Monday, October 29, 2012

Poet Laureate Update

Where to begin after the busy spring? Wyoming Writers hosted a wonderful conference in June. With Tereasa Jordan, Hal Cannon, Johnny D. Boggs, M.L. Liebler , Matthew and Jennifer Mayo, and literary agent Anita Mumm, we enjoyed the varied presentations this faculty offered. 

Early July found me laid up with a broken leg. No hay crop at the ranch this year so if I had to break it, this was the time to do so. With walker in hand, I gave a reading to a Belle Fourche, SD sorority on July 30th. Warm and gracious, these ladies made me feel right at home. 

In August came the announcement of finalists for the High Plains Book Awards. I was so fortunate to be among them for the Best Woman Writer. Much to my amazement came the announcement of the Women Writing the West Will Awards. Married Into It won the poetry category. I called for CPR!

On August 15th I joined fellow writers at the Campbell County Library for a joint program with the Wyoming Department of Education and Wyoming writers. Fellow Bearlodge Writer Katie Smith, Chris Ellsworth, Darcy Accord, wonderful writer and organizer of the event and many others read from their powerful writings. I believe the experience was beneficial for everyone and I hope to become more involved with the schools in Wyoming.

On Saturday, September 8, 2012, Gaydell Collier and I were guests of the Books-a-Million store in Rapid City for book signings.  Gaydell pleased many readers with her book, Just Beyond Harmony, a book I highly recommend to everyone who loves a wonderful story filled with laughter among difficult times. Many fellow Bearlodge Writers stopped by as did friend Linda Hasselstrom, terrific author of twelve books of stories and poetry. Gaydell, Linda, and Nancy Curtis also edited the Wind Anthologies; Leaning Into the Wind, Woven on the Wind, and Crazy Woman Creek, Women Rewrite the American West.

 October 18, 2012 found Gaydell and I on the road to Albuquerque for the Women Writing the West Conference and acceptance of the Willa Award. This conference had a wonderful lineup of workshops by top writers, among them former neighbor and dear friend Page Lambert who delivered  The Yearning Factor workshop . The unforgettable Susan Tweit presented Writing with Heart and not a dry eye in the audience when she finished.  Writers Ann Hillerman, Laurie Wagner Buyer, Dawn Wink, three outstanding agents and four publishers rounded out the offering.  Met so many lovely people there and look forward to next year. I hope Gaydell joins me again; she is an exceptional traveling companion!

In the meantime . . . same weekend . . . Nancy Curtis of High Plains Press, publisher of Married Into it, generously attended the High Plains Book Awards where I was blessed with winning Best Woman Writer. So many blessings having a fabulous publisher and the beautiful art work of Sarah Rogers on the cover. They share the success of the book.  Another important part of this wonderful dream is the friendships made and meeting others who love poetry. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poet Laureate Journey

April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
As many of you know Nancy is owner and publisher of High Plains Press in Glendo, WY. The three year wait to have Nancy Curtis publish Married Into It, was more than worth it. We were honored on April 21st with the prestigious Wrangler Award for Best Poetry Book of 2011. Upon arriving in Oklahoma City The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, (NCWHM) staff and guests gave Nancy and I a warm welcome.

The Jingle Jangle Mingle the Friday evening before the official ceremony, honored award winners and Hall of Fame inductees. Wonderful hors d’oeuvres greeted guests followed by an autograph session with literary, music, television/film winners, while listening to the wonderful music of Dan Roberts, this year’s winner of the Traditional Western Album.

We then hastened to the home of Linda and Lance Benham and their lovely family. This private reception found us feasting from a sumptuous buffet and enjoying the company of Western Heritage inductees, Wrangler winners, and special guests. Our hosts were the epitome of western hospitality.

The following day Nancy, my friend Toby Sprague King, and I enjoyed several hours of roaming the museum and grounds. A lively Q & A with Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Boxleitner followed. We returned to the Marriott Hotel to change into evening attire and found beautiful flowers and a precious note from my husband who could not be with me. Tears followed by laughter punctuated the “getting gussied up” for one of the biggest nights of my life. 

Following a press conference and second autograph session we joined honorees, family, friends, and guests for the evening’s festivities. Red carpet, crystal chandeliers, beautifully-draped stage, movie-sized screens on either side of the stage took my breath away. To our delight we were seated with Outstand Documentary recipients from Wyoming PBS. I heartily recommend their production Main Street Wyoming: Charles Bleden – Cowboy Photographer. Throughout our meal I practiced my two-minute speech
only to  the “deer in the headlight look” upon receiving the magnificent bronze from two of John Wayne’s grandchildren, Anita LaCava Swift and Brendan Wayne. I have no idea what I said. I do know I am humbly grateful to our award sponsors Harrison-Orr Air Conditioning  Inc., the NCWHM Directors, contributors, judges and staff who are responsible for this memorable weekend.

