Category Archives: books

Reading Wild Songs: Joy Love and Loss

Wild Songs: Joy Love and LossWild Songs: Joy Love and Loss by Sam McMichael

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Oklahoma, more often than in any other place, everything is a symbol; can’t help be anything but–milkweed, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wild geese, sky, chickens, coyotes, cows, iambic pentameter, sonnets, pronouns, (even Dylan Thomas here) Fort Cob to Anadarko, Binger to Cache, Albert Camus, yep, monarch butterflies, too. Whether it grows here, flies in, or stumbles in, it is something.  Sam puts it this way, “Of course you must use the unrelenting wind and the heat and the cold, the dust storms, the blue northers, the tornadoes…and do it in the rhythm and inflection that Bob Dylan picked up from Woody Guthrie and exaggerated.” In Wild Songs: Love Joy and Loss, Sam reminds us of all that.
Over the years, I have heard Sam McMichael’s poems in venues around Oklahoma and wondered if ever a book was in the works. If prayers are ever answered in Oklahoma, that one has been.

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Las Vegas Dark Sandwiches Release

Dark Sandwiches book release was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct 19th, 2016. I think I didn’t take enough pictures. Anyway, here’s a few.

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MY OWN NATION now has Dark Sandwiches

Las Vegas’ most kicking band, MY OWN NATION, let us into their rehearsal and for doing so relieved Dark Sandwiches–part of the Dark Sandwiches release held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Oct. 19th, 2016.

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Release of Dark Sandwiches

It is out.

“Dark Sandwiches is whimsical, radical and wonderfully weird. If David Lynch, John Lennon and Edward Corey had a literary threesome, their love child might look something like this. Make no mistake, Gresham is a wholly original American voice.”- Edward E Romero, writer and director

cover

Get it. HERE.


There is a guy in Austin TX, Stephan Schwake, who makes a sandwich far better than I do. I willingly admit that. He is earth’s first at getting close to one of the contraptions dealt with in this book. Often while writing I ask myself, “What would Schwake paint?” I’ve trash-canned scores of poems that have not met this test. It’s not only in his art where he inspires me, his grocery shelves and refrigerator are great sources of inspiration, too. From his kitchen, he calls for a sandwich made from blackberry preserves and Nutella on Pumpernickel. Sounds scrumptious. I haven’t tried one of those, yet, but I do now have a title for a book, Dark Sandwiches.

Over the years, others have come forward suggesting various types of dark bread with ingredients such as black olives and black beans. Others have gone as far as to suggest dark sandwiches made with black forest ham or even Schwarzwälder Schinken, which is a variety of dry-cured smoked ham produced in the Black Forest region of Germany. But are these helpful folks talking about poetry or lunch? And would I know the difference? – Terry M Gresham

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Santa Evita

3Teri McGrath

This is long, ill-informed, brain-spraying. I’m putting it here because y’all know me.

Terry Gresham and I are reading a book called Santa Evita, about “Evita,” the mummified corpse and all the trouble it caused. It’s pretty great. I think we have to take another road trip to get back to it.

It’s a lot about the way our whole world is just made up of stories. She was a living piece of art, in a way, because she was subject to interpretation, and then when she died she was turned into the literal embodiment of a bunch of conflicting ideas. All of the stories of what she was were told by other people–she was a whore or she was a saint. I haven’t done any research. I just saw this play a couple times when I was a kid, and Terry read me part of a book. So basically I have an idea of what Evita is in my head that is just for me, and she was a bad ass. She was deeply powerful. Maybe she had an understanding of all those narratives and she used them to shape her as much as she shaped them. The tangible power she was born with was nothing at all. In fact, I feel like the preservation and display of her corpse by her husband–even though, according to the author of the book we’re reading, she had asked that NO ONE look at her dead body except her mother–is the ultimate symbol of how women are used by men in our culture as objects, as idols, etc. But it’s also the ultimate symbol of the real, deep, earth-shaking, untouchable and uncontrollable power that she possessed.

I don’t know. Obviously I haven’t thought all of this out. I’m just putting it down here. I guess this is what it is. The author says a lot about the distance between reality and story…or basically the non-existence of any reality that isn’t a story. And I’m trying to connect that to the idea of power. All of the power we perceive is also story. It’s a story told by the people who have power, and, most crucially, it’s the story we agree to believe. One benefit of recognizing this is that we can use those stories to shape the whole world. And the other benefit of recognizing that our world is a bunch of stories is that we can walk right through whatever narrative we presented with as if it is a program on the Enterprise holodeck. It can mean everything, or it can mean nothing. It is up to us.

I do think of my life as a narrative. I imagine the A&E biography of myself and what I hope people will say about my quirks, flaws and powers. Plus, I have facebook. so I can always make up stories about me and other people. Evita would have been great on twitter.

Español: Juan Domingo Perón y Eva Duarte, en o...

Español: Juan Domingo Perón y Eva Duarte, en octubre de 1950 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The author of the book we’re reading says that she was in a contest with Peron to love each other more, and she won, and that was part of her power. Something like that. He said they worked all of the time. It seems clear that she eclipsed him, especially in terms of how much the people loved her, but that’s because she wielded her love as a tool. She recognized it as power, and it was real. I don’t know what was up with him, but I assume he was pretty in love with her. It’s a cool story. I think she wanted to be loved and useful, and that is what drove her. I think we’re probably all driven by that, but maybe actors and other performers have come to more direct terms with it. It would probably be good for us all to do that. To think, “What can I do to make the world love me.” lol

So, say she recognized Peron as her next lover, and the next step up whatever ladder she was climbing. I don’t see a problem with that. Especially since she was moved up that ladder by love and a desire to be loved. They both made each other great. I don’t see a better reason to be in a relationship. And–I guess people say she “slept he way to the top,” but in my version of her, she loves her way to the top. I don’t think she had a magical vagina. I think she was good at loving men and being loved. She was real and beautiful.

That’s probably the biggest reason rich people hated her. The values and aesthetics of the world of the very rich is such horrible bullshit. The worst thing she proves to them is that nothing sets them apart from the rest of the “rabble” except vanity and brutality. They wanted love, too, but they probably figured they were too horrible to deserve it. I’m guessing that’s how it feels to be super rich.

I don’t know anything about how they ruled, btw. I haven’t gotten to that part in the book yet. So don’t tell me.

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Quiet! We Got Our Friend Maya Sloan Here

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A Book You Might Love by Benjamin Myers

Benjamin Myers is the author of two books of poetry: the forthcoming Lapse Americana (New York Quarterly Books, 2013) and Elegy for Trains (Village Books Press 2010), for which he won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. His poems may be read in numerous literary journals, including Nimrod, The Iron Horse Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Christianity and Literature, and Measure. He also reviews poetry for several publications, including World Literature Today.

His reading at Cameron University was great.

90

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Maya Sloan in OKC: High Before Homeroom reading

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October 17, 2012 · 7:28 pm

A Book You Might Love by Constance Squires

Last night’s reading by Constance was super. I bought her book and can’t wait for the new one.http://constancesquires.com/#synapse

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A book you might love by Arron Rudoph

AARON RUDOLPH not only touches the pivotal memories commonly found in a poet’s first collection, he dissects them with a candid, and sometimes dark, humor. Sacred Things is a young man’s final lunge back toward the tranquil bliss of childhood, which time has placed just beyond his grasp. Aaron Rudolph has created his tender depictions of family life in the Southwest from the grief of his lost innocence. Sacred Things has been praised for its dense passion, controlled language, and wide range of landscape and mood.
 

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