Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
Worcester County Poetry Association /1 Ekman Street, Worcester, MA 01607 / 508-797-4770 / wcpaboard@yahoo.com

THE ISSUE
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The Making of The Issue, Number 8

The Issue is an occasional publication featuring the work of WCPA members and Worcester County residents. 

In most editions of The Issue, you will find the following statement:
"The issue is published from the offices of the
Worcester County Poetry Association."

Literally, we publish "from" the WCPA office! Print, collate, staple, trim, label and ship every copy right there at 1 Ekman Street. We produce enough copies to supply our membership and every public library in Worcester County, copies for all the contributors and copies to sell, to help offset the cost. We also write grants and solicit public and private donations to cover the cost of paper.  To keep the cost of The Issue as low as possible, everything else is a labor of love.

For Number 8, those contributions were made by editor Susan Edwards Richmond; editor and cover artist Linda Hoffman; typesetter, printer and production manager Dan Lewis; caterer and shipping manager Ann Lewis; and the tireless assembly line: Monique Surdyka, Carle Johnson, Robert Steele, Mark Wagner, Francine D'Alessandro, Patty Youngblood, Rodger Martin, and apprentice publisher, Cody.

We also thank the authors, students of the editors and inmates of the Massachusetts Correctional Facility at Shirley, Massachusetts.
Carle and Cody have plenty of work to do - even though
the production line had already been going for a few hours. When we're not in the middle of a "collating party" the long tables are used for meetings by the WCPA board, editorial meetings of The Worcester Review, and writing workshops organized by the Ballard Street Poetry Journal. The stacks of books represent the WCPA Poetry Library still taking shape.
Dan Lewis staples and trims copies of The Issue while others collate and fold. The production equipment used, including the laser printer, were purchased with money raised several years ago for the purpose of establishing a capital equipment fund - with the occasional in-house publication of The Issue in mind. While it seems like a lot of work, we need only imagine the ink-stained fingers of Virginia and Leonard Woolf laboring in the basement of Hogarth House.
Cody was discouraged from using the trimmer, but managed to get a supervised turn at the electric stapler. He turned out to be attentive and quick at collating, making many circuits of the page stacks and holding his own against the more experienced hands.
Ann Lewis finds a quiet workspace at the desk of the editor of The Worcester Review. The WCPA rents two rooms at 1 Ekman Street - the small office shared by TWR and the WCPA computer and printer, and the larger meeting room and library. WCPA also uses a meeting room on the first floor of the site, hosting The Street Beat and Worcester Storytellers spoken word venues.  Other events at Ekman Street include Bloomsday, lectures and poetry readings.
Closing in on the last few copies, many of the helpers have moved on to the usual Saturday pursuits. Most WCPA members have other demands on their time: families, jobs, poetry venues to host, Windows on Worcester to decorate, events to organize, grants to write, budgets to balance, broadsides to design, mailings and publicity to get out, websites to oversee, literary journals to edit, cultural collaborations to facilitate, workshops and festivals to attend on behalf of the WCPA, meetings and meetings and meetings - and for most members, writing and reading poetry.
Ann counts and bundles completed volumes while Rodger does a quick estimate of the remaining pages. Folded stacks in the foreground await covers and finishing. All the WCPA furniture is donated from individuals and institutions. The "bookshelves" once displayed clothing at the Worcester Outlet Mall. Chairs came from a remodeling project at WPI, some office furniture was donated by the owner of the Ekman Street building, Mike Keating, other items have been donated by WCPA members over the years.
Dan sorts out some mis-ordered pages and helps with the folding. While work generally proceeds in an orderly manner, there's always a bit of chaos at the edges - helpers come and go, lively conversation interrupts the rhythm of collating, the aroma of chili eventually becomes too distracting. It may be easier to outsource to a copy center, it would also be much more expensive. With funding always in short supply, production of The Issue relies on the most abundant resource WCPA has - the energy and generosity of the WCPA membership.
The highlight of any issue is the last collated copy and wondering who will be the last one around the table. Here, Robert shows off the separator sheet that signals the final complete copy of the run.
In the low afternoon light, Dan trims the final copies as others clean up.
Hundreds of copies of The Issue, Number 8, await labeling and shipping - the contribution of the final member of the production team, database manager Evan Plante.