Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018: Scissortail Press Release

 Accomplished poets Jeanetta Calhoun Mish and George Bilgere headline a lengthy list of outstanding writers as East Central University conducts the Annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 5-7, on the ECU campus.
Mish and Bilgere are two of 58 writers who will be making presentations at the three-day event.
For more information on the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival or questions about group attendance, contact Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557 or at

Mish, 2017-18 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate, has authored several books, most recently What I Learned at the War, a poetry collection (West End Press, 2016) and Oklahomeland: Essays (Lamar University Press, 2015). Her 2009 poetry collection, Work Is Love Made Visible (West End Press) won an Oklahoma Book Award, a Wrangler Award and the WILLA Award from Women Writing in the West.
She has published poetry in This Land, Naugatuck River Review, Concho River Review, LABOR: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, World Literature Today, San Pedro River Review, About Place Journal, The Fiddleback and Yellow Medicine Journal, among others.
Essays and short fiction have appeared in Oklahoma Today, Sugar Mule, Crosstimbers, Red Dirt Chronicles, Cybersoleil and The Emily Dickinson Society International Bulletin’s essay series, “Poet to Poet.”
Mish’s anthology publications include poems in Returning the Gift and the Colour of Resistance as well as the introductory essay for Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing.
She is editor of Mongrel Empire Press which was recognized as 2012 Publisher of the Year by the Woodcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.
Mish also serves as contributing editor for World Literature Today, Oklahoma Today and Sugar Mule: A Literary Journal. She is also editor of Mongrel Empire Press while also serving on the board of OKC LitFest and Returning the Gift Indigenous Writers Festival.
She is director of the Red Earth Creative Writing MFA at Oklahoma City University where she also serves as advisor to Red Earth Review and as faculty mentor in writing, pedagogy, professional writing and the craft of poetry.

            Bilgere, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, has published seven collections of poetry, including most recently, Blood Pages (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Others include: Imperial (2014); The White Museum (2010), which was awarded the Autumn House Poetry Prize; Haywire (2006), which earned a May Swenson Poetry Award and the Good Kiss (2002), which was selected by Billy Collins to win the University of Akron Poetry Award.
            He has won numerous awards, including the Midland Authors Award and a Pushcart Prize. Bilgere has received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Fullbright Commission and Ohio Arts Council.
            Bilgere’s poetry, residing firmly in the everyday world of janitors, college students or siblings, is noted for its controlled poignancy and limpid free-verse line. Collins described him as “a welcome breath of fresh American air.” His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Fulcrum and the Best American Poetry series.
            He teaches creative writing at John Carroll University. Bilgere grew up in Riverside, California and earned his B.A. at the University of California-Riverside. He received his M.A. in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and earned a Ph.D. in contemporary British and American poetry from the University of Denver in 1988.
            He has received grants in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Ohio Arts Council. In 1991, Bilgere was a Fullbright Scholar in Bilbao, Spain. In 2002, he was named a Witter Bynner Fellow through the Library of Congress by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.
            Collins called Bilgere’s work “a welcome breath of fresh, American air in the house of contemporary poetry.”

Monday, October 23, 2017

Scissortail 2018: The Poster

Scissortail Submission Guidelines

13th Annual Scissortail Festival, April 5-7, 2018

Between 40 and 60 authors will be selected for the program. Selections (and rejections) are determined by members of the ECU English faculty. Selections to the program are accepted on the basis of:

            Quality, Published Work (peer-reviewed journals, for example)
            Freshness of Material (reading some new stuff)
            Appropriateness for Time Restraints and Subject Matter
            Meeting the Submission Deadline

Unaccepted submissions do not necessarily reflect quality of writing - space, time and personnel limit our ability to accept as many as we would like. All applicants (those accepted and those not accepted for the program) are cordially invited to attend the festival to enjoy the benefits of interacting with fellow authors (the festival hotel rate is available for all guests of the festival).

Please review the following guidelines before submitting. To fit the schedule, authors will have 15 minutes to present their material.  Fiction and creative nonfiction writers are encouraged to excerpt their submission to fit into the time restraints (The appeal of a narrative may, in fact, be heightened by presenting a carefully selected excerpt, rather than speed-reading).

