The WCPA plans to host and co-sponsor virtual poetry readings using Zoom while the need for physical distancing continues.  The following events are on our calendar at the moment, and we'll share details for each event on our Facebook page as they become available.

We are using our Facebook page to list events and help get the word out instead of paper mailings at this time.  We'll continue to use our website as well to list upcoming poetry readings as well.

Wednesday, September 2 @ 7:00 pm - WCPA Board Meeting
Register for the event and receive the Zoom meeting link

Friday, September 18, time tbd - Bedlam Book Cafe presents
a virtual reading by David Mills and Tim Siebert
Registration link forthcoming

Tuesday, September 22 @ @ 7:00pm - A virtual Thirsty Lab
featuring Elizabeth McKim; hosted by Susan Roney-O'Brien
Register for the event and receive the Zoom link via e-mail

Tuesday, September 29 @ 7:00 pm - A virtual Thirsty Lab
featuring Heather Macpherson;
Register for the event and receive the Zoom link via e-mail

We are working on a calendar of virtual events for the fall.  What would you like to participate in?  E-mail with your suggestions.
A Message from Rodger Martin
president of the Worcester County Poetry Association

We stand with Black lives and express our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The events of the past weeks have indelibly made clear that there is systemic abuse and violence toward minority communities all across this nation by members of law enforcement and people of privilege. And at least for these times, "Silence is complicity." I apologize and take full responsibility for the WCPA's slow response to this critical moment for social justice in Worcester County and our country.

The WCPA does not nor has it ever supported abuse by law enforcement or other groups against any community, including Black, Indigenous & People of Color, or LGBTQIA+ people. Over the next few weeks, the WCPA Board and Executive Committee will examine whether overt or systematic racism exists within the WCPA and how to respond.  We will also look more closely at how the organization can better reach into our communities to affect positive change to these same issues.

Since we are a poetry organization, I offer this link to Jericho Brown's poem published recently on the New York Times website: 'Say Thank You Say I'm Sorry' .

Rodger Martin, President
An Update regarding the Stanley Kunitz's
Boyhood Home Summer Writing Series

Carol Stockmal, owner & curator of the Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home, has made the difficult decision to no longer host the Summer Writing Series at her home.  The Worcester County Poetry Association thanks Carol for opening her home to area poets and lovers of poetry as part of the writing series over the past seven seasons.  

The history and persona of the Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home have been a significant draw of each workshop.  That tableau allowed the workshop facilitators and participants to immerse themselves in the work of Stanley Kunitz, working where Stanley may have worked, hearing and breathing and being part of that history.

The Summer Writing Series has always been a partnership between Carol and the WCPA.  With Carol stepping down as host, and the continued uncertainty with social distancing and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus, the WCPA will take some time to reflect and evaluate what options exist for the program in 2020.  We will share an update once the path forward is clear.

"I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does every day."
- Stanley Kunitz, "The Round"

Online Poetry Resources

Here are some online resources that will bring a bit of poetry to our lives while we make our way through these uncertain times of pandemic and physical distancing.

Become of member of the WCPA - support poetry in central Masschusetts by joining the WCPA. 

Visit the Worcester Poet Laureate Facebook page to read and listen to his poetry, and check out the poetry news Juan Matos shares

Poetry Breaks - A recent newsletter from The Academy of American Poets shared a link to a series of videos recording in the late 80s/early 90s by creator Leita Luchetti, who co-produced the series with the WGBH New Television Workshops. The academy has worked with Luchetti to make them available to the public. Among the recordings are videos of poetry luminaries as Cyrus Cassells, Thylias Moss, Galway Kinnell, and Worcester-born Stanley Kunitz.

Celebrate National Poetry Month like it's 2017 - The Poetry Foundation made their April 2017 issue of Poetry Magazine available as a free download.  It features 20 new poems from 20 poets.  They also have an app available through iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

Listen to The Duende Project -  take a blend of poetry, rock, funk, jazz, reggae, folk, and whatever else works into something much more than the sum of the parts, that's The Duende Project.  Founded by Worcester-poet Tony Brown and RI composer/musician-extraordinaire Stephen Lanning-Cafaro in 2006, the band now includes Chris O’Donnell and Chris Lawton.  Stream them from your favorite service or buy a track or album at Bandcamp.

Check out the WCPA's broadsheet collection being posted by The Worcester Review on Facebook.  In its 50-year history, the WCPA has hosted readings by poetry greats, and many of those events are remembered through broadsides.  The Worcester Review has been posting a new broadside each Monday over the past year for your enjoyment.  Perhaps Mary Oliver's poem The Snakes would interest you.

While long-running Poets' Asylum reading series ended some time ago, it left behind an archive of videos from readers at their regular open mic and features who visited Worcester.  Visit their YouTube channel to listen to some of Worcester County's finest performance poetry.

Write a poem - need a writing prompt?  There are hundreds of them available online.  Robert Lee Brewer has a weekly writing prompt series with Writer's Digest.  Columbus (OH) poet and organizer Scott Woods has an old-school blog post with many wonderous prompts.  The Poetry Society of the UK has a fantastic page of prompts galore and links to even more prompts.
Announcing the 2020 Recipient of the
WCPA’s Stanley Kunitz Medal

Princeton, Mass. poet and teacher Susan Roney-O'Brien has been chosen to receive the 2020 Stanley Kunitz Medal, which is awarded through a bequest from two-time Poet Laureate of The United States and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Worcester native Stanley Kunitz.  

Additional information on Roney-O'Brien can be found on the Kunitz Award page

Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
Worcester County Poetry Association / PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 / 508-797-4770 /

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The WCPA has produced many fantastic broadsides over the past 4 decades.  Enjoy these samples from the WCPA archives.

Congratulations to the winners of the
2020 WCPA Annual Poetry Contest:
The Frank O'Hara Prize

First Place - Lynn Frederiksen, of Framingham,
for the poem "Flower"

Second Place - Patrick Nolan, of Auburn,
for a poem starting with "To A"

Third Place - Paul Szlosek, of Worcester,
for the poem "It is these Odd Shops I Like"

A Winners' Reading, which will include a reading by the contest judge, Doug Holder, will be held in September.  The details for that event are pending.
COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.

View the 2020 Winners Announcement Press Release
Photo Credit: Mariah Minigan
Away we go...

After nine months of chatting, discussing, disagreeing, logo discussions, history lessons, redesigning, reviewing, and spelling checking, we are thrilled to present our new website.  Over the new few days, our new site should appear in a web browser near you!

Built on a modern platform, it will resolve many of the challenges our original site had where it often showed a jumble of lines meshed together.  Desktop and mobile devices should now deliver a valuable experience.  The website redesign is part of our effort to reach new communities within Worcester and Central Massachusetts.

We would not be here today without the support of the grant committee led by Therese Carr!  Thank you to Robin Boucher, Bob Gill, Kate McIntyre, and Lyndsay Uvanitte.  A Greater Worcester Community Foundation Creative Engagement grant, funded by the Barr Foundation, allowed us to undertake this transformative work.