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.