Friday, February 20, 2015

National Book Critics Circle Poetry Awards to be announced March 12

Good luck to all the finalists for the NBCC poetry award this year:


Saeed Jones, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press)
Willie Perdomo, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin)
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf)
Christian Wiman, Once in the West (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Jake Adam York, Abide (Southern Illinois University)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Denise Low reviews Ted Kooser, Lawrence Matsuda, Gwen Nell Westerman, and Jane Hoogestraat

Denise Low reviews new poetry by Ted Kooser, Lawrence Matsuda, Gwen Nell Westerman, and Jane Hoogestraat for the Kansas City Star. The review begins:

"A horse-drawn carriage represents mid-Plains history to Ted Kooser, former U.S. poet laureate from Nebraska. Other poets also have delved into personal heritage deep between the bookends of the coasts. Lawrence Matsuda writes about Japanese internment camps of World War II, with related images by Lawrence artist Roger Shimomura. Gwen Nell Westerman remembers her grandmother’s Dakota Sioux teachings, while the Low German dialect is what poet Jane Hoogestraat retrieves from her Great Plains immigrant past. All these poets link their own experience to larger concerns of historic narratives. They love and mourn, like other poets, but they also document and humanize the past. . . ."
Read more here:  

Read more here:

  • Splitting an Order by Ted Kooser (109 pages; Copper Canyon Press; $23.00)

  • Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner: Poetry and Artwork Inspired by Japanese American Experiences by Lawrence Matsuda, with artwork by Roger Shimomura (106 pages; CreateSpace; $21)

  • Follow the Blackbirds: Poems by Gwen Nell Westerman (72 pages, Michigan State University Press, $16.95);

  • Border States by Jane Hoogestraat, winner of the John Ciardi prize (74 pages, BkMk Press, $13.95)

Read more here:

Read more here:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Poets, take note!  You can win a free ticket to go on the Kansas Author’s Trail trip on Saturday, March 21.  Submit your poem to Sharon Senger ( or mail to 213 Virginia Road, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024. One entry will be awarded a free trip, worth $85. Kansas Author’s Trail is a day trip celebrating William Inge, Gordon Parks, Eugene Ware, Langston Hughes, and William Burroughs.  Denise Low will be tour guide in Lawrence. The trip is a fundraiser for the Poetry Café, an activity of the Excelsior Springs Cultural Guild’s Gatsby Days Celebration. Deadline is February 14, 2015.  For more information Contact:  Stephany Hughes – – 816.630.7708
The Poetry Café of Excelsior Springs invites anyone to participate in these two events:
  1.  The Footprints of Poets and Authors Day Trip is on Saturday, March 21, 2015.  You will meet a luxury motor coach in the parking lot of K-Mart in Liberty, MO, at 7:30 a.m., pick up additional passengers at the western Lenexa Price Chopper (K-10 and Woodland Road), and proceed to Lawrence, Kansas, where you will become familiar with the homes, lives, and works of Langston Hughes and William S. Burroughs (with Denise Low as tour guide, and Lawrence residents can start the tour here), then ride on to Ft. Scott, Kansas.  After lunch at the beautiful Lyons Twin Mansions, you will enjoy the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity, plus you will enjoy a short program on the life of Eugene Fitch Ware, first Poet Laureate of Kansas.  Your bus will arrive back in Kansas City in time for you to have a relaxing evening at home or out on the town.  This trip is a fund raiser for the Poetry Café, an activity of the Excelsior Springs Cultural Guild's Gatsby Days Celebration.  Deadline is February 14, 2015.

 2.  Enter the Gatsby Days Poetry Contest, with a cash prize of $50 or a complimentary trip on the Poetry Cafe' Bus Tour.  Deadline is March 1, 2015.  We encourage you to read your poem during Gatsby Days on April 25, 1:00 p.m. at the Excelsior Springs Museum and Archives.
 For more information and to register for these events, go to       © 2015 photograph by Denise Low



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Myrne Roe's poem "The Widow"

The Widow

With stooped shoulders she stands 
below a gray sky dome 
that sits on far flung flatness
winter grass brown. 
She wonders where is the sun?
Silence is interrupted 
only by bursts of icy wind’s shriek and moan
that haunt the barren space
she wants to but cannot leave.
In time sunlight descends
as bits and pieces of gold.
The wind becomes
kindly whispers, mild breezes.
On the horizon geese appear.
Whirligig wings fly them closer
until she hears their raucous call
to follow their direction,
to be home by spring.
Myrne Roe was one of the outstanding participants in the Denise Low "Putting on the Mask of History" poetry workshop conducted Jan. 27, 2015, at Watermark Books. This poem is from that workshop. Roe is the editor of Radiating Like a Stone: Wichita Women and the 1970s Feminist Movement (Wichita: Watermark Books, 2011). Roe is a former teacher, congressional staff directory, university public relations administrator, and nationally syndicated columnist.

© 2015 “The Widow” by Myrne Roe
© 2015 Blog and photography by Denise Low