Thursday, April 5, 2018

It's On!

As of 9:30 this morning, the Thirteenth Annual the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is under way.

If you're not here yet, come soon!

We'll be here through Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

From the Director, 2018

Welcome to Scissortail 2018!! This year 57 authors have been selected to present their work; 15 of these are new voices to the festival. On behalf of ECU English Faculty, our Sponsors and Donors and many other volunteers, I welcome you to our 13th annual festival. We are happy to host you.

I recently ran across a quote from Guillermo del Toro, referring to his Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water: “To me, it’s not a matter of how many people like it, but how deep people like it.” I think this perfectly expresses the attitude of an artist, and I think it could not be more appropriate for our Scissortail authors. Working authors know the highs and lows of presenting their material around the country, but for all of them, the fact that some deeply like their work, is the highest praise, and the purest reason to write. Few things in life are as magical as the connection made between an author and an audience. And so, in this spirit, once again, we gather to share the creativity that shapes so many of us. I am often asked why ECU puts on this festival, and one of my answers usually goes something like this: “This is what universities are supposed to do.” It’s festival time! Welcome. I hope you are inspired.

Ken Hada

Monday, March 12, 2018

Scissortail 2018: The Poster

Winners of the 14th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

Poetry winners
First Place: Amanda Baskett, "Things I Know To Be True." Edmond MHS (Kelly Bristow)
Second Place: Carmela Holt, "Coward's estuary." Norman HS (Sara Doolittle)
Third Place: Brigette Drabek, "Enigma." Moore HS (Eileen Worthington)

Honorable Mentions:
Andrea Salazar-Zegarra, "The Aging of Time." Norman HS (Sara Doolittle)
Mia Shumway, "3 AM." Norman HS (Sara Doolittle)
Jamie Slaton, "Four Lonely Orbitals." Santa Fe South Pathways Middle College (Manning)
Rachel Starkey, "Powerful Women." Edmond MHS (Kelly Bristow)
Dani Lamothe, "I am (borrowed)." Norman NHS (Lezlie Christian)
Kianna Anderson, "Tap, Tap, Tap." Lawton HS (Terence Freeman)
Keiarie Henry, "Mental Illness." Lawton HS (Terence Freeman)
Keller Freeman, "Races." Bishop McGuiness Catholic HS (Rebecca McKee)

Fiction winners
First Place: Hayleigh Carrillo, "Deadly Petals." Santa Fe South HS (Michelle Manning)
Second Place: Brigette Drabek, "Searching for Light." Moore HS (Eileen Worthington)
Third Place: Dani Lamothe, "Us Against the Assholes." Norman North HS (Lezlie Christian)

Honorable Mention: 
Megan Roach, "Battle of the Mind." Washington HS (Dawn Lanham)
McKenna Stroud, "Government Cover-ups, Aliens, and Craigslist." Norman HS (Sara Doolittle)
Kathryn Garn, "Behind the Red Bow." Norman HS (Sara Doolittle)
Mia Shumway, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Norman HS (Sara Doolittle)
Amanda Basket, "Grit & Grace." Edmond Memorial HS (Kelly Bristow)
Mariah Stewart, "Broken Bones and Hollow Souls." Edmond Memorial HS (Kelly Bristow)
Jace Appling, "Untitled." Norman North HS (Lezlie Christian)
Evan Wade Boothe, "The Things in the River." Washington HS (Dawn Lanham)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Scissortail Creative Writing Contest for Undergraduates

Prizes: 1st - $100  2nd - $75  3rd - $50
(Plus Several Honorable Mentions)

  • Contest is open only to currently enrolled undergraduate students.
  • Eligible students are expected to attend the Festival, Friday April 6.  (Please do not submit if you cannot attend the festival).
  • Submissions must be confirmed by a sponsoring faculty member.
  • Each institution is allowed a maximum of 5 (five entries); This includes ECU.
  • Submissions are limited to one of three categories: 1) one piece of short fiction (up to 7500 words), or one piece of creative nonfiction (up to 7500 words), or up to three poems (150 lines total).
  • Prizes will not be designated by genre, but will be awarded for best submissions.
  • All entries must be the original work of the student.
  • All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space prose 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) Student’s email address AND mailing address 3) Faculty Member’s Name & Email address 3) Institution 4) Classification 5) Phone number 6) Title of original work submitted
  • Submit work by email to Dr. Jennifer Dorsey at . In the subject line of your email submission, type “Scissortail Undergraduate Contest.”
  • Professor Dorsey will screen initial entries, then an outside judge will judge all entries that meet minimum guidelines. 

