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OZARK POETS AND WRITERS WILL NOT MEET DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING

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KEEP CHECKING AS WE ARE CONSIDERING OPTIONS FOR SHARING OUR WORK DURING THIS COVID 19 CRISIS. WHEN WE CAN RESUME MEETING, WE PLAN TO HOLD EVENTS AT NOMAD’S TRAILSIDE, WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, 7 P.M.

THE HOT SPRINGS POETRY SCENE IS FEATURING WEDNESDAY NIGHT POETRY AT 7 P.M. ON WEDNESDAY NIGHTS ON FACEBOOK. CHECK IT OUT.

New Year. New Venue. New Day. New Us.

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The OPWC has found a new venue that graciously agreed to offer us a space. While we have not released our feature information yet our new venue will be Nomads Trailside at 1863 N Pluto Drive Fayetteville, AR 72703.

We will also be meeting on the last Wednesday of every month instead of the last Tuesday of every month starting this month. Our first event in our new space will be Wednesday, March 25th at 7 p.m. Information regarding our March feature is forthcoming.

Please plan to come out to our new venue this month, share some poetry and help us open in our new space in a big way. Thank you for your continuing support of the OPWC. We look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks!March image

Latina Poet Noelia Cerna to start off 2020 as Feature for OPWC

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Noelia Cerna reading at Crystal Bridges in front of the We The People textile, 2019.
Noelia Cerna reading at Crystal Bridges in front of the We The People textile, 2019.

Noelia Cerna is a Latina poet based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She was born in Costa Rica and immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Westminster College in Missouri. She is currently working on a book of poems discussing the experience of being a first-generation immigrant, a book of essays about the Arkansas prison system and most recently started working on a poetry chapbook about her online dating experiences as a 30-some-year-old divorcée. 

She will be the featured reader of the first meeting of 2020 of the Ozark Poets and Writers College. The program is 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, at Nightbird Books. We begin and end with an open-mike for poetry and prose, with a 4-minute limit. We love new writers!

Noelia is a reader and poetry feedback editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal, a writing mentor for Pen America’s Prison Writing Mentorship program and an associate editor with Sibling Rivalry Press. 

She has been featured in Little Rock, Hot Springs and Northwest Arkansas, and has performed poetry at the University of Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas Community College. She has featured for the Open Mouth Reading Series and was recently featured in the Westminster College Alumni newsletter, the Hot Springs Sentinel Record and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette regarding her writing.  Her poems have appeared in Terse Journal, The North Meridian Review and The Revolution Relaunch. She has featured for the gallery conversation series at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and was the keynote speaker for the Northwest Arkansas Center For Sexual Assault’s MeToo Voices event. 

She will be writing Poetry on Demand on her teal Olivetti typewriter for the Looking for America cross political dinner artist reception at the Fayetteville Public Library on Feb. 20 from 5-7 p.m. Come out to chat with her and let her write you “a poem on the spot!”

The collective has been honored with donation of a new book of poetry every month from the University of Arkansas Press — and the raffle is free!

After the guest reader, a hat is passed to provide the guest a small stipend and to help fund future readings.

Novelist Elle Nash Featured Nov. 26

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Elle Nash
Elle Nash

Elle Nash is the author of the novel Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc Books), which was featured in the 2018 June Reading Room of O – The Oprah Magazine and hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “complex, impressive exploration of obsession and desire.” Her short stories and essays appear in Guernica, The Nervous Breakdown, Literary Hub, The Fanzine, Volume 1 Brooklyn, New York Tyrant and elsewhere. She is a founding editor of Witch Craft Magazine and a fiction editor at Hobart Pulp

Elle calls the Ozarks home.

At 7 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month except December, OPWC presents a featured reader and open mike. Our headliners comprise writers of regional to national prominence. Admission is free, while donations are welcome. We meet at Nightbird Books, 205 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville.

All are welcome to present their own writing or that of others at our open mics! We have a four-minute time limit that includes introductory remarks etc.

The collective has been honored with donation of a new book of poetry every month from the University of Arkansas Press — and the raffle is free!

Tribute to Brenda Moossy

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By Lisa Martinovic

Brenda Moossy and Lisa Martinovic (right) back in the day
Brenda Moossy and Lisa Martinovic (right) back in the day

Less than a year after I arrived in Arkansas, in 1993, the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective started shaking things up in Fayetteville. Through those early readings at the D-Lux, I found the tribe I never had in San Francisco, and the woman who would become my best friend and my sister in poetry. I’d never heard anyone like Brenda Moossy before, and I haven’t since.

Brenda harvested her strange and fertile East Texas roots to create poetry of stunning power and originality: she was a conjure woman of her own making.

And that voice! A throaty drawl, slow and murky as the Sabine River that haunted her childhood, by turns mournful, seductive, menacing, ecstatic.

People of little imagination often underestimated her at first glance. She didn’t look or act the part of the rock star slammer. But when she stepped onto the stage and took command, there was no one in the room more powerful than Brenda Moossy.

We had grand adventures on our many poetry tours — from the juicy, late-night madness of the Nuyorican, to LA gigs in air perfumed with dreams of stardom. On road-trips that seemed to never end, hallucinating with fatigue at truck stop diners on the interstate, we’d laugh and dish and deconstruct vast swaths of the universe. She always drove while I navigated, read aloud, fed her my homemade baked tofu. We never tired of each other, and I promise you there are few joys as great as road-tripping with Brenda Moossy.

* * *

I was driving home on Brenda’s birthday, a few years ago. Sheryl Crow’s All I Want to Do is Have Some Fun came on and I was instantly transported back to our first West Coast tour in ’96. We’d started out with a bunch of gigs in LA. New York poetry impresario Bob Holman showed us the town, and we were closing out the night after cozying up at legendary hotspots Formosa and Viper. 

It was somewhere between very late and very early, Brenda at the wheel, when that Sheryl Crow tune began playing just as we ourselves were driving with the sun coming up over on Santa Monica Boulevard. She reached over and squeezed my hand and everything came together in a warm rush of myth-poetic communion: our friendship, the whole world of slam poetry, being on tour, and the frisson that comes with proximity to fame. 

Brenda and I were not physically demonstrative with each other, so I will always treasure that one moment when we held each other’s hands and everything was possible.

Whether you knew Brenda or you didn’t, either way, I’m sorry for your loss. Our loss. Brenda was never big on promoting her work. She left no website. So after her death I put up some of her poems — written, audio, and video versions — on my site in hopes that her work will be remembered and shared. I invite you to discover—or rediscover — the poetry of Brenda Moossy. http://slaminatrix.com/category/09-brendamoossy


Read by Lisa Martinovic at the OPWC 25th Anniversary Extravaganza Oct. 11, 2019

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