Archive for May, 2012

ImageWith the anniversary of the catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, May 22, 2011, I thought it appropriate to revisit Joey Brown’s collection of poems Oklahomaography published by Mongrel Empire Press. Joey lives and teaches in Joplin and, fortunately, neither she nor her loved ones suffered injuries during the destruction. To help her community rebuild, Joey and her publisher donated the proceeds of the sale of Oklahomaography to the relief fund for Joplin.  You can learn more about Joey and her work at this link http://www.readjoeybrown.com/Home_Page.html

Fittingly, the collection includes a poem titled “Tornado Poem” and several other poems use shifts in weather as metaphors for change desperately wanted by many of the characters who inhabit the small rural towns of her work. The title of the collection may seem very place-specific but when I heard Joey read and when I read her work it struck me how she is able to dig into the hearts and minds of people all over the country who live in small communities and in poverty.


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