OK, so we’ve finally had our “cold”snap and it’s not 110 in the shade any more. But before that happened I needed a different kind of steamy to take my mind off the heat. What better than Christmas romance. Turn to Christine Rimmer’s Scrooge and the Single Girl. Snow covered cabin, grumpy but hunky guy, Christmas music on the radio, and the lead lady complete with scumptious holiday fixings and junk food. Toss in ghostly appearances, cat and dog drama and you’ve got the perfect diversion from the heat. Christine Rimmer does a great job serving up romance through her Bravo family stories. This one is part of the Sons of Caitlin Bravo. If you don’t know about the Bravo books, here’s a handy list and summary of titles straight from Christine. All excellent for summer reading. (And she’s an Oklahoma Author)
Recently someone questioned my reading romances. Just when you think everyone has gotten past that sort of silliness. So I was talking to one of my romance reading colleagues about this and she didn’t get it either. Here’s why we think women continue to read romance (and the statistics prove it); the women are always strong characters, they don’t settle for second best. They usually have a good sense of humor, and interesting jobs. The men are strong and good looking, but once caught are devoted to the one girl. (no off to Argentina with a soulmate for these guys) They are not afraid to be romantic. And we know It’s all going to work out in the end, the right girl, the right guy. Nothing wrong with Happily Ever After. If you need unhappily ever after just turn on the television, pick up a celebrity rag or surf the net.
I do get the reality of relationships, I just like to take a break. So for those scrooges of romance, here’s my favorite poem by Marge Piercy.
What’s That Smell in the Kitchen?
All over America women are burning dinners.
It’s lambchops in Peoria: it’s haddock
in Providence; it’s steak in Chicago:
tofu delight in Big Sur; red rice and beans in Dallas.
All over America women are burning food they’re supposed to bring with calico smile on
platters glittering like wax.
Anger sputters in her brainpan, confined but spewing out missiles of hot fat.
Carbonized despair presses like a clinker
from a barbecue against the back of her eyes.
If she wants to grill anything, it’s
her husband spitted over a slow fire.
If she wants to serve him anything it’s a dead rat with a bomb in its belly ticking like the
heart of an insomniac.
Her life is cooked and digested,
nothing but leftovers in Tupperware.
Look, she says, once I was roast duck
on your platter with parsley but now I am Spam.
Burning dinner is not incompetence but war.
Need some quick summer Okie reading,
M.L. Weber, editor of Sugar Mule: A Literary Magazine, announces a special double-edition of Oklahoma Writing, edited by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish. The issue is now online at http://www.sugarmule.com/35frame.htm or you can enter through the home page, at www.sugarmule.com. Keep a look out for the print edition, to be published by Mongrel Empire Press (Norman, OK) in early 2011.
Take a taste of Alvin Turner’s fare,
She keeps a 22 rifle on her dining room table
loaded with bird shot
that she uses to
“teach manners to the varmints”
who might hope to savor
her cats or chicks.
Others may conclude rightly,
hers is not the place to forget
one’s raising, or how to act
in the presence of a lady.
GOOD WORDS: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A Poetry Evening to Benefit Skyline Food Pantry
November 2, 2010 7 pm
Village Methodist Church fellowship hall
2501 W. Britton Road, Oklahoma City 73120
Refreshments and a table for you to sell books will be furnished. Price of Admission, for poets and guests: a donation of nonperishable items for the food boxes at the door. Readers, please limit your selections to one or two poems on the subject of food, hunger, recipes, restaurants, feasts, and related topics. We will have a signup sheet at the door. Music, Poems, and the chance to help a worthy organization. This is a family-friendly event. Questions? Contact sandy soli at sandrasoli at sbcglobal.net.
“I know Durant’s way down here on the Red, but if anyone’s straying this
far south Ron Wallace (That’s me) will be reading some new poems at the
Market Square stage off First and Main Street in Durant at 3:00 PM this
Saturday the 25th.”
Ken Hada at Full Circle Book Store in Oklahoma City at 2 p.m. on Sunday, and Carol Hamilton and lots of others are reading in 15-minute sessions at a Readathon and celebration at the Ralph Ellison Library in Oklahoma City also on Saturday the 25th. Wherever you are, lots to do for Poetry Month.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
National Poetry Month Read-a-thon
Location: Ralph Ellison
Celebrate National Poetry Month at the library with an entire day of poetry reading. The poetry begins early at 9:00am and continues until midnight. Come for children’s readings from 9:00am to noon, refreshments and music from 12:00 to 1:00pm, an open mic poetry session at 6:00pm and keynote speaker Deborah Hunter at 7:00pm. Make sure to stay for the finale starting at 9:00pm where you could get a chance to win some awesome prizes. All ages are invited to attend. After 5:00pm, children 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent or have a permission slip. Call 606-3459 with questions, or to sign up as a poetry reader (spots are limited).
