The Ozark Mountains for decades has attracted writers and other artists. Since 1994, the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective is a forum for creators who work in words. It is based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The OPWC is a non-profit organization devoted to the joys of the spoken and written word. Details below the contact form.
Questions, Comments? Write OPWC
- To support and promote community involvement in Ozark literary arts.
- To encourage an appreciation of local writers by providing access to their work through readings, publications, workshops, and other events and activities as demand and need become evident.
- To ensure that the experience of writing and reading remain a vital part of life in the Ozarks.
How do I suggest a featured reader for the monthly program? Read the section Monthly Featured Readers on our Events page.
Writers Roster & Outreach
OPWC provides poets for various activities in our community. We have gone into the schools from the elementary to high-school level giving readings and leading mini-workshops. Our poets have provided entertainment at various functions and benefits in the Northwest Arkansas area. News about OPWC often is published in the Northwest Arkansas Times and Fayetteville Free Weekly.
A Brief History
Ozark Writers: They Just Keep Going & Going & Going …
By Ginny Masullo, OPWC board member
First published March 15, 2012, in The Free Weekly of Fayetteville, Arkansas
Sometime around 1992, a group of writers began congregating weekly at Anna’s, a small restaurant on Dickson Street. There, five to seven men and women read to each other from their original works over coffee and French fries. By 1993 the group still met to read and write together, but with the new feature of a monthly reader at the D-Luxe on Dickson Street. The tables and booths were packed as poetry bounced off the night, which always included an open mic. They called themselves the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective.
Any writer who wanted to join had only to show up to be considered a member. Still, to keep a monthly reading going, a board was formed and headed up by the late, inimitable Brenda Moossy. Other board members from over the years included Mohja Kahf, Sloan Davis, Barbara Jaquish and Lisa Martinovic.
Martinovic writes of that time, in her eulogy for the late Brenda, “We ran an ongoing poetry reading and open mic, conducted poetry workshops throughout Arkansas, hosted a slam series, fielded and won slots on national slam teams. In preparation for our first West Coast tour, we produced ‘Snake Dreams,’ an audiotape of our work (yes, an audiotape-that’s how far back we go).”
Up until 1999, the poetry slams and the OPWC monthly readings were conducted under the same umbrella, then the slam poets veered into their own venues. Today, OPWC features slam poets at least once a year and lists their events on the OPWC website (ozarkwriters.wordpress.com).
The collective has known many incarnations over the years. From the small founding members; to crowds of over a hundred people; to the more intimate atmosphere of Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville — OPWC never varied in its dedication to providing a venue for established as well as new writers. To that end they have featured a variety of nationally acclaimed writers such as Naomi Shahib Nye, Jim Whitehead, Miller Williams and Dannye along with emerging local writers.
Current board member and professor of botany at NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Burnetta Hinterthuer believes OPWC fulfills a timeless need: “When I think of why OPWC continues to flourish after all these years, I look at the reason for its existence in the first place. A belief in the value of the written and spoken word, in its ability to connect people who may be strangers, to open doors to young writers seems to draw us together.”