When you find writers, artists and others you should have known about but missed out.
I hate the overused word "Awesome," but that's my reaction to the worlds opened by "From the Extinct Volcano A Bird of Paradise" by Oklahoman Carter Revard.
Published by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish's Mongrel Empire Press, this 84-page book of poetry and thought goes beyond my words to tell you about.
It is deep.
Revard is an nationally-acclaimed Osage scholar, writer and poet. BA, Oxford (That's England). Ph.D., Yale. Why am I now just learning about him? Click the link on him and you'll be stunned.
Yet he is as Okie as you can be. It's a book of storytelling, and more because it opens you to the Native American view of the universe, existences and spirituality where all life is united.
The poems reflect his belief that song, speech, poetry and community making are all linked.
This author will put you in touch with eternity and Oklahoma. This book is a coup for Mongrel Empire Press. Every time I read part of it, I discover something new, about myself, about Oklahoma, about existence. There is science, mythology, literature, and the author's essays all intertwined.
Consider a few titles, author's comments, and nuggets.
Titles--Dancing with Dinosaurs; In Chigger Heaven; Driving in Oklahoma; Over by Fairfax, Leaving Tracks; Deer Mice Singing Up Parnassus.
- "I suspect singing began from weeping and from laughing, turned into choral tragedy and comedy, kept time with rhythms and rhymes of tropical sunlight and starlight...."
- "Without song, no nesting."
- "I wished once again that the anthropologists who keep digging in the earth for our bones would listen for our songs in the air. We are extinct as dinosaurs, are are alive as birds."
- From "Dopplegangers: A Nativity Ode"--
stars but there is song, the hands
have warmed a bottle, there is milk,..."
- From "In Chigger Heaven"--"We grew up crossing
in May, when butterflies were coming out to meet
the flowers at last as equals,...."
- From "Living in the Holy Land" (at St. Louis for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial)--
give or take a few Heavenly Days,
our Osage forebears brought forth
on this continent, a new nation,
conceived in liberty and dedicated to
the proposition that all beings are created equal."
- From "Over by Fairfax, Leaving Tracks"--
this fresh blue sky, over
Salt Creek running brown
and quick and a huge tiger
swallowtail tasting the brilliant
orange flowers beside our trail....
"Makes me wonder,
if archaeologists should ever dig these prints
with possum's here, whether they'll see
the winged beings who moved
in brightness near us, leaving no tracks except
in flowers and
these winged words."