OPA Fall 2012 Conference

OPA Fall 2012 Conference: A Harvest of Poetry 
Friday, October 5 – Sunday, October 7 in Downtown Medford

Conference Burble – Tiel Aisha Ansari

New at this conference, registrants were offered the opportunity to have individual poetry consultations with local luminaries Vince and Patty Wixon, Amy Miller, and Gary Lark. Consultees uniformly found the sessions useful and inspiring, and there was much feedback in favor of providing similar opportunities at future conferences. The consultants, all old hands at the writing business, also held an interesting panel discussion on sustaining the writing life over the long haul.

Lunch on Saturday included an all too brief appearance by former Oregon laureate Lawson Inada, who was surprised to receive a laurel tree from OPA president Eleanor Berry. Workshops and readings by Henry Hughes and Maxine Scates were well-received as usual; many poems were written, shared, and discussed over the hum of the Red Lion’s air-conditioning.

Other conference locations included the Medford Library’s Community Meeting Room and the Rogue Gallery and Art Center, where attendees were surrounded by breathtaking watercolors during the panel discussion and open mic. Several attendees remarked that the gallery would have made a great location for an ekphrastic workshop.

Sleeper hit at the open mic: Linda Varsell Smith’s poem, “Interview with a Dream Programmer,” in which a helpful (if whiny) customer service representative helps you select the dream of your choice. Meanwhile, tireless Rogues provided a decadent dessert spread, local maps and directions from one venue to another, and tips on their favorite restaurants for the benefit of out-of-towners. Kudos to Carol and the Gang of Five (Deana Chadwell, Sally Ehrman, Dave Harvey, Marisa Petersen, and Liz Robinson)!

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