I’m working at the ROMP Rummage Store today, and as always, I’m trying to get customers to go to the museum–it’s only 2 miles outside of town. It’s easy to find. The door is open, the lights are on, air conditioner going. A lot of people have no interest in poetry. One woman today said, “I’m scared.”
I said, “There’s no one there. The door’s open–just go in and look around at your own pace.”
I didn’t convince her.
But seriously, don’t fear the poem. Don’t fear the poetry museum.
This museum is for and of the people. You can touch stuff in there. Write on walls. Listen to a jukebox. Sit in an easy chair and read some old autograph books from 1930. ALL of the poetry in it is written by regular people like you. Don’t fear it . . . please.
It’s only called a “museum” because I wanted the acronym ROMP when I started this place 4 years ago.
If you came out to the first museum, this one is quite a bit different. It’s in a different building, across the pasture from the old one. The exhibits and your interaction are different. Come see.
There’s no one there who’s going to tell you how to read the poems or write a poem or what to look at or think or feel. It’s a trusting place. Go in and see.
Don’t fear the poem.
Today is the birthday of one of the greatest Okies who ever lived. Will Rogers, who was born Nov. 4, 1879, said, “It’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.”
In honor of Will, here is a poem that I wrote many years ago. It is based on a memory my gangy told me about when she would ride the train from Locust Grove to Tulsa to see a movie or to go shopping.
They were fifteen and smoked Lucky Strikes
on the train to Tulsa. Both wore their best dress.
Montie Jean’s was blue taffeta with lace
crocheted along the collar. She had to stand
or stroll to keep it from creasing at her hips.
She held Ann’s arm and they squeezed their heads out
one window and shouted into the spring
day at the flitting bright spots of bluebirds
and young men in the fields, checking the soil
to see if the seeds could be planted yet.
They waved to the men, and their smart curls held
in the wind and in the hot, cramped theater
where Will Rogers lassoed both their hearts and
Montie Jean, laughing, swallowed her mint gum.
ROMP recently received a grant for outdoor benches. The benches will replace all the mismatched and falling-apart chairs that I have used since we opened. They will be great for our poetry and storytelling events around the fire and also when we have guest speakers and other outdoor events.
They are currently just lined up near the museum entrance, but they will be easy to move and arrange however they are needed. Next event is May 30: ROMP Wildflower Day. Come take a wildflower walk in the pasture, read some wildflower poems, write your own, and have a seat on a new bench in the beautiful natural surroundings.
Also, be sure to come out on July 10, when ROMP will host Oklahoma’s newest poet laureate Ben Myers for an afternoon on The Possibilities of Poetry.
The grant was from the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative. Thank you NEOC!
Tonight is ROMP Tellabration! For those of you who don’t know, Tellabration is a celebration of storytelling that usually occurs the Saturday before Thanksgiving–it is an international event where people from all over the place plan local storytelling events.
The museum’s Tellabration will include a visit to the museum, of course, but also stories around a wonderful warm fire, thanks to Ken, the Fire Master (level 2). We will also have smores and hot chocolate. So, even though it’s going to be COLDDDDDDD, the fire will be hot and the stories will be even hotter. Also, the museum is heated by a cast-iron wood stove.
We will have a few rounds of poker poetry inside and play some other word/poetry games (don’t be scared–you don’t have to be a poet!).
There will be an inappropriate and hilarious funeral story, a psychic story, perhaps a frog or outlaw story, (or a frog outlaw), a story told with a drum, and much more, including the story you bring.
We are easy to find, 2 miles west of Locust Grove on Rd. 560, then 1/2 mile north on Rd. 438 to Perkins Rd. Follow Perkins Rd. until it curves to the right and over a little hill, and there we are.
It all starts at 5:00 at the museum, and storytelling around 6:00. It’s appropriate for all ages and free, though donations are accepted. ROMP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.
If you need more information or directions, call Shaun, 918-864-9152.
Willard Stone: “Something to Believe In”
The Locust Grove Arts Alliance is hosting a Fall Art Tour that includes the Willard Stone Museum, the Gourds, Etc. Art Studio of Verna Bates and the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry (ROMP). The tour will be Saturday, Oct. 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with a reception following at 3:15 p.m.
This is a fundraiser for the LGAA. You can buy your ticket in advance from any LGAA member or come to the VFW, starting at 10:00 a.m. to buy a ticket. Tickets are $5.00 per person. Continue reading
The frog at night
Is not alarmed to be spotlighted
Or at least does not scamper
But merely poses
For the shot Ken takes,
The first of a series
That highlights the frog Continue reading