Stillwater News Press

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March 17, 2013

Poet laureate to speak at Oklahoma State

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma Poet Laureate Nathan Brown will make a visit to Oklahoma State University April 1.

Brown, who was named the state laureate last fall, will speak at an event hosted in the OSU Student Union Theater at 7 p.m.

“I come down a long road of songwriting,” Brown said. “I’ve been a musician for many years.”

Brown said he spent time in Nashville as a songwriter and also spent time in Austin.

“I was doing the music thing full time,” he said. “I was living in Nashville working as a songwriter and touring professionally with some acts and I got a bad case of burnout.”

He moved back to Oklahoma near 2000 and became involved in a creative writing program at the University of Oklahoma, he said. His professor interested him in poetry.

“I just like poetry for all the same reasons everyone did,” Brown said. “But I just feel like there is a lot of academic high-end poetry over the last 50 years that has left a lot of people in the dust.”

He said he never cared for that type and wanted to connect more with people through his own writing.

As the poet laureate, Brown said he enjoys touring around the state as part of his two-year appointment. He said poetry used to “read like it’s a big joke and we’re not in on it.” However, the world of poetry is changing, he said.

“It’s a big thing,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of American poets leading the charge on this thing.”

Brown said he does a number of appearances through the Oklahoma Humanities Council, who sponsors him.

“It’s a lot of work, to be honest, that I’ve already been doing for many years,” he said. “A lot of it is appearing in libraries and doing readings and workshops. I do a lot of work with high schoolers going in and we have a talk about music and poetry.”

He said he’s never been busier in his life.

“It’s a wonderful deal,” he said.

Coordinator with OSU Allied Arts & Special Events Brandon Mitts said Brown will do a 40-minute talk and answer questions from people who attend. He said the event is free.

Mitts said Brown is a great fit for the speakers the university brings in on a regular basis.

“It’s the mission of the student union to bring in a variety of artists and one of OSU’s pillars of success is to broaden horizons and he, himself, lives out that mission.”

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