Carl SennhennTwo time Oklahoma Book Award Winner Carl Sennhenn will read from his work at the Second Sunday Poetry Reading in the Norman Depot, 200 S. Jones, on June 9. Light refreshments will be served at the free reading which begins at 2:00 pm.

Sennhenn was given the 2013 award for his fourth book of poetry, Nocturnes and Sometimes, Even I, at the 24th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards program held on Saturday, April 13. His Travels Through Enchanted Woods received the 2007 Oklahoma Book Award. Sennhenn was Oklahoma Poet Laureate for 2001 and 2002.

Benjamin Myers, 2011 Book Award winner, calls Sennhenn “an elder statesman of Oklahoma poetry,” and of his work says “Here is a feast of memory in the tradition of Proust, yet Carl Sennhenn ‘refuses to resemble anything but Carl,’ boldly delicate and as casually elegant as a Bill Evans number. By turns confessional and coy, these poems make a lovely music from longing and stillness. Carl Sennhenn’s lyrical sensibilities and carefully honed craftsmanship make this book both delightful and poignant.”

“Sennhenn’s work reveals the ‘true voice’ of a poet and the vulnerability that is essential if poetry is to touch the reader’s heart. ...I am privileged to present this work of art.” says Dorothy Alexander, Editor, Village Books Press.

In retirement after more than fifty years as a professor of English and Humanities at Rose State College, Sennhenn teaches creative writing for senior adults through Rose State and gives workshops locally and nationally. He has been taking drawing classes since retirement and enjoys spending leisure time traveling in Ireland, France, Belgium and Netherlands. He is at work on his next book and says “Retirement is great for poets!”

Born in Baltimore, Sennhenn has called Oklahoma home since 1951. He has served as host of Second Sunday Poetry at the Performing Arts Studio for more than ten years.

The Oklahoma Book award event is sponsored each year by the Oklahoma Center for the Book in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. The awards recognize books written the previous year by Oklahomans or about Oklahoma.

 

Sometimes, Even I

sometimes, even I
tip toe into poems
when too self-conscious
to call attention to Self
I come to see what I have to say and when
too shy to step forward
I have become he, sometimes even
she if unwilling to sing
of love in my true voice. Then
when conflicted, I have even retreated
to hide behind they

sometimes poems will reveal
a self as if standing door-framed
to be measured: how much
-- or, perhaps, if -- one has grown
at all since last season’s
prose benighted lines

yes, sometimes I may
steal into a poem
see what I have shared
then slip quietly behind
you, hoping to hear
your sigh-approving
Yes
                   Carl Sennhenn