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This Land Press


Editor’s note: On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, Ford Beckman, the subject of this story, died at his home in Tulsa. He was 62 years old. This article was originally published in November/December 2009 in The Believer magazine. It is included in the new anthology of essays, Read Harder, published by McSweeney’s Books, September 2014. When […]

12/18/2014 | Okiecentric

The Disappearance of Ford Beckman

By Michael Mason


I remember the crying. Girls with mascara smeared across their faces, racing down the aisles of the tabernacle toward the preacher. Some went in pairs, clutching each other and whispering. The boys typically walked alone, proud and sure of themselves as they went down to inform a Falls Creek counselor of their decisions, whether it […]


Stanley Rother was an unlikely martyr. He was born in a small farmhouse outside Okarche, a small town in western Oklahoma. After high school he decided to pursue the priesthood, but flunked out of seminary and was only allowed to transfer to another because of the influence of his bishop. He briefly served a number […]

12/16/2014 | Okiecentric

Making the Case for Martyrdom

By Mason Beecroft


With the celebration, remembrance, and commentary that has come with 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act this year, we should also remember and celebrate that legislation for equal public accommodations was introduced on the Kansas House floor as early as 1956 by a gentleman who was not yet allowed to join his fellow members […]

12/11/2014 | Okiecentric

When Kansas Was Ahead of its Time

By Shawna Bethell


A curving road led me from the expressway into a neighborhood where American flags adorned brown, brick houses and kids’ plastic cars were parked on front lawns. An RV claimed half of a driveway, looking spick-and-span for the Fourth of July weekend. At the end of Lakeview Drive came a swooping turn right onto the […]

12/09/2014 | Okiecentric

Religion of Silence

By Molly Evans


Father George Eber, an Okie since the ’80s, is originally from Buffalo, New York. After three years as an infantry officer in Vietnam, he worked in business in Colorado, only to find he needed “more important”work. That’s when Oral Roberts University offered a home for his preparation for the priesthood. Soon after embracing the Orthodox faith, he […]

12/08/2014 | Original Okie

Father George Eber

By Melissa Lukenbaugh


If you ask CJ Wells what brought him to Tulsa, he’ll say, “An ‘87 Toyota pick-up truck.” He’d been throwing mud at a spinning wheel for a decade by then, but it was at the University of Tulsa under the guidance of Professor Tom Manhart that he got some formal training and earned his MFA […]

12/04/2014 | Original Okie

CJ Wells

By This Land


If they hadn’t been square dancing beneath it, I might have ignored it. But there they were, the squares of the Central District Square Dance Association, promenading to and fro in their Kentucky Colonel bowties and their petticoats, while above them towered the monument, the one with the Indian slumped over his horse. It’s the […]

12/03/2014 | Okiecentric

The Indian of Their Dreams

By Mark Brown


When the Golden Driller was installed for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition, Tulsa was “The Oil Capital of the World,” and the Golden Driller was Mid-Continental Supply Company’s gift to the city to commemorate the opening of the Tulsa Expo Center. It was a large undertaking in Tulsa history, part of the 354,000-square-foot event center, […]

12/02/2014 | Okiecentric

An Oil Town’s Golden Idol

By Tony Beaulieu


Contemporary art can be strange and frightening for the uninitiated. Before developers gutted Brooklyn’s historic Domino Sugar Factory (they’re converting it into multimillion-dollar condos), artist Kara Walker came in and installed a 70-foot-tall sugar sphinx with a slave woman’s head and her genitals prominently displayed. Walker, who is black, was making a fairly obvious reference […]

11/25/2014 | Okiecentric

Beauty, Purpose, and Preservation

By James McGirk


I was born February 1, 1870, on a farm near Centropolis in Franklin County, Kansas. We moved to Ottawa when I was three years old. When we moved to town, my brother and I were left with a neighbor overnight. When he and I were taken to our new home, the weather was cold and […]

| Okiecentric

Memoirs of a Pioneer Teacher

By Harriet Patrick Gilstrap


Ryan LaCroix is the operations manager at KOSU Radio and co-hosts the weekly radio program The Oklahoma Rock Show. He also serves as contributing editor for Oklahoma Today magazine and has written essays on Oklahoma music for two Oklahoma Historical Society books. He started the online music hub in 2003 and lives in Blanchard […]

