To commemorate Kansas' sesquicentennial in 2011, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas poet laureate, put out call for Kansas poets or those with a connection to Kansas to submit poems relating to Kansas. The poems were published, first online, then as a book, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poets, by Woodley Press. In 2012, she called upon the poets featured in Begin Again to organize readings from the book at various locations around Kansas. The readings were a success, with poets traveling to Kansas towns and cities to join each other and read their poetry to enthusiastic audiences.
Also In 2012, Mirriam-Goldberg, frustrated by cuts to arts funding in the state, decided to ask the 150 poets who were represented in Begin Again to submit poems for a renga project.
Mirriam-Goldberg writes in her blog, "When we started the renga project, I had only an inkling that it was a way to bring people together and perhaps lift up each other during a time when the arts were under attack and underfunded in Kansas. At the time, I felt especially lost because of the poet laureate program had no home despite my efforts to find one, so looking for about 150 poets with connections to Kansas to join together was a welcome diversion. Because the renga, a traditional Japanese form, is a conversational poem, each poet needed to wait until the person before him/her wrote, and then jump in with no hesitation and add onto the conversation."