Event: Reading at Tango Marron, 4 May 2012, with Mercy Teague

Local photographer and friend, Erin Whitson, is displaying his work throughout May at Shades of Brown Coffee & Art in Tulsa. His show is called Tango Marron. You’ll have to come check it out to figure out why it’s a brown tango. I might dance with you.

This Friday, May 4th he is hosting an opening reception from 7-?. He has asked Mercy Teague and me to give a poetry reading starting at 8. The reception details are here.

Mercy’s bio:
Mercy Gallagher Teague is a performing poet from Tulsa. She was the Tulsa City-County Library’s 2006 Unpublished Poetry Prize Winner, and was published in Write Bloody Publishing’s The Good Things About America in 2008. She’s been a featured reader at Heller Theater and the Southwest Conference on Literature and Christianity. She can be found at myspace.com/mgtpoetry and youtube.com/user/mgtpoetry.

April PAD (Poem-a-Day) Challenge: Day 24 “Memory”

The April PAD Day 24 prompt is “the final Two-for-Tuesday prompt of the month, which means we’re faced with these two options:

Write a love poem.
Write an anti-love poem.”

Poets are generally expected to produce love poems (Thanks a lot, Mr. Shakespeare!), but I have terrible difficulty expressing the topic. I do feel good about this draft, though.

“Memory”

Love is an act
of memory.
I remember walking
through the art-lined halls of the Philbrook
on our first date, the feel of my oar piercing
Table Rock Lake as I paddled our canoe to
the pebbled coast where I knelt for your hand,
how our eyes met the instant before the minister
urged our altar kiss, how your lips still feel
so soft as they envelope mine.

10 National Poetry Month Activities
April PAD Challenge: Day 1 “Scenes Shot in Super 8″
April PAD Challenge: Day 2 “Adobe Café”
April PAD Challenge: Day 3 “Confession Booth”
April PAD Challenge: Day 4 “100% Juice”
April PAD Challenge: Day 5 “Uncle Harry”
April PAD Challenge: Day 6 “Hide ‘n’ Seek”
April PAD Challenge: Day 7 “Political Discourse”
April PAD Challenge: Day 8 “Heart 2.0″
April PAD Challenge: Day 9 “Yoga Class”
April PAD Challenge: Day 10 “Holly Bushes”
April PAD Challenge: Day 11 “Spring”
April PAD Challenge: Day 12 “Something Wrong”
April PAD Challenge: Day 13 “Tough Luck”
April PAD Challenge: Day 14 “Sundays in Oklahoma”
April PAD Challenge: Day 15 “Persona”
April PAD Challenge: Day 16 “There’s Been a Mistake”
April PAD Challenge: Day 17 “To Boldly Go”
April PAD Challenge: Day 18 “Watermelon”
April PAD Challenge: Day 19 “Her Bra”
April PAD Challenge: Day 20 “Let’s Remain”
April PAD Challenge: Day 21 “Vast Universe”
April PAD Challenge: Day 22 “Judge Not”
April PAD Challenge: Day 23 “A Valediction Forbidding Morning”

Local Elections Matter, or, Come On, Tulsa; Don’t You Give a Damn?

This post is probably too late to affect the turnout in today’s elections, but my 140 Twitter quips about today’s low voter turnout seemed insufficient.

Voting happened across the United States today, but since the President, Congress, and Senate weren’t on the ballot (except in areas where Congresspersons or Senators were up for special elections), this was considered an off-year election. For many, it seemed insignificant, but I believe local elections are more important than national elections.

That’s not to say that national elections don’t matter. The people I help send to Washington deal with issues like war, tax rates, federal social services, etc., but the things that more significantly influence our day to day experience are local issues. City and county governments directly shape our cities and rural communities.

It was Tulsa County that proposed the Vision 2025 plan that built the shiny new BOK Center arena downtown. The City of Tulsa built ONEOK Field, the new baseball stadium. Our previous Mayor, Kathy Taylor, and the (split) City Council spent $68 million on a new City Hall building. These are only a three examples of huge decisions that didn’t come from Washington but from our own city and county leaders.

Today’s election included voting for new City Councilors and for or against several proposals to change the format of our city government. We weren’t just voting for who represents our part of the city but also which powers different members of local government have. We had the choice to keep our current Mayor-Council system, adopt a City Manager-Council system, or adopt a Mayor on the Council (+3 new “at-large” City Councilors) system. We also had the choice for non-partisan city elections. These are huge issues that will shape Tulsa for the foreseeable future.

