Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

February 4, 2011

Zonta Club welcomes Texas poet laureate

Public invited to luncheon event

A special guest will arrive in Cleburne on Wednesday. Karla K. Morton, Texas poet laureate, will read to Cleburne High School students in an event hosted by the Zonta Club of Johnson County.

The public is invited to a luncheon to honor Morton at 11:45 a.m. at the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce, 1511 W. Henderson St. Space is limited and admission is one new or used children’s book per person. Books will be donated to the Rainbow Room.

To RSVP for the luncheon, call 817-202-1110.

Morton is the first female Texas poet laureate in almost 20 years. She created the Little Town, Texas Tour.

“The title of Texas Poet Laureate is one that comes without funding at all from the state,” Morton said. “Because of that, each laureate decides what it is they like to do as laureate. Even though the title is a lifetime title, they do name one each year. In your first year, that’s the extraordinary year.”

As part of the tour, she has traveled across the state, sharing her poetry and love for the arts with high schools, universities, arts organizations, bookstores, conference attendees and more.

“What I’m doing is traveling to schools and universities and civic groups ... as many places as I can get to, making a special focus to stop at many secondary schools I can,” she said. “I have about an hour presentation that I do with the kids, talking about their hopes and dreams and not giving up, the importance of not giving up and the importance of a college education. Knowing the schools have no budget, I request the only thing they do is host and judge a poetry and art contest.”

Morton said she is writing a poem about each town she visits and will include the winning poems and art pieces in a book she plans to publish.

“In negotiations with TCU Press to get that book published,” she said, “so it’s going to be a big book.”

Morton said she is not a stranger to Cleburne, having grown up in Rendon. She graduated from Mansfield High School and holds a journalism degree from Texas A&M University. She now resides in Denton, with her two children and husband.

Morton has been featured on Good Morning Texas, NPR, ABC News, The Art of Living Gallery (national show on Veria TV) and in the Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Denton Record-Chronicle, Fort Worth Business Press and Panache Magazine.

She is the author of “Wee Cowrin’ Timorous Beastie” (a North Texas Book Festival Awards Finalist), “Becoming Superman,” “Stirring Goldfish and Redefining Beauty” — a poetry collection written during her journey through cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. She has also written several books to be published in 2010, including “Names We’ve Never Known” and “Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems” (part of the TCU Press Poet Laureate series), and her poetry has been widely published in literary journals.

Morton loves to promote poetry and serves as a board member of the Greater Denton Arts Council, a founding member and board member of the Denton Poets’ Assembly (part of the Poetry Society of Texas) and as a member of the Western Writers of America, the Writer’s League of Texas and the Academy of American Poets. In her role as 2010 Texas State Poet Laureate, she has created a Little Town, Texas Tour, taking poetry and the arts into schools across Texas, focusing particularly on small towns underserved by the arts. She has logged thousands of miles across Texas already, speaking and reading her work at such venues as schools, universities, bookstores, VA centers, libraries, festivals, fundraising events, conferences, conventions and cancer support groups.

For more information, visit www.kkmorton.com or www.facebook.com/karlakmorton.

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