Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oklahomagraphy by Joey Brown

Joey Brown’s Oklahomagraphy, published last year by Mongrel Empire Press, is one of the best books of Oklahoma-themed poetry published in recent memory.  So, I thought I’d use this space to promote it, with no hidden agenda, as I do not know Joey Brown personally and am not financially invested in Mongrel Empire Press (I just want to see them prosper as they deserve). 
Here’s the review I left on the book’s Amazon page:
“This is Oklahoma poetry at its finest. Brown employs a refreshing variety of techniques - from longer-lined narrative poems in the spirit of B.H. Fairchild to more compact and meditative lines that are reminiscent of some of Jim Barnes' poems (to make comparisons to other Oklahoma poets) - but her approach to content is all original. One could say, in fact, that the best thing about this book is Brown's "eye," her unique sense of what to make a poem out of. These poems hum with finely observed detail framed by the poet in highly original ways. One of the highlights is the twelve-part poem "July," which appears near the end of the book and in which Brown achieves both deft characterization and thematic richness with the lightest of brushstrokes, as she conveys not just the physical but also the emotional and spiritual landscape of small-town Oklahoma. This book is a must read, especially for fans of poets like William Stafford and Ted Kooser.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview with Sandra Soli

Read a great interview with my friend, and one of Oklahoma's best poets, Sandra Soli on the poemeleon website HERE.

More Poems Accepted

I am very pleased to have a poem forthcoming in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry.  I've been a fan of this journal ever since it picked up the banner of the old Formalist publication several years ago.

I've also got two poems out online at Numinous Magazine.  Read theme HERE.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Elegy for Trains is a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award

A good day today:  I received notification this morning that both The Mayo Review and Westview have accepted some of my new poems for publication. 
Then, this afternoon, I learned that my book, Elegy for Trains, has been named a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. 
And there’s the reading tonight at Benedict Street Marketplace.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reading at Benedict St. Thursday.

Tomorrow, Thursday the 17th of February, is OBU night at the Benedict Street Marketplace monthly poetry reading, which means I will be the featured reader.  I'll read poems from Elegy for Trains, along with some material from my new project.  I will also highlight three of my advanced poetry students reading work they produced in my class over January term. 
There will also be an open-mic portion of the evening, so bring something to read (your own work or just a poem you love).  Come by 6:30 to order a delicious dinner and help support one of the best local eateries in Shawnee.  The Benedict Street reading is always a lively gathering of friendly people.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last Night's Reading/Some Books You Should Have

I had a great time reading with some of the “Wood Guthrie Poets” at the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art at OU last night.  It was a small but exceptionally warm crowd:  “fit though few” to use Milton’s oft-quoted phrase.  Of course, I would have done it even if no audience showed up, just for the pleasure of reading “round-robin” style with four poets I admire and whose company is always delightful.
Nathan Brown read from his new book in honor of the late, great Jim Chastain, Letters to the One-Armed PoetBuy it on Amazon. 
Carol Hamilton read from a variety of her many books.  If you haven’t read her latest, Contrapuntal, yet, then get it on Amazon.
Ken Hada treated us to some new poems on the recent snow –very good stuff—and also read from Spare Parts.
Jim Spurr was amusing and thought-provoking, as always.  Don’t miss him reading every third Thursday of the month at Benedict St. Market in Shawnee.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reading in Norman, Feb. 11th

I’ll be reading tomorrow night (Friday, Feb. 11th) at the Fred Jones, Jr.  Museum of Art on the Oklahoma University campus, along with some of the other “Woody Guthrie Poets” as part of the “2nd Friday Art Circuit.”  The reading starts at 6:00 P.M.  There will also be music and, obviously, art on the premises.  If you have cabin fever, poetry, music, and art can cure that!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Keegan reading is postponed

Due to weather conditions, Abigail Keegan's reading at OBU will be rescheduled for March 3rd, (6:00 PM in room 212 of the Geiger Center).  In the meantime, look for her new book, Depending on the Weather, on Amazon or order directly from Village Books Press (villlagebookspress@yahoo.com).

Poems for a Snowy Day

Stuck at home again, thanks to snow.  So here’s my top five snowy day poems:
5.  “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens.  http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/stevens-snowman.html
4.  “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=171621
3.  “Shoveling Snow with Buddha” by Billy Collins.  http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/shoveling-snow-with-buddha/
2.  “The Bear” by Galway Kinnell.  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19851
1.  “[Zeus Rains Down Winter]” By Alceaus (early 6th cent. B.C., Greek):
Zeus rains upon us, and from the sky comes down
enormous winter.  Rivers have turned to ice. . . .

Dash down the winter.  Throw a log on the fire
and mix the flattering wine (do not water it
    too much) and bind on round our foreheads
         soft ceremonial wreaths of fleece.
We must not let our spirits give way to grief.
By being sorry we get no further on,
   my Bukchis.  Best of all defenses
       is to mix plenty of wine, and drink it.

                                                                trans. Richard Lattimore

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Abigail Keegan to Read at OBU

Abigail Keegan's new book bears the timely title "Depending on the Weather," and she will read from it, depending on the weather, this Thursday evening at 6:00 in room 212 of the Geiger Center on the OBU campus as this year's final guest for the English Dept. Reading Series.

I got to know Dr. Keegan through our mutual involvement in the "Woody Guthrie Poets," and I have been really enjoying her new poems. She is a poet of vivid images and straight-forward emotional impact. Her work is imaginative and playful but also lyrical and meditative. If you are around Thursday, don't miss this great evening of poetry at OBU.