Monday, October 20, 2014

The 2015 Press Release

The tenth annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, featuring Darrell Bourque, Heid E. Erdrich, Steven Schroeder, and Mary Kay Zuravleff, in addition to more than 50 author presentations from Oklahoma and beyond, is April 2 - 4, 2015, on the campus of East Central University in Ada, Okla. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie by Louisiana’s Poet Laureate (2007-2011) Darrell Bourque is a reflection of contemporary life in Acadiana in Louisiana and is a story of the legends of the journey of the Acadians from the Canadian Maritimes and the various ways they made their way to Louisiana. The poems offer personal revelations in the wake of illness and death of loved ones. They open the minds and spirits of great artists from Van Gogh to Elemore Morgan Jr., and most importantly, these poems give real voice to historical figures. 

Bourque grew up in Church Point, Louisiana. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Bourque completed his doctoral degree from Florida State University. He is professor emeritus in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he served as the first Friends of the Humanities Honor Professor.
Heid E. Erdrich is an author of four poetry collections, with the most recent being Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems. She is the recipient of awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Archibald Bush Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board and First People’s Fund, to name a few. She is a 2013 Artist of the Year honoree from City Pages Minneapolis. 

Erdrich completed her education from St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, Dartmouth College and John Hopkins Writing Seminars. She also designed her own doctoral program. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is a member of the Ojibwe Tribe. She routinely works with galleries to present exhibits focused on Native American artists and is the director of the Wiigwaas Press, an Ojibwe language publisher. Erdrich currently lives in Minnesota.

Steven Schroeder is a poet and visual artist who has published 12 books of poems, short stories and art. He grew up in the Texas Panhandle, has taught at the University of Chicago Graham School and received his Ph.D. in Ethics and Society from the University of Chicago. He has also taught in China, and much of his poetry is influenced by his time there.

Schroeder states that emptiness plays an important role in his poetry and painting, by focusing on what is not there as much as what is. He hopes readers and viewers are able to see more in his work than what it contains. Schroeder’s most recent work, mind the gaps: fragments, is exemplary of his philosophy.

Mary Kay Zuravleff is a novelist and short story writer who grew up in Oklahoma City. She has published three novels including her latest work, Man Alive!, which was named a 2013 Washington Post Notable Book. Her two earlier novels, The Bowl is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls, won the American Academy’s Rosenthal Award and the James Jones First Novel Award. Her first novel was also a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. She is a five-time winner of a D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship. 

Zuravleff earned a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has taught writing at American University, Johns Hopkins University and George Mason University. Zuravleff lives in Washington, D.C. and is the cofounder of D.C. Women Writers. 

The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2pm. on Saturday. Each day is broken into several sessions. A complete schedule of readers will be posted on this website.

The Darryl Fisher High School Creative Writing Contest winners will also be awarded during the festival. The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council. For more information, contact Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557.

2015 Submission Guidelines

10th Annual Scissortail Festival, April 2-4, 2015

Due to the increased popularity of the festival, the competition for a place on the program is keen. Obviously there is a limited amount of time and space available, and unfortunately, not all submissions can be accepted. Selections to the program are accepted or rejected by a committee of ECU personnel on the basis of:

Quality, Published Work (peer-reviewed journals, for example)
Freshness of Material (reading some new stuff)
Appropriateness in Subject Matter and Time Restraints (fitting into the Festival)
Meeting the Deadline
Perceived Ability to happily join in a celebratory, festival atmosphere.

If your submission is not accepted for the main program this year, we sincerely hope you will not be discouraged. We hope you will continue your writing efforts with even greater vigor, and we invite you to attend the festival to gain the benefit of reading, listening and interacting with the audience of writers, participate in events that may occur during the festival.

Even if you have been on the program in the past, please review the following guidelines before submitting (if the number of submissions warrant, we will move to 15 minutes per presenter instead of 20 minutes, as has been our tradition; and fiction writers are encouraged to excerpt their submission to fit into the time restraints (The appeal of a story may in fact be heightened by presenting a carefully selected excerpt).

