"Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains"

Sep 5, 2013

On this edition of ST, we speak with Susan Kates, an associate professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who tells us about her new book, an autobiographical collection of essays called "Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains." Born and raised in Ohio, Kates now considers herself an Oklahoman --- she's been teaching at OU for the past two decades or so --- and this book quite deliberately traces her development from immigrant to native. Kates has clearly come to appreciate the landscape, history, culture, and people of the Sooner State, and we as readers can see that appreciation in all of the essays comprising this book. "Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains" is a far-ranging gathering of portraits and profiles wherein we meet a host of contemporary (and invariably interesting) Oklahoma women, several of whom Kates has known for many years: from a casino worker and a preschool teacher to pioneer queens from the Panhandle, smalltown roller-derby skaters, and a Vietnamese "boat person" who now runs a successful business in Oklahoma City. (You can read a detailed "bio" for Professor Kates here.) Also on today's show, we welcome a new commentator, Terry Simonson, a writer and attorney based in Tulsa. Simonson formerly served as Mayor Dewey Bartlett's chief of staff and has long been active in local politics. His debut commentary considers the proposed capital-improvements package known as "Improve Our Tulsa," which will be on the ballot this fall.