I thought everyone would like to see this comment about Oklahoma poet Howard Starks,
Howard Starks was the embodiment of genius. I write poetry and teach English primarily thanks to his influence. This book was a finalist in the 1997 Oklahoma Book Awards. It should have won hands down, no way a book of translations could even be close. Robinson Jeffers, James Dickey, Walt Whitman, Howard Starks: his name is on their level. I use this book in the classes I teach at Southeastern. It has been reprinted and can be purchased at the Campus Bookstore at Southeastern or from my website http://www.RonWallacePoetry.com Don’t miss the chance to read this work. It is the pinnacle of Oklahoma Poetry.
Crosstimbers magazine is an amazing find. Published by the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, it includes; poetry, reviews, art, non-fiction and fiction articles and mostly by Oklahoma authors and illustrators.
( my scan of the magazine cover isn’t all that great, but please don’t judge this magazine by its cover)
For example, this issue has poetry by Sandra Soli, Robert Ferrier, Carol Hamilton, Chris Ellery, Audrey Streetman, Ann Brown and Robert Cooperman. There’s an article on Mary Welborn, “Art with a Mission : the New Botanicals.” She has an exhibit at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, from Feb.25th to April 22.
The exhibit is on display at the McDermott Learning Center from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day during the spring. The Wildflower Center is located at 4801 La Crosse Avenue in Austin, just off Loop 1 South (MoPac Boulevard). For information, call 292-4200. or www.wildflower.org
This month’s Crosstimbers also includes a thought provoking article by Tonnia L. Anderson, “On Remembering the Familiar: The Cultural Politics of Depression Era Photographs of Blacks.” Reviews of books like, Weigland’s Books on Trial and Klein’s Grappling with Demon Rum“. There’s an article on Nathan Brown, one of the Oklahoma Center for the Book finalists in poetry. And even an article on Train travel in America by Layne Thrift and J. C. Casey.
But if you want to read all this for yourself, USAO is very kind to post the current issue on the internet. Current issues are located on the Crosstimbers website. This is one great deal.
NewsOK just this last Sunday did an excellent article on one of our Oklahoma poets, Jim Chastain. He is a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Awards for his book of poetry, Antidotes & Home Remedies, Village Books Press. Jim is an inspiration to all of us in how to live a fulfilled life while struggling with adversity. He expresses his journey through his prose and poetry, and invites us along for the rough ride. He is currently writing a blog for NewsOK. Visit there for samples of his poetry.
Nathan Brown and Jim Chastain are friends and colleagues, both on the finalist list for the Oklahoma Book Awards. Way to go you two!
Oklahoma in July
is a marshmallow
in a bonfire;
a branding iron
on the face;
a toad in the slow-
ly heated pot;
screams until its eyes
until the blood
rises in its mercurial veins.
…from the book Ashes Over the Southwest
BAM’s blog highlights Dorothy Alexander reading her poetry and her book is also an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, Lessons From An Oklahoma Girlhood, Village Books Press.
Village Books Press is a small Oklahoma press dedicated to providing a voice and venue for Oklahoma poets, artist and writers. My understanding is Dorothy Alexander runs this publishing house in Cheyenne, Oklahoma.
So if you don’t think Poetry when you think Oklahoma you better start…..
“As Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate, Jim Barnes has the task of broadening understanding and appreciation of poetry,” Henry said. “His work is a testament to the strong cultural fabric of Oklahoma and an inspiration for others to follow.”
Jim Barnes’ remarks upon learning of this esteemed appointment, “I am indeed honored and delighted to accept the Poet Laureateship of Oklahoma. I am honored to serve my home state in the cause of literacy and literature, and I am delighted to think, with the appointment as Poet Laureate, that perhaps all my years of living in the realm of poetry have not been outside the boundaries of understanding. No art is more important to me than poetry, for poetry makes everything happen.”
Go to this site for a nice soundbite from the author before his recent acclaim.
The Oklahoma Humanities Council facilitates the poet laureate selection committee, which reviews statewide nominations on behalf of the governor, and coordinates the activities and appearances of the poet laureate throughout his/her term.
For Poetry, Picture and a Biography of Jim Barnes, go to http://www.thehypertexts.com/Jim%20Barnes%20Poetry%20Picture%20and%20Bio.htm.
His newest collection, is Visiting Picasso. His other works include the non-fiction prose book, On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions, which won the American Book Award in 1998. He has also authored several volumes of poetry, including The Sawdust War: Poems ; Paris: Poems; and On a Wing of the Sun: Three Volumes of Poetry.
So I’ll end with one of his poems, from On a Wing of the Sun,
Contemporary Native American Poetry
‘For one thing, you can believe it:
the skin chewed soft enought to wear,
the bones hewn hard as a totem
from hemlock. It’s a kind of scare-
crow that will follow you home nights.
You’ve seen it ragged against a field,
but you seldom think, at the time,
to get there it had to walk through hell.’
Over at Chris’ Bookmarking blog, there seems to be a poetry controversy going on, just the fact we can have a poetry controversy is a good thing. On most days it’s hard to get anyone to talk about poetry, must less post on the internet about it, or have an opinion.
My favorite from the Inauguration, was the music based on the Shaker song by Elder Joseph called “Simple Gifts”.
- ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
- ‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
- And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
- ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
- When true simplicity is gain’d,
- To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
- To turn, turn will be our delight,
- Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Beautiful stuff, no controversy.