Close Encounters of the Cultural Kind – A new OCCC series

Join us for the first performance, "An Evening of Poetry"

    (Published: 10-5-17)

Oklahoma Poet Laureate Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Ph.D. and Slam Poetry Champion Lauren Zuniga

Oklahoma City Community College’s (OCCC) Cultural Programs Office introduces a new series – “Close Encounters of the Cultural Kind,” a cultural experience in the intimate setting of the college’s Bruce Owen Theater. The first performance piece in the series, “An Evening of Poetry,” hosts Oklahoma Poet Laureate Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Ph.D. and Slam Poetry Champion Lauren Zuniga Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. 

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish populates her poems and essays with place and grit, tragedy and longing, and a love for Oklahoma's hot summer wind. Mish is Oklahoma's poet laureate for 2017-18, an honor bestowed on just 21 Oklahomans since designation of the first poet laureate, Violet McDougal, in 1923. Mish says she finds herself influenced foremost by working Oklahomans, whose ties to the land are intrinsic to their toil, and by the blue of the sky and smell of the earth.

Of Creek/Irish/Finnish/Okie descent, Lauren Zuniga has performed poems and facilitated workshops in hundreds of universities across the country. She has performed in churches, prisons, coffee shops and as the opening act for several headliners. Zuniga has represented Oklahoma City in 13 national and international level poetry slams including three Top Ten finishes and the fifth ranked poet at the 2012 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She believes in the power of naming things and making up words, and that poems should be easy to get to so everyone can find them when they need them most. 

Tickets are $15 each and available at and the OCCC Cultural Programs box office at 405-682-7579. The performance is geared toward mature audiences of 17 years and older. For more information for this performance and others, visit

OCCC enrolls more than 20,000 students annually. The college is currently the largest adult basic education provider in the state. OCCC offers a full range of associate degree programs that prepare students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions while other degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment. At OCCC, students receive a quality education with small class sizes, dedicated professors and leadership opportunities. Students can choose from more than 60 major fields of study and participate in any of the 40+ clubs and organizations. For more information about OCCC, visit