Established in 2004 by the Kansas Arts Commission, the two-year position of state poet laureate in Kansas is currently held by Topeka native Eric McHenry, the author of two books of poetry. McHenry’s third book is forthcoming by Waywiser Press in 2016. His first book of poems, Potscrubber Lullabies, earned him the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2007.

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Writing Program Emporia State University Kansas
Writing Program Haskell Indian Nations University Kansas
Writing Program Kansas State University Kansas
Writing Program Pittsburg State University Kansas
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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
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
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