Friday, April 30, 2010

NPM 50 State Tour: Texas

Texas -- our 28th state -- has had a poet laureate since 1932.


But they've also had some lean poetry years. In the 80s and 90s, the Lone Star State was often laureate-less. They got back on track in 2003, and since that time the P.L. has been a regular, annual appointment.

Texas' state Poet Laureate for 2010 is Karla K. Morton. Here is an interview on Youtube.

Like Florida's P.L. (see the previous post) she has a Wow! project. Morton's Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beastie is, according to her website, "an original Scottish epic poem produced as a Book/CD project with Canadian composer Howard Baer."

Take a listen to the wonderful Celtic music on her site.

I love the edgy humor in Morton's poem "When Texas No Longer Fits in the Glove Box." Using a map of Texas as metaphor for a larger-than-life man -- hot stuff.

When Texas No Longer Fits in the Glove Box
By Karla K. Morton

Once you unfold a road map of Texas, your world is changed.
Towns like Falfurrias, Carthage, and Madill suddenly become
part of your life and once you see them, you can’t go back to
not knowing them. You have to go there, even it it’s just
with your eyes—or your finger—tracing those
crow’s feet county roads into unexplored territory.
That’s how knowledge works. That’s how knowing works.
Life is expanded; there’s no going back.
There’s no refolding the map.

It’s like meeting an alarmingly charming man—
discovering his dangerous detours and thrilling new paths,
finding unforeseen forks and magnificent natural beauty.
You’ll look up at him and know that the crinkly arch between his eyes
goes from Childress up to Amarillo, then back down to Muleshoe;
that the whites of his nails reach from Huntsville to Jasper;
that his green eyes encompass the metroplex—
From Ft. Worth to Denton to Dallas.

And you can’t help but imagine that the crooked hairline
beneath his navel would run all the way down Highway 281...

I don't know about you, but I'm blushing. Go ahead and read the rest of the poem while I fan my face.

My Texan hot mama friends (Michelle, Dana, Betty), I'm dedicating this post to you!

National Poetry Month ends today, but my tour doesn't. We're on to Iowa next. Let's hope we make it to state #50 before the summer solstice.

6 comments:

Valerie said...

Whoa! Love this one!

I have been enjoying this poet laureate tour eversince I discovered your blog through the National Poetry Month blog Tour!

Author Amok said...

Thanks for joining me on the tour, Valerie. There've been some great discoveries. I'm still reeling over Edmund Skellings multi-media poems. Can't wait to check out Morton's CD.

karla said...

Hey Laura!

Thank you so much for spreading the word about poets and poetry!

I love your blog!


karla k. morton
2010 Texas Poet Laureate

Author Amok said...

Hi, Karla! Honored to have you visit. My Texan friends loved your hot, hot, hot poem.

What's going on in the world of poetry by you?

karla said...

I have been busy in a crazy, wonderful way!

I'm in the middle of my Little Town, Texas Tour -- travelling to schools and communities all across this great big state.

At the secondary level (high schools and middle schools), I'm asking the schools to hold and judge a poetry and an art contest about their town.

Each place I go, I'm writing a poem about it, then choosing the kids' winning poetry and/or artwork, and putting them in a book together -- that way, kids all across Texas have a chance to be published!

And you know, as writers and artists, there is nothing more inspirational than seeing your own name and work in print!

Thank you again, Laura, for your clever blog!

karla k.

Author Amok said...

What a wonderful project for school kids, Karla. Rock on! Can't wait to see the book you're creating with kids.

You're welcome... stop by any time!