A showcase of Oklahoma creative writing, the Scissortail Festival welcomes submissions from creative writers in Oklahoma and across the country. In addition to feature authors (highlighted on the flyer and press release) the festival celebrates published, established and emerging authors reading original poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

Guidelines: Please read closely and follow exactly. Please look at your calendar before submitting! Due to the increasing popularity of the festival, it is very difficult to accommodate special scheduling requests. Please do not ask. Please understand that Ada, Oklahoma is a small town with very limited public transportation and has a limited number of hotel rooms. Ada is a two-hour drive from the Oklahoma City airport, three hours from DFW (in good traffic) and two and half hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Scissortail Festival is unable to provide shuttle service to and from these airports, so please consider these factors before submitting.


Scissortail is a reading festival. No workshops, how-to, propaganda or pre-arranged panels are acceptable.

Reading sessions feature a mixture of authors and genre.

Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors should plan for either 15 or 20 minutes total time at the mic (including prose) depending on how the session is scheduled. In other words, some readers will get 15 minutes, and some will get 20 minutes. Please respect your audience and fellow readers and follow your allotted time diligently.

Email submissions are encouraged. Submit: 1) complete contact information 2) the title of your program and sample/s of work to be considered – please consider the time restraints per reader

3) a paragraph-length biographical narrative summarizing publications and significant accomplishments (please write bios in 3rd person).

Deadline for submission is January 5, 2015. The schedule will be announced by February.

Send email submissions to: Identify “Scissortail Submission” in the subject line. (It is also a good idea to copy your submission to (since email sometimes goes into the spam folder). If you prefer, you may send submissions to: Dr. Ken Hada, Department of English & Languages, East Central University, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820.

Please check your calendar before submitting. Participants are not charged registration fees. Please subscribe by email at in order to receive notice of information regarding the festival and related events. Updates are posted at that site.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Now Available for Purchase: 2014 Scissortail Commemorative CD

Click here to purchase a 2-disc set of poems and excerpts of prose and fiction recorded live, April 3-5, 2014 at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival on the East Central University campus.

Track listing:
Track 1 Introduction
Track 2 Larry D. Thomas, The Lobster & The Lobsterman’s Dream
Track 3 Ron Wallace, of Horses and Hawks & Desperado
Track 4 Maureen DuRant, Collect Call Home
Track 5 Johnnie Catfish Mahan, The Truth about the Truth
Track 6 Elizabeth Raby, Vassar Virgins (excerpt)
Track 7 Alan Berecka, Leveling & A Texan’s Fugitive Thoughts
Track 8 John Morris, How to Live in the Moment
Track 9 Jessica Isaacs, What a Widow Carries with Her
Track 10 Rob Roensch, The Dogs of Baltimore (excerpt)
Track 11 Charlotte Renk, Knock and the Door Shall
Track 12 Hank Jones, Cigars on Bourbon Street
Track 13 William Peter Grasso, Long Walk to the Sun (excerpt)
Track 14 Margaret Dornaus, Stardust
Track 15 Jennifer Kidney, Signs of Spring
Track 16 Brady Peterson, Olympia
Track 17 Brent Newsom, Mathematics
Track 18 Sarah Webb, Story
Track 19 Arn Henderson, Cimarron Baseline
Track 20 James Hoggard, Blue Paints (excerpt)
Track 21 Clarence Wolfshohl, Creation
Track 22 Constance Squires, Dopamine Agonistes (excerpt)
Track 23 George McCormick Inland Empire (excerpt)
Track 24 Carol Coffee Reposa, A Love Poem for Oklahoma
Track 25 Andrew Geyer, Love Songs (excerpt)

