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Begin Again: 150 Poets Reading Tour

By Diane Wahto
Announcement | October 29, 2011

WICHITA, Kan. - Beginning the first week in November, Kansas poets and those with ties to Kansas will begin a twenty-city reading tour to commemorate the publication of Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, published by Woodley Press.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Poet Laureate of Kansas, organized the book publication and the reading tour, and will attend several readings. This project, which celebrates the Kansas Sesquicentennial, started in April, National Poetry Month, with poets submitting work that related to Kansas.

Information about the twenty-city reading tour is available on the poet laureate web site. Two reading events, one at Eighth Day Books and one at Watermark Bookstore and Café, will kick off the tour in Wichita. A reading in Manhattan is set for Nov. 4, and one in Lawrence will take place on Nov. 6.

Poets reading at Eighth Day Books include Mirriam-Goldberg, Roy J. Beckemeyer, Bill Sheldon, Diane Wahto, Iris Wilkinson, and Pam McMaster Yenser. This reading will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3. Eighth Day Books is located at 2838 E. Douglas, Wichita, Kansas.

Poets reading at Watermark Books and Café include Elizabeth Black, Roy J. Beckemeyer, Ronda Miller, Rick Nichols, Bill Sheldon, Olive Sullivan, Diane Wahto, and Pam McMaster Yenser. This reading will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5. Watermark Books and Café is located at 4701 E. Douglas, Wichita, Kansas.

Eighth Day Books and Watermark Books and Café will have books available at the events for purchasing and poet signing.

All the readings are free and open to the public.

Three people have filled the Kansas Poet Laureate position, starting with Prof. Jonathon Holden in 2005. Prof. Denise Low was appointed to the position in 2007, and Mirriam-Goldberg was appointed in 2009 and will serve until 2012.

Because the poet laureate position was supported by the now defunded Kansas Arts Commission, it became unclear whether the Poet Laureate program would survive after Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed funding for the KAC. Kansas Citizens for the Arts, a grass-roots arts group that was formed after the KAC lost funding, has taken over responsibility for the Poet Laureate position.

According to the KCA, "In the summer of 2011, Kansas Citizens for the Arts came forth to house the poet laureate program until state arts funding and a state arts agency are restored. This allows Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg to finish out her three-year term as the third poet laureate of Kansas and provides solid ground upon which to conduct a transparent process to choose a fourth state poet laureate, to begin the position on July 1, 2012."

In the meantime, Mirriam-Goldberg is campaigning to raise funds to keep the Poet Laureate of Kansas position intact.

Throughout history and across cultures, people have honored the poets in their midst. Even today when we live in a time that poetry may not be high on everybody's list of priorities, without poetry, the world is a harder place. Poetry can both soothe and inspire. Check out the reading dates and places and spend an hour so being uplifted, entertained, and informed about the beauties and rarities of Kansas.


2 Comments

Congratulations, Diane, for being one of the presentors.

It sounds interesting. But, it's way too far from home for me to go listen to poetry.

I wasn't much into poetry when I was getting my formal education. The following is a lame excuse for poetry, but it expresses my past quite well. And, maybe tells you where I am today, and how I got here. I penned this quite a few years ago. I've got big feet, but they're not long fellows.


Rithim n meter

Wuz only fer teacher

Tha rymin of words

Fer wimps n the nerds

I learnt ta use tha hammer

Had no use fer tha grammer
My intrust fer shure

Wuz cows in tha pasture

Field an plow an the tractor


But histrees a factor

As I've told you before

I could not just ignore
I need a ghost writer

Who will lissen awhile

An record fer me now

With balance and style

With grammer and spellin

And punctwashion that's right

Some things I've observed

As I've traveled this road

From my youth to old age

Cannot be made pretty

With poetry or with prose

Tha facts are all there

An cannot be ignored

Fat cats n ristocats n byura cats

Fair sumpshusly fine

At tha banqwit table

While tha barn n store room n galley cats

Keep tha varmits n tha vermin

Out a pantree n kitchun n banqwit room

Kings n politicians n bureaucrats

an tha Landed gentry

Are quick with great wisdom

To make speeches n build armies

fer Defendin their wealth

While peasants n commners

Provide horsepower n grist

Ta oprate tha mill

Fer tha eletes pockuts ta fill
The Patriarchs draw maps

And arrange coalitions

While tha boys of tha clan

With blood sweat n tears

Defend tha bound'ries

And deliver tha spoils

Now try as I might

Even all through tha night

Rhythm meter and rhyme

Can't erase fer all time

Those things I have learnt
The degree I have earned

Don't hang on tha wall

I'm not worried at all
The lessons of life

Will free me from strife
Cuz I know without doubt

What life's all about
With God's promise of grace

I'll have a secure place

After my life is all over

I'll be in tall clover


Ken--That is one epic poem. I would love to hear you read it sometime.

I've copied below the schedule of readings that will be taking place across the state. One of them might be near you. If so, I hope you can make it.

Diane

Nov. 18-20 — Western Kansas tour, including Garden City at State Theatre, 7 p.m. Fri. night; writing workshop with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg at Garden City Communty College 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sat.; reading Sat. night 7 p.m. in Ulysses; reading Sun. noon at Cup of Jones Coffee Shop, Dodge City. Contact: Caryn at carynmirriamgoldberg@gmail.com and Ronda Miller

Dec. 10 — Leavenworth,The Book Barn, 1-3 p.m., 410 Delaware, Leavenwroth, KS 66048, 913/682-6518. Featuring Amy Nixon, Iris Wilkinson and Rick Nichols. Contact: Rick Nichols ricknichols627@comcast.net

Dec. 11 — Topeka, Topeka Public Library, 3 p.m.. 1515 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66604-1374, 785/580-4400. Contact: Matthew Porubsky


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