry event? The decision was to partner with established group.
B. How to celebrate National Poetry Month. Nancy suggested an open reading on two nights: April 5 and 19 at 7 pm. Lauren would like to offer a How to Teach Poetry workshop for teachers; Rana suggested it be a March event.
The next Board meeting will be on February 15 at 7 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:14 pm.
Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary