Friday, September 23, 2011

Scissortail 2012

The annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is back for its seventh year with featured authors Norbert Krapf and Natasha Trethewey. In addition, more than 50 regional, published and emerging authors will make presentations during the three-day festival, April 5 – April 7, 2012 on the campus of East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Norbert Krapf, emeritus professor of English at Long Island University and native of Jasper, a German community in southern Indiana hill country, moved to Indianapolis from the New York area in 2004 and since then has published five books and a CD with jazz pianist-composer Monika Herzig, Imagine. He also collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham, with whom he started working as part of the Hoosier Dylan show produced by folksinger and actor Tim Grimm. He serves on the board of Etheridge Knight, Inc., whose mission is to bring the arts to the underserved, and as Indiana Poet Laureate 2008-10 had a mission of reuniting poetry and song. In 2012 Indiana University Press will release his collaboration with photographer Richard Fields, Songs in Sepia and Black and White. Included is a section of 26 poems about music, “Practically with the Band.” He is the recipient of a recent Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis to combine poetry and music, with an emphasis on the blues, and Garrison Keillor has read a poem of his on The Writer’s Almanac on NPR.

Other recent publications are Invisible Presence, with photographer Darryl Jones (IU Press, 2006), Bloodroot: Indiana Poems, with photographer David Pierini (IU Pr., 2008), and Sweet Sister Moon (WordTech Editions, 2009), celebrations of women, as well as the prose memoir The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2008). He was awarded the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award by the Poetry Society of America, has twice served as a Senior Fulbright Professor of American Poetry at the Universities of Freiburg (1980-81) and Erlangen-Nuremberg (1988-89) Germany, and his The Country I Come From (Archer Books, 2002) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. More info about him, including videos and audio files of his readings and recitations with musicians, is available at and on Facebook. His books are available from and directly from the publishers at,, and

Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1966. She earned an M.A. in poetry from Hollins University and M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.

Since then, she has published two more collections of poetry, including Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bellocq's Ophelia (2002). Her work has appeared in Agni, The American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, Callaloo, Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, North American Review, and The Southern Review, among other magazines and anthologies.

In her introduction to Domestic Work, Rita Dove said, "Trethewey eschews the Polaroid instant, choosing to render the unsuspecting yearnings and tremulous hopes that accompany our most private thoughts—reclaiming for us that interior life where the true self flourishes and to which we return, in solitary reverie, for strength."

Trethewey's honors include the Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She is Professor of English at Emory University where she holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry.

The 8th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma Presents
Oklahoma’s Most Prestigious High School Writing Competition

Prizes awarded at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 5-7, 2012.

Fiction: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150; 3rd Place $100
Poetry: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150;  3rd Place $100
20 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 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 February 3, 2012. Email entries must be sent by 11:59 p.m. on February 3, 2012. There will be no exceptions.

Winners will be notified in early March, and awards will be presented at the Scissortail Writing Festival held on the East Central University campus, April 5, 2012. A list of winners and winning entries will be posted online at

Please see the left-hand column of this site for a list of 2010 and 2011 winners.

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 (580-559-5430); Dr. Mark Walling (580-559-5440). Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Information: Dr. Ken Hada (580-559-5557)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact the Festival Director, Professor Ken Hada at 580-559-5557 (

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2011: That's a Wrap

Scissortail 2011 is in the bag. Congratulations to all who read and all who heard.
We look forward to seeing you next year: April 5-April 7, 2012!
Billie Letts signs books for her many fans.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's On!

As of 9:30 this morning, March thirty-first, 2011, the Sixth Annual the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is under way!

If you are attending the Festival and have heard you something you like, please leave a comment here so that the authors and everyone else can know what you think. Just click on the comment button below to leave a comment and read the comments left by others.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Welcome to Scissortail, 2011

Dear Authors and Guests of the 6th Annual Scissortail Festival,

Lately I’ve been reading Shinkichi Takahashi’s Triumph of the Sparrow. Many of his poems were influenced by Dadaism, in part, a protest against the barbarism of war and other absurdities. In his search for something beyond the follies all around us, Takahashi unites this artistic movement with zen and is thus able to penetrate the soul of his readers, uniting them with the bliss of nature or the marvels of the everyday. As I prepare for our 6th annual Scissortail festival, I feel more than ever, a desire based in a deep need, to gather together as writers, as readers, as co-participants in the search for the peaceful soul, somehow ordered by the pursuit of art. So much does not make sense around us, and in our ever-fragmented world, marred by misuse of technology and shallow forays into pretense and simplistic solutions, we need to rendezvous, we need to be inspired, we need to listen to the soul seeping through the words of our fellow creators among us.

