Our Story

This site owes its inception to Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg who started the site as part of her duties as Kansas Poet Laureate with the intention of collecting poems to celebrate the state sesquicentennial. By 2013 Mirriam-Goldberg had created a site where a community of poets curated poems to speak to themes vital to many of us in and beyond Kansas and the heartland. The site changes themes periodically while collecting and publishing the poems from the previous theme in print when possible. This evolution has lead us to the current name, The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative.

Laura Lee Washburn has worked as Editor-in-Chief or Chief Curator since 2020, after serving as a help to Mirriam-Goldberg’s site management.  In 2020, Laura Lee Washburn was joined by Katelyn Roth and Morgan O.H. McCune as additional site managers and editors. Throughout the coming year, the Poetry Cooperative will continue the tradition of monthly rotating editors.

April 2023- Tangible Action: Giving Name to the Nameless

This theme is inspired by the words of Audre Lorde in her seminal essay “Poems Are Not Luxuries.” We want poems that are necessary and urgent, poems that had to be written, poems that will help us survive. As always, we hope to support many communities by sharing diverse voices. Our guest editors will be announced soon.

Feburary 2021- March 2023 We’re Speaking: Renewal and Change

The Coop’s current theme is “We’re Speaking: Renewal and Change.” In a time of pandemic, global warming, attacks on truth and the pillars of democracy, change may feel both necessary and terrifying; we look for poems that help navigate challenging times. We hope to support many communities by sharing voices from varied experiences, and we welcome work from diverse voices.

Each month, a different editor selects poems. Monthly editors for 2022 include Joan Kwon Glass, Millicent Borges Accardi, Denise Low, Lisa Chavez, Allison Blevins, Latorial Faison, Jose Faus, Hyejung Kook, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Katelyn Roth, and Laura Lee Washburn.

Monthly editors for 2021 included Laura Lee Washburn, Denise Low-Weso, Morgan O.H. McCune, Lori Martin, Annette Billings, Julie Ramon, Dennis Etzel Jr., James Benger, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ronda Miller, and Katelyn Roth.

2017-Janunary 31, 2021 Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity

This theme reached beyond Kansas to invite poetry that speaks to love, resistance, and solidarity in a complicated political climate.  The site also reached out for pandemic poetry and concluded with a month of poems that spoke to the great change and challenges of the global crisis. Guest editors included Laura Lee Washburn, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Denise Low-Weso, Roy Beckemeyer, Dennis Etzel, Jr., Kevin Rabas, Huascar Medina, Annette Hope Billings, Bill Sheldon, Izzy Wasserstein, Maril Crabtree, Ronda Miller, Tyler Sheldon, Lori Baker Martin, Pat Daneman, Z Hall, Melissa Fite Johnson, James Benger, Julie Ramon, Matthew Manning, Al Ortolani, Ramona Vreeland, and Jose Faus. The editorial staff of The Poetry Cooperative is currently working on the Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity  anthology with Small Harbor Press.

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  edited the collection, Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Pr 2017).

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

2012 A Kansas Renga

With the dissolution of Kansas Arts Commission and deep diminishment of funding and other support for the arts in Kansas, this project brought together and supported poetry with it’s theme and form: 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.

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.