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.

recent & featured listings

typesort ascending name state
Writing Program Pittsburg State University Kansas
Writing Program University of Kansas Kansas
Writing Program Wichita State University Kansas
Writing Program Emporia State University Kansas
Writing Program Haskell Indian Nations University Kansas
Writing Program Kansas State University Kansas
Landmark Langston Hughes's hometown of Lawrence, KS Kansas
Small Press Woodley Press Kansas
Literary Magazine Flint Hills Review Kansas
Literary Magazine The Midwest Quarterly Kansas

poems

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
poem
At this height, Kansas 
is just a concept, 
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn

no larger than the foldout section 
of my neighbor's travel magazine. 
At this stage of the journey

I would estimate the distance 
between myself and my own feelings 
is roughly the same as the mileage

from Seattle to New York
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-