Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Muse: Oklahoma's Poet Laureate

Poetry has been such a source of comfort and inspiration
to me that I can't help but feel honored to have the chance
to visit and talk to people all across the state. . . .*
~ Eddie D. Wilcoxen 

Eddie D. Wilcoxen, who says he has "written verse for as long as I can remember", is Poet Laureate of Oklahoma. He two-year began his term in January 2011. His predecessor was Jim Barnes.

My earlier post about Barnes includes resources and information about the Poet Laureate position. (Nominations for the next appointee, who will serve from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014, were due June 1. )

* * * * *

Poet and writer Eddie D. Wilcoxen, who also is a radio broadcaster in his hometown of Altus, and a landscape designer and three-time national karate champion, is the author of more than a half-dozen collections of poetry, including Oklahoma Proud! A Centennial Book of Poems (CTK Publications, 2009), which includes stories, and Songbook in My Head, a book of lyrics. Wilcoxen's first book of poetry was Reflections of a Wandering Mind (CTK Publications, 2009); he published earlier this year a second volume, More Reflections of a Wandering Mind, which is available on iTunes

Wilcoxen also has written Animal ABCs - A Book of Whimsy (Lulu Press, 2011), his first children's book, and the nonfiction title Everybody Needs Heroes (for Nook; Lulu Press, 2011).

The storyteller that Wilcoxen is can be found in many of his narrative poems. While the subject matter of his poetry is wide-ranging, it most often seems to draw on the influence and inspiration Wilcoxen has found while living, working, and observing life on the southwestern plains and prairies. Place is a dominant topic (Wilcoxen, from Kansas, has lived in many areas of the United States), as is nature, which he writes about with honest appreciation of beauty and wonder. Historical events and subjects, such as Pearl Harbor, Theodore Roosevelt, and the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, also figure in his work. 

Here's a short poem from Wilcoxen's collection Oklahoma Proud!:


Bare limbs, spare light,
winter austerity —
contrasting in my mind
with summer's shining plenty.

The sun beats coldly
in a world of white,
and the shadows shrink away
giving up the fight.

Bundled bodies hurry by,
looking for some shelter —
a place away from the biting wind
that blows around us helter skelter!

In 2008, Wilcoxen was named Poet Laureate of the Western Trails Historical Society.


All Poetry Excerpts © Eddie D. Wilcoxen

* Quoted from Oklahoma Humanities Council Announcement of Eddie Wilcoxen Appointment, January 10, 2011

Eddie D. Wilcoxen Poetry Online: "Cheshire Moon" and "Hunting Truth", Both at Oklahoma Humanities Council (Audio Available); "You Can Do It, Eddie!" and "Eight Seconds" in Winter 2012 Issue of Oklahoma Humanities Magazine; "Thanks" at Victory Herald Poets Page (a homage to the military and Altus Air Force Base); "Pearl Harbor Visit" at Magnum Star-News

Audio selections from Reflections of a Wandering Mind and preview pages (in pdf) from More Reflections of a Wandering Mind are found here and here, respectively. Preview pages (in pdf) from Oklahoma Proud! are here; samples from Songbook in My Head are here. Wilcoxen's titles also are available for Nook.

Oklahoma Proud at GoogleBooks (Selected Pages Only)

Reflections of a Wandering Mind on GoogleBooks (Selected Pages Only)

Eddie D. Wilcoxen on FaceBook

1 comment:

S. Etole said...

An excellent series that you are sharing.