Raider Reads : Dr. Britton’s poetry book a sober read

By Bryan Mangieri


To the delight of the 15th Street News, we introduce the Book of the Month Club.  This edition we bring to light the literature of RSC’s president, Dr. Terry Britton.

Britton’s slim volume of poetry, “Along the Washita”, focuses on the life of Oklahomans in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and it does so in such a way characters’ perspectives and motives remind the audience not to mistake nostalgia for history. The overall message is sobering, at times to the point of brutality. And it’s nearly impossible to finish the work in one dose.

However, that’s no reason to skip this collection. “Along the Washita” challenges the reader to reflect upon each piece, as if they should meditate on the hardships of these lost souls, presented as practical as psalms. In all actuality, the structure within lets the words deliver themselves with an emotional wallop not soon to be forgotten.

Dr. Terry Britton shows off his book of poetry, "Along the Washita." Photo by Josi Weaver

Dr. Terry Britton shows off his book of poetry, “Along the Washita.” Photo by Josi Weaver

For example, the poem entitled “Bronc’s Girl: May 1945” brings the reader down to their knees in despair when they discover in the last line the “girl” falls victim to sexual abuse. The poet describes the tragedy in the word “ambivalence.”

In the details, the poet discovers how to deliver straight to hell and back again. There is no redemption to be found for Nehi, Hootie, Booger, Bronc and Red in their tales of boozing, womanizing and abusing.

A prodigal song recounts the second part of the work, aptly titled “Along the Washita and Beyond.” The narrative switches from third to first person where the narrative compares then to now. Oddly enough the speaker seems to yearn for the past he fought so hard to escape.

If Britton’s youth was as harsh as what we find in “Along the Washita”, then he saw his share of hardships. Perhaps the lesson the reader should take is to know when to remember the past and to know when to let go.

Now dear readers we ask for your suggestions for the next Book of the Month. As always, keep it in the RSC family, and send us your e-mails.

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