The story of Chaparral began in 1939 when the city of Glendale organized its First Annual Festival of Arts. The Poetry Committee’s display included a brochure, “In the Chaparral.”

On February 9, 1940, the Glendale Poetry Chapter was formed, followed in March by the Pasadena Poetry Club. From these two groups CFCP was organized.

The first conference was held in 1940 at the Glendale YWCA, with more than 300 attending. By January 1942, the Federation had grown to 11 chapters across southern California, and continued to experience steady growth throughout the state.

By 1963, when the conference was held in Sacramento, CFCP had become the largest poetry group in the world, with 30 chapters from both northern and southern California, as well as members from more than a dozen other states. Since then, the conference generally alternates between northern and southern host chapters.

The Name

Symbolically the name ‘Chaparral’ was chosen because it is typically Californian, as the low growth of chaparral that covers the hillsides and desert wastes of California, adding beauty and fragrance to barren countrysides, might be applied to poetry singing its way into a war-torn and barren world today.

—from the program of the Third Annual Conference, held in May, 1942 in Hollywood   

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