The downside of growing up in a small town is that everyone knows you and your business. The beauty of growing up in a small town is that everyone knows you and your business.
I grew up in Locust Grove, a northeastern Oklahoma town of around 1200 people, and when I graduated high school in 1980, and left for OSU, I was ecstatic. Though Stillwater was only a few hours away, it might as well have been another country. No one knew me there. No one knew my family. No one knew where I was going on Friday night or where I had been Saturday morning or what my dog’s name was or what car I drove or how often my mom went to the beauty shop and my uncle visited the liquor store. Continue reading →
I will always love paper. Paper of any kind—in books, newspapers, letters, postcards, cardboard, playing cards, wadded up paper, paper made into origami figures and footballs and those little fortune-teller things you used to make in junior high during history class, notes, grocery lists, wrapping paper. Yeah, you get the idea.
April 18, Poem in Your Pocket Day, is about paper. And more specifically about poetry on paper. I know you can “cheat” and carry a poem on your phone or some other electronic device or in your head or some such. But I prefer old school Poem in Your Pocket Day. A poem on a piece of paper folded and inserted in your pocket. Not in your purse or your backpack or your car or in your lunch. In your actual pocket. Continue reading →
The Cruelest Month Celebration scheduled for April 20, Saturday, at the museum is coming very soon. I am working on the poem treasure/cache hunt that will be the new activity for the day. Thirteen poem-clues will guide you around the property to a treasure that awaits you. Continue reading →
I was a high school and college English teacher for 24 years and littered the classroom with poetry as much as I could without causing epic upheavals and riots . . . though we did get close. Because I’ve loved and written poetry since I was young, I carried that love into the classroom, with mixed results, of course. I learned over time that being a stealth poetry teacher was the best mode of attack: Don’t let them know they are reading or writing poetry. Continue reading →
And then it was April, National Poetry Month. . . . the month of death breeding life, of life kicking off death’s pants, of daffodils and tulips and redbud trees and mockingbirds that sing incessantly, of the cradle endlessly rocking, the day endlessly alive with hope and warmer wind, of white legs and squinting, bees gearing up for the feast to come. Continue reading →
Ken and I just spent the weekend at Beavers Bend State Park, and we stayed in cabin 4. The cabin was small and cozy with a fireplace and good heat. It was a bit chilly, though just fine for hiking weather. We went on some trails, searched for a few geocaches, and enjoyed the park’s natural beauty and silence. Continue reading →
One of my favorite memories from childhood was when our Mom made a treasure hunt for our birthday party (my sister Kelly and I share the same birthday—born same day a year apart). I remember particularly getting to the end of it and finding one of those wild-haired troll dolls in the wellhouse. Continue reading →
Art is inspiring, like any creative outlet, and I have an extremely wide view of what creative outlets are: the main thing is that they need to make you feel like Emily Dickinson described when reading poetry: “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Continue reading →
Edna St. Vincent Millay protesting the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti
I first encountered Edna St. Vincent Millay in an old high school literature textbook. Parked like a shiny convertible amongst the hearses of early twentieth century American literature, she called to me. Now granted “Renascence” wasn’t a horn-honking kind of poem, and it was certainly death-haunted, but it was written by a woman, one of only twenty at that, and it sang of possibilities.
High school textbooks, of course, would not publish some of Millay’s best works that came later, poems about sexuality, love, and longing, that were certainly ground-breaking topics for a female writer in the early twentieth century. She lived life on her own terms, had many affairs, was openly bi-sexual, went to jail for supporting Sacco and Vanzetti, and traveled extensively.
Today, February 22, in 1892, Millay was born. Her friends called her “Vincent.” Continue reading →