Despite these important issues appearing on the ballot, when I went to vote at 1:30pm (polls opened at 7:00am), I was only the 67th person to cast a ballot at my polling station. I expected lower numbers in my district than other places in the city, because our Councilor was a shoo-in after the Primary election, but 67 people after half the day?!? Come on, Tulsa, fair city of half a million; don’t you give a damn?

p.s. My dear non-local readers, your local election matters, too, so please go vote.

Method Monday–Writing Venues

There’s something about where I choose to write that sets the mood of my writing. My most frequent writing venues are coffee shops, my front porch, and anywhere outside.

Shades of Brown Coffee and Art in Tulsa, OK

Coffee shops give me great noise. I like to watch people, listen to them, see if I can find out something about humanity. The challenge when writing at the coffee shop, or any other public place, is to not allow the noise that offers me so much fodder to distract me.

I am blessed to have a large, covered front porch. I like to sit out there (usually after my kids are in bed) with my friends, tobacco and alcohol. There’s something incredibly relaxing about ending my day in this writing locale. This is also where I do most of my editing.

Tulsa Skyline across the Arkansas River

There are many great places to sit outside and write. In Tulsa, the local parks and the river are great venues. This is where I usually write about nature. I observe the plants and animals around me and try to become one with them.

Where do you like to write?

Event: Third Thursday Poetry Night–June 2011

I just created the Facebook event page for Third Thursday Poetry Night–June 2011. It is this Thursday, June 16 8pm at Ida Red.

Our poets this month are:

MistyRose

MistyRose is a frequent reader at Open Mic Night at Gypsy Coffee House. She was also a semi-finalist at Living Arts Tulsa’s Annual Poetry Slam.

Randall Weiss

Randall Weiss is the organizer and host for Third Thursday Poetry Night. You can read selected poems at his blog. www.randallweiss.wordpress.com

For more info about Third Thursday Poetry Night, including information about being a featured poet, click here.

Event Announcment: Night of Hope & Healing

I’m very excited to announce that I am the feature poet at tomorrow’s Night of Hope and Healing at Emmaus Road Church. The event will have music by local artists Chris McLeod, Leah Hugon, and David Christopher, poetry by yours truly, and an open mic session for people who want to share poems, songs, and stories about what they’ve overcome.

As for my part, I’ll be reading a mix of old and new poems. I’d love to see you there.

Night of Hope & Healing
Sunday, March 27, 2011
7pm
Emmaus Road Church
1609 S Boston Ave
Suite 300
Tulsa, OK 74119

Correction: I had the time as 8pm, but it starts at 7pm.

Argument

This semester I am taking Advanced Comp II, which focuses on written arguments. Arguing is nothing new to me (I enjoy debating politics and theology with friends, especially after a few drinks), but I haven’t spent much time studying this mode of discourse. When I argue, I try to follow a logical progression in presenting and defending my ideas. I think studying this topic further will increase my ability to do this both orally and in writing.

Obviously, the most direct impact of this course will be on my academic writing. A lot of writing that English majors do is argumentative. We must read and interpret works of literature then write about our interpretations. Our audience is usually a mix of professors and fellow English majors, people who will quickly notice any holes in our arguments.

I wonder how learning more about argument theory will affect my non-academic writing, my poetry and prose. I suppose it will have an impact in helping me write about certain themes. My poem, “On the Closing of Rec Center at Owen Park,” certainly makes an argument about the value of recreation centers in communities, which is both a values argument and a political one.

Political poems aren’t common for me, but there is always a theme or themes in need of support through my use of content and metaphor. Perhaps studying argument will make more more aware of how my content relates to those themes. I hope, though, that I don’t become too didactic in my writing. There’s a difference, I think, between expressing a theme, even one side of a divisive one, and moralizing to your audience.

Now I’m thinking about what role a writer should have in defining morality in society. People do look for expressions or denials of social values in writing, but I think that’s different than what I called “moralizing” to an audience. When I say moralizing, I’m thinking of something like Puritan writing. I’m not really sure I have a conclusion to make about this concept. When I do, I’ll write a fantastic argument about it. ;-)

Well, it’s back to the homework.