Sunday, February 14, 2016

Thomas Zvi Wilson Reading Series Announces 2016 Readers

2016 Schedule Thomas Zvi Wilson Reading Series
6 pm at Johnson County Central Library  
9875 W 87th St, Overland Park, KS 66212

February 16, 2016 Arts in Prison—Readers (Host, Arlin Buyert)

Thomas Zvi and Jeanie Wilson, 2001
March 15, 2016 Maryfrances Wagner, Bill Trowbridge 

April 19, 2016 Michael Harty, Walter Bargen 

May 3, 2016 Dennis Etzel, Roderick Townley 

May 17, 2016 Catherine Anderson, Catherine Browder 

June 21, 2016 Jo McDougall, Lindsey Martin Bowen 

July 19, 2016 Jeanie Wilson and other poets reading Thomas Zvi Wilson’s poetry 

August 16, 2016 Robert Stewart, Greg Field 

September 20, 2016 Annie Newcomer, Alan Proctor 

October 18, 2016 Susan Rieke, Elizabeth Uppman

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kim Stafford Posts Video of William's "Fifteen"

William Stafford wrote the poem "Fifteen" about an event in Hutchinson, Kansas. Or did it really happen? This 4 min. video by Kim Stafford explores the true reality of a poem. Thanks to Kim and the William Stafford Archives.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Denise Low Will Present Ks. Authors Club Workshop 20 Feb. 2016

The Line-Dance of Poetry: A Workshop. The poetic line is the measure of both lyric and narrative
poetry. Paul Verlaine said, "Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking." TThis workshop explores the biological origin of lyric and epic lines as well as practical guidelines for creating effective breaks. Bring copies (enough to share) of three short poems or one long poem. 

Kansas Authors Club's workshop leader is former Kansas Poet Laureate Denise Low, Sat., Feb. 20:
(Lackman Library, 15345 W 87th Pkwy, Lenexa, 9:30 a.m. to noon. This presentation is limited to 15 people.There will be a small fee for this workshop. Denise Low, will have copies of her book Jackalope available at a discount.

Denise Low, grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas, descended from British Isles, German, and Native (Delaware and Cherokee) peoples. She was the 2007-2009 Kansas Poet Laureate, with over twenty published books of poetry, personal essays, and scholarship, including Natural Theologies (The Backwaters Press, 2011) and Ghost Stories: Poems (Woodley Press, 2010, a Kansas Notable Book Award winner). For over 25 years she taught at Haskell Indian Nations University. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Kansas and University of Richmond. She has awards from the NEH, Sequoyah National Research Center, Lannan Foundation, The Newberry Library, Academy of American Poets, and Kansas Arts Commission. Denise's numerous books can be found at The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence and online via Small Press Distribution and Amazon. 
For additional information, contact district president Ronda Miller: 
Denise Low website:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Kansas City Literary Scene Is Diffused throughout the City

