Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Gallery of Poems from the Oregon State Fair

The Oregon State Fair runs for eleven days this year, from August 28 to September 7. From the Poetry & Popular Culture home office in Salem, you can see the Ferris wheel and hear the shouts of delighted children who've won stuffed animals and souvenir posters of Hannah Montana. At night, you can take in the demolition derbies, attend concerts by the likes Tesla or Peter Cetera, or bask in all the glory that is the Pink Floyd LaserSpectacular light show. And all day long, you can hear the celebratory siren sound whenever the Human Slingshot catapults fare-paying fair-goers into the stratosphere ($35 for one person, $50 for two).

These are the usual sights and sounds of the Fair—an event that traces its history back to 1858. They are not that different from state to state. You know them. I know them. But if you look a little closer—past the cotton-candy veneer and impossible ring tosses, past the corn dogs and funnel cakes, past the over-the-hill performers in stretch jeans and past pen after pen of disgruntled 4-H or FFA livestock waiting to be shown and sent to the local meat locker—you'll find a different side of the Fair. An unexpected side. A long-running but barely-mentioned tradition. It's on the walls, and it's under your feet. It's on stickers, souvenirs, and cross-stitchings.

It's poetry, and P&PC is happy to bring you a gallery of some of this year's finest.

1. 22 Years of Oregon State Fair Poetry....

2. ....and people still stop to read the poems.

3. For the critic in the crowd....

4. ...and for the weary of foot.

5. Poet Steven Robert Heine....

6. ....and the award he sponsors.

7. Glenn Knight and his sonnets....

8. ....and Jessie Turner with Moat the Goat Tries to Vote.

9. The curious....

10. ....and the cross-stitched.

11. Where Poetry & Popular Culture spent most of its time.


Annie Finch said...

Great stuff Mike--
I love the poem with "best of show" attached & the blue ribbon.
this is food 4 the soul--

Unknown said...

we don't work out our abs we ooze out our flab.