Getting away from the city, on open land and under the huge sky, where cattle ranching is done, is rare for many Omahans. But read poems by J.V. Brummels and you might feel like you are there. Better yet, see him read his poetry in person tonight in Omaha.
The new Backwaters Press reading series has its second event beginning at 7 p.m. today and features Brummels, a Nebraskan known for his cowboy poetry, Marjorie Saiser, and Rick Marlatt. The event is at the Shelterbelt Theater near 32nd and California streets.
Brummels is a native Nebraskan who has written and studied poetry in Nebraska. Some work of his available online (see a poem, "Fine Arts," at his Backwaters Press page at www.thebackwaterspress.org/ourauthors/j-v-brummels/) is more free verse than the rhyming, structured verse of traditional cowboy poetry. Jazz is a focus of "Fine Arts," in contrast with traditional cowboy poetry which seems to focus such topics as drinking, rodeo, and a cowboy's work.
Brummels' books include "Cheyenne Line and Other Poems" published by Backwaters Press. His "Book of Grass" won the 2008 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry according to the Backwaters Press. Brummels also works for Logan House Press (www.loganhousepress.com/staff/), teaches at Wayne State University, and has run a business related to ranching. He has won a literary fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and published poems in many literary journals including Prairie Schooner. His fiction has appeared in Rolling Stone.
Saiser (www.poetmarge.com) has won several Nebraska Book Awards. With a master of arts in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her work as appeared in Prairie Schooner and at Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. Besides books of poems published by Backwaters Press, she also has edited two books there.
Marlatt (www.rickmarlatt.com/), who has had his criticism published by the New York Times and poetry in the New York Quarterly, is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.