Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Contact U of Mo-Ks. City Provost to save New Letters literary radio show and BkMk Press!

Dear writer friends, I sent this to telltheprovost@umkc.edu. Details are at KCUR.
Dear Provost and Administration Team, New Letters on the Air, BkMk Press and New Letters magazine are good for business. Please do not cut any of them. Four years ago I met at the Tannic Bar with Mayor Sly James and the convention coordinator, along with the AWP conference chair and assistant, to discuss the possibility of Associated Writers and Writing Programs having its annual conference of 15,000 in Kansas City. This is the largest literary conference in the world. (I had been AWP board president and conference chair previously and was their contact in the KC area.) Yes, there were BBQ and jazz as enticements, but more so there were the creative writing programs at UMKC and nearby KU and MU. In particular, the UMKC-sponsored suite of New Letters, NL on the Air, and BkMk Press were what the AWP conference staff recognized as national literary programs. AWP decided to locate the conference in KC in 2021 as a result of our discussion. https://www.awpwriter.org/awp_conference/overview . Indeed, the arts in Missouri are a 3 billion dollar asset, 3.3% of the state's economic value (National Endowment for the Arts https://www.arts.gov/artistic-fields/research-analysis/arts-data-profiles/arts-data-profile-25 ). Diminishing assets of UMKC may be a short-term fix, but in the long run, a shell of a vocational school might remain. Yes, the inhumane release of employees without health insurance with two weeks' notice is despicable. Yes, these are culturally essential heritages that are being extinguished. Yes, this will diminish UMKC in its accreditation profile. Also, this is bad business. Please reconsider your plans to cut New Letters on the Air and BkMk Press. Please do retain New Letters magazine.

Sincerely, Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2006-08 and proud New Letters, BkMk, and New Letters on the Air author.