What is the difference between poetry and verse?

Musings on poetry read and attempted, and teachers long gone.



My favorite teacher at Coffeyville Community College was J. Henry Hedley. In a literature class he asked us, in the Socratic method, “What’s the difference between poetry and verse?”

We looked at him with blank faces. We were too cool to frown in ignorance.

“Anyone can write verse,” he explained. “Only a poet can write poetry.”

We nodded knowingly. At that age and in that time we were very wise and oh-so-cultured. We were especially fond of the poet Rod McKuen. A boyfriend gave me a book of poetry by Carl
Sandburg, “Honey and Salt.” We gave one another poetry books back then. It was a long time ago.

Now, I read my horoscope more fervently than I read poetry. In honor of National Poetry Month I am revisiting my love of poetry.

I’ll pull out copies of Billy Collins books with poems such as “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House.” I’ll reread the Mary Oliver poem “Wild Geese” that reminds us,

 

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert
repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal
of your body
love what it loves.”

 

I’ll read haiku and Emily Dickinson. Because they’re short and suitable for my 8-second attention span, similar to that of a goldfish.

My favorite book of poetry these days is the funny children’s book “I’m Just No Good at Rhyming.”

I thought about dabbling with the didactic cinquain form of poetry, five lines playfully using adjectives, gerunds and nouns:

 

“Snow
Silent, white
Dancing, falling, drifting,
Covering everything it touches
Blanket.”

 

But I got distracted and remembered the funny free verse of e.e. cummings:

 

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.”

 

Wasn’t it Robert Frost who said writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down?

That reminded me of the fierce free verse of Sherman Alexie, especially in his new memoir about his mother’s death in “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” and I wandered off to look for that book in my library.

There I found Dorothy Parker’s sharp-as-a-blade doggerel,

 

“Higgledy Piggledy, my white hen
She lays eggs for gentle men
You cannot persuade her with gun and lariat
She will not come across for the proletariat.”

 

Stuck in one of the books as a bookmark was a thank-you note I got from Lily, the 16-year-old who lives across the street. She thanked me for a Christmas gift, but more importantly, she wrote this:

“Also, thank you for encouraging me to finish ‘Jane Eyre.’ I ended up loving the book! The ending was wonderful! Probably my favorite school book I’ve read.”

What a triumph! (Lily encourages me to use exclamation marks.) Does this elevate me to the status of teacher? Oh, wait. I remember when I taught journalism writing at the University of Tulsa and went to class one day to find this note on my podium: “Dear Ms. Cronley. The reason I didn’t come to class today was because I’m depressed already.”

I’ll look forward to the first full week of May, which is Teacher Appreciation Week, but for now I’ll celebrate National Poetry Month in honor of Mr. Hedley with this composition of my own. It’s a verse, not a poem.    

 

“I loved you for what you were.
Or what I thought you were.
Or what you thought you were.
Boy, were we wrong.

“Now when I dream of you
I know it’s a sign
That I’m coming down with something —
A virus or a migraine.” 

 

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May 2019

Vintage Market Days® is an upscale vintage and vintage-inspired indoor/outdoor market featuring original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings,...

Cost: Friday $10, Saturday & Sunday $5

Where:
Creek County Fairgrounds
17808 W Hwy 66
Kellyville, OK  74039
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Sponsor: Vintage Market Days of Tulsa
Telephone: (918) 527-1247
Contact Name: VMD Tulsa
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Inner Circle is holding an Art Market featuring local Tulsa artists and makers. Come by for awesome art, local music, delicious drinks all on the largest patio downtown. Come check out our new...

Cost: FREE ADMISSION

Where:
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 North Main St., Ste. A
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Inner Circle Vodka Bar
Contact Name: Trina Thompson
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Shop local for your wedding! Visit with over 50 independently owned, Oklahoma wedding vendors in one venue. Find dresses, caterers, cakes, planners, and more! Be inspired by the decor and details.

Cost: 10

Where:
The Bond
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Cost: 0.00

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n/a
, OK


Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoman
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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PH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
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818 E 3rd St
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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n/a
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Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoman
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Join us for Revitalize T-Town's Annual Golf Tournament on May 13, 2019. All proceeds will help provide free home repairs for low-income homeowners. Information on Sponsorships and teams will be...

Cost: TBD

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Revitalize T-Town
Telephone: 918-742-6241
Contact Name: Aimee Mehl
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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Magi 4 Christ Campers meet each Monday at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. At 4241 S. 37th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK. 74107.  We are a Christian group of camping enthusiasts. We are family friendly. Meeting...

Cost: Donations only

Where:
Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

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Hodges Bend
823 E 3rd St
Tulsa
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8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
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116 S Elgin Ave
Tulsa
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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n/a
, OK


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Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa
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BOK Center
200 S Denver Ave
Tulsa
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Cain's Ballroom
423 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Lefty's On Greenwood
10 N Greenwood
Tulsa
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303 N MLK Jr Blvd
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1742 E 6th St
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224 N Main St
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Antoinette Baking Co. will throw its annual cobbler party with pairing from Heirloom Rustic Ales.

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Heirloom Rustic Ales
2113 E Admiral Blvd
Tulsa, OK
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Reds Bar
325 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK
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n/a
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Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
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Loony Bin
6808 S Memorial Dr
Tulsa, OK
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The Venue Shrine
112 E 18th St
Tulsa
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The Coffee House on Cherry Street
1502 E 15th St
Tulsa
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Centennial Lounge at VFW 577
1109 E 6th St
Tulsa, OK
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Rabbit Hole Improv
1526 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
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Hard Rock Casino - Track 5.
777 W Cherokee St
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Duet
108 N Detroit Ave
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Cain's Ballroom
423 N Main St
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3508 S Sheridan Rd
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300 Riverwalk Terrace
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5 S Boston Ave
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Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
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Gypsy Coffee House
303 MLK Jr Blvd
Tulsa, OK
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Philip Roth biographer Blake Bailey will speak at this celebration of the 50th anniversary of Portnoy's Complaint.

