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Accomplished poets Jeanetta Calhoun Mish and George Bilgere headline a lengthy list of outstanding writers as East Central University conducts the Annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 5-7, on the ECU campus.

Mish and Bilgere are two of 58 writers who will be making presentations at the three-day event.

For more information on the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival or questions about group attendance, contact Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557 or at

Here are bios on the two featured speakers:


Mish, 2017-18 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate, has authored several books, most recently What I Learned at the War, a poetry collection (West End Press, 2016) and Oklahomeland: Essays (Lamar University Press, 2015). Her 2009 poetry collection, Work Is Love Made Visible (West End Press) won an Oklahoma Book Award, a Wrangler Award and the WILLA Award from Women Writing in the West.

She has published poetry in This Land, Naugatuck River Review, Concho River Review, LABOR: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, World Literature Today, San Pedro River Review, About Place Journal, The Fiddleback and Yellow Medicine Journal, among others.

Essays and short fiction have appeared in Oklahoma Today, Sugar Mule, Crosstimbers, Red Dirt Chronicles, Cybersoleil and The Emily Dickinson Society International Bulletin’s essay series, “Poet to Poet.”

Mish’s anthology publications include poems in Returning the Gift and the Colour of Resistance as well as the introductory essay for Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing.

She is editor of Mongrel Empire Press which was recognized as 2012 Publisher of the Year by the Woodcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

Mish also serves as contributing editor for World Literature Today, Oklahoma Today and Sugar Mule: A Literary Journal. She is also editor of Mongrel Empire Press while also serving on the board of OKC LitFest and Returning the Gift Indigenous Writers Festival.

She is director of the Red Earth Creative Writing MFA at Oklahoma City University where she also serves as advisor to Red Earth Review and as faculty mentor in writing, pedagogy, professional writing and the craft of poetry.


Bilgere, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, has published seven collections of poetry, including most recently, Blood Pages (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Others include: Imperial (2014); The White Museum (2010), which was awarded the Autumn House Poetry Prize; Haywire (2006), which earned a May Swenson Poetry Award and the Good Kiss (2002), which was selected by Billy Collins to win the University of Akron Poetry Award.

He has won numerous awards, including the Midland Authors Award and a Pushcart Prize. Bilgere has received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Fullbright Commission and Ohio Arts Council.

Bilgere’s poetry, residing firmly in the everyday world of janitors, college students or siblings, is noted for its controlled poignancy and limpid free-verse line. Collins described him as “a welcome breath of fresh American air.” His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Fulcrum and the Best American Poetry series.

He teaches creative writing at John Carroll University. Bilgere grew up in Riverside, California and earned his B.A. at the University of California-Riverside. He received his M.A. in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and earned a Ph.D. in contemporary British and American poetry from the University of Denver in 1988.

He has received grants in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Ohio Arts Council. In 1991, Bilgere was a Fullbright Scholar in Bilbao, Spain. In 2002, he was named a Witter Bynner Fellow through the Library of Congress by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, who called Bilgere’s work “a welcome breath of fresh, American air in the house of contemporary poetry.”


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