Book Review: "Oklahoma Poems and Their Poets"

Oklahoma Poems... and Their PoetsOklahoma Poems... and Their Poets by Stephen Dunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting poetic look at Oklahoma through the words of some pretty distinguished poets who either live there or have written about it. The book is divided into three sections, People, Places, and Odds & Ends. It also includes author bios in the back of the book. Some of the best poems are these:

"Flinn, On The Bus" by my old San Antonio friend Naomi Shihab Nye, about a prisoner who has been released on 9/11, and doesn't know what everybody else knows has happened;

Abigail Keenan's "Pictures Of Pioneer Women" with this sharp closing: "Look, they peer fiercely forward, as we look carefully back."

"My Grandfather And His Eggs" by Lauren Camp, about aging and loss.

Stephen Dunn's "Oklahoma City", about the Murrah federal building bombing. Goodreads credits Dunn as the author of the book entire, but he isn't; he is a contributor of this one poem, only. Oklahoma poet laureate Nathan Brown is the editor.

N. Scott Momaday's "The Land", Tony Mares' "El Reno" and Kelli Simpson's "Dog Days" all evoke a strong sense of place.

But, to me, the standout poem of the whole book is "World's Tallest Hill" by Lauren Zuniga. Her short, sharp portraits of people and the hill that is one foot shy of being a mountain stole the show, for me.

This book is full of Pulitzer winners, state laureates, you name it, but it is unpretentious and fun to read. I recommend it.

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Congratulations to Mama Zen, for her poem "Dog Days" being published in this book. Some poets are just cooler than all the rest! 


  1. Congrats to Mama Zen. Appreciate the review, and always good to see Okie-land get some props in something besides number of Tea Partiers, meth labs and assorted wingnuts.

  2. Kelli finds herself in good company and certainly where she belongs.

  3. Just read your message on Maya Angelou's eulogy. You're so very welcome. Thoroughly enjoyed! And am so very happy to see Kelli is published with her Oklahoma peers!

    May your creative juices continue to overflow! :))

  4. Great review and CONGRATULATIONS to Mama Zen!!!!!!

  5. Wonderful and many congrats to MZ--well deserved.

    They should have included your books, even though I guess you just have two Okies! (I don't know where you are, Shay.) Anyway, thanks for highlighting. k.

  6. Honey, you are the best pimp a girl could have!


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