Where:
Magic City Books
221 E Archer St
Tulsa, OK
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

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Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

The Champions of Health awards recognize those who make a difference in the health of Oklahomans. Winners in select categories will receive $5,000 for their organization or program, and will be...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
n/a
, OK


Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoman
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

More information

Explore various moments in time as captured by PHOTOG, Photographers of Tulsa Oklahoma Group. The exhibit opening reception is 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1. The exhibit is open through May 30. Call...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

The Bixby Metro Chamber's Thirteenth Annual Taste of Bixby presented by Clayton Constien Insurance Agency, Doc's Country Mart, Hillcrest Hospital South and Woodlake Church is the networking event...

Cost: $7-$25

Where:
Charley Young Event Park
50 West Dawes Avenue
Bixby, OK  74008
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Sponsor: Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 918-366-9445
Contact Name: Tashia Taylor
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Juicemaker Lounge
3508 S Sheridan Rd
Tulsa
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Los Cabos - Jenks
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks
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The Run
3141 E Skelly Dr
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Jenks Riverwalk
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks
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Cost: $8

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Duet
108 N Detroit Ave
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Crow Creek Tavern
3534 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa
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Rabbit Hole Bar & Grill
116 S Elgin Ave
Tulsa
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Hard Rock Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
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Hard Rock Casino - Track 5.
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
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Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa
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Tulsa Juneteenth hosts this family-fun carnival with rides, games, food, and more.

Where:
OSU-Tulsa
700 N Greenwood Ave
Tulsa, OK
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River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
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Sample foods from local businesses.

Where:
Charley Young Event Park
50 W Dawes St
Bixby, OK
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Cost: $10

Where:
The Vanguard
222 N Main St
Tulsa
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The Fur Shop
520 E 3rd St
Tulsa
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Soul City
1621 E 11th St
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River Spirit Casino - Paradise Cove
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
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The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
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409 N Main St
Tulsa
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

The Champions of Health awards recognize those who make a difference in the health of Oklahomans. Winners in select categories will receive $5,000 for their organization or program, and will be...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
n/a
, OK


Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoman
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

More information

Explore various moments in time as captured by PHOTOG, Photographers of Tulsa Oklahoma Group. The exhibit opening reception is 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1. The exhibit is open through May 30. Call...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Cost: $5

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Blackbird on Pearl
1336 E 6th St
Tulsa
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Scotty's Lounge
3119 W 61st St
Tulsa
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Cost: $10

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Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa
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River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy
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River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
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116 S Elgin Ave
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River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
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Retro Grill & Bar
800 N Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK
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The Run
3141 E Skelly Dr
Tulsa
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The Fur Shop
520 E 3rd St
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Cost: $20-425

Where:
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
5 S Boston Ave
Tulsa
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Barkingham Palace
412 S Phoenix Ave
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Rabbit Hole Improv
1526 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
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Cabin Boys Brewery
1717 E 7th St
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Hard Rock Casino - Track 5.
777 W Cherokee St
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Lefty's On Greenwood
10 N Greenwood
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Los Cabos - Jenks
300 Riverwalk Terrace
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B-29 Doc will spend Memorial Day weekend in in Tulsa, Okla., May 25 and 26. The Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (TASM) will host B-29 Doc for a two-day event that will feature both static...

Cost: $20.00 - Free

Where:
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
3624 North 74th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74115
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Sponsor: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
Telephone: 918-834-9900
Contact Name: Kevin Meeks
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Floral Haven Funeral Home, Crematory & Cemetery (Broken Arrow) remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice during a weekend of commemorations to mark Memorial Day. Among the scheduled...

Cost: Free

Where:
6500 S. 129th E Ave.
Broken Aarow, OK  74012


Sponsor: Floral Haven Funeral Home
Telephone: 415-359-2316
Contact Name: David Cumpston
Website »

More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

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Mamma Mia!  Here we go again... If you ABBA-solutely want to have a fun evening, come join us in a post-Mothers' Day celebration of the woman who brought you into this world (and let you stay in...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
PH Community House
306 S Phoenix Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
Website »

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Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa
View map »


Website »

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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
View map »


Website »

More information

Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
View map »


Website »

More information

Cost: $10

Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa
View map »


Website »

More information

Where:
River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa
View map »


Website »

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Where:
Hard Rock Casino - Track 5.
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
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Where:
Hard Rock Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa
View map »


Website »

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Cost: $5

Where:
Bad Ass Renee's
6373 E 31st St
Tulsa
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Cost: $5

Where:
473
2224 E Admiral Blvd
Tulsa
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Cost: $5

Where:
Centennial Lounge at VFW Post 577
1109 E 6th St
Tulsa
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Cost: $15

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Duet
108 N Detroit Ave
Tulsa
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Website »

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Soundpony
409 N Main St
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View map »


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Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with a classic car and motorcycle cruise down Route 66, historical displays, and live entertainment.

Where:
Route 66 Historical Village
3770 Southwest Blvd
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $30-$40

Where:
River Spirit Casino
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Mohawk Park
5701 E 36th St
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Rabbit Hole Improv
1526 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $4-$8

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $5

Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa
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Where:
The Stumbling Monkey
8921 S Yale Ave
Tulsa
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Cost: $10

Where:
The Vanguard
222 N Main St
Tulsa
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Cost: $20

Where:
Hard Rock Casino - The Joint
777 W Cherokee St
Catoosa, OK
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Where:
Lefty's On Greenwood
10 N Greenwood
Tulsa
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