The OCU Red Earth MFA creative writing program will host a book launch at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 to celebrate the publication of “The Walmart Republic,” a collection of poetry by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Christopher Stewart. The event will take place in the Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
Lansana is from Enid, Okla. Stewart was raised in Dallas, small Texas towns and in Chicago neighborhoods. Stewart, a white man, and Lansana, a black man, were born in post-Kennedy, post-King southern and midwestern parts of the country, though both disagree with their geographical tags. Through their poems, the poets assert that their births, their ways of seeing and their pains are rooted in what Lansana’s college film professor called “the Walmart Republic,” a land where the shopping center is the community center.
Oklahoma poet laureate Nathan Brown said of the book that “few collections of poetry bring us more clearly and powerfully into a sense of both ‘time’ and ‘place,’ which, in the end, is what great storytelling is about.”
Lansana is author of seven poetry books, three textbooks, a children’s book, editor of eight anthologies and co-author of a book of pedagogy. He served as director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing from 2002 to 2011. His collection of poems, “reluctant minivan,” was published in May by Living Arts in Tulsa.
Stewart’s poetry has appeared in numerous poetry journals and in the anthology Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry from Chicago’s Guild Complex. His collaborations with music artists include work with the group Circadian Rhythm, which was featured on the audio anthology “A Snake in the Heart: Poems and Music by Chicago Spoken Word Performers.” He is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University.
The book launch event will also include readings from Red Earth MFA students Cassandra Carter and Josefine Green, recent graduate David Bublitz and program director Jeanetta Calhoun Mish.
For more information, email Mish at email@example.com.