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This Land Press

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On a cool March evening, we set out a sandwich board that read “SHORT ORDER POEMS 1 FOR $5 FRESHLY TYPED & HOT,” sat down behind our typewriters, and started taking and fulfilling orders. People asked endless questions: What is this? Who are you writing for? How do I order a poem? Why are you […]

| Artist at Work

On the Fly

By Timothy Bradford & Chad Reynolds

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On October 25, 1914, banker John Allyn Smith and schoolteacher Martha Little welcomed their first of two sons, John Allyn Smith Jr.—now known to the world as John Berryman. Berryman was born in McAlester, Oklahoma, a town of roughly 17,000 people, about the same size then as it is today, best known for housing prison […]

10/24/2014 | Okiecentric

Torment Relieved in Song

By Cheryl Pallant

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Allison Adelle Hedge Coke lives with her mustangs, dogs, and 92-year-old father in an old rock house just south of Guthrie, Oklahoma, where she sleeps in a moriche palm hammock and is regularly awoken by earthquakes. Allison is musician, filmmaker, and writer who says she’s inspired by nearly everything. She studies change, motion, and migratory […]

10/23/2014 | Original Okie

Allison Hedge Coke

By Shane Brown

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On Valentine’s Day 2012, Jarrae Estepp climbed into the passenger seat of a white Ford pick-up. She was five months pregnant and holding a long-stemmed rose. The truck picked her up from the 3800 block of Oklahoma City’s South Robinson Avenue, drove a dozen blocks, and turned into the Catalina Motel. After the driver registered […]

10/22/2014 | Okiecentric

John School

By Marcos Barbery

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The November race for Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District, which spills out of the Panhandle and fills the western half of the state, is rated a “safe Republican” contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Thus, the Republican primary, in June, was the de facto election. The district elected Democrats through most of the 20th century, […]

10/21/2014 | Okiecentric

Suspicious Mind

By Matt Lardner

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Seventy-five years ago, in April of 1939, John Steinbeck published his fictionalized account of the severe hardships facing Oklahoma’s rural poor. His novel, The Grapes of Wrath, told a story of “exodusters” forced from their homes by economic and environmental aftershocks of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Inspired by Steinbeck’s tale, social documentary photographer […]

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Texas Governor Rick Perry’s recent indictment by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, might seem familiar to the people of Oklahoma County, if they’ve been following the case of Albert Gustava Gerhart, founding member of the Sooner Tea Party. These cases call into question the definitions of blackmail and coercion—and whether those words ought […]

10/14/2014 | Okiecentric

Capitol Coercion

By Brian Ted Jones

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Ellison was not known for giving interviews, but in 1966 he sat down at his home in New York City with Robert Hughes. The video of their conversation shows Ellison dressed in a sweater vest and dark-framed glasses. He’s in his element—an office decorated with stacks of books and Buddhist statues. When answering questions about […]

10/13/2014 | Okiecentric

An Interview with Ralph Ellison

By This Land

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When GM decommissioned the Parade of Progress, 12 Futurliners went up for sale. We know that a couple of them found their way to the Michigan State Police and were used as traveling exhibits for fairground displays. We also found out that at least one Futurliner found its way into the hands of the Oral […]

10/03/2014 | Okiecentric

The Cathedral Cruiser

By This Land

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The fall of the first family of televangelism came swiftly. Two Oral Roberts Ministries employees crouched on a desk on their hands and knees, their heads sticking through a hole in the wall. The voices of the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents on the speakerphone conference call one floor below carried up through the thin […]

10/02/2014 | Okiecentric

This Is My Beloved Son

By Kiera Feldman

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Sam Gillaspy has lived in Arcadia, Oklahoma, for 88 years. He’s devoted the last eight of those to giving tours at the Round Barn of Arcadia on historic Route 66. To folks who visit the antique attraction, Gillaspy is known simply as Mr. Sam. Tourists and locals alike have made it a mission to stop […]

09/29/2014 | Original Okie

Sam Gillaspy

By Brooks Nickell

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North of the Red River, in the “Land of the Red Man,” on the iron-rich red soil and matching dust, with red Russian wheat waving, and rose rocks abounding, and red-tailed hawks circling, and redbuds blooming, the red “46” state flag was flying over the 1914 State Capitol, and inside were six Socialist Party legislators.[1] Our Populist […]

09/23/2014 | Okiecentric

The Red Shift

By Larry Guthrie

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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

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Lauren Zuniga

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 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

Homecoming

By Ken Hada

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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

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  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

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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

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Transcendence? That’s a ten-dollar word, Delbert. But yeah, I’ve got one for you. This happened the summer I was eight. We lived in Hobart, down in the southwest part of the state. It was mid-June. My parents’ church was running its Vacation Bible School week, and we’d go from eight o’clock in the morning to—I’ve told you I […]

09/09/2014 | Okiecentric

Ten-Dollar Word

By Steve Garrison

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I always thought I would grow up to work in a Bookmobile. It’d be my job to drive the lumbering green bus through the hot wide streets of summer Park on dusty schoolyard lots, or at empty, half-finished construction sites And then crank open the doors for the children, Who’d stumble, blinking, up the steps and […]

08/25/2014 | Poetry

Bookmobile

By Angelia Herrin

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(State Motto: Labor Conquers All Things) I learned about the battle over the lethal drugs on the radio while driving home from work. There are thick reference books on pharmaceuticals and slim volumes on death at the library where I work. I know women in Oklahoma who wear a uniform and make prisoners stand behind […]

08/04/2014 | Poetry

Work: A Ghazal for Oklahoma

By Julia McConnell

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I am saying goodbye to my life. Throwing away books, teapots, pens. Saying farewell to my mother’s passport my father’s books. Offering to strangers crystal plates and funerary urns. There is comfort in discarding. A kind of grace blooms in the space where leather bindings once exhaled dust, redolent of stories whispered late into the […]

07/28/2014 | Poetry

Cleaning House

By Britton Gildersleeve

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What does it mean, that the universe is growing larger, faster? Unlike my life, which seems to be slowing, even as it thickens and grows larger, my own frail body a metaphor for dreams and hopes and what I thought I’d be when I grew up. The universe is growing up? Is that it? Or […]

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Snow covered fields with ice hanging from limbs of trees. A doe came walking out from behind a cedar and looked at me for a moment. “Can you hear me?” I asked. “Nod your head if you can hear me.” I stood silent for a moment waiting on her response. “Do you understand me?” I […]

07/21/2014 | Poetry

Only Indians Can Talk to Animals

By Michael Daugherty

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  (About the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot: It is not our failure to remember the past that dooms us to repeat it; it is our failure to believe we are capable of the same acts.) Your disbelief blooms in slow motion, like smoke smothering the sky, like a death wound under white linen. This telling of history […]

06/30/2014 | Poetry

Doomed to Repeat

By Deborah J. Hunter

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  An old man sits in my straight-backed chair salvaged from the curbside trash sits quietly, without shifting or harrumphing, sits and drinks plain tea, his sober eyes never doubting what his life’s been worth or who he has become. I wait for him to swallow one more slow sip of tea, before I ask […]

06/16/2014 | Poetry

The Return

By Jim Tolan