This site has led to several publications, including:

Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry

Publisher: (Little Balkans Press, 2017, xiv+218 pp.) ISBN 978-0-9824549-6-1.

Available online from used books outlets.

Introduction                              —Roy Beckemeyer

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg became a guardian angel for poets and poetry in Kansas during her term as the state’s Poet Laureate during those turbulent years (2009-2013) when Kansas Governor Sam Brownback did away with the Kansas Arts Commission. She served as Laureate for an additional two years by drumming up financial support on her own, and she found a safe haven for the Laureate program under the aegis of the Kansas Humanities Council, where it now flourishes.

Caryn also succeeded in involving and organizing poets from across the state into what has become an active, interacting, and supportive community of regional writers. Her website, 150 Kansas Poems (, a Laureate project for the Kansas Sesquicentennial, has showcased Kansas poets regularly. Their poems have been assembled into a series of poetry books that celebrate the heartland of America: Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (2011, Woodley Press, Topeka), and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices (2012, Mammoth Press, and a 2013  Kansas Notable Book selection). The book you hold in your hand is the third in the series.

From 2014 on Caryn enlisted the help of members of the now thriving Kansas poetic community to serve as monthly guest editors. The theme, Kansas Time+Place, seemed to inspire writers, and over the next three years (2014 -2016) a total of 160 poems, contributed by 86 poets and selected by 28 guest editors, was added to the Kansas canon. Poets represented range from nationally-known doyens and Poets Laureate of Kansas to writers of promise published here for the first time. Whether you read this book from cover to cover or graze in it at random, I hope that you find in these pages thoughts and images from America’s Heartland that will resonate across the days and distances of your own life.    

What Time + Place?            —Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

For many years, I thought I was mostly writing poems about place. As a Brooklyn-born, New Jersey-raised Kansan, I’ve been drawn all my life to the talismans that convey sense of place, from the Maple tree outside the Brooklyn triplex where I learned to play “Red Light, Green Light, 123,” to the vast brome field morphing into native prairie outside my window now, where I live just south of the Wakarusa River.

Yet in recent years, looking at the poems I love by other writers and what I’m drawn to write, I see how much there is to say about time, which seems to me more like a vertical sense of what seems like horizontal views of place. We live in time, or as poet Stanley Kunitz writes in his poem, “The Layers,”  “Live in the layers,/ not on the litter.” In a sense, I think we’re like trees, the heart wood our birth, and each year adding new ring of experiences, perceptions, realizations, losses, and loves.

But trees are rooted in real ground, and place also holds within it the seeds and signs of time: we can sometimes find remnant of shark’s teeth on the high plains, reminding us of the inland ocean that once whipped up its own wild weather in this part of the world. The stars—burning and burning out in the ultimate infinity of space—might seem to be on an even playing field, but they bring us light that both as old as 200 million years and, in the case of our sun, as young as 8 minutes old.  Likewise, our ways of inhabiting the spaces and places of our days and nights are composed of insights, wounds, memories, joys, and questions from the first time we tasted dirt as a toddler to yesterday’s glimpse of the blazing orange around the setting sun.

This anthology, lovingly edited by Roy Beckemeyer, explores who we are from the angles of history, geography, personal and community stories, traditions and innovations, and the spirit of life from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

We can best find the poetic at the core of our lives through community, and so I’m deeply grateful to all the guest editors who brought poets and their poems to the three years of Kansas Time + Place: Roy J. Beckemeyer, James Benger, Dan Bentley, Annette Hope Billings, Maril Crabtree, Pat Daneman, Dennis Etzel, Jr., Jose Faus, Kat Greene, Melissa Fite Johnson, Kelly W. Johnston, William J. Karnowski, Denise Low, Lori Baker Martin, Eric McHenry, Stephen Meats, Ronda Miller, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Al Ortolani, Kevin Rabas, Thomas Reynolds, Tyler Sheldon, William Sheldon, Cody Shrum, Ramona Vreeland, Diane Wahto, Laura Lee Washburn, Israel Wasserstein.

