Saturday, April 13th, I left home around 6:30 heading for the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Spring 2013 Conference co-sponsored by the Silverton Poetry Association (SPA). This was a 3-day event but I chose to drive up just for the Saturday session, held in the Orchid Room of the Oregon Gardens Resort in Silverton. I needed to get there close to 8 a.m. because I was taking some of my books and books from Groundwaters Publishing for the book table.
The sky was overcast and the day was a mixture of brief sunlight and showers but the drive was beautiful with Willamette Valley green fields and hills. Sheep were in the meadows and cows were, not in the corn, but in the meadows. As I was leaving Eugene and crossing over the McKenzie River on Spores Bridge, near Armitage County Park, a bald eagle flew across right in front of me. A few minutes later wave after wave of geese flew from west to east across the early morning sky–not so much waves as beads from a broken necklace, beads with wings, one ragged V and then another and another and another.
I was glad I had my GPS plugged in when I got to Salem so that I knew which exit to take and how to find the correct street leading to the highway to Silverton. Actually I never did get to Silverton since the GPS had me turn shortly before reaching that interesting small town.
The conference began with some board members from both OPA and SPA sharing a few of their favorite poems. Then we had a choice of two workshops, one on obsessions (what do we individually obsess about in our poems) by Jennifer Richter and the other on Poetry as Renewal by Don Colburn. During breaks and at lunch we were able to browse through the books on the book table and purchase if we so desired. I was pleased that two of my books, Being, sold. We also heard the poets who placed in the spring contest read their poems. The day was well organized and, at the same time, relaxed.
In addition, attendees received a copy of the 2012 edition of Verseweavers (love that name) a yearly publication that contains all the winning poems from the spring and fall OPA contests for that year. I wasn’t a winner but am listed as one of those who received honorable mention for a poem (fall contest). Also, a photograph that I took in the Eugene wetlands is used in this book opposite page one. The editor, Eleanor Berry, contacted me before publication to ask permission to use Light on Water after she had seen it on my website (Wetland Wander, Sept. 2012).
By the end of the day I was ready to punch “home” on my GPS and head back the way I’d come. There’s nothing like total emersion in a topic to inspire and energize. I was delighted to get acquainted with new people and to learn several have more in common with me than being poets.