Norma and Jerry Wilson will be featured at the Second Sunday Poetry Reading in the Noman Depot, 200 S. Jones, on Sunday, December 8 at 2:00 pm, reading from recent work. All are welcome. There is no admission charge.
Norma and Jerry met as graduate students in English at the University of Oklahoma. They married in 1973, taught at O.U. and at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, and completed Ph.D.s in American Literature at O.U.—Jerry with a dissertation on Steinbeck’s novels and Norma with a dissertation on Native American Poetry. Norma’s first book of poetry, Wild Iris, was published by Point Riders Press in 1978.
The Wilson’s moved to Vermillion in 1978 to teach at the University of South Dakota, built a geo-solar house on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River Valley in 1982, and moved there with their children, Walter and Laura. They are caretakers of 140 acres of woods and native prairie surrounding the home where they live and write.
Norma was born and grew up in Clarksville Tennessee. At USD, she taught a variety of courses in literature and writing, while specializing in Native American Literature. Her book The Nature of Native American Poetry was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2001. Since her retirement in 2005 as USD Professor Emeritus, she has devoted herself to writing poetry. Recent poems have appeared in Paddlefish, Caduceus, South Dakota Review, and the anthologies Travelin’ Music and Elegant Rage—poetic tributes to Woody Guthrie. With artist Nancy Losacker, Norma received a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council for their collaborative exhibit of visual art and poetry, “Rivers, Wings and Sky.”
After three years at USD, Jerry taught English and journalism at Mount Marty College in nearby Yankton, SD, then worked as managing editor of South Dakota Magazine. He is the author of three books: American Artery is a travel book down the 5,000-mile Pan American Highway from Canada to Panama. Waiting for Coyote’s Call is an environmental memoir of life on the Missouri River bluff. Blackjacks and Blue Devils, published by Norman’s Mongrel Empire Press in 2011, is a collection of short stories set mostly in Jerry’s native Oklahoma. He will read a story from this collection at the Depot.
Second Sunday Poetry is a program of the Performing Arts Studio hosted by Oklahoma Book Award winner and former Oklahoma Poet Laureate Carl Sennhenn. For further information about this and other PAS programs, phone 405-307-9320.