Many thanks to Roy for his insightful and caring editing and book and cover design, Stephen Locke for the very time+place cover photo, and Little Balkans Press for bringing this book to life.

Dear reader, I hope this book will give you a wider perspective on both your sense of place and time, and through that perspective, deeper and more enduring vision of the possibilities, even miraculous ones, for your lives and for Kansas as its own state of mind as well as a state of surprises over miles and minutes. 

Cover image by Stephen Locke.

renga cover rough 'dark'

To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices

Winner, Kansas Notable Book award

Publisher: Mammoth Publications, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9837995-9-7.

Purchase through Mammoth Publications.

Based on the renga unfolding on this site in 2012, this 150-part poem brings together poets throughout and beyond Kansas with a connection to this state of mind and geographical mosaic of place. A “renga” is a collaborative poem based on the Japanese haiku form, often about nature. Poets in the chain take readers across the mythological as well as physical landscape of Kansas. Each poet begins with the seed of an idea from the poem before, writes, and leads the way for the next poet, all the way to the end. Mirriam-Goldberg explains, “The renga draws together descendants of pioneers, lovers of dogs or cats or both, attorneys and people who’ve spent time in jail, old hippies and young activists, social workers and psychologists, mothers and grandfathers, mathematicians and dancers, college professors emeritus and current students. In our poetic conversation, we celebrate Kansas and make community with readers.”

Contributors include Denise Low, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Lorraine Achey, Deborah Altus, Christopher Anderson, Amy Ash, Jackie Magnuson Ash, Marie Asner, Thomas Fox Averill, Anne Baber, Walter Bargen, Barry Barnes, K. L. Barron, Joseph Bast, Pat Beckemeyer, Roy Beckemeyer, James Banger, Dan Bentley, Allison Blevins, Elizabeth Black, Lori Brack, Greg Bryant, Callista Buchen, Stephen Bunch, Xanath Caraza, Lindsey Martin-Bowen, Shauna Carpenter, Benjamin Cartwright, Ignacio Carvajal, Matt Clothier, Cyrus Console, Maril Crabtree, Daniele Cunningham, Rebeckah Curry, Brian Daldorph, Mary Stone Dockery, Elizabeth Dodd, Eric Dutton, Lou Eisenbrandt, William Emergy, Jose Faus, Greg Field, Larry Fleury, Reva C. Friedman, Louie Galloway, Linda Gebert, Greg German, Paul Goldman, Kat Greene, Matt Groneman, Tina Hacker, Anne Haehl, Bill Hagman, Joseph Harrington, A. Lorean Hartness, Lisa Hase-Jackson, Jamie Lynn Heller, Bill Hickok, DaMaris B. Hill, Nancy Hubble, Kelley Hunt, Hazel Smith Hutchinson, Sally Jadlow, Adam Jameson, Jeremy Johnson, Maria V. Johnson, Melissa Fita Johnson, Lora Jost, Megan Kaminski, William J. Karnowski, Philip Kimball, J.T. KNoll, Susan Kraus, Shelly Krehbiel, Donna Lynn Lash, Ken Lassman, Analisa Lee, Gabriela Ybarra Lemmons, Linda Lobmeyer, Lydia Lowe, Dixie Lubin Christina Lux, Lori Baker Martin, Lindsey Martin-Bowen, Ramona McCallum, Jim McCrary, Jo McDouglass, Deboral Ball McGeorge, Chris McKinney, Stephen Meats, Lee Mick, Ronda Miller, Jacob Moore, Miguel M. Morales, Phillip Carroll Morgan, Michael Nelson, Peg Nichols, Thea Nietfeld, Amy Nixon, Mary O’Connell, Karen Ohnesorge, Al Ortolani, William Ottens, H. C. Palmer, Shawn Pavey, Susan Peters, Timothy Pettet, Don Pohl, Matthew Porubsky, Kevin Rabas, Ardys Ramberg, Tom Reynolds, Korbin Richards, Susan Rieger, Kenneth Rishel, Linda Rodriguez, Judith Roitman, Rhiannon Ross, Craig Salvay, Mark Scheel, Elizabeth Schultz, Leah Sewell, Melissa Sewell, Tyler Sheldon, William Sheldon, Victoria Foth Sherry, Gail L. Sloan, Sarah Smarsh, Sandy Snook, Roland Sodowsky, Olive L. Sullivan, Libeth Tempero, Roderick Townley, Wyatt Townley, Patricia Traxler, Cheryl Unruh, Gloria Vando, Timothy Volpert, Maryfrances Wagner, Diane Wahto, George Wallace, Nicholas Ward, Laura Lee Washburn, Izzy Wasserstein, Rachel White, Iris Wilkinson, John Willison, Peter Andrew Wright, and Pamela McMaster Yenser.

