By Robert Laurence
Pamela Sue Hitchcock is dedicated to poetry. Not to her own poems in particular. Not particularly to the great poets of the past; nor to those of today. Not particularly to writers in English, nor to those who write in other tongues, nor to the translators. Not particularly to the writers of sonnets nor limericks nor haikus. She is dedicated to the concept, the idea, to the existence of poetry itself. “Capital P” poetry she calls it.
Pamela Sue Hitchcock will be the Featured Writer at the July meeting of the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective. 7:00 pm, Tuesday, July 29th at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. There is no charge for the event and the public is invited. Refreshments (and words) are available for purchase.
Hitchcock is a native of eastern Oklahoma and a member of the Cherokee Tribe. She was educated at Tahlequah High School and received a B.A. in English from Northeastern State University. That was some years ago and now, in a way, she begins again, pursuing a second B.A., this time in German, from the University of Arkansas, with a lengthy study time in Göttingen. In between, she raised a son – now a 24-year-old musician – and has worked at a variety of jobs – just now as an overnight stocker at Walmart. And throughout this journey, she has written and read poetry. (Translation?, I ask. “Maybe,” she says. “Later.” Which way?, I wonder. “English to German is impossible; German to English is nearly impossible.” She has great respect for the translators she knows.)
Hitchcock’s poetry is narrative, with what she calls an instinctual internal rhyme. She often writes about her childhood (though never about her son’s childhood) but, she says, these are not really memory poems. The poem, in fact, often takes over the memory and becomes more real than the event described, leaving an image that sticks in the reader’s head. For example, in “My Uncle Who Laughed,” Hitchcock writes, “My uncle called it the fearless wheel./When he rocked the seat,/everyone screamed – my mother/from the ground, the man/who clicked the bar, who clicked/the gear, who stopped the wheel/but couldn’t stop our seat –/ we all screamed, but my uncle/who laughed rocked the seat.”
Shy, self-deprecating about her person and non-promotional about her work, Hitchcock lights up when talking about the idea of poetry. She was once shown an essay about devoting one’s life to that idea, and she took the pledge. Capital P poetry. And Pamela Sue Hitchcock will be putting that on display, July 29th, 7:00 pm at Nightbird. Her hand-sewn chapbook “Shut Up Damn Moon” will be on display as well, for inspection and purchase. Before and after her reading, there will be an open microphone, where members of the community are invited to share four minutes of poetry or prose with a friendly and encouraging audience. A reminder: OPWC does not censor, the language can be rough at times, and the topics are often adult. Please join us.