By Janet Taber
For anyone who is intrigued with the culture and history of the Ozarks region, next week’s visitor to the Ozark County Historium in Gainesville surely will be of interest. At 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, Dr. Phillip Howerton will be speaking about his newest publication, The Literature of the Ozarks: An Anthology.
To say that Howerton’s collection is varied might be an understatement, for some of the works included in it are selections by an Osage priest, a native-born farm wife, a Pulitzer-prize winning poet and several African-American writers. The selections span more than 200 years and are a result of extensive research carried out when Howerton was preparing his doctoral thesis at the University of Missouri–Columbia.
Actually, Dr. Howerton is no stranger to variety. Teacher, factory worker, poet, truck driver, editor – not many men can lay claim to being all of the above. But Howerton, currently professor of English at Missouri State University-West Plains, has filled all those roles in his life, and a few more as well. His wide range of life experiences have given him insight into many layers of society that make up the region that we call home.
In cooperation with Dr. Brooks Blevins at MSU–Springfield, Howerton compiled his new anthology as part of the Ozarks Studies series; Blevins spoke at the Historium last fall about the publication of his own latest volume, A History of the Ozarks: The Old Ozarks.
Howerton’s visit to the Historium will be his third; his earlier visits focused on poetry he wrote himself, including selections from his popular The History of Tree Roots. He has been invited to hold book signings in libraries in Poplar Bluff and Farmington, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and other towns in the region, as well.
Dr. Phillip Howerton’s presentation is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served, so participants are encouraged to arrive early to be assured of a chair. The Historium is on the west side of the square in downtown Gainesville. For more information, call 417-679-2400, or email [email protected]