Ars Poetica: The State of Poetry in Corvallis

If you think Corvallis is cursed with a vapidity of poetic expression compared to more commonly recognized Oregon epicenters of arts such as Eugene and Portland, think again. There are a plethora of talented and creative writers in Corvallis, not to mention a fun community of musicians. Allow me to introduce two exceptional opportunities to share your rhymes (or no rhymes, if you like!).

On the fourth Thursday of every month, Old World Deli hosts Poetics Corvallis, a night of Open Mic Spoken Word and Slam Poetry. Connect with other poets over a pint in a relaxed environment of acceptance and artistic openness, sharing your words and appreciating those of others.

As Frank Hall, one of the main organizers of this event, wrote on the Poetics Corvallis Facebook page, “Poetics Corvallis brings out all kinds of people of all ages and stages as artists and fans of the spoken word. There is clearly a spiritual lyricism that flows unseen like a water table through this special place called Corvallis, this heart of this storied Oregon valley.”

OSU’s Spring Creek Project also affords an outlet for both aspiring and veteran poets. A description of the project is offered as follows: “The challenge of the Spring Creek Project is to bring together the practical wisdom of the environmental sciences, the clarity of philosophical analysis, and the creative, expressive power of the written word to find new ways to understand and re-imagine our relation to the natural world.” Activities range from submissions to lectures to meditative nature walks, presenting another meaningful way to make friends and experience poetry.

Spring Creek Project Director Charles Goodrich mentions that he and his co-facilitators of the project are most excited about the upcoming “Campus Creature Census.” Open to everyone—including town folk, students, faculty, and staff—all are invited to take part in submitting prose or poetry or artwork “entries about the critters we share the OSU campus with.”

Registration for the Creature Census ended on April 15, with submissions due on May 1.

More information may be found at:

Hidden Words

Corvallis is filled with many wonderful little oddities, from random sculptures, such as the statue of a cloaked man in Central Park which turns out to be a zany cartoonish crocodile on stilts when you look at it from the front, to poetry mounted on building walls. You can find such examples of poetry in the alleys between 3rd and 2nd streets, on either side of Madison Avenue.

by Joel Southall