Posted May 18, 2020.

Oregon Poetry Association Board Meeting of May 8, 2020

Meeting scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm. via Skype

Present:  Bruce Parker (President, Historian), Diane Corson (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair), Jennifer Rood (Vice-President), Carolyn Adams (Treasurer), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary, Fall Adult Poetry Contest Chair )

Not Present: Stella Guillory (Adult Contest Chair)

  1.  Call to Order

President Bruce Parker called meeting to order at 7:06 pm.

II.  Approval of April 4, 2020 Minutes

Acceptance of the April 4 minutes was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.

III.  Report of Officers

As there were no action items to be discussed, Board President Bruce Parker proposed an agenda in which each board member would discuss how he or she was doing during the COVID 19 lockdown and also ideas of how OPA as an organization can survive this new order. Following are summaries of what was said by each member.

Bruce: Time just passes, I’m a bit dead in the water, not getting a lot done, but riding my bike more. My life as poet is almost bill but I’m reading a lot, and I have written some short poems about the lockdown but indirect, not head on. Someone mentioned Little Somethings Press (https://littlesomethingspress.com/) as a place to submit short poems. I’m not optimistic about future of OPA as it has been, as “normal” life will not return until a vaccine is available, 1-2 years from now. I’m avoiding large indoor crowds and would only go to the Fall OPA conference if it occurs only because I am President. I worry that OPA will wither if not pumped up as an online organization, for which the newsletter will be key.

Carolyn: I’m busy sewing masks for family and friends, volunteering for the Oregon Historical Society (I’ll make masks for them), and doing volunteer home-delivery grocery shopping for the elderly. I’m reading a lot and sorting my books, and writing lots of poems, many inspired by Mary Oliver’s work. Amsterdam Quarterly is considering one of my poems. Attic Institute in Portland (http://atticinstitute.com/) was meeting Friday for presentations and is starting an online poetry workshop and seminars. Something like this might be good for OPA to provide. Thanks due to Dale for a great job on the newsletter, the informal publishing of members work has been well received and has brought some new members. We should continue this, and solicit submissions of bulletins announcing group activities, and visuals (collages, photos). We should encourage friends to become members and then submit to the newsletter. When lockdown and distancing are over, small informal cafe gatherings would be helpful to get people engaged and publicize contests and other activities of the OPA. 

Dale: I’ve been writing a lot. I have a collection done and I’m on the way to another. I’m in two Zoom groups, including Annie Finch’s workshop. OPA could do more outreach, e.g., if a group of poets wants a forum, provide it. We could do another anthology aside from Verse Weavers, perhaps with themes (e.g., Covid19) We could anthologize newsletter submissions, print, and sell them. Bruce added: We could start an OPA poetry group or a journal.

Dan: I’ve been doing a lot of remodeling projects on our house and yard in Cottage Grove, some we’ve done ourselves and some with contractors. I’ve written a few poems, not surprisingly many on the theme of mortality, spent time playing with our two kittens, and been pursuing self-publishing a spy novel that I’ve worked on off and on for 40 years. All that has kept me busy enough. I can’t add to what other board members have proposed for OPA’s future course of action and strategies to survive and hopefully thrive after this difficult time.

Dave: I’ve been doing a lot of writing. Fifteen new members joined OPA so they could submit their work to the newsletter, bringing total membership to about 260. OPA should do as much on-line as possible. We could have a Critique/discussion workshop via the newsletter or our website. We could expand Verseweavers to include more publishing aside from the contest winners. Diane has workshop format where they send out poems and critique them in advance and then have a Zoom meeting to work on them.

Diane: One day just like the other for me during this lockdown; nothing really happens. Membership is OPA’s biggest concern, as there have been only 2 renewals and 1 new member in last 6 weeks. As the Fall Conference probably won’t (and should not) happen and that is a major membership recruitment forum, we could have a “Memorial for the Conference”–an online celebration for the membership–in lieu of an actual conference. Board members could do video, read poems and essays about OPA. 

Jennifer: As an English teacher, I’m not liking working remotely. I want to read poems to kids in person. Teaching on line is more work and less satisfaction. I send out a daily poem from work that’s out there to staff and students. I’ve been gardening a lot to get away from the computer, and not writing much because there’s no time and too much computer work. I also think we should not have the Fall OPA conference. Instead we could have people send videos of themselves reading their poems to the Facebook site manager and post them Diane added: This could be a conference substitute all through October, a virtual celebration. Airlie Press (http://www.airliepress.org/) is doing video spots of people reading for 5 min for $8. Bruce added: it’s premature to cancel the Conference now as Governor Brown has only banned gatherings of more than 25 until September, so we could not invoke force majeure until October to withdraw from the contract.

Susan: I had conference on Zoom with Midvalley poetry society, just finished a contest, and will have a virtual celebration OPA could have a month-long virtual zoom presentation instead of the Conference, perhaps charge a small fee for participants via Zoom, assuming presenters are interested. A Ghost Conference Memorial for the Death of the  2020 OPA Conference. I will be taking over the OPA adult contest from Stella, with her help getting started.

Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn Adams): We got $500 in new member dues via Submittable from 14 members.

IV.  Adjournment

The next board meeting was scheduled for June 15. This meeting was adjourned at 8:28 pm.

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