The Gregory Stockmal Reading Fund
The fund jointly honors the memory of Stanley Kunitz and, especially, the memory of Gregory Stockmal.
Greg and his wife Carol restored and maintained the Kunitz boyhood home at 4 Woodford Street. The Kunitz-Stockmal house has since been named a national Literary Landmark ©. The sudden death of Greg Stockmal in December 2008 was a shock to the local poetry community. The Fund was established in 2009 by the Worcester County Poetry Association in cooperation with Carol Stockmal. The purpose of the fund is to support programming which continues the efforts of Greg Stockmal to honor American poet Stanley Kunitz and his legacy in Worcester. The annual Gregory Stockmal Reading is an important part of this legacy, recognizing Stanley Kunitz as teacher and leader of his self-described “tribe” of poets, friends and family by sponsoring Worcester-area readings by poets for whom Stanley Kunitz has been an inspiration.
These funds are currently accepting donations. Annual income from these funds supports the programming and publications of the Worcester County Poetry Assocation. Donations can be made through the WCPA (via PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613) or directly with the Greater Worcester Community Foundation (370 Main Street, Suite 650, Worcester, MA 01608-1738).
The Founders’ Fund
Set up to support the general mission of the Worcester County Poetry Association: bringing poetry to the people of Central Massachusetts. The initial funding combined separate accounts in memory of founding member Corrine Bostic with donations from founding members Michael and Mary Pat True. By consolidating these into one endowment,The Founders’ Fund, managed by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, the Worcester County Poetry Association may count on regular annual support to further its mission.
The Worcester Review Endowment Fund
The Worcester Review Endowment Fund supports the ongoing operations of the The Worcester Review. The income received from the fund supplements funds from the Worcester County Poetry Association.
Created as the result of a Worcester County Poetry Association fund-raising effort. In 1999, the Massachusetts Cultural Commission offered the Worcester County Poetry Association a Non-Profit Finance Fund 2-for-1 fund-raising match opportunity. If the Worcester County Poetry Association could raise $50,000, the Non-Profit Finance Fund would add $25,000 to endow The Worcester Review and ensure continued operation of this outstanding Worcester literary journal. Under the direction of Rodger Martin, Maria Florez, Carle Johnson, David Thoreen, and Robert Steele the challenge was accepted. Through support from Worcester industry, commerce, and banking, and from individuals like Mary and Donald Melville, the fund was half way to its goal in a very short time. Through the generous support of the people of Worcester County, who donated over $12,000 to the fund in two days in answer to Stanley Kunitz’s request for support of this local literary journal, the Worcester County Poetry Association raised the needed $50,000 total. This money, with the $25,000 match from the Non-Profit Finance Fund, allowed us to capitalize the Worcester Review Endowment Fund and make permanent what Worcester County Institution for Savings president Hal Cabot called “one of the best articles of national public relations Worcester has”.
The Stanley Kunitz Award Fund
Worcester-born US Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz was always a champion of the Worcester County Poetry Association. At his death the Worcester County Poetry Association received a bequest to support a prize to be named The Stanley Kunitz Award.
In 2013 the board adopted guidelines for selecting award receptients. The first WCPA Stanley Kunitz Award was presented in 2015.
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The Elizabeth Bishop / Etheridge Knight College Contest Fund
Thanks to the generosity of the Annual College Poetry Contest founder, Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, the WCPA has established an endowment with the Greater Worcester Community Foundation to support and sustain this annual literary event. Sweeney founded the yearly competition in 2008 when she was the Association’s president.
Her gift will also allow the WCPA to honor two nationally and internationally known poets who were deeply influenced by Worcester: Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Neustadt Prize; and Etheridge Knight (1931-1991), winner of the American Book Award. From now on, the two prizes awarded at the competition each year will be known as the Elizabeth Bishop Manuscript Prize and the Etheridge Knight Performance Prize. Bishop, who was born in Worcester, spent part of her childhood living there with her paternal grandparents; her famous poem, “In the Waiting Room,” begins “In Worcester, Massachusetts . . .” Knight was “Born black in Mississippi,” as he explains in “A Poem for Myself,” but he lived in Worcester in the 1970s, founded the Free People’s Poetry Workshop there, and became an essential figure in the local poetry community.