DPC History

In 1990, Bob McCranie, Denise Howells and Deborah Newton-Hare completed their poetry workshops with Sheryl St. Germaine at UTD. All wanted to continue the workshop experience of critique by peers. They joined with Christopher Soden, Tim Wood and Ann Howells. The group met twice monthly on campus. They grew large enough that they divided into two groups: one for poetry and one for fiction.At that time, the group adopted the name Greater Dallas Community of Writers.

After several years, Bob McCranie relinquished leadership to Christopher Soden. Under Christopher, the group expanded activities: sought venues where they read as a group, published members’ anthologies, and began a series of invited poets’ workshops, bringing in such poets as Sheryl St. Germaine, Brenda Hillman, Mark Doty, Jack Myers, Leslie Ullman and Chitra Divakaruni. Members workshopped with the invited poet for two days, ending the weekend with readings at a local venue. It also presented three multi-media events (two at the Bathhouse at White Rock Lake and one at McKinney Avenue Contemporary) these galas included musicians and dancers as well as poetry. In addition, it held several “weekend away” workshops in which a group of ten to twelve poets gathered at a camp or retreat, living and working together intensively from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, and it began its annual open poetry competition (1996); prize money for first place has grown from $100 to $300. Second and third places also receive cash prizes. Meanwhile, group readings culminated in a monthly series at McKinney Avenue Contemporary gallery which ran for five years. In 1997, this series was selected by The Dallas Observer in 1997 as the area’s Best Poetry Reading.

The group changed its name to Dallas Poets Community and, in 1998, began publishing Illya’s Honey, a quarterly poetry journal started by Stephen Brodie, which publishes winners of Dallas Poets Community’s Open Poetry Competition and of Richardson Public Library’s Poetry Competition. In 2007, it evolved from a saddle-stitched quarterly to a perfect bound, semi-annual journal.

Dallas Poets Community also has a program in which members go into creative writing classes at various schools—elementary through college—presenting programs and conducting brief workshops. In the elementary schools, it produces a small chapbook of the children’s work, presenting a copy to each student.  In colleges, it distributes copies of Illya’s Honey and encourages students to begin submitting work. In addition, DPC has helped establish libraries for several schools.

In 2000, the Dallas Poets Community celebrated its tenth anniversary at McKinney Avenue Contemporary. A number of area poets attended to speak and offer congratulations. Letters from President Clinton, Senator Hutchison, and other notables also offered congratulations. It also took part in the Dallas Public Library’s 100th Anniversary celebration. Among the twenty poets honored as “Distinguished Poets of Dallas,” seven were members of Dallas Poets Community.

In 2001 Dallas Poets Community incorporated and applied for a 501-(c)-3 as a literary non-profit.  The original board was Christopher Soden (president), Bob McCranie (secretary), Ann Howells (treasurer), Alan Gann and David Bart.  Board members are elected for three year terms and officers for one year terms. The new corporation began a monthly open mic reading at Half Price books (NW Hwy). In 2005, under new President Bob McCranie, the group published its first chapbook, John M. Davis’s Mojave: Points of Departures. In 2007, they held their first chapbook competition and published, Four Trees Down From Ponte Sisto by Sharon L. Charde. That year they were also awarded their permanent 501- (c) -3 status.  In 2008, they published the winner of their second chapbook competition, Larry Fontenot’s Wish I Could Dance.

DPC has been holding its twice monthly workshop continuously for twenty years, though the location has changed several times. Currently, workshops are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, 7:00 pm at the main Half Price Books on N.W. Highway. Poets need not join the organization to attend. Each participant should bring ten copies of one original poem, and poets of all levels are welcome. DPC has also been holding its First Friday Open Mic (at 7:00 at the main Half Price, on the first Friday of every month) for ten years. A featured poet reads for approximately twenty minutes, then the mic is opened to anyone who signs up (three poems or five minutes, whichever comes first).

The Dallas Poets Community website is . Information on events and contests, photos, and member profiles can be found here.

Dallas Poets Community Mission Statement

We believe that poetry is not a casual endeavor, but rather a noble vocation through which we can achieve redemption and transcendence. We attempt to provide a setting in which writers, in a gathering of their peers, can create their best poetry and share information on issues of craft, content, and venues for recognition.