OPA Fall 2013 Conference: Teaching Poetry

Oregon Poetry Association Fall Conference 2013: TEACHING POETRY

UPDATE: All events will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room, Washburne Hall.


The Fall 2013 Conference was held October 18-20 in Forest Grove, Oregon on the campus of Pacific University.



October 18th: Workshop leaders read followed by open mic: 7 – 10 PM (Public event)
October 19th: Registration opens: 8:00 AM
Conference opens; Pacific University presents on their Creative Writing program: 9:00 AM
Workshop block 1: 10:00 AM – noon
Lunch and fall contest awards: Noon – 1:30 PM
Workshop block 2: 1:30 – 3:30 PM
Free time: dinner on your own
“Teaching Poetry” panel followed by open mic: 7 – 10 PM (Public event)
October 20th: Individual consultations and coffee klatches starting 9:00 AM (half hour consults)


$55.00 registration (including lunch) for members postmark on or before October 4th
$65.00 registration (including lunch) non-members or members after October 4th
$15.00 for consulting session if desired. Please send first and second choice of consultant and up to 6 poems by October 11th. Email preferred. 20 consultations are available, and will be filled first-come first-served.


Stephanie LenoxPublic Acts of Poetry: Coaxing/Coaching Creativity In and Out of the Classroom

Description: What happens when a poem gets up off the page and wanders into a mall, a bathroom stall, or a public sidewalk? What can poetry become when it is performed, floated down a stream, or projected on a wall? This workshop will experiment with the pedagogical potential of taking poetry outside the classroom in order to encourage creativity and to externalize the often mysterious process of writing poetry. Participants will engage in and walk away with a handful of interactive exercises for writers of all levels (including teachers!) that give insight into the craft of poetry.

Presenter Bio: Stephanie Lenox is the author of Congress of Strange People (Airlie Press) and The Heart That Lies Outside the Body (Slapering Hol Press). She first started teaching poetry by sneaking it into ESL lesson plans under the guise of pronunciation practice. Whether working with second graders, high-schoolers, or college students, she aims to demystify the process of writing poetry while preserving the mysterious spaces within poetry that make it vital. She teaches creative writing at Willamette University where her students are currently writing hate poems to inanimate objects around campus. She loves teaching because it reminds her, over and over, what poetry is and can be. She lives in Salem where she is currently being schooled by two smart ladies, Louisa and Iris, almost 2 and 4. Learn more: www.stephanielenox.com.

Brent JohnsonMeasuring Metaphor: How to Extend Metaphors through your Poetry

Description: This workshop will consider and put to practice the role of metaphor as a controlling device in poetry.  Participants will examine ordinary objects in their own lives and their potential for metaphor, inviting readers into a deeper understanding of how meaning might be understood through extended metaphors.  Other considerations in this workshop will center on how metaphor can be used to transcend the narrative of a poem as well as provide the poem an exit through figurative language.

Presenter Bio: Brent Johnson teaches creative writing and literature at Pacific University.  His areas of expertise center on travel writing, nature essays, and poetry.   He has published creative nonfiction and poetry in journals such as RiverTeeth, Ascent, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Blood Orange Review, and others.  His most recent essay, “The Sultan’s Scissors,” was published in the latest issue of the North American Review, the nation’s oldest literary journal.


Catherine (Kitty) Pavlish has a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Dakota and has taught literature, composition, and poetry writing classes for the past 30 years.  She currently teaches full-time at Oregon Coast Community College, where she has been for the past 12 years.  She has studied and written extensively about the crossing and blurring of genres and is particularly interested in the newer forms, sometimes called “the fourth genre” (a.k.a. creative nonfiction) or “critical-creative amalgams” or “cross-genre writing.”  She favors poetry with a narrative and political bent and believes that, as Shelly said, “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” In her own work, she strives to “make it new” and to say something important–or even profound–and she especially likes poems that cross disciplines as well as forms (for example, how quantum physics elucidates both meaning and form in the contemporary world).  She currently resides in Newport, Oregon, with her husband, two teenaged (yet still wonderful) children, a three-pound (rescued) chihuahua, and somewhat mean (but tolerant) 10-year old Tabby cat.  She believes the most important thing she has done in her life is, first, to be a good mother and, second, to be a caring teacher (yes, in that order), both of which have made her a much less selfish and self-centered person.  She has published recently in Feminist Studies, Quantum Dao, and several other small magazines and presses.

