By Ginny Masullo

Ozark Poets and Writers Collective has hosted monthly literary readings for the past 17 years. The mission of the collective is to present local, regional and nationally acclaimed poets and writers in a public setting. For many of those years, several of the authors published in Fayetteville High School’s annual literary magazine have been featured during the April reading.

This year is no exception. Join OPWC at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street to hear the students read from their works.

Connotations Issue XXVII is distinctively different from previous issues. Usually the magazine, which includes poetry, prose and art, has a specific theme, but according to John Erwin, this year’s editor-in-chief, the staff consciously chose not to go with the long tradition of a theme.

Instead they focused on consistency and readability. The result says Erwin is “a clean, minimalist aesthetic.”

Wanting to make a radical break with the magazine’s past, this year’s Connotations is not one but five magazines in a boxed set. Choosing from a pool of about 300 submissions, about 75 will find their place in these volumes. This is considerably more copy than in previous years.

Funded almost entirely by the generosity of local citizens, Connotations consistently turns out a quality, lively publication Connotations has won an award almost every year of its existence. In fact, three years ago the magazine won a Pacemaker, the highest award given to a high school publication.

And what better way to celebrate National Poetry month this April, than to listen to the thoughts emanating from young minds of writers featured in Fayetteville High School’s art and literary magazine?

National Poetry month was established by the Academy of American Poets and is described as a way “to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.”

OPWC will also host an open mic preceding and following Connotations readings. Bring some of your own works to share. Readers have up to four minutes. Mine something from your own repertoire or read a poem by someone else. Poetry rocks.

This month OPWC encourages poetry lovers to join with the Academy of American Poets by carrying a poem in their pocket to read at the open mic and or throughout the month to friends and family. The official day for Poem in Your Pocket is April 29, but OPWC begins the festivity at 7 p.m. this Tuesday at Nightbird Books. Visit www.ozarkwriters.wordpress.com for information.

Categories: Features