The drive to and from Oklahoma City was most enjoyable with Nancy but we are glad to be home, back to our normal routines, and in our normal working clothes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stunning art work of Sarah Rogers of Sundance, WY whose painting Caballos Pintados graced the cover of the poems. To our delight Nancy and I found out on the way home that the cover of the book is one of the six winners recognized by the Da Vinci Eye selected from over 1000 entries. The Da Vinci Eye is one of the branches of the Eric Hoffer Awards.
Who can ask for anything more joyful?

April 26
The K-12 school in Kaycee, WY invited me to join their students, teachers, and guests to celebrate Poetry Month. Katie Smith, writer, fellow Wyoming Writer’s board member, and long-time friend and I, were entertained by student vocalists and poetry readings and fellow poets. Tom Spence, another fellow board member, joined us and we shared information about the organization’s forthcoming conference. I was most honored to read from my work, share stories, terrific food and fellowship with this wonderful community. Being Wyoming Poet Laureate has so many blessings; I will never be able to count them all.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Travels With Pat

I want to share my journey as Wyoming Poet Laureate.  

On March 4th and 5th the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud Competition was held in Cheyenne. Judges for this year’s competition were Jim Coppoc, performance poet and musician from Ames, Iowa; poet and educator Diane Panozzo, and me. What a delight to listen to eleven students from across the state of Wyoming recite their chosen poems.

Sara Ellingrod of Arvada-Clearmont High School in Sheridan County was named winner of the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud finals held in Cheyenne on Monday. As champion, Sara receives an expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. where she will represent Wyoming at the Poetry Out Loud finals, May 14-15.

March 7th, I had the honor and privilege to share two poems before the Wyoming Legislature followed by a brief visit with Governor Mead. Rita Basom of the Wyoming Arts Council and Wendy Madsen of the Legislative Service Office guided me through the Capital and introduced me to a number of warm and wonderful people who keeps our Wyoming Capital running smoothly. Milward Simpson, Director of the Wyoming Department of State
Parks and Cultural Resources was also kind enough to join us for the readings.
My gratitude to all.

On April 4th, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I was delighted to present a reading at Fulmer Library in Sheridan. My thanks to Debbie Iverson, Program Director of the library for a well-planned event and Aaron Holst, a fellow poet who suggested my visit.

Old friends and new faces warmly received readings from Delights and Shadows by former National Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser and Margot Liberty, one of the wonderful poets included in Graining the Mare edited by Tereasa Jordan, and selections from my newest book, Married Into It.  I then enjoyed a wonderful stay with Aaron and his lovely wife Donna at their home which faces the magnificent Big Horn Mountains. My appreciation to all who made it a memorable visit to Sheridan.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Patricia Frolander News!!

As you can tell by our lack of blog posts, BLW has been busy. This post will feature the news of Patricia Frolander and the journey she and her latest book, Married Into It, are taking--and what a trip they are having!

On November 7, 2011, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead appointed Pat as Wyoming's fifth Poet Laureate. She joins past poets Peggy Simson Curry, Charles L. Levendosky, Robert Roripaugh, and David Romtvedt in serving in the honorary position. According to Renny MacKay, communications director for the governor's office, Pat's appointment will last through May 31, 2013.

Upcoming events for Pat as Poet Laureate include writing and reading a poem for the 2011 Governor's Arts Awards dinner and awards ceremony February 24, 2012, and serving as a judge for the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud state competition March 5-6, 2012. (Poetry Out Loud is a national program in which ninth through twelfth graders are eligible to compete.)

Then, about a week ago, Pat received a letter from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (formerly the Cowboy Hall of Fame) which said this: Independent judges have named Married Into It as the "Poetry Book" of 2011.

The letter continues: "Since 1961, the Museum has hosted the Western Heritage Awards, which honors excellence in Western literature, television, film, and music. Each year, the principal creators or winning entries accept the Wrangler sculpture during special ceremonies at the Museum."

Pat will be traveling with Nancy Curtis, her publisher at High Plains Press, to the Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for the award activities on April 20-21, including a black-tie gala with master of ceremonies Katharine Ross.

BLW is so very proud of Pat and her accomplishments. She is taking the Wyoming literary scene by storm, and deserves every minute she has in the spotlight.

Congratulations, Pat!