South Puget Sound's Spot for Poetry Since 1990
Go in late and leave early.
ADVICE ON WRITING POEMS
Monthly Readings + Open Mic
Usually,at least before before the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, on the third Wednesday of every month poets and poetry lovers gather at New Traditions Fair Trade Café, 300 5th Ave SW, in downtown Olympia to read and listen to original poetry. These readings are open to the public and are sponsored by OPN. All OPN readings are free of charge. A donation "Fishbowl" is available on the table with the sign-up sheets, and donations are gratefully accepted.
The usual format for the Wednesday evening readings begins with an "Open Mic." At 6:00pm sharp, a sign-up sheet is put out near the entrance to the cafe for readers to claim their spot.10 slots are available, each lasting no more than three minutes. If there is time left after all ten readers have had a go, then anyone who has signed up on the Wait List (also available at the table by the door), will be given time to read. We ask that all readers respect the time limit so that everyone gets a fair chance to read. Open Mic begins promptly at 6:30pm.
After Open Mic, beginning at 7:00 pm, OPN welcomes a featured reader. Usually 30-40 minutes are allotted for those readings.Past readers have included such notable poets as Washington state Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, award-winning Oregon poet Clemens Starck, Carolyn Wright, Olympia Poet Laureate Sady Sparks, and Port Townsend poet Holly Hughes.
These days we are trying to accommodate the guidelines for social distancing by having readings for our members and invited guests via Zoom. Still on the third Wednesday of the month, members and a featured guest reader log in at 5:50pm to sign up for the Open Mic portion of the program via Zoom's chat window. Open Mic starts promptly at 6:00pm, with an adjusted time limit per reader of 5 minutes. Open Mic will end at 7:15 pm, at which time a Board member will introduce the Featured Reader for a 45 minute reading of their own work. Muted, the audience may comment on any reading via the chat window, and silent (muted) applause is always fun to see after a reading. This is new to us, but after our initial Zoom Open Mic in May, participants agreed it was more intimate than an in-person reading, even with the technology issues and distance between us. We invite you to join us. Please check the OPN Events page for our scheduled readings.
In April, which is National Poetry Month, OPN breaks from its usual format to resurrect Dead Poets. Instead of a featured reader, each of the Board members reads the work of a selected poet who has passed on. Past guests have included such greats as Tony Hoagland, Dorothy Parker, Jonathan Swift, Mary Oliver and Ursula LeGuin. The April event begins at 6:30. After the board reads, the audience is asked to join the celebration by reading the work of a favorite poet who is no longer with us.
In August, the entire evening is devoted to Open Mic. Please join us and read your work!
In December, the OPN Board reads "Poems of the Season," usually, but not always the poetry of famous poets, such as Robert Frost's winter poems, and other poems celebrating the festivities of the season or the turn of the year.Again, the audience is invited to join us after the initial readings.
In addition to the monthly readings, OPN offers three spring and three fall workshops on the craft of writing. In the past, these have been funded by Joyce Gillie in memory of her husband Paul Gillie, a local poet and educator. Paul was a member of OPN from its inception. These sessions, now called OPN Workshops, are taught by different poets and emphasize different aspects of style and subject matter. Check the Events page to see what's on the docket.
Anyone can become a member of OPN. The $18 annual fee includes a copy of the monthly publication, “News and Letters.” In it, editor Chris Dahl offers information about upcoming poetry events, interviews with poets, writing prompts, ideas for where and how to publish, and suggestions for staying inspired.
Checks should be made out to OPN, and along with name and address, sent to: Olympia Poetry Network, PO Box 1312, Olympia WA 98507-1312.
OPN is honored to be the recipient of a continuing donation from the Jeanne Lohmann Living Trust. Jeanne was a wonderful published poet, founding member and guiding influence of OPN.
Her daughter Karen Lohmann says, "In honor of my mom, Jeanne, and her love of the Olympia Poetry Network may many words bring hope, curiousity, love and tenderness to our community and world."
PO Box 1312
Olympia WA 98507-1312
design @ 2019 Debi Bodett
webmaster Patrick Dixon
3rd Wednesday / 6:30 pm
New Traditions Fair Trade Café
300 5th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501
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