"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oklahoma poetry

The poetry book  "Work is Love Made Visible" by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish brings Oklahoma working folks to life with sweat-stained images.

A huge  appeal of the 64-page book are the old black and white family photos matching the imagery of her poetry. Growing up in south and south central Oklahoma, she writespoems on a variety of experiences. They include some almost prose essays like " The Etymology of Honky Tonk," complete with a family photograph from a joint in Duncan in the 1950s, and a note that the word was first used in The Daily Ardmoreite in 1894.

Perhaps my favorite poem is "Mapping Desire," about the call of back roads and looking at road maps.

For a sample, here's the first stanza of the poem that gave the book its name:

"After working all day, at home or at the garment factory
or taking care of her mother or her grandchildren,
after cooking dinner and cleaning up the kitchen
my granny would uncover her sewing machine
and stitch our family together."

again, her website:  www.tonguetiedwoman.com

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