OPA Units are independantly run poetry groups affiliated with the Oregon Poetry Association. To inquire about joining or establishing an OPA unit, please contact the president.
Current OPA Units:
Mid-Valley Poetry Society (MVPS) (Salem-area OPA Unit)
The MVPS is an open group of poets and poetry aficionados in Salem and surrounding communities. Co-founded in 2010 by Eleanor Berry and the late Virginia Corrie-Cozart, its mission is to create community among poets and poetry aficionados, to be a nexus for poetry activities and resources, and to promote appreciation for poetry throughout the greater Salem area.
The group meets monthly, except July, August, and December, on second Saturdays. Since April 2020, the meetings have been held via Zoom. They are open to anyone in the greater Salem area with an interest in poetry.
The MVPS has a number of ongoing programs and activities. Since 2012 members have written a monthly column on Oregon poets for the Salem Statesman Journal. In addition, for the past couple of years MVPS member Steve Slemenda has been hosting a twice-monthly half-hour program, Poetry on the Air, on Salem’s community radio station, KMUZ.
For several years, MVPS members have also shared poems through a poetry box in a local coffee house. During COVID-19 pandemic closures, poems were shared via email instead. With re-opening, the physical box has been re-installed in the Governor’s Cup, with regularly changing printed poems for anyone interested to take.
Since 2013, the group has organized “Poetry in Performance” events, featuring poets for whom performance is an integral part of their art. These have evolved into an annual series of three such events per year, usually with partial grant-funding. In 2020-21, the events were held via Zoom or, in one case, outdoors. Featured poets often perform in collaboration with artists in other media. Each event includes an open mic segment.
In addition to programs organized by the MVPS, Salem is fortunate to have Marc Janssen’s Salem Poetry Project, which has been holding weekly Thursday-evening readings with featured poets and open mics since January 2016, continuing via Zoom during the COVID-19 closures. The Poetry Project and the MVPS are mutually supportive.
The MVPS regularly collaborates with visual arts organizations in the Salem area. For several years it has joined with Artists in Action on Paint and Write the Town, an annual program in which visual artists and poets create works at designated sites over the summer, then exhibit and perform them in the fall. Over the past year, the MVPS has worked with the Salem Art Association on a program of poet-artist collaborations, which will culminate in an exhibit at the Bush Barn Art Center, running January 14-February 25, 2022.
To contact the Mid-Valley Poetry Society by e-mail, go to the contact page.