April 13, 2015

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival - Final Feature, April 4

One of the grand things the Scissortail Festival does is sponsor the R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest for Oklahoma high school students, with an award ceremony on the last day of the Festival. Mark Walling made the awards for the fiction category, & Joshua Grasso did the honors for poetry. You can find the list of winners, honorable mentions & the names of their schools & teachers here.

The final reader of the Festival was Heid E. Erdrich, who introduced herself to the audience in the language of the Chickasaw people, & thanks to the folks in Ada & at ECU for welcoming her here.

Appropriately enough her first poem was titled “Our Words Are Not Our Own” & was about how when we write we are not writing alone. The poem “Vermillion Hands Petroglyph” was like a prayer, about reaching out to touch what fascinates us, then a poem about “The Red River of the North” & one about her great-grandmother who was a herbalist, “Remedy.”

She read a couple poems from her collection Cell Traffic: New & Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2012), “Thrifty Gene Lucky Gene” & “Brain Scan” showing tensions between what we are given & what we would like to be, between science & traditions.

She went on to read some poems from a new manuscript, including one on taste “The Honey Suckers,” another making fun of the zombie craze, & one about a Renaissance Fair “At the Anachronism Fair.”

Unfortunately at this point Sally & I had to leave to drive to Oklahoma City to catch our flight home, having said our good-byes earlier so we could just slip out when we had to. It was a great 3 days here in Ada & more good poetry & writing than I could ever include in these Blogs. Thank you Ken Hada & all the great staff & students at ECU who made this Scissortail Festival once again a great success, & for your hospitality. & thank you to all the great writers who traveled here to thrill us all with your writing, & your friendship.

As Uncle Wiggly (& my father) would say, I’ll see you again, deo volente.

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