At the approach of National Poetry Month, members of U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative launch the latest issue of their group’s journal, U.S.1 Worksheets this Sunday, March 30 at the Princeton Public Library.
Those with poems in the issue will gather with fellow poetry lovers in what has become a sort of spring rite. Doors of the Community Room open at 1:15 p.m. for a simple reception; readings will begin promptly at 2 p.m.
U.S.1 Worksheets, Volume 59 is an eclectic collection from a group that is now entering its fifth decade. The journal has been published continuously since 1972. Back then it was a stapled-at-the-corner mimeographed affair, a far cry from today’s self-published perfect bound professional look with cover art by contemporary photographers.
“Those who submitted have researched well. They really know what we want,” said Nancy Scott, who has served as the journal’s managing editor since volunteering to take on its production in 2004. “One third of the poets included this year are new to us.”
In a press release from the group’s publicist Carolyn Foote Edelmann, also a poet and longtime member, Ms. Scott notes an emphasis this year on poems inspired by experiences in the natural world: “This constellation of eclectic poems reveals an exceptionally high level of poets. Our web-site may be feeding [submissions to] the Journal. We are pulling in poetry from a broader geographical area, and accepting a higher percentage of received poems, because of their quality.”
The well-known local poet Betty Lies, the journal’s senior poetry editor and a Dodge Poet for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, concurs: “The poems are better this year. People are sending a higher level of poetry. Our reputation is growing in terms of appropriate quality for U.S.1 Worksheets. We’re reaching a greater number of states each year.” Ms. Lies has been a member of U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative since 1989.
With Ms. Lies, poets Enriqueta Carrington and Juditha Dowd selected the 129 poems in Volume 59 from well over a thousand submissions.
This year’s issue is dedicated to all those who, over the years, have provided meeting space for the group by opening their homes for the group’s weekly critique sessions.
U.S.1 Poets Cooperative is run entirely by volunteers, all of whom are poets themselves. Elizabeth “Mimi” Danson is the group’s treasurer; Sharon Olson contributed her skills to the layout; Lois Marie Harrod designed the cover; Eric Heller is the group’s webmaster; and Dave Worrell keeps everyone informed via a weekly email.
Since 1973, the group has offered seasoned and beginning poets a regular opportunity to share and refine their work, which was exactly what it was set up to do.
Founded by Alicia Ostriker and others, it took inspiration from the Berkeley Poets Cooperative on the West Coast, which Ms. Ostriker, who’s been teaching English at Rutgers since 1972, had attended. The group’s name was inspired by the highway that runs the East Coast from Florida to Canada. The idea was to provide fellowship and critique sessions for poets seeking feedback for their work.
The first Worksheets journal, a folded tabloid collection of photocopied sheets of poems and drawings stapled-at-the-corner, shared works in progress and established an identity for the collective.
In recent years, the journal’s covers have made it stand out from other small journals. Last year’s 40th anniversary issue sported a color cover, showcasing an collage by Ms. Scott. This year, cover art is a collage by Stephen Millner. The accomplished local art photographer Frank Magalhaes (who created the journal’s layout for a number of years) donated work for two issues 51, and 54. Other issues have featured Therese Halscheid’s “Mexican Vessels,” “The Writing Desk” by New Jersey photographer Thomas Bivin, work by Paul Cockrell of California (issue 53), Dick Greene of Massachussetts (issue 52), and Jay Goodkind (issue 50).
The launch provides members who may not attend every weekly workshop an opportunity to catch up with fellow poets. For those who volunteer their time to produce the journal, Sunday’s launch is the culmination of a year-long process that starts with a new round of submissions accepted from April 15 through June 30. Submissions guidelines are available on the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative website: www.us1poets.com.
Poets at the Library
Sunday’s event is co-sponsored by the Princeton Public Library, which also hosts the monthly Poets at the Library reading series in conjunction with U.S. 1 Poets Cooperative and Delaware Valley Poets. Poets at the Library meets by the fireside on the Library’s second floor on the second Monday of the month throughout the year. The next meeting (switched to Tuesday, April 8, because of Passover) features contributors to the anthology, Forgetting Home: Poems About Alzheimer’s, followed by an open microphone. Free. 7:30 p.m. Participating area poets include Barbara Crooker, Anna Evans, Lois Marie Harrod, Tammy Paolino, Steve Smith, Jill Stein, and Maxine Susman. For more information, call (609)-924-9529.
Members of the public are invited to kick off National Poetry Month at the party for Volume 59 of U.S.1 Worksheets this Sunday, March 30 from 1:15 p.m., in the Community Room, Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street. The event is free. Copies of the journal are $10.
For information on submission deadlines for the journal and how to become a member of U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperagive, visit: us1poets.com. To receive the weekly announcement of meetings, email: US1Poets@gmail.com.