Orr’s poem stands with 350 accessible others, work from Shakespeare to Dickinson to Bukowski. It’s not surprising that Keillor would find Orr’s work attractive. In his collection Hammers in the Fog, Orr writes often of rural realities, wryly tinged with social messages of liberal tone. In “Soybeans” a farmer says, “Soybeans look like prayers bouncing off the ceiling / When prices on the Chicago grain market start to drop; / Or like your old man’s tears when you tell him / How much the land might bring for subdivisions.”
Since he arrived in Indiana in 1972 for service as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Orr has worked in human services and workforce development. He also raises rabbits and poultry on a small farm.
The poet will present his work Friday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., at the Education Center of Tipton County, 239 Ash St. in Tipton, appropriately in the heart of soybean country. Well-known poet Jared Carter, who originally hails from neighboring Elwood, will introduce Orr. The event is free and continues a several-years-running series that has offered the stage to many of Central Indiana’s finest poets. Call 765-675-1177 for further information.