A New Beginning

IS THAT REDUNDANT?

Are there any “old” beginnings? You see, I’ve just begun this first post and I’m already off on a tangent.

My friend, Angela Decker, who wrote this column so well and so devotedly, has moved on to other ventures, and I have inherited “The Cruelest Month” on behalf of the Daily Tidings and the Mail Tribune.

I appreciate the readers who have followed Angela, and will do my best to live up to her excellence, bringing you news of local and regional writing events, with an emphasis on poetry.

In addition, I’ll be posting poems written by local poets, and invite readers to submit to me through this column, or in person should our paths cross as we travel through our writing circles.

For now, I want to begin by asking you to share the link to this blog with others, and spread poetry among your friends, neighbors, family members, and, yes, strangers in line at the grocery store, the bank, the bookstore.

If you are not already a member of Oregon Poetry Association (OPA), please consider joining. Visit the web site at http://oregonpoets.org for details about joining.

I’ve been told that readers of this column like poetry contests. OPA sponsors contests, and member of OPA are automatically members of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS), and NFSPS is comprised of state poetry groups from every state. That’s 50 groups, each with an annual contest.

The 2015 NFSPS Conference will be held June 24-29, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Florida. But you don’t have to go all the way to the East coast to enjoy the benefits of NFSPS. Our very own Charlotte Abernathy, who has won many prizes for her work from both OPA and NFSPS contests over the years, will be coordinating next year’s NFSPS contests. That’s 50 different contests, friends!

The deadline for all NFSPS contests is March 15, 2016, and I’ll mention it again in this column, but make a note of the date right now, and go to the website (http://www.nfsps.com)┬áto browse the variety of themes that various states have offered in the past.

A WORD ABOUT CRITIQUE GROUPS

You’re in at least one, aren’t you? Crit groups are a great way to share your newest work with other poets who can offer feedback and insights that other readers (i.e. your siblings or your spouse) might be unable to provide. Being appreciated at home is nice, but having other poets listen to and read your words can bring suggestions for improvement. In any case, any revisions are entirely up to you, but don’t write alone in your attic garret.

Let me know if you are in a group that is open to new members, or would like to begin a new group in your area, and I’ll try to link you up with others. Poets need one another, and the work of friends can inspire you to strive for your own best efforts.

OPEN MIC POETRY READING JUNE 11TH

The next monthly open mic reading of the Downtowner’s poetry group will be June 11th. Held on the 2nd Thursday of every month, Downtowners, now in it’s 11th year, invites poets old and new to come celebrate and enjoy one another’s work at the Downtowne Coffee House in Talent, Oregon. Signups begin at 6:30 and reading starts at 7 p.m. The coffeehouse is located at 200 Talent Avenue.

Be sure to ask about the contest Downtowners sponsors, too! Cash prizes are awarded each April. Bring a friend, bring a poem (or 2 or 3), and have fun with local writers.

WRAPPING UP

I’ll pause for now, and invite you to send your comments, notes on activities (workshops, readings, contests, crit groups, on line resources, favorite poems, etc.) and your greetings to me. I really would enjoy hearing from you!

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