Each June, I put together an annual report on what I’ve done all year as poet laureate for the Kansas Arts Commission. Now that KAC doesn’t have a staff or funding, I’m reporting to all of you instead to help get out the word on poets laureate like me do throughout the country, and how we need to keep our Kansas poet laureate position, even after I finish my term in a little over a year. I’m also very interested in visiting more Kansas communities this coming year and doing whatever I can — since the KAC website no longer features a poet laureate page, you can contact me at CarynMirriamGoldberg@gmail.com if you’re interested in a reading, workshop, talk or collaborative program.
So here’s what I’ve worked on as poet laureate from July 1, 2010 through the present:
- Organized Poet Laureati!: A National Convergence of Poets Laureate, held in Lawrence Mar. 12-13, featuring 20 poets laureate
(from Alaska to Alabama), 130 participants from eight states, and a whole lot of ecstatic readings, discussions, panels, workshops and more on how poetry relates to place, society, health, creativity, work, and in short, life.
- 150 Kansas Poems: Launched website featuring 150 Kansas poems over Kansas’ 150 birthday year, and edited Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, forthcoming from Woodley Press later this year.
- An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate: edited with Marilyn L. Taylor, Denise Low and Walter Bargen this beautiful anthology includes poetry from close to 40 writers.
- Occasional Poems for Special Events: The Kansas Susquicentennial, Governor’s Arts Awards, the Kansas City Peace at the Crossroads event, Lawrence Arts Center/940 Dance Company’s Dance Dialogues, the inauguration of Goddard College’s new president, and several funerals.
- Writing: In addition to lots of poetry, I wrote prose as poet laureate: a preface to UN World Peace Congress proceedings, chapter on publishing poetry for Women and Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (forthcoming from McFarland), “Mothers Lost and Found,” preface to Wisdom Has a Voice anthology. and “The Imaginary Friend of the Page,”
- Presented readings, workshops and talks:
- Colleges & Schools: Hutchinson Community College, University of Iowa, Johnson County Community College, Marysville High School, Valley Heights High School.
- Turning Point: A Center for Hope and Healing in Kansas City — writing workshops for people living with serious illness and/or their caregivers, plus workshops for the metastatic cancer group.
- Centers, Churches & Bookstores: Carnegie Arts Center in Dodge City, Koester House Museum (Marysville), Country Place Senior Living (Marysville), Waterville Opera House (with Kelley Hunt and Laura Ramberg), Marysville Public Library, Ecumenical Christian Ministries, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan, The Raven Bookstore, The Writers Place, Kalona Country Store (Iowa).
- Judging: Poetry Out Loud!, Kansas Authors Club, National Federation of Music Clubs
- Conferences: Presented workshops and readings at the Power of Words Conference in VT., and the Examined Life: Writing and the Art of Medicine conference in Iowa.
- Brave Voice: Co-led with Kelley Hunt the 6-day Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life retreat in Council Grove.
- News: Featured in several programs of KPR Presents, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Daily Palatte, Kansas City Star, and “Celebrate This Kansas,” Susquicentennial poem, was published in many state newspapers.
What territory I’ve covered this year comes from having wonderful guides in the form of splendid partner organizations in all the named places that invited me to come visit. What I do as poet laureate is similar to what so many of my fellow laureates do — read about them at http://unitedpoetslaureate.wordpress.com — and wherever you live, support the poet laureate program, which seeds the power of our words throughout and beyond the U.S.