MOST RECENT OPA NEWS
- ANNOUNCING: New Member Websites Page
LAUNCH OF THE NEW OPA PAGE: MEMBER WEBSITES
Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit their website information for the launch of the new OPA Member Websites page!
I just clicked through to all the websites and I can tell you there is a lot of information and a lot to think about. These member websites span personal poems and new book publications, artists’ statements and bios, to reading series and poetry blogs.
Like going on vacation on a snowy winter afternoon, I sunk into Anita’s poetry blog. When I got to “thought exercises” and “paradoxes,” I was hooked. In the middle of the page, she asks:
Where are you in relation to the ‘matter’ of your poem? How close? Try getting a little closer.
Closer to what? [you might well ask at this point. Join the club!]
Exactly. Just what I need to proceed.
Are you an OPA Member with a Website? Would you like a link from the OPA website to your website? If so, please use the handy form to submit information about your web site. You can even creatively (poetically?) describe the purpose and use of your web site.
The posting of your web site information onto the OPA Member Websites page may take a few days because the process isn’t totally automated yet but we’ll let you know when your web site has been added.
OPA is an organization run by volunteers, so please have patience!
All OPA News Posts
LATEST UNIT NEWS (EXCERPT)
- Portland Unit News As we approach the 4th anniversary of the Figures of Speech reading series, we will be celebrating the Stafford Centennial on January 7th at In Other Words by hosting the book launch for Ooligan Press as they present We Belong in History: Writing with William Stafford, an anthology of student ...
- Rachel Barton's poem, "This is not a Drill" will be published in the next issue of the Oregon English Journal. She has also been approved to teach a poetry workshop at LBCC, Benton Center, beginning Jan. 9. It will run Thursday afternoons, 1:-2:50, and will finish on March 13th. (Posted December 7, 2013, 11:13 am.)
LATEST BOOK REVIEW (EXCERPT)
- Willingly Would I Burn by Laura LeHew reviewed by Larina Warnock Review by Larina Warnock Willingly Would I Burn by Laura LeHew MoonPath Press ISBN 978-1-936657-08-7 2013, 57 pp., $10 http://www.lauralehew.com/ On a surface level, mathematics and poetry couldn’t be more different. Mathematics comes to conclusions using logical reasoning; poetry uses emotional reasoning. Mathematics adheres strictly to universal rules; poetry subverts rules believed to be universal. Mathematics leads ...
MOST RECENT POET’S SPOTLIGHT
- Ruth Harrison: An Appreciation
At the Fall 2013 OPA Conference in Forest Grove, Ruth F. Harrison was honored with a lifetime membership. In tribute to her, “Ruth Harrison: An Appreciation” was presented by Eleanor Berry, OPA President Emerita.
Over the past dozen or so years in which I have been active in O(S)PA, it has been my privilege to get to know many fine poets and capable workers on behalf of Oregon poets and poetry. One who has seemed to me—and to many others—an extraordinarily luminous presence is Ruth Harrison.
To the best of my recollection, it was at one of the first OSPA conferences I attended that I met Ruth. I remember that she was standing by me in the lunch line, and that we fell into conversation. I remember being drawn to her quiet intelligence and warmth.
All the subsequent occasions I’ve spent time with Ruth or her poetry have reinforced that first impression. When I met her, she had retired from her career as a teacher of medieval literature and was fully immersed in poetry and deeply at home on the Oregon coast, where she lived with her husband, Fred, who shared both those passions.
As I came to know Ruth and her work, I realized that, for her, poetry has been strongly associated both with the coast and with community—with a creative community that she has fostered there and a dispersed community in which she has participated. She has been the central energy of the exceptionally long-running writing group Tuesday, which has been an almost legendary nursery of creative verbal work.
When OSPA held one of its conferences in Ruth’s hometown of Waldport, she assisted with the arrangements and at the conference itself led a group of local poets in a delightful presentation conveying their perspective as “coasties.”
Ruth has also been active in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS), submitting to and winning its contests—including the top one, the prestigious Founder’s Award—and often serving as a judge. She has also corresponded with and contributed to publications edited by poets across the country, among them, Florida poet and past NFSPS president Madelyn Eastlund and well-known expert in poetic forms Lewis Turco. Through her own poetry, she enters into lively conversations with past poets as well.
Ruth’s poetry is often in fixed traditional forms, but that doesn’t mean that it expresses worn-out sentiments in archaic diction. Far from it. In her hands, these forms become vehicles for fresh observations and connections articulated in contemporary colloquial language. Who except Ruth would think to write an Italian sonnet on the laundromat as a refuge from life’s ordinary disappointments and frustrations? Who except Ruth could pull it off? Who except Ruth would think to write of a lone stray or feral cat in Sapphics—and produce a cat poem marvelous and memorable enough to rival William Carlos Williams’s entirely different small masterpiece, “As the cat …“?
Some years ago, I invited Ruth to be one of the featured poets at a Stafford birthday celebration in Salem. I think it was then that I learned that Ruth, like Stafford, had grown up in Kansas. On the evidence of these two poets, Kansas seems to be a place that breeds a long gaze and a wide imagination and that allows no shred of pretension. At first blush, the central Oregon coast may seem a long way from Kansas, but it strikes me that it is an environment that would tend to reinforce that breadth of vision and modesty of manner. Certainly, Ruth, in her poetry and her person, suggests as much.
Recordings of Ruth reading several of her poems, together with texts of the poems and a brief biographical note, can be found at http://oregonpoeticvoices.org/
poet/294/. Her more recent work includes How Singular and Fine (2012) and West of 101 (2013), and also the most recent of the anthologies produced by her writing group, Tuesday: An Anthology from the Central Oregon Coast Writers Group (Vol. 5, Winter-Spring 2010-2011).
Photo credit: Katie Eberhart