Wanted: Dead or Alive

The Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry is pleased to have a new exhibit from the Oklahoma History Center called Wanted: Dead or Alive, which focuses on Oklahoma outlaws and law enforcement. In conjunction with the exhibit, ROMP is also having a poetry contest, and winning poems will become a part of the exhibit.

Jan. 5-Feb. 26, 2023

Thursday & Saturday, 10:00-5:00
Extended hours on Friday: 10:00-7:00
& Other Hours/Days by Appointment

This photography exhibit features images of some of Oklahoma’s most infamous criminals. Images from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the University of Oklahoma Western History Collections, the National Archives, and the Oklahoma Historical Society include mugshots, crime scene locations and group shots with criminals, and law enforcement officers. They span more than 70 years, starting before statehood in 1907 and reaching into the late 1950s.

While there may be a few familiar names, such as the Doolin and Dalton Gangs and Ma Barker, the exhibit showcases stories that might not be as well known. Visitors will learn about whiskey towns, the Tulsa Central Park Gang, Spencer State Bank, Wanda Bartram, Ralph Roe, and many more. Many of the people featured were born and raised in Oklahoma or moved here and began their lives of crime. Sometimes the stories are as much about the location as the individual. Although many of the tales feature truly despicable characters, others tell of people who temporarily went astray. Some of the accounts include strange twists and turns, and there is even an unsolved mystery.

Okie Outlaws and Law Enforcers Poem Contest

Deadline: December 28, 2022

In conjunction with the exhibit Wanted: Dead or Alive from the Oklahoma History Center, ROMP is hosting a poem contest. Winning poems will become a part of the exhibit at ROMP, which will be on display Jan. 5-Feb. 25, 2023.

To enter, write your own creative poem that describes an outlaw or a law enforcement person who is from Oklahoma or has ties to Oklahoma. They can be from the past or from current times. They should be actual people, not made-up characters.

Contest Guidelines:                             CASH PRIZES

  1. Anyone 10-years-old and up within the United States is eligible to enter.
  2. Poems will be judged in 2 categories: Ages 10-17 and 18 and up
  3. Cash awards will be given in each category.
  4. The maximum length for poems is 30 lines.
  5. Poems can be rhymed or unrhymed.
  6. One poem per person.
  7. A signed Entry Form or online form must be filled out and turned in with the poem.

Contest Evaluation Criteria:

Poems will be judged based on these criteria: imagery, creativity, language, and theme.

Mail your poem with the entry form below.


Email your poem in the body of an email or as an attachment to ROMPoetry@gmail.com. You must include this information in the body of your email or you will not be entered in the contest:

a. Name
b. Full Mailing Address (include town and zip)
c. Category: Age 10-17 or Age 18 and up
d. Originality Confirmation: (include this sentence in your email): I confirm that the attached poem was written by me and is original to me.
e. Complete Poem with Title

NOTE: Because of the number of entries and the time involved, you will not be notified when your entry is received. Please keep your own copy of your poem.

Winners will be notified by email by Jan. 2, 2023, and they will be announced formally on this page and on Facebook on that day.