Track 1 Dorothy Alexander, Autobiography
Track 2 Carolyn Wright, Red Earth Central
Track 3 Timothy Bradford, Carnet de Voyage (excerpt)
Track 4 Jim Wilson, Beirut Spring (excerpt)
Track 5 Steven Schroeder, In a Dream
Track 6 Sally Rhoades, My Father’s Slippers
Track 7 Carl Sennhenn, Bears Won’t Waltz & Sotto Voce
Track 8 Jim Spurr, Little Jimmy from California
Track 9 Julie Chappell, Alcatraz
Track 10 Jason Poudrier, Sand Stone
Track 11 Hugh Tribbey, To Woody Guthrie in Heaven
Track 12 Jonas Zdanys, Excerpt with Lithuanian Translation & My Father’s Wine
& Tomorrow & The Revenant
Track 13 John Yozzo, Ponca & Valentine
Track 14 Bayard Godsave, The Trilling Wire (excerpt)
Track 15 Abigail Keegan, Rubbermaid & Roadwork
Track 16 Ben Myers, What to Do after a Tornado & The Second Worst Job I Ever Had
Track 17 Hardy Jones, A New Bike for Little Mike (excerpt)
Track 18 LeAnne Howe, I Fuck Up in Japan (excerpt)
Track 19 Nathan Brown, Condolence & Teenager & Diamond Apology &Neruda’s Garden

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Scissortail 2014: It's On!

As of 9:30 this morning, the Ninth Annual the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is under way. If you are attending the Festival and have heard something you like, please leave a comment here so that the authors and everyone else can know what you think. Just click on the comment button below to leave a comment and read the comments left by others. And if you're not attending the Festival, come on over!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome: From the Director – 2014

Ben Myers and Ken Hada (April 3, 2014)
On behalf of so many gracious volunteers, students and staff at ECU, I gladly welcome you to the 9th Annual Scissortail Festival. This year, eleven authors new to the festival join those who have returned. To all of you, and to the many audience members who celebrate creativity with us, I hope the festival is an inspiring experience. We have limitations of facilities and resources, but what we do have, we celebrate – and that is the love of the story, the need to tell and even more, the need to listen. We do it for applause, and we do it to applaud each other. During our longer and colder than usual winter just passed, I enjoyed rereading many of the authors who are on the program this year. I think this is an important exercise – to re-read the books on our shelves, to rendezvous with those who are writing those books, and to affirm the capacity to know and participate in creation.

The last line in B.H. Fairchild’s poem To My Friend captivates me: “the small darknesses we never see.” Something about this phrase sings poetry. It haunts those realities we feel, the fears and failures we sense, the joy we want to believe in. It points to the incalculable value of the creative arts. For us, authors and audience, these three days together may offer us the chance to see something that often eludes us. Together, we can at least look for it – whatever the “it” is for you at this time. Part of “it” for me is the recent loss of my favorite Uncle Max, who was one of the last links to my Hungarian ancestry, raised by my Great Grandparents Gustava and Julia, the family historian, the storyteller who knew well and paid attention to those from the “Old Country.” The last stanza of a tribute poem I wrote about Uncle Max may speak to what Fairchild imagines, and hopefully it includes you and your participation in this wonderful but all-too-short experience we live together:

See the surf – the waves beat
Against the shore but look out, look away
From this harsh moment and see
How the bay settles
Into endless beauty the way prairie grass
Flows forever in the wind
That calls us home
So I invite you to take part in as much as you can, make a friend, offer a ride, listen with good ears, laugh and love, even as we think about loss. To those who feel my use of nature is too sentimental, I leave you with one of my recent rough drafts, after thinking about Fairchild’s line and other matters, peace J

Three Days in April

Like a junkie
I keep coming back
Scissortail – I bet I’ve said or typed that word
A couple thousand times just this year alone –
It is the bird that makes me scratch
I cannot help myself
On my knees before you muttering
Hair messed up, unshaven, sleepless
All this for a fix
All my days, all my nights
Amount to nothing more than running scared
Afraid the last ecstasy will be the last
Worried sick that when I come down
Next time won’t bring me back up

Until it returns – gets me off, I float
In the freedom of language, the overdose
Of image and sound – Word.

For three days in April my itch is salved
Tripping far away and I am high
Where no bird could fly

Ken Hada

April 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014