Extra Credit Opportunity: Kansas Poets

The Distinguished Visiting Writer Series at Pittsburg State University will host a reading featuring twelve Kansas poets at 7 p.m., on Dec. 8, in the Governor’s Room of PSU’s Overman Student Center. This reading is part of a twenty-city reading tour to commemorate the publication of Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems. The reading is free and open to the public.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Poet Laureate of Kansas, organized the book publication and the reading tour. The project, which celebrates the Kansas Sesquicentennial, began in April, National Poetry Month, with poets submitting work that related to Kansas. Mirriam-Goldberg says the collection represents a diverse group of poets and perspectives: “This book is a wonderful compilation of poetry across Kansas, bringing together over 90 poets from all over and beyond the state to share the beauty, mystery, surprises, quirks and stories of Kansas.”

Kansas has a rich history of regional writing which includes such notable poets as William Stafford, James Tate, Langston Hughes, and Gwendolyn Brooks. An unusual number of poets have connections to Pittsburg. In fact, according to Laura Washburn, director of creative writing at PSU, “The literary prowess of this region may be one of its best-kept secrets.” Of the 93 poets included in Begin Again, twelve of them have connections to Pittsburg and PSU. “Pittsburg has a lot to be proud of in this anthology,” Washburn said. Published poets who are included in the anthology but who will not be at the reading are Eric Dutton who was born in Pittsburg and received his master’s from PSU, and Pamela Yenser who also received her master’s at PSU.

Reading Thursday are Laura Lee Washburn, Iris Wilkinson, Lorraine Achey, Roland Sodowsky, Stephen Meats, Daniele Cunningham, Olive L. Sullivan, Rick Nichols, Al Ortolani, Max Yoho, Melissa Fite, Allison Berry, and Ronda Miller.

This will be the fourth event in the annual Distinguished Visiting Writer series, which brings nationally acclaimed authors, poets and writers to PSU. The DVW is sponsored by the English department and the Student Fee Council. Information about the Kansas 150 tour is available at the Poet Laureate’s website http://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/.