Friday, July 20, 2007

Momaday New State Poet Laureate

Gov. Brad Henry recently appointed Lawton native N. Scott Momaday as state poet laureate, and the author now has a home in Oklahoma City.

The author won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his novel, House Made of Dawn, and he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Arizona. He was born in Lawton, lived on the Kiowa Indian Reservation before he moved to Arizona, and later obtained a Ph.D.

He is perhaps best known for his work, The Way to Rainy Mountain. In the introduction to the book, Momaday describes an Oklahoma landscape.

He writes, “A single knoll rises out of the plain in Oklahoma, north and west of the Wichita Range. For my people, the Kiowas, it is an old landmark, and they gave it the name Rainy Mountain. The hardest weather in the world is there. Winter brings blizzards, hot tornadic winds arise in the spring, and in summer the prairie is an anvil's edge. The grass turns brittle and brown, and it cracks beneath your feet.”

Yet the landscape created by these harsh conditions is surprisingly creative and productive.

“All things in the plain are isolate; there is no confusion of objects in the eye, but one hill or one tree or one man. To look upon that landscape in the early morning, with the sun at your back, is to lose the sense of proportion. Your imagination comes to life, and this, you think, is where Creation was begun.”