PITTSBURG, Kan. — Even at a young age, Olive L. Sullivan seemed to always have her nose buried deep inside a book. So it was no surprise to family and friends when they learned she had recently published a book of her own.
“I have always wanted to be a writer, but I thought I would write novels,” she said.
Instead, her debut book, “Wandering Bone,” collects some of her finest poetry.
Most of Sullivan’s professional writing career has centered around journalism, working for several area newspapers, including The Morning Sun in Pittsburg. She’s also taught journalism, most recently as the assistant professor of communication and publications adviser for Missouri Southern State University newspaper The Chart and fine arts magazine Vivid.
“Poetry and journalism are alike in some ways, both condensed forms that are usually short and to the point,” Sullivan said. “I like to use simple, conversational language — quotes, if you will — in my poems. I have been working toward a publishable creation for several years. It was just time.”
The poems in “Wandering Bone” were written over a span of several decades, Sullivan said. There are serious explorations as well as more fun ones, such as “Smiley’s Bar” and “Elephant Jam.” Another, “The Universe Begins,” she read at her son’s wedding. The oldest poem found in the book, titled “Avebury,” was first published in 1982.
Overall, the 92-page book — published by Meadowlark Books out of Emporia, Kansas — is broken up into three sections, each involving journeys, both physical travel as well as internal explorations, she said. The poems primarily feature the Midwest as well as various spots around the globe Sullivan has visited over the years.
“I’ve had bursts of creative output (over the years), but often the poems are written in the interstices of real life — making a living, being a single mom, etc.,” she said.
Sullivan will be reading from her book during an event from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Eclectic Soul Studio, 601 N. Broadway. She’ll be joined by two other Kansas-based poets, Ronda Miller and Izzy Wasserstein.