Darlene Pagán teaches writing and literature at Pacific University in Oregon. A chapbook of poems, Blue Ghosts, came out in 2011 with Finishing Line Press.  A full-length collection, Setting the Fire, was recently completed.  Her poems have appeared in dozens of journals, including Field, Calyx, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore, Hiram Poetry Review, Lake Effect, Apple Valley Review, and Hawaii Pacific Review.  Her essays have earned national awards, “In the House of Lovers” and “The Blue Shangri-la” and appeared in venues such as Memoir(and), Brevity, The Nebraska Review, and Literal Latté. She is also working towards a second book of poems called “All Over the Map”, which consists of poems about women drawn from headlines.  She enjoys biking, hiking, swimming, the coast, the rain, and roller coasters now that one of her sons is tall enough to ride.

Kathlene Postma’s poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Hawaii Review, Willow Springs, Zyzzyva, Los Angeles Review, Passages North, Natural Bridge, Rattle, Event, Green Mountains Review, Red Rock Review, and other magazines. A professor at Pacific University, she edits Silk Road Review and directs the creative writing program. She has recently completed a novel set in China and the United States.  More about Kathlene: http://kathlenepostma.com

Tim Applegate‘s poems and essays appear in a wide variety of journals including The Florida Review, The South Dakota Review and Lake Effect. His most recent publications in 2013 include Cairn, The Fox Cry Review and Meadow. He is the author of the collection At the End of Day (Traprock Books) as well as the chapbook Drydock, which will be published by Blue Cubicle Press in 2014. Tim has extensive editing experience, having over the years helped fine-tune individual poems as well as entire manuscripts by numerous poets including Mark Thalman, Erik Muller, Bill Siverly, Amy Minato, Michael McDowell and Alison Apotheker.


Dawn Diez Willis is a poet, editor, and licensed teacher. The author of Still Life with Judas & Lightning (Airlie Press 2013), she holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon.  Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Southern Poetry Review, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, and elsewhere.  Formerly an editor with Northwest Review, she currently serves as a member editor with Airlie Press.  While developing and executing a creative writing program at Hillcrest Youth Corrections, she was a co-founder of the arts journal Through Our Eyes, which began through an Oregon Arts Commission grant.  Her poetry teaching experience includes many years as a creative writing teacher in juvenile corrections, residencies through California Poets in the Schools and Salem Art Association, as well teaching sections of Creative Writing: Poetry at the University of Oregon.

Drew Myron heads a marketing communications company and as a journalist has covered news, arts, entertainment and travel for AOL, Northwest Best Places and other publications. She is writing instructor at Seashore Family Literacy, a nonprofit organization serving disadvantaged and homeless youth, and is the author of Thin Skin, a collection of photos and poems. She lives in Yachats, Oregon. www.drewmyron.com

Keya Mitra is currently an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Pacific University and graduated in 2010 with a doctorate from the University of Houston¹s Creative Writing Program, where she also earned her MFA.  In 2008, she spent a year in India on a Fulbright grant in creative writing.  Her fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Best New American Voices, Ontario Review, Orchid, Event, Fourteen Hills, Torpedo, and Confrontation, and her nonfiction has been published in Gulf Coast and American Literary Review.  Her story received special mention in the Pushcart Prize XXXVII Anthology, and she has been nominated for two Pushcart prizes.  She has written a short story collection, a novel, and a memoir.

Mark Thalman is the author of Catching the Limit, Fairweather Books (2009). His poetry has been widely published for four decades.  His work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly, CutBank, Pedestal Magazine, and Verse Daily among others.  He received his MFA from the University of Oregon, and has been teaching English in the public schools for 30 years.  Before earning his teaching certificate, Thalman was a poet-in-the-schools for the Oregon Arts Commission.  He is the editor of poetry.us.com.  For more information please visit markthalman.com.

Sara-Lynne Simpson: As an educator, author and performing artist, Ms. Simpson has focused on enhancing children’s lives for decades.  She has served in many roles across the country, including teacher, author, professional development director, University faculty member, facilitator, presenter, project/grant leader and guest artist. Currently, Ms. Simpson resides in Oregon, where her own poetry and that of her writing students have won state and national awards.  Ms. Simpson’s work is honored in Verseweavers, Cascadia and the Manningham Poetry Trust Anthology. She published a chap book of haiku, At the Robin’s Behest in 2010.


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