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 (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. Meetings are in person at Salem locations or via Zoom. They are open to anyone in the greater Salem area with an interest in poetry.
The MVPS has several 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 four 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.
In about 2015, MVPS members began sharing poems with the community through a poetry box in a local coffee house. During COVID-19 pandemic closures, poems were shared via email instead. The poems shared virtually were subsequently published in an MVPS anthology, Poems out of the Box. In 2022 the MVPS added an outdoor poetry box in Bush’s Pasture Park. It has proved extremely popular.
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. 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. 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/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. During the pandemic, the MVPS worked with the Salem Art Association on a program of poet-artist collaborations, which culminated in a January-February 2022 exhibit at the Bush Barn Art Center.
To contact the Mid-Valley Poetry Society by e-mail, use the OPA Contact form for the Salem Unit.