DEADLINE: Email entries to  must be received by midnight March 2, 2018. There will be no exceptions. Awards and recognition will occur Friday April 6 as part of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival held at East Central University (April 5-7, 2018). Please visit (and subscribe via email) to receive festival updates. Contact: Ken Hada, (580) 559-5557 for information regarding the Festival.

Judge: We are proud to introduce Gary Worth Moody as the judge for this year’s contest. Gary is a graduate of St. John's College and of the George Mason University MFA Program. Gary has worked as a forest fire fighter, a farrier, a cowboy, and building a town for coal miners in Siberia’s Kuzbass Region. His poems have appeared in myriad journals on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the anthologies, Cabin Fever: Poets at Joaquin Miller’s Cabin, 1984-2001 (Word Works Press) and Weaving the Terrain (Dos Gatos Press). He is the author of Hazards of Grace (Red Mountain Press, 2012), Occoquan (Red Mountain Press, 2015), shortlisted for the international Rubery Book Award in poetry. Gary’s 3rd manuscript, The Burnings, has been accepted for publication by 3: A Taos Press. He is currently developing a 4th manuscript entitled Lolita, the Bird and the black-Tongued Dog. A falconer, Gary lives in Santa Fe with the artist and writer, Oriana Rodman, two dogs, and Plague, a male red-tail hawk.

Sponsors: The Undergraduate Writing Contest is sponsored by The East Central University Foundation, Inc, in partnership with THE RED EARTH MFA program from Oklahoma City University, directed by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish. Red Earth representatives will be at the 2017 Scissortail Festival. Information about Red Earth MFA is available at

Friday, January 19, 2018

2018: Schedule of Readings

13th Annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival
April 5-7, 2018
East Central University
Ada, Oklahoma

Thursday, April 5

I. 9:30 – 10: 45 Estep Auditorium 

Jason Poudrier - Cameron University
Pvt Pau & We All Had Our Wives
Terri Cummings – Nichols Hills, Oklahoma
Alan Gann – Dallas, Texas
Field Notes: Love, Politics & Movie Musicals

II. 11:00 – 12: 15 Estep Auditorium

Don Stinson – Northern Oklahoma College
from Flatline Horizon
Gay Pasley – Edmond, Oklahoma
Fact Finding
John Yozzo – Tulsa, Oklahoma
for havin' gotten rid of me: love-lyrics Flip-side B: all the goodbyes

*** Lunch ***

III. 2:00 – 3:20 North Lounge

Hank Jones – Tarleton State University
A Rash of Poetry
Dorothy Alexander – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nevertheless: The Art of Persistence
Christopher Soden – Dallas, Texas
Little Bird
Bill McCloud – Pryor, Oklahoma
Recovering the Rhythm of War

IV. 2:00 – 3:20 Estep Auditorium

Margaret Dornaus – Ozark, Arkansas
For My Ancestors
Aaron Glover – Dallas, Texas
They Say the Plains are Lonely
Laurence Musgrove – Angelo State University
One Kind of Recording
Daniel Miller – Amarillo, Texas
To Shoot a Rattlesnake

V. 3:30 – 4:45 Estep Auditorium

Ann Howells – Carrollton, Texas
Softly Beating Wings
Gary Worth Moody – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Lolita, The Bird and the Black-Tongued Dog
Rebecca Hatcher Travis – Sulphur,
Oklahoma from Constant Fires
Roy Beckemeyer – Wichita, Kansas
Amanuensis Angel

VI. 7:00 – 8:15 Estep Auditorium
Carol Coffee Reposa – San Antonio, Texas
In Oklahoma & other poems
Andrew Geyer – Univ. of South Carolina-Aiken
Tangled Up in Blue
Robin Carstensen –Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
Poetry: Histories and Wars
Alan Berecka – Del Mar College
Finally, The Hamlet of Stittville

(Authors’ Reception TBA)

Friday, April 6

VII. 9:00 – 9:50 Estep Auditorium

William Peter Grasso –Tulsa, Oklahoma
from Our Ally, Our Enemy
Maureen DuRant – Cameron University
Skirmishes on the Okie-Irish Border
Brady Peterson – Belton, Texas
GarcĂ­a Lorca Is Somewhere in Produce.

