GUIDE: The best book and literary events in Oklahoma this month

by Natasha Ball


Poetry doesn’t belong on a shelf. When taken down and passed around, poetry repels dust—from the page, the soul, and the truth.

Poetry to the People, an ongoing project of This Land Press, puts poetry into the hands of passersby. The readings are recorded and compiled and, when combined with interview and sound, are transformed into unflinching examples of the power of the form. This month we celebrate the book borne of this project, an anthology of work by acclaimed poets living in the middle of America. On Thursday, Nov. 7, at The Church Studio in Tulsa, we’ll introduce the book with an evening of performance, song, poets, and poetry. It’s exciting, and it’s but one of many literary events taking place this month across our state, the and birthplace of some of the world’s best words. Mark your calendars; most of these events are free to attend and open to the public. You can also find some awesome books at Mossgreen Childrens Books.

  • Nov. 1: Dia de los Muertos Festival, an evening of food, flowers, artwork, performances, music, dancing, and murals, at Living Arts of Tulsa, starting at 5:30 p.m.; storytelling as part of Dia de los Muertos at Myriad Gardens in OKC, 4-6 p.m.; OKC Pops: Sci-Fi Spectacular with George Takei at OKC Civic Center Music Hall, Nov. 1-2; Book signing with Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, with her latest, Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, at Steve’s Sundry Books & Magazines in Tulsa, 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 2: Louder Than a Bomb Saturday Series, a workshop for those in poetry, creative writing, spoken word and new journalism interested in publication and portfolio development, at Rudisill Regional Library, 10 a.m.; José Torres-Tama, a New Orleans-based performance artist, performs his piece, “Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers” at Living Arts of Tulsa, 8 p.m.
  • Nov. 3: Tulsa Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Nov. 1-3.
  • Nov. 4: Cypher120, a free weekly poetry-slam and interactive performance event at Creative Room in Tulsa.
  • Nov. 5: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series No. 8 Release Party at Tulsa’s Woodland Plaza Barnes & Noble, 6 p.m.; Native American Writers of the Plains discussion and scholar’s presentation on Medicine River by Thomas King, at Stillwater Public Library, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 6: An Evening with Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis, authors of Dallas 1963, at Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, 7 p.m., via Booksmart Tulsa.
  • Nov. 7: Poetry to the People book-launch party at The Church Studio in Tulsa, 6:30 p.m., via This Land Press and Booksmart Tulsa; Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony honoring Anna Myers and Woody Guthrie with special guest Will Kaufman at OSU-Tulsa Auditorium, 7 p.m.; Lizz Winstead, political satirist and co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America Radio, performs in Tulsa as part of a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland at IDL Ballroom, 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 8: 2013 Books to Treasure with Peter Brown, author of You Will Be My Friend!, with free book signing and presentation at Hardesty Regional Library, Connors Cove, 7 p.m.; Oscar Wilde and the Law, a conference that will explore ways in which law shaped the life and legacy of the famous Irish playwright and wit, at John Rogers Hall at The University of Tulsa, Nov. 7-8.; First Draft, a craft-beer tasting and fundraiser to benefit Tulsa Press Club.
  • Nov. 9 Tulsa Surrealism Day, complete with a talk with a contemporary surrealist-influenced visual artist about process and a talk from poet and teacher Tim Carter, who will lead surrealist games and writing exercises, starting at noon at AHHA in Tulsa; the Cherokee Turnip Festival, inspired by a poem found in the pages of the book Alfalfa County History, under the heading, Turnips!. The poem spoke to those first festival organizers, since land run participants who settled in the area arrived in September, a time when there’s little else but turnips to sow. Now it’s a day of turnip guns and turnip-car races.
  • Nov. 10: Tulsa native Clayton B. Hodges’ The Critic as Artist at Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m.; Rose State Live’s The Secret Garden at Rose State Performing Arts Center in Midwest City, Nov. 8-10; Will Kaufman, author of Woody Guthrie: The Long Road to Peeksill, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire, England, at Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Nov. 9-10, 2 p.m.
  • Nov. 12: The University of Tulsa Presidential Lecture Series: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, whose works include Angels in America, A Bright Room Called Day, and Caroline, Or Change, at Donald W. Reynolds Center on the TU campus, 7:30 p.m., free and open to the public.
  • Nov. 13: An evening with Elizabeth Lunday, author of The Modern Art Invasion: Picasso, Duchamp, and the 1913 Armory Show That Scandalized America, at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, 7 p.m., via Booksmart Tulsa; Novel Talk Presents: Surviving Utopia—Fear, Hope and Place in Dystopic Science Fiction, an exploration of classic sci-fi at Hardesty Regional Library, Connors Cove, in Tulsa, 7 p.m.; Ok, so…Tulsa Story Slam at ENSO Bar at 8 p.m., where it’s free to attend, $5 to tell a story, winner takes all.
  • Nov. 14: Joy Harjo, Native American poet, author, musician, and professor, presents Crazy Brave at Northeastern State University, 7 p.m.; poetry reading by Written Quincey, in McFarlin Library at The University of Tulsa, 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 15: OUT OK, Oklahoma’s GLBT International Film Festival, featuring films Getting Go, Floating Skyscrapers, Animals, In Bloom, Free Fall, Reaching for the Moon; Stranger by the Lake, The Crown Jewels, and GBF at Circle Cinema in Tulsa, Nov. 15-17; Theatre Tulsa’s The Importance of Being Earnest at Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Nov. 8-10 and Nov. 14-17.
  • Nov. 16: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the eighth-annual Downtown Library After Dark Lock-in, in celebration for teens of the release of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, at OKC’s Downtown Library, 7 p.m.; ROMP Tellabration, an evening of stories and poetry around a campfire at the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry, 6 p.m.; an afternoon with Chef Joanne Chang, author of flour, too, at Pohlenz Cucine Moderne in Tulsa, 2 p.m., via Booksmart Tulsa; Meet New York Times No. 1 Best-Selling Children’s Book Author/Artist Jan Brett, who brings her latest creation, Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella, to Hardesty Regional Library, Connors Cove, in Tulsa, 5 p.m.; Brain Storms: New Works by Young Writers at Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 17: Tulsa Community College’s The Mousetrap at TCC Van Trease PACE, Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 21-24.
  • Nov. 18: Books Sandwiched In, a literary lunch starring the work of Kazuo Ishiguro, sci-fi author and winner of the 2013 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award at Oklahoma Methodist Manor, Fleming Center, in Tulsa, via Tulsa Library.
  • Nov. 20: Beginning Osage Language free course at Zarrow Regional Library in Tulsa, 6 p.m.
  • Nov. 21: An evening with Dr. Richard Kurin of The Smithsonian Institution, author of The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, 7 p.m., via Booksmart Tulsa and Tulsa Town Hall.
  • Nov. 23: Book signing with Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, with her latest, Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, at Full Circle Books in OKC, 1-7 p.m.
  • Nov. 26: Philosophy on Tap—Tulsa, an evening when philosophy from great thinkers is boiled down into pint-sized topics for discussion, paired with a beer tasting, 7 p.m. at Hodges Bend in Tulsa. The theme: Breaking B.A.D. (Brady Arts District): Discussing the political, historic, and poetic limits of language and naming.

Don’t see your favorite event? Email us with details.