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In Oklahoma Cantos, Ron Wallace has made poetry of Oklahoma: its landscape, its climate and clouds in various seasons, and, most importantly, its citizens. This is not the Oklahoma of show-business legend, but something much closer to the truth of the land and the experience of its people--wise, gritty, down to earth, and beautiful. These are fine poems from the heart of a true poet.
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Ron Wallace is currently an adjunct instructor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma where he resides with his wife, Jane, and son, Matthew, who is attending The University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma Cantos is Wallace s fourth volume of poetry. His first book, Native Son (American Poems from the Heart of Oklahoma) was a finalist in the 2006 Oklahoma Book Awards with and Introduction by the late Dennis Letts and a Foreword by Chief Gregory E. Pyle of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. His second book, Smoke and Stone is a volume of poetry from the voices of historical and fictional participants involved in the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War with an introduction by esteemed Maine poet, Dr. Kenneth Nye. Book three I Come from Cowboys... and Indians was the winner of The Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. Best Book of Poetry Award for 2009. Legendary Texas Country singer/songwriter Chris Wall provides a Cowboy intro while Chief Pyle again writes a Native introduction for the book.Review:
I have come to think of Ron Wallace's life and work as a perfect expression of this prairie homeland we share and love. Our landscape is unpretentious, and not all can see its subtle beauty. Even fewer can make this land sing. Ron Wallace does just that with his words of unpretentious elegance. From beginning to end, this volume gives us poems as crystal clear as a rain-washed Oklahoma morning. I read Oklahoma Cantos with joy, and when I want to feel my homeland move in my heart, I'll read this work again. --Carol Hamilton Oklahoma Poet Laureate 1995 1997
Welcome to the eternal present, as glimpsed through the poetry of prairie imagist Ron Wallace. Uncut stalks of Johnson grass beckon, sorrel horses nicker. Rooftops collapse in the rippling waves of heat. Blackjack oaks sprout through the ghosts of V-8 engine blocks, and spike-antler bucks walk the fence lines. Everything burns in the July heat, yet there is a kind of solace which emerges -- Wallace s clear sighted recognition transforms harsh ground into a canvas of rough glory. The series of cantos, central feature to this wide-ranging collection, leap achingly off the page, defiant prairie cousins to Mr William Carlos Williams red wheelbarrow world. Oklahoma Cantos is a compelling migration of images, one part pilgrim, two parts mirage, 100% memorable reading. --George Wallace 2011 Writer in Residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace
Over the years, a really talented writer develops his own persona on the printed page. I believe I and many others would recognize Ron Wallace's poetry no matter where we read it, even without his name on it. With this new volume of poems, he reinforces his unique persona as "the poet from Oklahoma." I believe younger poets will use Ron's work as a standard for which they will strive, and we are going to start hearing comments like, "This reminds me of Ron Wallace's stuff." But no one is ever going to match Ron's ability to evoke a unique verbal landscape that is pure Oklahoma and that reaches to the souls of its people. I have been touched time and time again by Ron's work, and this new volume of poems continues to build his status as a poet. I consider him one of the most talented new voices in American poetry. --Dr. Kenneth Nye Maine Poet Laureate Nominee
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