Ohio Poetry Association Inc.
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c/o Charles Salmons
6519 Crab Apple Dr.
Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Mr. Charles Salmons  
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CEO/Executive Director
Board Chair
Mr. Charles Salmons
Ohio Geological Survey

Foster and encourage the appreciation of poetry and to educate and support poets as they create and hone their craft.

Organization Overview

Impact Statement


  • We partnered with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to sponsor a poetry poster contest, which featured winning works on the ODNR art wall during National Poetry Month. The winning posters also traveled around the state to be exhibited.

  • We received our fourth consecutive Community Arts Fund grant from The Columbus Foundation. These grants continue to help us keep our membership fees low and provide programs that are open not only to members, but all Ohioans.

  • We partnered with Arc of Appalachia Preserve System to sponsor a special poetry reading at Serpent Mound State Memorial in honor of Ohio’s native voices and featuring poet Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson, a Yankton Sioux Native American.

  • We joined the Ohio Arts Council Poet Laureate Selection Committee and provided expertise on the craft of poetry to help evaluate the candidates and select finalists to be submitted to the Governor, who then chose our first poet laureate in December.

  • We partnered with Otterbein University to provide one student an internship with OPA--the first ever for our organization.


  • We will partner with the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System to sponsor poetry readings at the annual Summer Solstice Celebration at Serpent Mound State Memorial in honor of Ohio’s native voices.

  • We will sponsor an ekphrastic poetry workshop at Toledo Museum of Art and will publish an ekphrastic poetry anthology. The anthology will feature poems by Ohio poets and OPA members that explore visual art that is or has been exhibited in Ohio.

  • We will establish our first chapbook contest. The contest will be open to any poet residing in Ohio, providing an opportunity to showcase his or her work throughout the state and beyond.

  • We will continue our efforts to increase membership by at least 10% by utilizing new and continued partnerships with various organizations throughout Ohio, including Poetry Out Loud, Hostelling International, and Arc of Appalachia Preserve.

  • We will host a special reading featuring Ohio’s first state poet laureate. The event will help raise awareness of the value of poetry to Ohio and its citizens, and will assist the poet laureate in accomplishing his objectives in his new post.

Background Statement

The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) was formed to engage in educational and literary pursuits; to recognize the importance of poetry with respect to a national and Ohio cultural heritage; to further the creation and development of poetry within Ohio and the United States; to unite poets in the bonds of fellowship and understanding; and to provide a vehicle by which individuals can create, develop, refine, and publish poetry. The Verse Writers Guild of Ohio (now the Ohio Poetry Association) held its first meeting on September 19, 1928 and has met consistently since that date, making OPA, we believe, the longest lived such association in Ohio. It is unclear as to why the group did not become “official” until 1929; however, the founders membership card, which is located in the Hocking County Historical Society collection, indicates, as do our current logos, “Helping Poets since 1929.” The Ohio Poetry Association attained federal nonprofit status in January 1981 as a 501(c)(3). The Ohio Poetry Association currently meets quarterly at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, as part of a new partnership established in late 2014. OPA communicates with its members via its website, social media outlets, e-mail, and quarterly newsletter (Workshopping Our Words). The Ohio Poetry Association is the only association in the state of Ohio that has a recognized standing with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS).

Statement from Mr. Charles Salmons , Ohio Geological Survey

As the only statewide poetry association in Ohio, OPA seeks to discover, educate, and promote literary talent from amateur to professional, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, and beyond Ohio borders. To fulfill this mission, OPA exposes its members and the public to the best, most published poets in the state. These artists share their own work and the work of poets who influence them, and they help edit and workshop the poetry of those in attendance at our events. In addition to assisting poets in editing their poetry, OPA holds workshops to help attendees create poetry, seminars on the intricacies of publication, and regular readings so that poets can share their art. In other words, we support our members and poets at large at every stage of the poetic process: creation, revision, reading, performing, publishing, and promoting. Through these efforts, the OPA is building a positive reputation among Ohio's best poets, educators, and other artists.



Mr. Steve Abbott, 
Biographical Statement

Steve Abbott recently retired from Columbus State Community College, where he taught creative writing for more than 30 years. Known to many as the 'godfather of Columbus poetry,' Steve has established himself as a strong voice for the poetry community in central Ohio. He is co-founder of The Poetry Forum reading series in Columbus and is co-coordinator at ComFest. He also has served as editor for various publications, including Pudding House Press and Evening Street Press.

Steve's own poetry has appeared in Wind, Birmingham Poetry Review, Slipstream, Evening Street Review, Incliner, Black River Review, W’orcs Aloud Allowed, The Heartlands Today, Olentangy Review, Ohio Teachers Write, PuddingPrayers to Protest: Poems That Center and Bless Us (Pudding House, 1998), and Coffeehouse Poetry Anthology (Bottom Dog Press).

Ms. Patricia L. H. Black, 
Biographical Statement

Patricia Black is a retired editor from Ohio University (OU). She is currently self-employed as an editor serving non-native-English-speaking graduate students at OU, assisting them with their theses and dissertations in various fields of study. She was the founder and coordinator of the Athens Poetry Group and has published her own work in numerous journals and anthologies.

