She is known as the Gravy Poet because her poetry is about everyday people and everyday things in this small Central California farm town.

And she has written an ode to gravy called "Gravy Tells a Lot":

You can put your trust in gravy

The way is stretches out

The sausage

The way it stretches out

The dreams

From payday

Til tomorrow

Slipping exquisitely

Down the throats

Of toothless visionaries

Eating with a spoon

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, 58, poet laureate of Tulare, has been writing poetry since she was a young child living in sharecropper houses in and around Stroud, Okla.

Her parents were poor dirt farmers. She picked crops along with seven other children in the family.

The family moved to California in 1936 as part of the massive Dust Bowl migration.

And Wilma kept writing and tucking away her poems in shoe boxes and dresser drawers so no one would see them.

Since 1973, seven books of her poetry and short stories about life in rural San Joaquin Valley have been published in printings of 250 to 1,000 copies each.

She writes her poems and stories, longhand on lined notebook paper.

"I create these people I write about," she explains. "But they're just as real as they would be living next door." Her poetry and stories, she adds, are "about poor people who don't know such a thing as being poor. People who struggle to make it. Always have a dream. Hope things be better. If didn't get too much better in this world, be better in the next."