It is with great sadness that the Worcester County Poetry Association has learned of the loss of one of its iconic members, Laura Jehn Menides, scholar, poet, and past president of the WCPA. She initiated over a quarter of a century many of the programs that cemented the WCPA’s legacy as a major cultural institution in Central Massachusetts.
She was active in the Elizabeth Bishop Society and was instrumental in a number of conferences which featured Bishop scholars from all over the world, such as Thomas Travisano, who visited Worcester and provided insights into Bishop’s work. Laura Menides was the spark that began the listing of homes and locations important to nationally known Worcester poets like Frank O’Hara, whose home is now listed as a literary landmark. Her many years as an English professor at WPI provided the basis for collaborations which helped the WCPA bring poets like Stanley Kunitz back to the city for readings.
The WCPA would not be where it is today without her tireless, voluntary efforts to promote poetry in Central Massachusetts.