Monday, April 20, 2020

Accepting 2020 Poet of the Year Nominations through May 1st

[Crossposted from the Ohio Poetry Association (not to be confused with the OPDA) blog:]

The Ohio Poetry Day Association (OPDA) is now accepting nominations for Ohio Poet of the Year. Handed out annually since 1976, the award is given for a single collection of poems. The award is based on the one book and not on an aggregation of work published over some time.

Nomination guidelines:

  • Poets may not self-nominate. Books can be offered by others: a publisher or editor, a college faculty or member thereof, a writers' or poets' organization, any other person of poetic standing in the state, or from the lists of books newly published that are put out by the Ohioana Library several times a year.
  • The poet must be a native or a resident of Ohio, or if neither, must have lived in Ohio long enough to have formed serious ties to the state. (The list of former winners of Poet of the Year is below.)
  • The nominated book must be longer than a chapbook (i.e., more than 48 pages) and not a "collected" or "complete" works.
  • The book may be from a commercial or university press or self-published, but it may not come from a vanity press. Books nominated will be screened for quality and to ensure that there are not too many of them for judges to consider.
  • The nominated book may have received previous awards or honors.
  • Poets who previously were nominated may be so again, for a different book; but no one will be chosen a second time as POY.
  • Nominations must be submitted by May 1, 2020. Mail a single copy of the book to:
Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Route 56
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044

The POY winner will be notified in the late summer and invited to be the luncheon speaker at Ohio Poetry Day weekend, October2–3. The award consists of $200 and a commemorative plaque, with one poem from the chosen book also being published in the year's BEST OF collection.

For more background and a look at the history of the award, see the OPA blog article here.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 Ohio Poetry Day Contests

For more information, please contact:

Ohio Poetry Day Association
c/o Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Route 56
Mechanicsburg, Ohio

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Laura Grace Weldon Is Named Ohio Poet of the Year

Laura Grace Weldon has been named Ohio Poet of the Year 2019 by the Ohio Poetry Day Association on the strength of her second collection, Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019). Topics in that collection include coyotes, cows, pay disparity, rare disorders, weeping icons, and astrophysics. A journal review called her poems “experiential works of luminous simplicity.”

Laura grew up a voracious reader thanks to public libraries and discovered a love of poetry early. She incorporated poetry everywhere her career took her. She developed a poetry project at a nursing home culminating in a book of poems collaboratively written with residents, shared poetry with support groups she facilitated as a social worker, used poems to get across principles while teaching nonviolence workshops, and now offers poems as prompts for her memoir students. But she didn’t write her own poems until she was in her late 40’s, brought to it by what she calls “sideways procrastination.”

Ten years later over 140 of her poems have been published in journals and anthologies,  Thanks to Lit Youngstown, some of her poems have been interpreted into sculpture, video, and painting, with one even stamped into a public sidewalk. In addition to Blackbird she’s published an earlier collection, Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013) as well as a handbook of natural learning titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010).  

Laura lives on a small farm in Medina County’s Litchfield Township. She works as an editor and particularly enjoys teaching community-based classes in memoir, poetry, and creativity. She is still a voracious reader, as her often-maxed out library card can attest. 

Find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and at

Ohio Poetry Day 2019 Events

Troy Hayner Cultural Center, 301 W Main Street, Troy, OH 45373

Friday Evening, October 18 7:00 p.m.
Refreshments, Evening Workshops & Overnight Contests

Saturday Morning, October 19:
9:00 a.m. registration
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Evan Lodge Memorial Poetry Workshop $1.50 charge, free to students

Saturday Noon, October 19 Lunch
Box lunch must be pre-ordered.

Contact Amy Zook to register and order lunch.
Amy Jo Zook
3520 State Rte. 56
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044

Saturday Afternoon, October 19, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Readings by the Ohio Poet of the Year
& Contest Winners

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Susan F. Glassmeyer is Named Ohio Poet of the Year

Susan F. Glassmeyer has been imagining poems since childhood when her Kentucky Grandfather explained the language and meaning of train whistles. HER AWARD-WINNING BOOK OF POETRY "Invisible Fish" is a poetic chronicle from girlhood to post-middle age.

In a Michigan schoolhouse, a young nun woke her up to the rich world of storytelling. And in Ohio, a wise art teacher taught her how to see. Susan paid attention, took notes, whittled poems out of paragraphs, and along the way came to understand these things are inseparable from the life of her body. In addition to her first full-length collection, Invisible Fish (Dos Madres Press, 2018), publications include two chapbooks: Body Matters (Pudding House Publications, 2010) and Cook’s Luck (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Individual poems have found homes in these and other journals: Rattle, Naugatuck River Review, Sixfold, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Dunes Review, The GHAZAL Page, Gratefulness.Org, and Ohio Poetry Association anthologies.

Reading thousands of poems and studying the lives and practices of hundreds of poets has been key to Susan’s education. In a decade-long project, she created “April Gifts” for National Poetry Month, sharing with readers her annotated presentations of select poems by 300 poets who have inspired her. Susan is a longtime member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League. She serves as co-director of the Holistic Health Center of Cincinnati where she works as a somatic therapist and Feldenkrais® practitioner, helping people restore the poetry of presence and movement in their lives and bodies.

Learn more about her work at:

Invisible Fish is a poetic chronicle from girlhood to post-middle age by Midwestern author and somatic therapist, Susan F. Glassmeyer. These compelling lyrics and merciful narratives do not shy away from suffering or death, nor from what is poignant and joyful. The whole realm of the visible—the world as it is—is held together by what we cannot see. Because the poems in this full-length collection are grounded in the sensory life of "the body", they ring true to the reader, inviting mindfulness and evoking curiosity and reverence for what is invisible.

Monday, August 13, 2018


The 2018 OPD Contest Winners have been selected! 

Congratulations to all! Bravo! We hope to see you in Alliance, OH, October 12 and 13 to enjoy the festivities and hear you read your winning entry!


Friday, August 3, 2018

From the 
Desk of Amy Zook:


2018 Ohio Poetry Day

October 12 and 13, 2018

Hoover-Price Student Center
Mt. Union University, Alliance, OH 

7pm-9pm - poetry prompts and time of fellowship

9am - Registration
10am - Noon  - Workshop
Noon - 1pm - Lunch
2pm - Ohio Poet of the Year (reading)
            OPD contest winners (reading)
4pm - Heartfelt goodbyes 

Check back for contest results soon!
Letters concerning details and making reservations will be mailed out in September.


Monday, May 21, 2018

From the Desk of Amy Zook:

Right now, judges are being lined up for this year's contests. You will notice from past years that many are from out of state. This is done to make our contests more professional, and we are very particular about who we ask to judge. Most of these are past winners in other contests at the state and national levels, and current or past officers of their own states and/or the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.