VIII. 10:00 – 10:50 Estep Auditorium

Eddie Malone – University of Oklahoma
The Healing Project
Rilla Askew – University of Oklahoma
They Live Meanly Here

IX. 10:00 – 10:50 North Lounge

Larry D. Thomas – Las Cruces, New Mexico
The Innkeeper
Roxie Faulkner Kirk - Morris, Oklahoma
from Save Yourself
X. 11:00 – 11:50 North Lounge

Michael Dooley – Tarleton State University
Drowning the Monsters
Joey Brown - Missouri Southern State Univ.
Content Subject to Change
Chris Murphy – Northeastern State University
Roscoe & flash fiction

XI. 11:00 – 11:50 Estep Auditorium

Paul Juhasz – Allentown, Pennsylvania
Steven Schroeder - Chicago, Illinois
In the Path of Totality
Richard Dixon – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Leaving Home

*** Lunch ***

XII. 2:00 – 3:20 North Lounge

Sally Rhoades – Albany, New York
Don’t Put Plastic Flowers on My Grave
Thomas Murphy- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
The Barron Park Diwan
Yvonne Carpenter – Clinton, Oklahoma
Poems from the Prairie
Preston Marshall – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
from Regicide

XIII. 2:00 -3:20 Estep Auditorium

John Morris – Cameron University
Selflessly Through the End of the Steps
Sarah Webb – Burnet, Texas
Red Riding Hood’s Sister
Clarence Wolfshohl – Fulton, Missouri
from Queries and Wonderments
Robert Dean Jr. – Augusta, Kansas
At the Lake with Heisenberg

XIV. 3:30 – 4:45 Estep Auditorium

Sly Alley – Tecumseh, Oklahoma
That Good Medicine & other poems
Cindy Huyser – Austin, Texas
Siren Hours
Chris Ellery – Angelo State University
America Is Having an Existential Crisis
Ron Wallace – Southeastern Ok State U.
from Renegade

XV. 7:00 Estep Auditorium

Featuring George Bilgere
Saturday, April 7

XVI. 9:00– 10:15 Estep Auditorium

Nathan Brown – Wimberley, Texas
An Honest Day’s Confession
Michael Howarth – Missouri Southern State U.
A Scoundrel Looks at Forty
Maryann Hurtt – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
How My Heart Learned to Bleed Orange
Paul Austin – Norman, Oklahoma
Notes for Hard Times

XVII. 10:30 -11:45 Estep Auditorium

Abigail Keegan – Oklahoma City University
I Could Turn and Live with Animals
Simon Han – Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Impossible Task of Remembering the Nanking Massacre
Julie Chappell – Tarleton State University
Cairns, Cigars, and the Blues
Paul Bowers – Northern Oklahoma College
Quiet and Loud

XVIII. 12:00 – 1:00 pm Estep Auditorium

Grand Finale: Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
* Awarding the Dr. Darryl Fisher State High School Contest Winners

2018 Scissortail Biographies

Dorothy Alexander is a poet, memoirist, storyteller, author of five poetry collections, two multi-genre memoirs, and two volumes of oral history. Her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Sugar Creek Review; Malpais Review; Sugar Mule Literary Review; Cooweescoowee: a journal of art and literature; Blood & Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine; Dragon Poet Review; Oklahoma Humanities Journal, and others. She has curated poetry readings at the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma, for 13 years, and monthly readings at various venues in Oklahoma City and Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Dorothy reads and performs her poetry throughout Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico. She is a recipient of the Carlile Award for Distinguished Service to the Oklahoma literary community. 

Sly Alley is a writer of poetry and short-fiction whose work has appeared in The MuseDragon Poet Review and included in the anthology Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way (Village Books Press, 2017). His work has been featured at the annual Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium at Seminole State College, Poetry at The Paramount in Oklahoma City, Woody Guthrie Poets, Oklahoma Voices First Sunday Poetry at IAO Gallery, Second Sunday Poetry at Tidewater Winery and the September Poetry Series at East Central University. His debut collection of poems titled Strong Medicine (Village Books Press, 2016) won the 2017 Oklahoma Book Award for poetry. He writes on a vintage Royal typewriter in a fortified shack in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. 

Rilla Askew is the author of four novels, a book of stories, and a collection of creative nonfiction, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place. She’s a PEN/Faulkner finalist, recipient of the American Book Award, Western Heritage Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and the Willa Award from Women Writing the West. Her novel about the Tulsa Race Riot, Fire in Beulah, received the American Book Award in 2001. Askew’s essays and short fiction have appeared in Tin House, World Literature Today, Nimrod, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Daily Beast, and elsewhere. In 2009 Askew received the Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma.