Oklahomeland is a tribute to the history, spirit and red dirt soil of Jeanetta Calhoun Mish’s beloved home state, and readers couldn’t ask for a better guide to the region’s literature, culture, arts, landscape and community than the author, a poet-scholar of the first order. Calhoun Mish’s understanding of her material runs deep; her assessments are clear-eyed and penetrating; her writing is gorgeous. You’ll learn much from this collection—and you’ll reread it for the pleasure of the prose alone.
—Kat Meads, author of
2:12 a.m.—Essays & Born Southern and Restless
Welcome to the real Oklahoma, the Oklahomeland not of a musical, but of sweat-stained people, of a raw land and emotions. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish is foremost a story-teller whose compelling narratives and imagery drag you into caring as much as she does. You can take a walk with a little girl and her Grandpa or drive down a rural highway, always connected with the land. Even the more "scholarly" subjects are conversations told with passion and fire, whether about Woody Guthrie or lynchings in her hometown. It's fitting she chose a quote from Faulkner for the title to of the essay, "Like a Fire in Dry Grass." When Mish writes about Oklahoma's people and causes, she is also like a fire in dry grass.
—Terry Clark, Honoree & Director
Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame
The heart of Work Is Love Made Visible is like the heart of a plains woman: large, tough, spirited, generous, beautiful.
—Rilla Askew, author of Harpsong
& The Mercy Seat
With echoes of James Agee, Carl Sandburg, and Woody Guthrie, Jeanette Calhoun Mish brings to Work Is Love Made Visible a feminist and indigenous sensibility to the world of work, rural life, and the crushing pain of poverty. Thes poems are exquisitely fashioned manifestos illustrated with unforgettable photographs, creativing a dialog between learned wisdom and rage, between work and love.
—Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, author of
Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie
To be tongue-tied is to be too aware of self, too shy, too embarrassed, too afraid, too cautious, too angry, too proud and the list is endless. Whatever the reason, it means we’re unable to let the soul speak. And without that, there’s no poetry, only verse. It’s nice to see a poet blossom, to start speaking from the root, the soul.
—Justin Spring, Founder/Artistic Director
SOULSPEAK/Sarasota Poetry Theater