"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.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oklahoma pages

Want to explore Oklahoma? It's a mental journey in "Ain't Nobody Can Sing Like Me," the anthology of new Oklahoma writing published by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish at Mongrel Empire Press. http://www.mongrelempirepress.com/Mongrel_Empire_Press/Welcome.html

Reading the selections in this book that makes you want to sit down and write.  I found three authors I knew, and a few others I'd met, and many more I wish I could.

I've met J.C. "Catfish" Mahan of Edmond at the Labor Day,  "Labor Fest," poetry reading in the Plaza District. http://www.facebook.com/OklahomaLaborfest His baritone voice matches the power of his written words. In this book, these lines from "Rural Oklahoma" grabbed me:
"Out here the towns are small and shrinking father apart
But the cemeteries are big and growing well organized."

Writers I'd like to meet:
  • Poetry publisher from Cheyenne, Dorothy Alexander. In "State of the Arts in a Red State," she writes,
"...tiny bright clusters
of poets and artists, brander 'other,'
who persevere, huddled against ragged
winds of self righteousness and fundamentalism,..."

  • K.L. Chapman of Norman, in "Summer Sunsets in Oklahoma":
"God's apologies for blistering days... ."

  • Retired OU prof and architect Arn Henderson takes your mind on a  township and range divided trip with "Base Line and Meridian:
"at the juncture of two invisible lines
witnessed
through the glass of measurement
marking the directions I traverse the grid of ... "

  • Award-winning Chickasaw author Phillip Carroll Morgan, whose "Aerial View" I cited in the last post. His humor is also terrific, and included a poem "Today's History Lesson: The Great Casino Treaty of 2012 (The Treaty of Riverwind)" about the Federal Government nationalizing Indian Casinos:
"The Social Security Salvation Act
of 2011 was an act of Congress
requiring all Indian gaming operators
to vacate their casinos ..."

Writers I know:
  • Chase Dearinger, a former student of mine at UCO, finishing his MFA, in a short story, "Second Coming." The first sentence that makes you keep reading:
"Most would say it all began the day Sammy drowned in the Cimarron River."

  • Former journalist and professor at Murray State College  Sharon Burris, in the conclusion of "Days of Birds and Touch":
"Wing-tip to wing-tip in flight,
dipping and swerving as if one
sinuous serpent, but
never touching.
Never touching.
Like us."

  • My dean at UCO, Pamela Washington, about being a child in a small town, in "The Cache I Carry":

"Okies know, it,
West of Lawton,
Outsiders spell it wrong.
I carry it.

"I carry nostrils full of horse sweat and manure--... ."

Those ought to whet your appetite for exploring Oklahoma.

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