Mrs. Sharon Mooney, 
Biographical Statement

Sharon Fish Mooney is OPA’s student contest chairperson. She has a PhD from the University of Rochester and teaches online for Regis University and Indiana Wesleyan. She won the inaugural Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry and was a semi-finalist for the Richard Wilbur Award and Blue Lynx Prize for a manuscript of ekphrastic sonnets. She has published poems in The Lyric, Pudding Magazine, The Evansville Review, Common Threads, and First Things. Volunteer activities include poetry teaching and contest coordination and public school and library-sponsored poetry workshops for elementary and high school students.

Additional Organization Information
Number of Full-Time Staff:
Number of Part-Time Staff:
Number of Volunteers: 11 
Staff Retention Rate:


Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Fundraising Plan No
Management Succession/Training Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Strategic Plan No
Additional Organization Information
  • National Federation of State Poetry Societies: All OPA members are automatically members and are privilege to its benefits.
  • Ohio Poetry Day Association, Inc.: OPA offers fiscal and logistical support for the annual Ohio Poetry Day event.
  • Otterbein University: This partnership affords OPA a dedicated space for its events and OU students the opportunity to intern, as well as future collaborative efforts to promote poetry in Ohio.


Regional Governing Board
Board Chair Mr. Charles Salmons,
Board Chair Term 7/2014 -  6/2016  
Board Members
Mr. Mark Hersman,  
Ms. Susann Moeller,  
Ms. Rinda Sansom,  
Additional Organization Information
Board Meetings Annually
Board Meeting Attendance 85% 
Board Member Monetary Contributions 100%
Board Member In-kind Contributions 100%
Gender Female 50%
  Male 50%
Race African-American/Black 0%
  Asian-American/Pacific Islander 0%
  Caucasian 100%
  Hispanic/Latino 0%
  Native American/American Indian 0%
  Multi-Racial 0%
  Other 0%
Advisory Board
No members in the Advisory Board.


Poet Literacy Workshops

The association provides quarterly training opportunities for poets to sit under the tutelage of Ohio-based college professors, educators, trainers, publishers, or well-published poets for half-day workshops. Each participant leaves with an understanding of the application of the individual style, technique, or method applied by the workshop presenter and submits a self-selected work of poetry prior to the workshop. Participants read their piece during the workshop critique and provide other participants with verbal and written critique based upon their understanding of the literary components discussed during the workshop presentation.

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Ohio Youth Poetry Written Word Competition

An annual effort of the association since 1976, the Ohio Youth Poetry Competition is both an outreach and education program. This program is key as it enhances our mission and opens doors for educators to have access to the student incentive of prize money and recognition for their success at the local, state, and national levels.

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Writers' Retreats

Now entering its seventh year, a partnership with Hostelling International allows OPA to offer low-cost, overnight poetry writing retreats in the beautiful, intimate setting of Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas, OH. Open to anyone, these events are offered twice per year--once in the spring and once in the fall--and give attendees the opportunity to write and learn from Ohio's top poets and educators. Attendees are given two intensive workshops and breakfast on Sunday morning. All fees are used to cover the costs to put on the retreat. These retreats are filled with a positive energy and enhanced sense of camaraderie among the attendees. All who take part are sure to take home a few poems they will be proud of.

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Common Threads

Common Threads is a literary journal published by the Ohio Poetry Association that is perfect-bound, approximately 100 pages, and published annually. The journal is devoted primarily to poetry written by OPA members, with the exception of the member contest and annual student contest winners and special guest features. The journal also features book reviews, essays on craft, and a full-color cover by an Ohio artist. Common Threads constitutes one of the chief privileges of membership.

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Data reflects three most recently completed fiscal years.

Current Fiscal Year 01/01/2016 - 12/31/2016
Projected Revenue $6,402
Projected Expense $5,461
Endowment Fund No
Current Capital Campaign? No
Anticipate a capital campaign in next 5 years? No

Revenues by Source

  2015   2014   2013  
Total Direct Support $119  $932  $1,461 
Direct Support Foundations
Direct Support Corporations
Direct Support Individuals $119  $192  $774 
Direct Support Unspecified $740  $687 
Indirect Public Support
Earned Revenue $3,266  $822  $2,179 
Interest and Dividends
Membership Dues $3,979  $2,111  $2,603 
Special Events $500  $600 
TOTAL REVENUE $7,364  $4,365  $6,843 

Expense by Type

  2015   2014   2013  
Programs $3,972  $4,701  $4,488 
Administration $823  $660  $1,604 
Payment to Affiliates $543 
TOTAL EXPENSES $5,338  $5,361  $6,092 

Assets and Liabilities

  2015   2014   2013  
Total Assets $5,584  $4,264  $5,004 
Current Assets $5,434  $4,114  $4,854 
Total Liabilities
Current Liabilities
NET ASSETS $5,584  $4,264  $5,004 


TCF Staff:

All portrait information is provided voluntarily by nonprofit organizations. An organization may decline to participate. At a minimum, information is updated annually--sometimes more frequently. Documents indicated as available by an organization are verified by Foundation staff. The financial section is completed by Foundation staff based on available documents for a three-year period.