By Ginny Masullo
TFW Contributing Writer
Past and present members of the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective board will bare all on Aug. 31 as they open themselves up to scrutiny and read from their own works and works they admire.
As usual, the event takes place at 7 p.m. in Nightbird Books at 215 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville. An open mic will precede and follow the 40-minute feature. With readers such as Mohja Kahf, limerickman Steve Holst, Amylou Wilson, Burnetta Hinterthuer and Doug Shields, the night promises to rock ’n’ roll and be a bit unpredictable.
For example, one reader plans to cull from the works of one of OPWC’s well-known founders, the late Brenda Moossy. Moossy was known for writing revealing poems with lots of soul and straight talk.
For decades, the Ozark Mountains have attracted writers and other artists. Tapping into that rich vein, the collective was founded in 1992. Its first venue was the long gone Baker Man on Block Street. Just a few poets gathered there to share their work. The audience grew and several of the poets decided to call the group the Ozark Poetry Collective. They broadened the format to include other writers and songwriters.
Eventually, an official board formed and OPWC defined its mission to support and promote community involvement in Ozark literary arts. In the past they have featured Miller Williams, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jim Whitehead, Molly Giles and singer/songwriters Emily Kaitz and Still on the Hill — to just name a few.
OPWC readings are always free. That’s not to say folks don’t dig into their pockets when a hat is passed. Proceeds go to the featured performer (enough to pay for gas) and to fund future readings.