Welcome back to Ada and to East Central University. To the first-timers, we hope you discover the worthwhile endeavor of listening to each other, beyond ego and apart from a craving for petty dominance. To the returners, it is always great to see you again, to hear of your progress, to feel how words are shaping you at this time of your life.

Many have volunteered time and effort to make this event possible. I thank them as I thank authors and guests for traveling to Ada to be part of this good gathering of folks. To the festival!

Ken Hada, Director
March 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winners of the 7th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest


Fiction Winners

First Place : Erika Salmon. “The Soldier.” Tahlequah High School
Second Place: Paige Warren. “Stolen.” Norman North High School
Third Place: Kayla Crego. “Eight Arms to Hold You.” Norman North High School

Fiction Winners Honorable Mentions:
Lindsey Weir. “Alone at Night.” Westmoore High School
Kaitlyn Hawk. “A Horrible and Tragic Tale.” Coalgate High School
Rajat Ghosh. “Barrier.” Norman North High School
Shelby Seaquist. “Flowers and a Feather.” Pryor High School
Shealy Davis. “Bridge of Fear.” Strother High School
Kathryn Shauberger. “Neighborly Duties.” Norman North High School
Zach Shaffer. “The Awakening.” Tahlequah High School
Isabelle Gronlund. “Pictures of Ash.” Norman North High School
Lucy Mahaffey. “Shout.” Norman North High School
Samantha Jo Smith. “Katie.” Collinsville High School

Poetry Winners
First Place : Kenna Stanton, “To Set The Table” Lawton High School
Second Place: Chelsea Elam, “Hotel Room” Norman North High School
Third Place: Arthur Dixon, “Sheets and Blankets” Ardmore High School

Poetry Winners Honorable Mentions:
Anna Marie Saunders, “Tribute to Kathryn” Edmond Memorial High School
Shelby Talley, “ Miss Mae” Coalgate High School
Sarah Capps, “The Geisha” Norman North High School
Cheyenne H. Ballard, “Wilt of the Rose” Shawnee High School
Casey Cowan, “In life we yearn to find” Heavener High School
Nicole Roten, “The Dust Bowl,” Lawton High School
Katie Hill, “Sandcastles,” Norman North High School
Aubrey Mackey, “Aunt Lois’s Bible” Coleman High School
Karen L. Longo, “Rose” Broken Bow High School
Ninoshka Rivera-Roldan, “Mystified Nature” Lawton High School

2011 R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest -- First Prize in Fiction

The Soldier
by Erika Salmon, Tahlequah

I was four years old and Maggie thirteen when we made the journey together from Paddington Station. It was July of 1940. Since we went to our grandparents’ country estate in Kent nearly a year after the Blitz, from that point on most of my childhood memories are pleasant. Along with the Anderson shelter, the constant worries about air raids were left behind in London, and life settled. We attended the small school a mile from the house. The first few weeks, I woke up every night crying for home and mum. I sniffled into my pillow until Maggie came to comfort me. It was five more years before, in May of 1945, we returned home.

While Maggie and I have had our disagreements, we agree on one thing without a shadow of a doubt: that what changed our lives most during the war was not being evacuated—we were fortunate to stay with our grandparents, not strangers. It was not the air raids. Unlike countless other families, our father came back to a still standing home after the war. It was not the rationing. The farm produced plenty. It was not even living without our parents for a large part of our childhoods. Whatever else from my youth is lost from my memory, I will never forget February 23, 1942, a turning point in my life.

2011 R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest -- Second Prize in Fiction

뺐어: Stolen 
by Paige Warren, Norman North

Mid-west North America

Her eyes were amber. That was the first thing I remembered after waking. Sun’s deep, screaming eyes—once so proud but timid now—woke me from dreams and brought me back here to this place called reality—or whatever it was. The fear and uncertainty hardly hidden amongst her crying eyes and the far away expression painted in every feature of her face was what shook me awake from the darkness of inexorable sleep. The moment our eyes met, Sun’s disheveled appearance confirmed what my subconscious had been trying to tell me all along: we had been lost—or worse—stolen.