As a 30+ year veteran book reviewer for the Kansas City Star, and a writer/publisher myself, I have watched 
the literary arts developments on both side of the Muddy Mo. KC is a very literary city, as well as one populated by musicians and artists.The KC scene is diffused and vibrant, with many foci of interest:
  • UMKC, which has an MFA program with Hadara Bar-Nadav and Michelle Boisseau (they co-edit the important text Writing Poetry); novelists Michael Pritchett, Christie Hodgen, and Whitney Terrell; and Robert Stewart, essayist and poet.
  • Robert Stewart also directs the New Letters suite of media: New Letters journal; New Letters on the Air (nationally syndicated); and BkMk Press. A national contest and annual writing conference are also sponsored by NL
  • Rockhurst College sponsors a first-rate poetry reading series, The Midwest Poets Series, that sponsors nationally recognized poets
  • The Kansas City Art Institute has distinguished poets and a reading series. Faculty includes Anne Boyer, Cyrus Console, Rush Rankin, Ben Furnish, Jordan Stempleman, Trey Hock, and Phyllis Moore. There is a creative writing degree program. 
  • Other area universities with MFA programs/graduate programs in writing include U. of Ks. (1 hr. away) and other Ks. universities (Pittsburg St. U., K. State, Wichita St. U.); Mo. U. (3 hrs. away); U of Neb.-Omaha (3 hrs. away); Des Moines U. and Drake (3 hrs.), Iowa U. (4 hrs. away), Iowa State, and other Iowa universities; Washington U. in St. Louis (5 hrs. away) and other St. Louis universities.
  • Latino Writers Collective is at 3607 Pennsylvania, and they sponsor readings, workshops, and publications. Their website is:
  • The Writers Place is a literary writing center that works actively with school children as well as providing an ambitious slate of adult classes and programming. The WP has meeting rooms and a library of literary prose and poetry. The excellent old mansion is host to ghost explorers on occasion as well as writers.
  • The Kansas City MO Public Library hosts many book events—it is 5th nationally in programming, it is rumored. CSpan records some of their events, and they archive these and many more. They have ten active locations.  The Johnson County library system also has active events, including the Thomas Zvi Wilson reading series.
  • National Storytelling Network (NSN) has national headquarters at the Woodneath Story Center located in Kansas City North. 33-acre Woodneath Library Campus. Its mission is to “celebrate the art of story and its power to help people communicate more effectively, connect and build community, preserve personal and cultural histories, and develop creativity and self-expression.”
  • Prospero’s Bookstore (several locations) in KC sells new and used literary books plus sponsors a monthly publication series through their own Spartan Press. Their events include monthly book launches with $10 admission that includes the book. They are into their third year. The press sells out of the 300-500+ printings of their titles. They have civic grants plus person-power of their own designers and typesetters.
  • Rainy Day books is a major sponsor of reading events and book groups
  • Poetry slam venues in KS/MO include the KC Jazz Museum. More poetry slams are:  Pound SLAM at Uptown Arts Bar (first Wednesday of every month at 9 PM). There is also a non-competitive showcase called Nique, which features Spoken Word artists, that also performs quarterly at the same venue (dates subject to change).
  • KC Fringe Festival--KC Fringe is a Missouri-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support artists, celebrate expression and engage the community. Spoken word is featured among other performing and visual arts

  • Many other private and community literary events take place throughout the metro. Kansas. Please add to this list!

Many literary figures spent time in KC or grew up there—but that’s another list. Lawrence, of course, is just a short row up the Kansas River. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Beatnik Night Inspires Poems by Lindsey Martin-Bowen and Barry R. Barnes

For those in the Baldwin City, KS, area, here's an upcoming poetry event and poems inspired by it: 
Baldwin City Library February 16th at 7:00 p.m. The Library Friends will offer Beatnik Night, and the Activity Room will be transformed into a hip coffee house,  with bongo drums, candle lighting, and refreshments by Jitters. For information contact: Mary Lou Klein Barry Barnes is a Mammoth Publications author and musician. Lindsey Martin-Bowen's latest book of poetry is Inside Virgil's Garage (Chatter House Press). 


                                     for Denise Low-Weso

They’re all here—those hip ghosts from the past,
Burroughs, Waldrum, Ginsberg, Kerouac—
Ferlinghetti’s riding a Ferris
wheel behind the City Library,
where everyone’s in black, fingers snap
Bohemian drumbeats, and bongos

back up poetry readings ranging
from whispers to shouts and the rhythm
of sticks beating hard as blood pulsing
through arteries after tough swimming
in the Y on a February
day, icy with charcoal smells, when

berets on ears fail to keep them warm.
It’s still a cool way to brave the storm.