Guidelines: Please read closely and follow exactlyPlease look at your calendar before submitting! Due to the increasing number of festival participants, it is very difficult to accommodate special scheduling requests. Please do not ask. Please understand that Ada, Oklahoma is a small town with very limited public transportation and has a limited number of hotel rooms. Ada is a two-hour drive from the Oklahoma City airport, three hours from DFW (in good traffic) and two and half hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Scissortail Festival is unable to provide shuttle service to and from these airports, so please consider these factors before submitting.


Scissortail is a reading festival. No workshops, how-to, propaganda or pre-arranged panels are acceptable. Reading sessions feature a mixture of authors and genre.

Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors should plan for 15 minutes total time at the mic (including prose) depending on how the session is scheduled. Please respect your audience and fellow readers by diligently adhering to time restraints.

Email submissions are preferred. Submit: 1) complete contact information 2) the title of your program and the work to be considered – please consider the time restraints per reader
3) a paragraph-length biographical narrative summarizing publications and significant accomplishments (please write bios in 3rd person).

Deadline for submission is December 29, 2017. The schedule will be announced as early as possible, in January) and certainly by early February at the latest.

Send email submissions to: Identify “Scissortail Submission” in the subject line. (Please copy your submission to

Please check your calendar before submitting. Participants are not charged registration fees, nor are authors compensated. Please subscribe by providing your email at in order to receive notice of information regarding the festival and related events. Updates are posted at that site.

The 14th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

East Central University presents
Oklahoma’s Most Prestigious High School Writing Competition

Prizes awarded at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 5-7, 2018

     Fiction:      1st Place   $200                          Poetry:       1st Place   $200
                        2nd Place  $150                                             2nd Place  $150
                        3rd Place   $100                                            3rd Place  $ 100
                                       16 Honorable Mention Awards of $25 each

* All Oklahoma high school students (9th - 12th grade) are eligible.
* Poetry (up to 100 lines) or Short Fiction (up to 6,000 words) is acceptable.
* Limit 5 poems and 1 short fiction piece per student.
* All entries must be the original work of the student.
* All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space fiction entries.
* Entries will not be returned, so keep your originals.
* No identifying marks should be on the manuscript itself, except for the title.
* Provide cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s name; 2) Teacher’s name
   3) School 4) Classification (senior, junior, etc.) 5) Phone number, Email and mailing address.
* Work may be submitted through conventional mail or email.

DEADLINE: Conventional mail must be postmarked on or before Friday, February 2, 2018. Email entries must be sent by 11:59 p.m. on February 2, 2018. There will be no exceptions.
Winners will be notified in early March, and awards will be presented Saturday, April 7 in the Cole University Center (Estep Auditorium), on the East Central University campus.  A list of winners and winning entries may be posted on this websitePlease visit this site for festival and contest history and information.       

Poetry Submissions: send work electronically as attached files to or mail to Dr. Joshua Grasso, East Central University, Dept. of English & Languages, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820
Fiction Submissions: send work electronically as attached files to or mail to Dr. Mark Walling, East Central University, Dept. of English and Languages, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820

Contest Information: Dr. Joshua Grasso (580-235-3197); Dr. Mark Walling (580-559-5440).  Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Information: Dr. Ken Hada (580-559-5557)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Scissortail 2017: It's On!

As of 9:30 this morning, the Twelfth Annual the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is under way. If you're not here yet, come soon! We'll be here through Saturday afternoon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

From the Director, 2017

It’s Festival time again! Welcome to ECU and to the 12th annual Scissortail Festival. On behalf of colleagues, students and administrators who work so hard to make this gathering successful, I welcome you.

Bring your work. Bring your creativity, your voice. Join together in celebration of the writing arts. What could be more important? As Austin Phelps once said, “wear the old coat and buy the new book.” I hope you buy books. I hope you make friends. I hope you are inspired as you inspire others. Another quote: “The purpose of a Liberal Arts education is to learn that a person can like both cats and dogs” (Sonjay Anand), and Seamus Heaney says “the end of art is peace.” Too much divisiveness. Too many muggles and mudbloods! Thank you for bringing your unique voice to us. We hope that all of us, with our various voices, blend together to demonstrate the value of the Liberal Arts.

It is with wonderful anticipation that I welcome each of you to our campus and to this renewal of energy, spirit and friendship.

Ken Hada