OPA Board Minutes, July 12, 2022

Minutes of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Board Meeting of July 12, 2022

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm via Zoom.

Present: Sue Fagalde Lick (President), Nancy Christopherson (Vice President and Adult Contest Chair), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Dave Mehler (Membership Chair and Publications Liaison), Lauren Mallett (Cascadia Contest Chair), Priscilla Hunter (Historian), Lorna Rose-Hahn (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair, Events Committee Chair), Efraín Diaz-Horna (at-large)

Not Present: Rana Tahir (Treasurer and Webmaster)

I. Sue called the meeting to order at 6:36 pm.

II. Approval of Minutes

Approval of the June 6, 2022 OPA board meeting minutes was moved and seconded, and the board voted unanimously to approve.

III. Officer Reports

A. President’s Report (Sue Fagalde Lick)

1. National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS)—Sue attended the NFSPS national conference and her report on it is appended to these minutes. She recommends a greater effort to make OPA members aware that membership in OPA automatically makes them members of NFSPS, which entitles them to enter the many NFSPS contests, receive their publications, and many other benefits. The NFSPS Contest Chair presented statistics that showed that while OPA has the most members of all the states, we have some of the lowest participation in the NFSPS contests.

As a contest winner in the NFSPS Blackberry Peach Spoken Word category, Sue read her poem at the convention and it was published in a beautiful book. The convention was a hybrid in-person/Zoom event. The Zoomers were “present” on giant screens in the conference room and folks did their best to include them in the discussions, but it was definitely not the same as being together in the real world. Though COVID is still an issue, Sue would like to consider OPA’s having an in-person conference next year, if not the conference, some other kind of in-person gathering.

Twenty-one years ago a very successful NFSPS national convention was held in Coos Bay, and the NFSPS is interested in having their conference in Oregon again next year. This year’s NFSPS convention was held in conjunction with the Ohio Poetry Association’s annual conference, but as OPA’s annual conference is in October and NFSPS holds theirs in June, this would need to be discussed.

Sue was extremely proud to join Eleanor Berry in representing Oregon at this year’s NFSPS conference.

2.  A poetry press is pressuring Sue to advertise their upcoming submission call, but this could open a whole new can of worms. Do we want to become an outlet for submission information beyond the state of Oregon? It could become a big job. After discussion, board members felt that we should not become an outlet for out-of-state submission notices.

3. Sue attended the Mid-valley Poetry Society’s reading on Sunday, which featured Anatoly Molotkov, Stella Jeng Guillory, and our own Rana Tahir. Sue found it was good to meet people in three dimensions instead of as faces on a screen. The other units of OPA have somewhat faded away, but Mid-Valley is doing a great job.

4.  Sue is having problems getting into the OPA website; the two-stage authentication system is kicking her out. She also needs access to Submittable to see our conference proposals. Rana will be able to arrange access to the website, and Dave has already implemented Sue’s access to Submittable.

B. Vice President (Nancy Christopherson)

Twenty-one people participated in the songwriting workshop, which went very well. Verseweavers readings are set for July 26 and August 9.

C. Secretary (Dan Liberthson)

Dan will attend the Paseo arts festival in Portland on July 16 and bring some old Verseweavers copies for distribution, as well as other information about OPA.

D. Treasurer (Rana Tahir)

No Report.

E. Historian’s Report (Priscilla Hunter)

Priscilla is getting up to speed and exploring ideas. She is not yet ready to propose a technically detailed design for the planned digital version of OPA’s historical record, but intends to ground it in a clear and common-sense description of the contents and organization of earlier Historians’ books. These materials are contained in the “box” that previous Historian Jennifer Rood has been storing for OPA.

IV. Committee Reports

A. Social Media/Events (Lorna Rose-Hahn)

OPA is now on Instagram and has 61 followers. Lorna put a request for nominations for the Banta Award on Facebook, but no nominations have been received yet. The award (for extraordinary lifetime contributions to the Oregon poetry community) will be presented at OPA’s annual conference in October. There have been ten responses to Lorna’s notice requesting workshop proposals. Dave suggested querying likely presenters directly, as the deadline is July 31 and we want to have as much choice as possible.

B. Membership and Publications Liaison (Dave Mehler)

The OPA has 332 members. There continue to be problems for some people trying to sign up for membership using Wild Apricot, so Dave has provided alternative recommendations for signing up, in a form letter he sends to people experiencing problems: (1) using a different browser, (2) sending in a check and completed application form, and (3) using a link to Submittable, which Dave reactivated as a workaround to bypass Wild Apricot. We need to talk to someone at Wild Apricot to find out if they can fix the difficulties our members are having using their program. If not, we could try another service, but there might still be problems with the new service. Verseweavers is in the process of being mailed and should arrive before the July 26 reading.