“Where are they taking us?” Sun looked at me with such dignity in her glossy eyes, amidst all the tears. My thoughts flickered to the clouded scenes of home: the perfect coastal town of Haenam was barely held together in my mind—I could remember the pristine ocean waves and the mix and match of traditional and modern Korean homes but all the faces of the many I loved were scarred by my inability to remember the last time I saw all of them.

2011 R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest -- Third Prize in Fiction

Eight Arms to Hold You
by Kayla Crego, Norman North

Doris loved the river like an old friend, and heard the trickling of water against rock as a melodic voice speaking in a language only she understood. When the river flooded, it was a quarrel, and the friends were treated with a mutual cold shoulder, and when waters receded and tempers cooled, friends forgave. The river was feisty, but generous, and Doris knew no greater joy than taking the short walk from her house with her husband, down a gently sloping path and past frolicking families to the water's edge. There she would sit on her favorite bench with a newspaper or paperback novel or whatever craft she felt best busied her hands while her husband fished or showed the local children his newest toy boat. They all called him “gramps,” though the couple, as far as anyone could tell, had no children or grandchildren. It had been sixteen months since Doris had been to the river.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 Scissortail: Updated Schedule of Readings

Rilla Askew (Photo by Ted Waddell)
Thursday, March 31
I. 9:30 - 10:45 Estep Auditorium
Shirley Hall – Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
from Listen
George McCormick – Cameron University
The Mexican
Ken Hada – East Central University
Going Backwards

II. 11:00 - 12:15 Estep Auditorium
Alan Barecka – Del Mar College
from Remembering the Body
Rilla Askew – University of Central Oklahoma
Your Granddaddy is a Felon .. And a Christian
Jim Spurr – Shawnee, Oklahoma
The 1940's and Thereabouts

*** Lunch ***

III. 2:00 - 3:15 Estep Auditorium
Jason Poudrier – Lawton, Oklahoma
In the Rubble at Our Feet
J. Don Cook, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sublime, Absurd & Tragic
Ben Meyers – Oklahoma Baptist University
Elegy for Trains & other poems

IV. 3:30- 4:45 Estep Auditorium
Jane Vincent Taylor – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sonnets for Childhood
Jeanne Dunbar-Green – East Central University
Since It’s You and All
Arn Henderson
The Confessor & other poems

Susan Perabo
V. 3:30 - 4:45 North Lounge
Constance Squires – University of Central Oklahoma
from Red Queen Transcript
Jim Hunter – East Central University
Four White Stallions: Full Arrest
Hugh Tribbey – East Central University
Mime Box

*** Dinner ***

VI. 6:30 pm. Estep Auditorium
Featuring: Susan Perabo

*** Reception for Authors follows ***
@ Oak Hills Country Club

2011: Updated Author Biographies

Jonis Agee was born in Omaha, Nebraska and grew up in Nebraska and Missouri, places where many of her stories and novels are set. She was educated at The University of Iowa (BA) and The State University of New York at Binghamton (MA, PhD). She is Adele Hall Professor of English at The University of Nebraska — Lincoln, where she teaches creative writing and twentieth – century fiction. She is the author of twelve books, including five novels — Sweet Eyes, Strange Angels, South of Resurrection, The Weight of Dreams, and her most recent, The River Wife — and five collections of short fiction — Pretend We've Never Met, Bend This Heart, A .38 Special and a Broken Heart, Taking the Wall, and Acts of Love on Indigo Road. She has also published two books of poetry: Houses and Mercury. Agee's awards include ForeWord Magazine's Editor's Choice Award for Taking the Wall and the Gold Medal in Fiction for Acts of Love on Indigo Road; a National Endowment for the Arts grant in fiction; a Loft-McKnight Award; a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction; and two Nebraska Book Awards (for The Weight of Dreams and Acts of Love on Indigo Road. Three of her books — Strange Angels, Bend This Heart, and Sweet Eyes — were named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times. Additionally, she has stories and essays in The Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, and elsewhere. Finally, Jonis owns some twenty pairs of cowboy boots, some of them works of art, loves the open road, and believes that ecstasy and hard work are the basic ingredients of life and writing.

The After-Wrap: Vagrant Plays Vintage 22