Thursday, December 21, 2017

Eric McHenry Wins Award from TLS

Eric McHenry Wins The Mick Imlah Poetry Prize 
Congratulations to Washburn professor and 5th Kansas Poet Laureate Eric McHenry, who is second-place-tie winner of the Mick Imlah Poetry Prize of the Times Literary Supplement. The prize is named after the former TLS poetry editor Imlah. TLS informs readers that “almost 4,000 poems” were entered in the contest. Judges were Alan Jenkins, A. E. Stallings and Andrew Motion. Katherine Lewis won first place, and Emily Yaremchuk shares the 2nd place award with McHenry. Jenkins notes of “Picking a Prophet” by McHenry: “[its] reasonable tone and unostentatious rhymes convey a sophisticated, almost offhand authority.” Third prize winner is Allen Braden. Jenkins supports the idea of poetry contests: “Art is not a competition; but a competition may encourage art, and reward it.” To read further details and read the winning poems, follow this link.

Eric McHenry grew up in Topeka, Kansas and earned degrees from Beloit College and Boston University. His first book of poems, Potscrubber Lullabies (Waywiser, 2006), won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and in 2010 Poetry Northwest awarded him the Theodore Roethke Prize. He is a contributing editor of Columbia magazine and has written about poetry for the New York Times Book Review, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe and Slate. He lives in Topeka with his wife, Sonja, and their two children, Evan and Sage, and teaches creative writing at Washburn University. In 2015 he was appointed Poet Laureate of Kansas. Audio files of two of his poems from the recent Odd Evening (2016, Waywiser) is at this link:  

See my comments about McHenry on a previous blog:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Kevin Rabas Curates Ks. Poetry for PoetryBay

Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas, assisted by Michael Pelletier, has curated Kansas poems for the
online magazine PoetryBay, connected with Long Island Quarterly. The special section is "A Snapshot of Kansas Poetry." The introduction to the project, “The News, Not Just from Kansas But All the World,” by Pelletier, begins with a quotation from my similar print project of almost 40 years ago: 
      “’Biologists have a technique of plotting a given amount of land and recording every member of a species within it during a specific length of time,’ begins Denise Low’s preface to 30 Kansas Poets (1979). She continues, calling that collection of poems ‘more a record of what is occurring within the perimeters of the state … than an attempt to define or categorize ‘Kansas’ poetry.’ We follow Low here in offering a small sample — perhaps more akin to a snapshot than a record — of contemporary Kansas poetry.
     “As with Low’s collection, it was not possible to include the work of every member of the species writing in Kansas today, though Low herself, a former Poet Laureate of Kansas, is included. Two other former Poets Laureate, as well as the current Poet Laureate, are also represented.”
 The poets are: Brian Daldorph, Adam Jameson J.T. Knoll, Denise Low, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Al Ortolani, Jared Schmitz, Joe Toth, Wyatt Townley, M.R. Pelletier, and Kevin Rabas.  These include Rabas, 3 former Kansas poets laureate (Low, Mirriam-Goldberg, Townley), a librarian, students, teachers of creative writing, and an electric company employee.
Here is one of my own selections from “A Snapshot of Kansas Poetry.” It is from my forthcoming collection
Shadow Light, which has won the 2018 Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award:
Each tree shuffles a deck of cards
one suit each
     gingkoes for hearts
     maples for clubs.
My mother gambles for a last child.
One spring day I am born.
     Oak leaves are broken diamonds.
I turn ten yours old.
     I press scarlet leaves in wax paper
            flatten them with a hot iron.
I turn sixty.      
Each sawtooth
leaf edge
     Hackberries are spades.