C. Adult Contest Chair (Nancy Christopherson)

The adult poetry contest will start on schedule on August 1. The theme is The Moon and the form is The Golden Shovel. Full details are on the OPA website. Categories and judges are:

  1. Poet’s Choice: Judge, Dorothea Lasky
  2. Members Only: Judge, Michael Minassian
  3. New Poets: Judge, Amy Miller
  4. Traditional Form—The Golden Shovel,Judge: Keith S. Wilson
  5. Theme—The Moon, Judge: A. Molotkov
  6. Age 30 and Under, Judge: James R. Merrill
  7.  Spanish Language, Judge: Amelia Diaz Ettinger

D. Youth Contest Report Summary (Lauren Mallett)

No report.

E. Webmaster (Rana Tahir)

No Report.

V. Old Business

A. Sue is concerned about the issues with Wild Apricot, which may be costing us members and may mess up annual conference registrations. Dave will set up alternative conference registration on Submittable, which has been successful in the past. We can put a link on the OPA website to Submittable and Conference Registration.

B. Dave reported that the Nominating Committee has five nominees, and that ballots will go out on September 1. 

C. Slamlandia finals will be held in Portland on July 21. Lorna will facilitate livestreaming the contest on social media. Priscilla has a contact who can help with this. Sue suggested putting a donation button on the website to help send the contest winner to Florida for the national contest.

E. Annual Conference planning

1.  The conference committee (Dave, Sue, and Rana) will meet after all proposals are in, in early August. Jessica Mehta has accepted the committee’s invitation to be the keynote speaker. Dave feels preparations are proceeding well, though more workshop proposals and some Banta Award nominations are needed.

F. Sue will host an OPA table at the Willamette Writers Resources for Writers fair at 6 pm on August 4 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Portland. This table will be open to the public.

VI. New Business

There was no new business to be discussed.

VIII. Announcements

The next board meeting will be on August 16 at 6:30 pm.

IX. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 7:54 pm.

Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary

Looking Beyond Oregon for Poetic Inspiration

by Sue Fagalde Lick, OPA president

Oregon boasts hundreds of wonderful poets, but our state is just one tiny part of the poetry world. Last month, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ annual convention and witnessed a much larger chunk of that world. The convention was a hybrid, with about 150 people meeting in person and many others joining via Zoom.

Did you know that if you are member of Oregon Poetry Association, you are automatically a member of NFSPS, too? You are eligible to enter its contests, receive its publications, and network with poets all over the USA.

Did you know we are not the only OPA? We share initials with the Ohio chapter.

I was proud to represent our state organization, which has more members than any other state poetry association affiliated with NFSPS. We are doing some wonderful things here, including workshops, readings, contests, publications, and our upcoming conference, but I got some ideas for more things we could do. Poetry festival? Zoom rooms any member can use? A podcast featuring Oregon poets? More experienced poets mentoring newer poets? A slam chapter?

The convention, with the theme “Renewal through Poetry,” offered four days of poetry events, including a poetry hike, announcement and readings of the prizewinning individual poems and books in its 54 (!) contest categories, workshops on various facets of poetry-writing, and a keynote address by Hanif Abdurraqib. State chapter presidents met to exchange ideas and talk about common issues, and the entire assembly met to hear reports from each state and vote on new national officers. For me, the best parts were the casual conversations and the nightly open mics in the courtyard as fireflies flitted around us. I came home with many new friendships. I also got to hang out with the wonderful Eleanor Berry, a past president of both Oregon Poetry Association and NFSPS.

The Nationwide Convention Center in Columbus where we met offered elegant accommodations for our gathering—and effective air conditioning to counter the hot, muggy weather. Every year in June, a different state hosts the NFSPS convention. We do not yet have a location for 2023. There was a lot of buzz about Oregon doing it again sometime soon. The previous convention in Coos Bay, which happened before my time in OPA, was a big hit. All it takes is an energetic group of volunteers to put it on. It would be a great chance to show off, and we wouldn’t have to travel across the country to do it.

Take a look at the NFSPS.org website. Join in where you can. If nothing else, plan to enter some of the contests. With so many categories, you’re bound to win something, and the winning poems are published in a beautiful anthology titled Encore. Stretch beyond the Pacific Northwest to meet poets online or in person from other states, other cultures, and other accents. It may inspire a few new poems. Remember, if you are a member of OPA, you are also a member of NFSPS. Don’t miss the good stuff available there.

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