Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Dan Bentley’

Teaching Poetry Writing at Kansas State Penitentiary by Frank Higgins

At first I’m hesitant to take the job

but it’s something different, it’s for pay,

and though to some it sounds odd

this might look good someday on a resume.


The state pen looks like a movie set:

the guard with his glare, gun, and gut

could have come from a central casting wet

dream, but no one hollers “Cut.”


The men file into the room and sit,

looking murderous; I start to worry

what if what they write is really shit?

Can my criticism trigger their fury?


I get them to write, each with a Magic Marker,

which squeaks so much it tears at my ear.

I ask the guard, ‘Can we get something quieter?’

“You can kill somebody with a pencil here.”


The first reader hides behind his papers.

He has “HATE” tattooed on his fingers

but words of love come from his tongue.

My education has begun.

~ Frank Higgins

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Dan Bentley and Kat Greene: Guest Editors10418905_10152602037352684_4439634509654435948_n

Dan Bentley is a No-La/Kaw dwelling organic gardening seed saving bioregionalist who hails from western plains, writes, draws, paints, sings as spirit moves, laughs with wife, cats, friends, family, observing life cycle absurdity/profundity.

Kat Greene lived in eleven states and thirty-seven houses before settling in North Lawrence with her husband Dan Bentley in a beautiful garden. She still travels from time to time.

42. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Dan Bentley

In Western Kansas
lifedeath, humanimalkind,
dance single vision.

Steadfast, with endless patience
the Goddess paints in plein air

where taken chances
become the song of heartmind
that art commisions

miss: cosmic observation.
The stars are closer out there.
— Dan Bentley

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