Corrections or additions?
This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the March 26, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
U.S. 1 Poets — At Age 30
The U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative is 30 years old and it
is celebrating with the publication of a new edition of the U.S. 1
Worksheets. Member poets will read from their work at the Princeton
Public Library on Friday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. Readers will include
Elizabeth Mimi Danson, Jean Hollander, Betty Bonham Lies, John McDermott,
Elizabeth Anne Socolow, and Winifred Hughes, who also introduces the
In honor of the anniversary, the editors have gathered a new volume
of poems and short prose by the group’s original and early members,
former members, current members, and new voices from around the country.
With the recent disbanding of the Berkeley Poets’ Cooperative, U.S.
1 believes it holds the record for the longest running group of its
kind in the country.
Founded by still-active members Alicia Ostriker and Rod Tulloss, the
U.S. 1 Poets (no relation to this newspaper) began meeting in June,
1973, and have met in members’ homes virtually every Tuesday evening
since. In addition to the founders, long-time members include Jean
Hollander, Cleopatra Mathis, Lynn Powell, David Keller, Elizabeth
Anne Socolow, and Lois Marie Harrod.
The group’s occasional publication, "U.S. 1 Worksheets," made
its debut in October, 1973, as a humble, inky publication comprising
a single folio sheet, folded twice, to an 8-1/2 x 11 inch package.
It has endured in various formats, published at irregular intervals,
to the present. In 1999, as it celebrated its 25-year milestone, U.S.
1 Worksheets Volume 38/39 made its appearance in a new, upscale format,
a perfect-bound book, of standard literary magazine size, with an
attractive color cover. Winifred Hughes, a co-op member since 1993,
became managing editor of U.S. 1 Worksheets in 1999.
Although the majority of the Worksheets contributors are co-op members,
the group’s listing in "Poet’s Market," the national directory
of poetry journals, has attracted submissions from across the country.
The new edition is no exception; it features work by members, newcomers,
and established poets. Selections are made a team of editors that
rotates among members.
"The title `Worksheets’ was meant to suggest process, and that’s
one of the things you can still see," says Hughes. The weekly
Tuesday night meetings, held in members’ homes, are so frequent that
few members attend every one. The result is a spontaneous, diverse
mix of attendees, she explains.
"We don’t try to make one poet look like another. We don’t have
one style, but there’s a tremendous seriousness about it. We always
try to be supportive, but at the same time to push each poet to the
highest standard that he or she can aspire to," says Hughes.
The new edition of the U.S. 1 Worksheets, Volume 46/47, also features
reminiscences by founders Rod Tulloss (who was also a founding member
of the Berkeley Coop) and Alicia Ostriker, the only writer whose work
has appeared in every issue.
Ostriker writes that 30 years ago, just before she went off to spend
a semester at U.C. Berkeley, Rod Tulloss told her about the Berkeley
Poets’ Co-op, which she joined for half a year. On her return, she
yearned to reproduce the experience in Princeton.
"It seemed like an unlikely prospect for Princeton, that white-bread
community, that bubble of privilege, that ultimately square setting
in which, after living there for eight years, I still felt like a
round peg," she writes in the new Worksheets.
"Whenever I meet lonely young poets — and all young poets
are lonely — I tell them to do what we did. Start a group. Meet
every week. Let yourselves be open to strangers. And you’ll grow,
and your work will grow."
— Nicole Plett
Princeton Shopping Center, North Harrison Street, 609-924-9529. The
U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative celebrates a new edition of the U.S. 1 Worksheets.
Free. Friday, March 28, 7:30 p.m.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.