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This Land Press


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


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 […]


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


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


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


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


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


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


How long does it take to dance from Italy to Oklahoma? For Marcello Angelini, almost 35 years. He began studying ballet as a child in Naples, Italy, before graduating from the Kiev Institute of Dance in the former Soviet Union. He wound up in Tulsa after a bout of tendonitis pulled him off the stage […]

09/19/2014 | Original Okie

Marcello Angelini

By Brooks Nickell


In a small meeting room in a Unitarian Universalist church a few miles north of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, people of different races and age groups gathered in late 2001 to pore over the large and comprehensive “Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot.” Between bites of doughnuts and sips of coffee, they […]

09/18/2014 | Okiecentric

Signs of Forgotten Times

By Adrian Margaret Brune


The rock formations that spill out from the wooded foothills of the Sans Bois Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma were once a draw for outlaws and outcasts. Legend has it that these rocky cliffs and canyons served as a refuge for a number of personae non gratae, from Civil War deserters to infamous outlaws like Jesse James, Belle […]

09/16/2014 | Okiecentric

Wild Life

By Jezy J. Gray


During the final phase of military conquest of the continent, surviving Indigenous refugees were deposited in Indian Territory, piled on top of each other in smaller and smaller reservations. In 1883, the first of several conferences were held in Mohonk, New York, of a group of influential and wealthy advocates of the “manifest destiny” policy. These […]

09/12/2014 | Okiecentric

Greed Is Good

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

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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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Randall Gabrel


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


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


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


By Angelia Herrin


(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


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


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 […]


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


  (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


  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


  I punch you in the head. You fall down, unconscious but not quite dead. Thank you. It was precisely the response I had intended. Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 9, May 1, 2014.