The essays in this book explore numerous topics: a photographer’s sense of aesthetics, the suicide of a sharecropper , Oklahoma literature and culture.
For her collection of poetry Work is Love Made Visible, Jeanetta Calhoun Mish won an Oklahoma Book Award, a Wrangler Award, and a WILLA Award from Women Writing the West. Her writing appears in numerous journals and anthologies, and she contributes much to Southwestern and American letters with her editorial work. She is founding editor of the active and successful Mongrel Empire Press. She serves as Director of The Red Earth Creative Writing MFA program at Oklahoma City University where she is also a faculty mentor in writing pedagogy and the craft of poetry.
For more information go to her personal website.
W.K. Stratton continues his exploration of alter ego alleyways in his second book of poetry, Ranchero Ford/Dying in Red Dirt Country. Written in both verse and prose-poem form, the pieces in the book form a poetic concept album dealing much with time and place and family, both real and imagined. The poems draw images from a tough society populated by oilfield roughnecks, bootleggers, brawlers, and outlaws. Ranchero Ford/Dying in Red Dirt Country is bookended by long pieces exploring loss in the unforgiving territory.
Stratton, a past president of the Texas Institute of Letters, has written four books of nonfiction and co-edited another. He is currently at work on book about Sam Peckinpah and The Wild Bunch.
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Born and educated in Oklahoma, Larry D. Griffin has published nine collections of poetry and more than four hundred poems in journals. Presently Griffin resides in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, where he serves as Professor of Languages and Literature and English Program Director at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah.
Wally Swist in Invocation shares in brilliant poetry his practice of discovering the spiritual in the commonplace. While hiking, he considers a snail, which becomes a touchstone for transcendence and insight; he shows us there is much to praise about a fox shapeshifting about the farmland on which the poet lives. Some poems honor artists and writers Swist has either known or who have influenced him. In one poem, he imagines a conversation with Albert Camus over an omelette and a glass of red wine. The poems in Invocation offer surprising experiences through carefully crafted images and invite readers to ponder meanings in those experiences.
Paul Christensen, The Jack of Diamonds is a Hard Card to Play
You know it’s not the usual Texas of most books when you enter the saloon in the first poem and witness a deadly game of poker with a brown river as one of the chips in the pot. Here’s a shopping mall turned suddenly into a biblical desert; birds that play jazz; a bull named Plato remembering the golden days in Periclean Greece. Or the two cousins that trained a pig to dance and re-enact the Italian Renaissance in a burlesque skit.
Christensen’s poems don’t stop at the literal, but take the facts of Texas as a leaping off point. In “The Bryan Reading Club,” a circle of book-loving old widows convenes to discuss D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, only to be set aflame by the raw lust to be found there, behind closed doors, of course. In “Wal-Mart,” the old and the insolvent mill around in the aisles as a woman is guided through the crowds like the Statue of Liberty; a tall, fragile man lopes by as Uncle Sam. Nothing is beyond the imagination in these studies of the mundane world turned magical.
Ulf Kirchdorfer, Chewing Green Leaves
A stuffed bear coming alive in a barbecue diner, a younger Seamus Heaney receiving advice to revise, James Dickey assuming military-style command over the telephone, squirrels running around with people's souls, the poet’s octogenarian mother insisting on introducing her suitors: these are some of the events featured in the poetic landscape of Ulf Kirchdorfer’s Chewing Green Leaves.
Ignoring an editor's edict that his poems were not depressing enough, Ulf Kirchdorfer painted the poetry in this collection upon the vast easel of America while introducing startling imagery from his Swedish childhood.