Monday, May 27, 2013

The Alternative History of the Oregon Poetry Association

1950. Mission accomplished: Poetry Day
becomes a reality. A statewide
opportunity to pour the ruthless propaganda
of disgruntled poets into every ear.
Impressionable minds are seduced.

1956. We lust after bigger targets.
We form an association and a board. We absorb
the small fry: Poetry Clinic of Roseburg,
League of Western Writers. All grist
for our imperialistic grinding.

1957. We lobby for a laureate:
one of ours, Ethel Romig Fuller,
gains entree to the highest halls of state governance
beating out twenty other nominees. We tread
the halls of power, metrically.

1958. Crab salad luncheons. Plans for the state fair.
Centennial approaching. Further proclamations
of Poetry Day. Mayor Schrunk joins
the cause. A mysterious man named Stafford
discourses on vowels. The Governor is invited.

1959. Explosions rock the peaceful
landscapes of the Umpqua Valley
in September. Half of Roseburg destroyed;
board member spared. Poetry gone awry
explosively? Plots by Dickensonian terrorists?

1960. It's discovered that one chapter
(location withheld) has been... infiltrated
by patients from the mental hospital. One of whom reports
she was uncomfortable with the general atmosphere.
A chapter president is removed. Dissension mounts.

1963. Reactionary elements appear
to have seized power. Poetry journal
declared "too-too modern." Attendance
at chapter meetings down; citing child care,
pressures of work, lack of transportation.

1964. One chapter (location withheld)
complains it was omitted from the newsletter?
Editor responds she received no materials...
USPS considered reliable. Rose Festival
is no consolation.

To Be Continued

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

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