Dave gave a very sucessful reading to appreciative Aggies....
Tell us about the birth of your book. How did it get into this world?
Through the good graces of Alamo Bay Press. The book itself is about whatever moved me at the time I was writing it, my wife frequently, but also books that I had read—one entitled Lone Star Stalag—people I knew or had known, scenes that I saw, artwork that I came across, and music I heard.
Do you write every day to a schedule, or do you write in bursts and sprees?
Bursts and sprees, although when I wrote KD a Jazz Biography I would write for a long spurts.
Give us an idea of your writing method. First draft by hand or by computer? Do you outline or improvise?
On some pieces I write by hand, but in others I begin on the computer. New York Jewish poet Louis Zukofsky taught me to structure my poems according to word count, although I do not always use that approach. I like to try different forms. William Carlos Williams was one of my first influences and continues to inspire me.
What are your four or five (or ten) favorite books?
Moby Dick, Troilus and Criseyde and the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Don Quijote, Song of Myself of Whitman, William Carlos Williams’ poetry and In the American Grain, Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Hart Crane’s The Bridge, Louis Zukofsky’s A, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear, Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, and Beowulf.
If you could be any character in a work of literature, who would you be?
Gavin Stevens, the lawyer in several Faulkner novels, especially Intruder in the Dust and Light in August.
We're interested in your next creative endeavor—would you like to share some information about it?
I’m typing up my travel journals, revising them, and adding material that I intended to write but in the midst of the travels to the East Coast, Spain, England, Scotland, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico I did not always have time to do so. I have thought to title the material Travels of a Texas Poet, but it may be too long and I would then include only my various trips to Chile and call it A Texas Poet in Chile.
Alamo Bay Press is very proud to release The Cowtown Circle, Dave Oliphant’s 13th book of poetry.
The poems in The Cowtown Circle are diverse and wide-ranging, dealing with nature, topical issues, and the imprisonment of captured WWII German soldiers in Hearne, Texas, to a section of María Poems (a series devoted to Dave’s wife, begun in 1976) and to sections on grandchildren and a visit to New York City, on music (classical, jazz, and Indian), and on U.S. Presidents. The title of the book refers to a group of modernist artists active in Ft. Worth, Texas (a city known as "cowtown" for its stockyards), during the Second World War.
Dave says he was influenced by many things during the writing of the book. “Whatever moved me at the time, my wife frequently, but also books that I had read—one entitled Lone Star Stalag—people I knew or had known, scenes that I saw, artwork that I came across, and music I heard…The title poem on artists in the city where I was born demonstrates the source for writing in one’s own environment, and the poems on my wife illustrate how the nearest source can be at home.”
Dave Oliphant taught and/or edited a scholarly journal at the University of Texas at Austin from 1976 to 2006. A member of the Texas Institute of Letters, he won the TIL's 2011 Soeurette Diehl Fraser book translation award for his version of Chilean poet Nicanor Parra's Discursos de sobremesa (as After-Dinner Declarations). A second edition of his translation of a collection of poems by Chilean Enrique Lihn, entitled Figures of Speech, is forthcoming in 2015 from Host Publications. His series of poems entitled Memories of Texas Towns & Cities (begun in 1975 and completed in 2000) includes a 140-page poem on Austin that Michael King reported in The Texas Observer "takes its place. . . as a long poem in a modernist mode which makes an enduring contribution to the literature of its place, time, and country. And that's a great deal for any city to be proud of."
The Cowtown Circle
by Dave Oliphant
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