Getting ready for Poetry Out Loud, I've asked people if they could recommend any poetry books to give to our student contestants. A big thank you to Nancy Curtis of High Plains Press who sent Learn to Love the Haze (1996) by former Wyoming Poet Laureate Robert Roripaugh; Circle of Light (1995) by Charles Levondosky; Wyoming Promises (1984) and Cowpuncher Poetry (1986) both collections edited by Nancy. I also received, from mom (thanks, mom) who has had them stored in her shed for years, Wordweavers (1986), a collection of poetry by Wyoming Writers published through Wyoming Writers, Inc., a statewide writing organization. Look for info put up by Mike in earlier posts about this year's conference to be held in Cody, June 4-6.
This volume has many wonderful Wyoming writers in it and their bios--Patricia (Midge) Farmer from Gillette, who would go on to write, for the city of Gillette, the proclamation proclaiming April 22 as Poetry Day, the only town in Wyoming to do so; John Nesbitt, who back then was "now teaching at Eastern Wyoming College...and has published short stories, literary articles, book reviews, a few poems and magazine articles," all this before John would be publishing several (more than 20 to date) trade westerns; and Orval Meier, who wrote a humorous poem, titled:
You cruise the crowded parking lot
Hoping to find a parking spot,
One that's somewhere near the store,
So you won't have to walk a mile or more.
Things look bad, and you despair, but
You finally spot one over there.
You mentally shout, Oh, Boy! Oh, Boy!
And leaps your heart with boundless joy.
You rush the space a mile a minute,
Only to find a motorcycle in it.
Students from all over the state will come to Cheyenne March 1-2 to compete in the state competition. Wyoming's winner and a chaperon will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national final, April 26-27, 2010. The students have worked hard to memorize and inhabit the poems they've chosen from the POL website http://poetryoutloud.org, which lists more than 400 poems for students to choose from. Wyoming POL is sanctioned by the Wyoming High School Activities Association. The events are free and open to the public.