11/20/2014 | Original Okie

Ryan LaCroix

By Nathan Poppe

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Joy Harjo

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Allison Hedge Coke

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Marcello Angelini

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Rilla Askew

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Steve Adams

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Victor Moreland

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Bill Crawford

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Gary Busey

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Kristen Vails

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Bob Wills

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Katia Anaya

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Brian Hearn


Some things you can’t figure out. Not even with a whole heap of scratch paper and a ribbon of data from a chattering Teletype machine. Not before time runs out. And time is like progress—she’s not stopping for anybody. The answer is out there, though, in the weather. Foul weather breeds foul deeds. Something my […]

11/19/2014 | New Fiction

Foul Weather

By Daniel H. Wilson


  A seagull on the moon is not lost, She is a student of lunar soils. A cookie in a salad is not lost, It is experimenting with greens. A muskrat in Macy’s is not lost, She just needs a new cashmere scarf, Because she ate the last one. A cheerleader in the desert is […]

11/18/2014 | Poetry

For Rachel, Who Is Not Lost

By Rob Roensch


The cruiser cab hummed all around WilDer, nearly electric with the energy of corralled students on holiday. Mal, a live wire on a normal day, was practically bouncing on tiptoe beside him. “I can’t wait to hit the slopes! The professionals say Acronos is the best,” the rapture in his face dimmed when he looked […]

11/17/2014 | New Fiction

The Homestead

By Paige Duke


Marks Along the river valley who hears the cry of the raptors? Will you avail yourself of the talents at your disposal? Why can’t you congratulate the suicide? In which dimension lies your unfelt emotion? Would the leave lilt in the breeze of your meditation? How long will she go ignoring the fact that she’s […]

11/10/2014 | Poetry

Two Poems by Grant Matthew Jenkins

By Grant Matthew Jenkins


My Father Meets Oscar Peterson at the London House, Chicago, 1962  There they are, standing in the soft light at the back of the hallway where the restrooms are. OP is between sets, and my father walks up, holding his hand out and thinking, “He looks like Big Daddy Lipscomb.” Because it’s my birthday and […]

11/05/2014 | Poetry

Two Prose Poems by Wayne Zade

By Wayne Zade


Progress Report   I think about my self-   ishness all day long.   Introductions   Now I use my   business cards   to squash   the ants that   crawl across   my desk so im-   prudently it’s as   if they don’t   know who I am.   Tall Glass of […]

11/04/2014 | Poetry

Three Poems by John Brehm

By John Brehm


  The apricot my grandmother planted the day that I was born. She made me fried pies in her grandmother’s skillet. I have it still.   The frangipani down the street from the villa (plumeria its real name). White and rose and yellow flowers. Climbing with the ants up its twisted trunk, I thought I […]

11/03/2014 | Poetry

A Lexicon of Trees

By Britton Gildersleeve


First in Right A subdivision’s plumbing, a predictable grid, is of greater worth than irrigating the uncertain growth of stalk and vine, sees the farmer who sells his water rights, looking ahead. But with the rivers, nothing moves forward between the mudflats (the fish bones un-swimming), the banks’ dry lips, mouthing something about, My shape made […]

10/27/2014 | Poetry

Two Poems by Rose McLarney

By Rose McLarney


 For Uncle Max Greed, I guess—my father answered me uncharacteristically critical of our ancestors, their impulsive move to New Mexico Territory stopping somewhere around Clayton where nothing worked out. When the horses died from grazing locoweed they loaded their sparse selves in a wagon and bleakly headed back to northwest Oklahoma—the grass in those Gypsum […]

10/13/2014 | Poetry


By Ken Hada


1. Richard Roberts, ca. 1954 He used to hold her down (my mother used to say) and lick. His long, pink tongue would dart from chin to forehead as snail trails cruised along her face, her eyes part-way closed, part- way opened. His face, suspended art- fully like the moon, watching, waiting, hoping that she […]

09/30/2014 | Poetry

Three Sonnets

By Randy Roberts Potts


  It’s one of those buildings that everyone has seen and many have noted, but hardly anyone can locate. Even those who pass it daily on the local streets hesitate when asked precisely which one it’s on, exactly what it’s called. From the highway, only the cupola and spire are visible for fleeting seconds, an […]

09/22/2014 | Poetry

An Apparition and a Refuge

By T. Allen Culpepper


She couldn’t resist the photographs online, or the sellers’ description: Adorable Cape Cod with walk-out basement! Main floor has master suite, spare bedroom (or office), kitchen, dining and living room. Upstairs kids’ bedrooms with built-in desks, a window seat with cedar storage, bathroom and three attic storage areas. Basement has a huge space for additional living, […]

09/17/2014 | Okiecentric

The Dirt Room

By Aimee Parkison