ECU professor publishes ninth collection of poetry

Dr. Ken Hada, an English professor at East Central University, has just published his ninth collection of original poetry titled Contour Feathers.


Contour Feathers by Ken Hada

ADA – Dr. Ken Hada, an English professor at East Central University, has just published his ninth collection of original poetry titled Contour Feathers.

Hada is a well-known and award-winning poet, particularly on the Southern Plains, and has been publishing his collected poetry in book form since 2008. Five of his previous eight poetry collections were selected as finalists for an Oklahoma Book Award, an honor determined by the state’s Department of Libraries.

Contour Feathers continues in the vein of some of his earlier work in that the “voice” in the poems is seeking order and/or wisdom from the natural world. This collection is divided into six subsections, with each focusing on a common theme. The book covers a wide variety of themes, but most all of it is about connecting to – and holding onto – a rhythm in life.

“Each collection is new and this one, like each of the previous books, has a personality all its own, as readers will discover,” Hada said. “These are all new poems, and most were written in the last 24 months. I write regularly, often in spurts of creative energy that last several poems at a time and for several days on end. When I see a collection starting to come together, I know it’s time to start organizing it.”

Hada is a tenured professor in the English and Languages department and has taught at ECU since 2000. He is the founder and director of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, a popular event that brings authors and poets from around the country to the ECU campus each spring.

“I write a lot professionally – interpretive and critical reviews, that kind of thing,” Hada said. “Poetry allows me to make something and to channel life’s questions into forms and to reflect its moods. It’s therapeutic in one sense of the word. Also, I’m aware now that I’m writing for a public, which will read it and do what it wants with it. Once something is published, it takes on a life of its own and in some ways it’s not really mine any longer.”

Published at the end of summer by Turning Plow Press, Contour Feathers was immediately met with praise from fellow poets.

“The poems seem effortless, but they are effortless in the way a lilac flowering is effortless, or goodness in John Lewis is effortless, or the way the work of a nuthatch is effortless,” said Darrell Bourque, Louisiana’s Poet Laureate (2007-2011). “Grounded in vision and rooted in the mystical, Hada’s works are translations of the miraculous all around us. I find myself here in the company of Rilke, Basho, Clifton, Rumi.”

Earlier this month, Hada read poems from Contour Feathers at the Ozarks Studies Symposium for Missouri State University. In October, he is scheduled to read at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa.

“I don’t always know what a poem should be nor when it is finished, but I know what a poem is not and when the writing is not finished,” Hada said. “The development of this artistic awareness is one of the best things that has happened to me over the years.”

Much of Hada’s poetry is formed on his back deck in rural Pottawatomie County. His work has been recognized by the Western Writers of America, the National Western Heritage Museum, the South Central Modern Language Association and the Oklahoma Center for the Book. He has been featured in The Writer’s Almanac and in other digital formats.

For more information about Contour Feathers, please visit