29 January 2007
The Carlton papers
We've now gotten to the point where seemingly everyone on earth is Google-able, and we don't think anything of it until we discover someone who isn't and that goes double if it seems like that someone really ought to be. This past weekend's project was the transfer from LP to CD of an album by Betty Carlton. And who exactly is Betty Carlton? Here's what the liner notes said:
Betty Carlton, Oklahoma's Poet, was born in Ada, Oklahoma and attended East Central University. She is widely known throughout the Southwest for her prize-winning poetry. Her latest award was a national contest in which her entry, "Gramarye," won first place in [a] field of over 5,000 entries.
She has been nominated for the Poet Laureateship of the State of Oklahoma.
She is the first woman ever to teach in an all-male prison in the Oklahoma Correctional System. Her successful creative writing class has opened doors for other women to teach in all-male prisons in the stste.
She is a legal expert on drugs and does extensive rehabilitative work with women alcoholics and drug addicts.
Her poetry ranges from street poetry to mysticism, making it possible for any audience to identify with and enthusiastically welcome her performances.
She is a member of the Oklahoma Poetry Society, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and is listed in the International Who's Who in Poetry in London, England.
The album, titled Moxie, was cut in 1976 for the Val-West label in Albuquerque. (The illustration above is the Star of Ishtar by Shirley White, which serves as cover art.) I couldn't tell you how many copies were pressed a hundred, maybe? but apparently only two are known to survive, and one of them was brought to me for transfer. "Gramarye," one assumes, is her Greatest Hit these days, we spell the word "Grimoire" and it leans hard against the "mysticism" edge of her range; rather than transcribe it here, I'll let you hear it for yourself.
And maybe, just maybe, someone will remember, and will fill in some of the blanks.