The award-winning poet Ken Hada will kick-off Cameron University’s Visiting Writers Series on Friday with a free presentation that is open to the public.
Hada, a poet and professor at East Central University, hails from Ada where he is director of the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival. He is the author of many works including “Sunlight & Cedar,” “Not Quite Pilgrims,” “Bring an Extry Mule,” “Persimmon Sunday,” “Margaritas & Redfish,” and “The Way of the Wind.”
His ninth book, “Contour Feathers,” will be out on Oct. 1.
“We are always excited to have Ken Hada read his poetry at Cameron University,” Leah Chaffins, the series’ organizer, said. “His poetry mostly focuses on and captures the life of rural Oklahoma.”
Hada finds that the natural order of the world serves as a powerful inspiration for his writing. Much of his work is born on his back deck in rural Pottawatomie County.
His poems have been featured on the NPR program, “The Writer’s Almanac,” and his book, “Spare Parts,” received the Wrangler Award from the National Western Heritage Museum. His work has also been recognized as a finalist for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America as well as the Oklahoma Book Awards.
Hada received the 2017 South Central Modern Language Association Prize for poetry as well as the Glenda Carlile Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
“Dr. Hada’s love for writing has made him a mentor and leader in the state’s writing community,” Chaffins said. “As with all good talent, the audience often comes with requests for their favorites. I’m hoping he reads the one about being a guest somewhere and staying because he liked the biscuits.”
This isn’t Hada’s first time in Lawton. The poet said he has enjoyed the city when he has ventured through in the past.
“I have enjoyed presenting to Lawton audiences in the past, and I am really looking forward to reading at Cameron,” Hada said.
Hada’s reading will take place in the Buddy Green Room inside the McMahon Centennial Complex at Cameron University. Series’ regulars might notice that this venue is a little different from previous years, which have traditionally been held inside the CETES building at Cameron. A move that was made out of an abundance of caution in regards to being able to social distance during the ongoing pandemic, Chaffins said.
“It’s my understanding that (the move) has to do with COVID-19 and safety protocols,” Chaffins said. “We will, of course, be practicing safety protocols throughout the event.”
Poetry lovers, and the poetry adverse, are all invited to the event. In fact, people who “think” they don’t like poetry are some of Hada’s favorites to read to.
“I am always happy to make new audiences and to visit friends in the Lawton literati,” Hada said. “Especially those who may be wary of poets.”
Cameron University’s Visiting Writer’s Series is presented by the Department of Communication, English and Foreign Languages.