September 20, 2019 Xánath Caraza
September 13, 2019 Jo McDougall
Named the Poet Laureate of Arkansas in 2018, Jo McDougall discusses her two recent books of poetry—The Undiscovered Room and In the Home of the Famous Dead—which explore various aspects of rural life, revealing the influence of the south and the midwest on her work. She also shares stories about her early life on a rice farm in rural Arkansas from her book, Daddy's Money: A Memoir of Farm and Family. Known for the vivid characters in her poetry, she discusses the importance of being mentored by Miller Williams (the late poet who read at President Clinton's inauguration) and how she's become more philosophical in her recent work. Interviews with Jo McDougall from 1987 and 2002 are also available in our Audio Archives.
September 6, 2019 Kansas Poets Laureate Part 2
The second half of this reading by past Kansas Poets Laureate, begins with Wyatt Townley (2013-15), who introduces the Kansas Poet Laureate she followed, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (2009-13). She reads from her collection about yoga, as well as her prize-winning book, Chasing Weather. Denise Low (2007-09) reveals some poetic inspirations: turtles, Native American ancestry, and self-deprecating humor, then circles back around to recent Kansas Poet Laureate, Kevin Rabas (2017-19). Part one of this program is available in our audio archives.
August 30, 2019 Kansas Poets Laureate Part 1
In part one of this program, former Kansas Poets Laureate, Kevin Rabas, Eric McHenry, and Wyatt Townley share their works, new and old, in a presentation sponsored by the Kansas Area Watershed Council at the University of Kansas Center for Design Research. The poets reveal how they infuse avocations and personal experience into their books, including Kevin's jazz, Eric's humor and history, and Wyatt's practice of dance and yoga. Part two of this program is available in our audio archives.
August 23, 2019 Dana Gioia
In his book, Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture, poet and critic Dana Gioia ponders the future of poetry at a time when traditional outlets for poetry are disappearing. Gioia, who was named California Poet Laureate in 2015, also reads from his 2001 collection of poems, Interrogations at Noon, which won the 2002 American Book Award.
August 16, 2019 Alicia Ostriker
Once called "America's most fiercely honest poet" by Progressive magazine, Alicia Ostriker is also a feminist, critic and scholar. Winner of the William Carlos Williams award and a two-time finalist for the National Book Award, Ostriker discusses and reads from her work, including her innovative and intensely personal 2002 collection, The Volcano Sequence.
August 9, 2019 Alberto Ríos
Alberto Ríos, named Arizona Poet Laureate in 2013, grew up in a mixed family on the Arizona-Mexico border. He discusses his experiences living between languages and cultures in his memoir Capirotada, chosen for One Book Arizona. He also reads poems from his 2009 collection The Dangerous Shirt.
August 2, 2019 Beth Ann Fennelly
Beth Ann Fennelly, appointed Poet Laureate of Mississippi in 2016, has written six books of poetry and prose. Born in New Jersey and raised in Illinois, she talks about her relocation to Mississippi and the effect the move has had on her life and her work. She also discusses her development as a poet, teacher, mother, and wife to novelist Tom Franklin, as she reads from her early books, Tender Hooks, Open House, and Unmentionables. She also discusses her nonfiction book, Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother.
July 26, 2019 José Faus
Poet and muralist José Faus was born in Bogota, Colombia but grew up in Kansas, just across the Missouri border. In this interview in front of an audience as the 2019 recipient of UMKC's "Defying the Odds" Alumni Award, he talks about his coming-of-age struggles and how he's used art and writing to change his life. A leader in Kansas City's Latino Writers Collective, Faus shares poetry from his book, The Life and Times of José Calderon, and discusses his views on the struggles of immigrants, as well as ideas on borders and border crossings.
July 19, 2019 Rupert Thomson
English writer Rupert Thomson discusses his eleventh novel, Never Anyone But You, that was shortlisted for the 2018 American Library in Paris Book Award. It explores the true love story of two lesbians in early 20th century France. Discover the history of artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, who resisted fascism and dealt with mental illness. In this public interview at the Kansas City Public Library, Thomson also discusses writing his 2010 memoir, This Party's Got to Stop, winner of the Writer's Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction.
July 12, 2019 Amina Gautier
Multi-award winning short story writer, Amina Gautier, shares excerpts from her 2018 PEN/Malamud Award-winning collection, The Loss of All Lost Things, as part of that year's Pleiades Visiting Writers Series at the University of Central Missouri. She also talks about the real-world inspiration and years of research that went into this book, her third short story collection. She also won the Flannery O'Connor Award for her first book, At Risk, about teenaged African-Americans, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize for her second collection, Now We Will Be Happy, about Afro-Puerto Ricans, as well as displaced islanders and those born on the Mainland U.S.
Kansas City Literary Events