This site was started by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in 2011 as part of a project for her work as the Kansas poet laureate, and since then, it has evolved into a community of poets curating poems that speak to themes vital to many of us in and beyond the heartland. Here’s a brief history:
2011: 150 Kansas Poems
To celebrate the state of Kansas’s Susquicentennial, this site featured 150 poems selected by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. The poems were subsequently published as Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems by Woodley Press, and many of the poets participated in close to 15 readings throughout and beyond Kansas. See more on Begin Again here.
2012: A Kansas Renga
With the dissolution of Kansas Arts Commission and deep diminishment of funding and other support for the arts in Kansas, we needed a project to bring together Kansas poets and help us voice our visions. Thus was born the 2012 theme: a renga — a Japanese form of a communal poem in which each poet adds onto what the poets before him/her/them wrote — in 150 voices. The collective poem written in 150 voices led to publication of To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices published by Mammoth Publications and awarded as a Kansas Notable Book. Upon publication of the book, poets involved met in various combination for over 20 readings throughout and beyond Kansas. See more on Begin Again here.
2013: Poem of the Week
Over 2013, Caryn selected a poem and poet to feature each week, including these writers: Greg Bryant, Stephen Bunch, Jamie Lynn Heller, Rebekah, Curry, Lori Baker Martin, Lorraine Achey, Roy Beckemeyer, Ramona McCallum, Robin St. James, Ronda Miller, Al Ortolani George Wallace, Wyatt Townley, Denise Low, Frank Higgins, James Benger, Stephen Meats, William Karnowski, Caleb Puckett, Lee Mick, H. C. Palmer, Victoria Foth Sherry, Tim Pettet, Karen L. Frank, Dennis Etzel, Peter Wright, Bill Hagman, Roderick Townley, Thomas Reynolds, Diane Wahto, William Emergy, Bill Sheldon, John Willison, Christina Lux, Jaden Afayi Lux Ngafeeson, Doc Arnett, Lori Baker Martin, Linda Lobmeyer, Laura Lee Washburn, RD McManes, Judith Roitman, Stan Lombardo, Darcy Leech, Boyd Bauman, Michael Nelson
2014-2016: Kansas Time + Place
This three-year project involved over 30 guest editors, each one curating poems for a month (choosing one for each week) that spoke to the theme of time and place. Guest editors included Roy Beckemeyer, Laura Lee Washburn, Dan Bentley, Kat Greene, Jose Faus, Thomas Reynolds, William Sheldon, Tyler Sheldon, Denise Low, Ramona McCallum, William J. Karnowski, Lori Baker Martin, Ronda Miller, Kevin Rabas, Dennis Etzel, Al Ortolani, James Benger, Izzy Wasserstein, Diane Wahto, Denise Low, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Eric McHenry, Stepthen Meats, Melissa Fite Johnson, Pat Daneman, Annette Billings, Kelly W. Johnston, and Cody Shrum. Roy Beckemeyer is currently working on putting together an anthology of these poems for publication.
2017: Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity
Our new theme reaches beyond Kansas to invite in poetry that speaks to love, resistance, and solidarity in our times. Guest editors for the next year are Laura Lee Washburn, Ronda Miller, Annette Billings, Z Hall, Melissa Fite Johnson, Maril Crabtree, Lori Baker Martin, Izzzy Wasserstein, Tyler Sheldon, Bill Sheldon, Denise Low, Roy Beckemeyer, James Benger, Al Ortolani, Pat Daneman, and Jose Faus.
Some Readings From This Site Over the Years
Manhattan: Strecker-Nelson Gallery Nov. 4, 2011
Wichita: Eighth Day Books Nov. 3 and Watermark Books Nov. 5, 2011