Poet Sandy Longhorn of Conway will be the feature for the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective (OPWC) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Readings are held the last Tuesday of each month at Nightbird Books, 205 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. Longhorn will begin reading after a few attendees share their work via the open mic.
Longhorn is no stranger to Fayetteville. She is a graduate of the MFA writing program at the University of Arkansas (1999-2003). Longhorn frequented OPWC events, often held at the now defunct Gaylord’s. She has three books to her credit. That may be, in part anyway, the result of her approach to writing.
“Typically, I write on a regular time schedule,” Longhorn said. “I do not believe in waiting for inspiration … writing poetry is like practicing any instrument or yoga or sport. You have to exercise and keep all of your muscles in shape.”
So what does her writing schedule look like? On a summer day, when she’s free from teaching duties, she writes five to six hours. During the academic school year, she sets aside Mondays and Fridays to write. Sometimes, she’ll do writing prompts “to get limber,” she said. Once she’s in the groove of it all, “lines just begin to suggest themselves.”
Longhorn is the 2016 recipient of the Porter Fund Literary Prize. Her most recent collection, The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, won the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press. Her other books are The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths and Blood Almanac. Her poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, diode, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, The Southeast Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and in many more literary journals and anthologies. In addition to the MFA, Longhorn holds a B.A. in English from the College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, Minn.) She teaches in the Arkansas Writers MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), where she directs The C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference. She’s organizing this first-ever conference, which will be held Nov. 3-4 at UCA.
“There have been a lot of numbers come out about how many more men are published than women, and we began brainstorming at UCA and we decided to have a Women’s Writers Conference to network and share their experiences,” Longhorn said.
She added that Wright passed away about the time they were brainstorming and “her husband was gracious and let us name the conference after her.”
In addition, Longhorn blogs on her website, Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty. Prior to joining UCA as an assistant professor in the fall of 2015, Longhorn spent a decade teaching composition at Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock.
“I am mostly a free verse poet and I pay most attention to image and sound,” Longhorn said.
An Exerpt from “The Tonnage of a Toxic Secret” by Sandy Langhorn:
“Am I to be cursed with a curdled tongue
for the length of this luminous season,
with words that lap and lean, snap
at the prospect of the bridal?”