                                                 Lindsey Martin-Bowen ©2016

BLACK by Barry R. Barnes

Beret turtleneck sunglasses
Smoky dark room
Slap of bongos
Thump of bass
Feel that beat
The things I learned
From sixties TV sitcoms
Barry R Barnes © 2016
                Triggered By Lindsey Martin-Bowen

Further details about Beatnik Night: All ages are invited to share poetry readings, their own work or that of others. A five-minute time limit will be enforced by musical intervention. No applause will be allowed, but in true beatnik fashion, appreciative finger snapping is encouraged. While the Friends Board members plan to come in black clothing complete with berets, no costumes are required for participants. Come one, come all, to enjoy a unique experience of literary fun!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Denise Low Reviews Mihku Paul's 20th Century Powwow Playland

                “We speak a strange tongue. / We are ghosts haunting ourselves.” Wow. This is how Mihku Paul ends “Mother Tongue,” part of 20th Century PowWow Playland. This collection of verse concerns itself with histories of displacement—personal and tribal. Mixed-blood Native people are a central topic, and she coins the term “Amerindia” (in the poem of the same name) for the place where “Those hybrids roam from Mexico to Montreal.” Erasure of language is one concern, and physical changes are another as she writes:

In a thousand years, whose captive
face will hover, imprisoned in silvered glass?
What name will you call her,
whose eyes were you own, staring back,
as the mirror shattered and
the tree bore this new fruit? (53)
The North American diaspora aftermath leaves children “honey-dipped, tea-stained” and with “green eyes.” Paul explores what is lost in communities with disrupted narratives as she writes, “We are, all of us, cast on a burning wind.” Such phrases as “Ghosts haunting ourselves,” “captive faces,” and “burning wind” illustrate the strength of the poet’s voice.
                “The Anishinaaabe and other natives have endured in virtual cartography, the certain mete of native sovereignty,” writes Ojibwe author Gerald Vizenor, who comes from a similar Algonquian language tradition as Paul. She re-maps the continent, the shore, the rivers, and the cities. “Acadia” is a love poem to a person and to a place. She asserts personal as well as community sovereignty as she creates a literary work that reimagines form. She selects her own subject matter.
                This book is an act of courage. “Before the ships, nature was our only mirror” is another zinger (from “Bright Colors from the Earth and Sky). The poem continues to catalogue the colors of nature:

A scarlet-feathered cardinal
perched on a spruce tree.
Umber-striated quills on
a grumbling porcupine’s back.
Silver winter’s whiteness, snow and ice.
Black shadow of a bear’s silhouette.
Purple sheen, chokecherries
drooping from a thin branch.
Pale green skunk cabbage
sprouting from the brown earth.
Orange ochre riverbank clay,
indigo night and robin’s egg.
Golden, the morning sun’s eye. (60)
These images reclaim a worldview. The poem continues from mapping land to reconfiguring time into “Beaver Moons.”
                Throughout this collection, Paul is startlingly original. Never does she fall into easy, homogenized lines. Always, her intelligence is at work. She joins other Native poets of the Northeast who revitalize Indigenous traditions.

20th Century PowWow Playland by Mihku Paul (Greenfield Center: Bowman Books, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1105786105, Paperback: 82 pages

Mihku Paul is a Maliseet poet, writer, and visual artist with an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Her poetry appears in Cabildo Quarterly Online, Maine Wabanaki REACH, Native Literature: Generations, and others. Paul’s first multi-media installation “Look Twice: The Waponahki in Image & Verse,” went on exhibit in October 2009 at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine. The exhibit is a compilation of twelve panels that combine archival images of Waponahki history and culture with original poems. She is an enrolled member of Kingsclear First Nations, New Brunswick, Canada. She lives in Portland, Maine.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jackalope by Denise Low--Good reviews, some copies available!

Thanks for the good reviews of my short fiction/poetry book JACKALOPE,  by public radio station Wichita Eagle, Mysha Phelps of the UDK, George Martin, and others!
KCUR's Ben Pfieffer, Lisa McClendon of the
The first printing is sold out, and another is on the way. While we wait, I have copies available.Links to reviews, excerpts, details of purchase are on my website Jackalope:  Thanks for the good sales of the first printing!
The book has been unavailable at Small Press Distribution, the publisher, and Amazon (they have return policies that undercut literary publishers like Jackalope's Red Mountain Press). I have some copies available and can ship in a day or two.