Kansas

Established in 2004 by the Kansas Arts Commission, the two-year position of state poet laureate in Kansas is currently held by Wyatt Townley, author of three poetry collections: The Breathing Field (Little Brown), Perfectly Normal (The Smith), and The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley Press), a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award. She is a fourth-generation Kansan.

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Writing Program University of Kansas Kansas
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Writing Program Emporia State University Kansas
Writing Program Haskell Indian Nations University Kansas
Writing Program Kansas State University Kansas
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Literary Magazine Flint Hills Review Kansas
Literary Magazine The Midwest Quarterly Kansas
Literary Magazine Tribal College Journal Kansas

poems

poem
John Brown of Ossawatomie spake on his dying day:
'I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery's pay;
But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free,
With her children, from the gallows-stair put up a prayer for me!'

John Brown of Ossawatomie, they led him out to die;
And lo! a poor slave-
poem
I washed a load of clothes
and hung them out to dry.
Then I went up to town
and busied myself all day.
The sleeve of your best shirt
rose ceremonious
when I drove in; our night-
clothes twined and untwined in
a little gust of wind.

For me it was getting late;
for you, where you were, not.
The harvest moon was
poem
the full rage of kansas
turns loose upon us.

On the mexican radio station
they are singing Espiritu de mis sueños
and that is
exactly it tonight.

The spirit of my dreams
rises in the storm like vapor.

Deep clouds bulge together
and below them
we are a tiny constellation of lights
the car
laid under