Cover image by Lora Jost. See Caryn’s blog on writing the book.

cover1Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems

Publisher: Woodley Memorial Press, 2011, Paperback: 209 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0982875254, $15.

Available through Amazon and publisher, and in Lawrence, through the Raven Bookstore

Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Poet Laureate of Kansas, celebrates the spirit of Kansas in the state’s Susquicentennial year. Exploring how magic can be found in and beyond our own backyards, this anthology journeys into beginnings and endings, dreams and desires, departures and homecomings all rooted in the Kansas land and sky. Step into this book, and land in poetry that illuminates the extraordinary around us all the time. This book is based upon the 150 poetry project, a blog that is ongoing with a 150-part renga written by 150 Kansas poets.

Poets included: Lorraine Achey, Abayomi Animashaun, Marie Asner, Jackie Magnuson Ash, Anne Baber, Walter Bargen, K. L. Barron, Roy J. Beckemeyer, Allison Berry, Elizabeth Black, Lori Brack, Mickey Cesar, Victor Contoski, Maril Crabtree, Daniele Cunningham, Rebekah Curry, Brian Daldorph, Jan Duncan O’Neal, Eric Dutton, Paula Glover Ebert, Harley Elliott, Dennis Etzel, Jr., Melissa Fite, Amy Fleury, Greg German, Diane Glancy, Katherine Greene, Anne Haehl, Joseph Harrington, William J. Harris, Serina Allison Hearn, Bill Hickok, Steven Hind, Jonathan Holden, Hazel Smith Hutchinson, Nancy Hubble, Jennifer Jantz Estes, Judith Bader Jones, Kathleen Johnson, Michael L. Johnson, William J. Karnowski, Ken Lassman, Robert N. Lawson, Philip Kimball, Gary Lechliter, Stanley Lombardo, Katie Longofono, Denise Low, Dixie Lubin, Jim McCrary, Ramona McCallum, Jo McDougall, Eric McHenry, Stephen Meats, Lee Mick, Ronda Miller, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Marilyn Pollack Naron, Rick Nichols, Amy Nixon, Karen Ohnesorge, Al Ortolani, H. C. Palmer, Dan Pohl, Matthew Porubsky, Kevin Rabas, Thomas Reynolds, Linda Rodriguez, Judith Roitman, Mark Scheel, Elizabeth Schultz, Leah Sewell, Melissa Sewell, William Sheldon, Roland Sodowsky, Kim Stafford, William Stafford, Mary Stone Dockery, Olive L. Sullivan, Mary Swander, Patricia Traxler, Roderick Townley, Wyatt Townley, Gloria Vando, Timothy Volpert, Diane Wahto, Laura Lee Washburn, Izzy Wasserstein, Iris Wilkinson, Donna Lynn Lash-Wolff, Peter Wright, Pamela Yesner and Max Yoho.

Cover photo by Stephen Locke, Wellington, KS, June, 2009

Book design by Leah Sewell and Matthew Porubsky