The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

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:

Star of Ishtar by Shirley WhiteBetty 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.

Posted at 9:37 AM to Almost Yogurt , Soonerland


Clearly I wasn't really paying attention. You have a daughter. That means you were involved with a member of my gender at some point. So you're not the putative bore that you maintain. You've been found out. Ha.

Posted by: anne at 3:29 PM on 30 January 2007

Yeah, but she's twenty-eight years old. It's been a long time.

(Actually, she has a brother twenty-five, so make that slightly less long.)

Posted by: CGHill at 5:10 PM on 30 January 2007

I have about 6 copies of the album " Moxie " which I recovered from my childhood home at the time of mother's death . My mom appeared on stage during her career with many notable artists of the late 60's and early 70's in the avante garde
field of poetry houses and stage productions such as "The life and times of Martin Luther King " or "Freedom isn't Free" to appearing live at the Lloyd Noble Arena in Norman , Oklahoma as a head-liner for Arlo Guthrie , the poet / troubador . Itwas always a experiance to live in the same house with mom and you never knew what each day would bring .
Her biased and loving son , Tom

Posted by: Thomas Carlton at 4:25 PM on 6 February 2007

Charles, Im The Guy Aero Had U Transfer The Album To Disc 4 Apologies 4 Not Thanking U B4 It Means Alot 2 Me Mom Was Truly Well Known In Counterculture Circles Of The 60s/70s Coffeehouse Rounds/ Beatnik/hippie Thanx 2 U Again 4 Ur Work On The Disc And Ur Interest In Mom She Wouldve Loved Ur Blogspot Ur Friend Bill

Posted by: bill carlton at 8:00 PM on 21 February 2007