Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2nd Kansas Poet Laureate Denise Low Ends Term

Dear Poetry Friends,
I am finishing my last official Ad Astra Poetry Project electronic broadside. Many Kansans have asked why I have not included myself—and the answer is this position is about being an ambassador for all Kansas poets, not my own publicity. But I will end with a final sample of my own work. More information and poetry samples are at www.deniselow.com .

What comes next? First, a party at the Lawrence Arts Center July1, 7:30. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, the 3rd Kansas poet laureate, and I will both speak, and we will support an independent publication, The new Imagination & Place Anthology. Some of the contributors to this anthology will also read. I will attempt to thank the host of people who have contributed to these two years.

Next, I will continue to present these broadsides periodically. I am surprised by wonderful new Kansas-linked poets almost daily. I have left out some of the poets who were on my original list! And I’ve had so many requests to keep these traveling through cyberspace. These poetry broadsides will continue to be free to media, arts agencies, schools, libraries, and other interested groups and individuals—for nonprofit use.

And do look for a publication of the collected broadsides in book form later this summer. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg plans to use this book as a text for her own Kansas poet laureate project: to conduct poetry writing workshops across the state (you can make contact with her through the Kansas Arts Commission website). These will be available through www.mammothpublications.com , some area bookstores, and online book vendors.

Most of all, through these two years, I have come to have profound admiration for the Kansas Arts Commission staff and board; former governor Kathleen Sebelius, who supported the establishment of the program; the first poet laureate Jonathan Holden; Thomas Fox Averill, who nominated me; my husband Thomas Pecore Weso and family who supported me personally; friends, and especially Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, the 3rd Kansas poet laureate; Ad Astra poets and poetry contest participants; and all the educators, librarians, independent writers, arts agencies, social service agencies, and students who create our ongoing literary tradition.

I have come to believe that poetry leads its readers and practitioners to a deeper kind of literacy, one that involves greater understanding of the balance between conscious and unconscious; physical and spiritual; and objective facts and subjective interpretations. This is essential, not a frill, in these times of the most complex communication systems ever seen.

My gratitude to you for your interest, and all best,
Denise Low