October 18, 2019 Laura Kasischke
National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet Laura Kasischke muses on topics ranging from motherhood to beauty queens, as she reads from several of her books now published under one cover by Copper Canyon, the 2017 book, Where Now: New and Selected Poems. Also an author of novels and short stories, she then sits down onstage at the Kansas City Public Library for a short conversation with host Angela Elam, as a prelude to their upcoming studio conversation, when she reads from her fiction. To find out about her early career, a 2006 program with Laura Kasischke is also available in our audio archives.
October 11, 2019 Xánath Caraza
In the second part of our interview with Xánath Caraza, the multi-award-winning poet reads from her 2016 collection Donde la Luz es Violeta/Where the Light is Violet. While in front of an audience at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, she also shares how water inspires much of her writing, like the prose she reads from her 2018 book Hudson, named for the Hudson River. A 2015 winner of the International Book Award for Poetry for her collection Silabas de Viento/Syllables of Wind, Caraza also reveals more about her creative process and her poetic inspirations.
October 4, 2019 Mia Leonin & Gustavo Adolfo Aybar
In this public reading at The Writer's Place in Kansas City, poets Mia Leonin and Gustavo Adolfo Aybar celebrate Hispanic island cultures. Aybar, a native of the Dominican Republic, is a Cave Canem Fellow who shares poems from his 2017 debut collection, We Seek Asylum, winner of Willow Books Literature Awards Grand Prize. Leonin, who has explored her Cuban-American heritage in her memoir Havana and Other Missing Fathers, reads from her International Latino Book Award-winning collection from BkMk Press called Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child.
September 27, 2019 Sergio Troncoso
Sergio Troncoso discusses his journey from the small border town of Ysleta to his education at Harvard and eventually Yale, where he now teaches. His collection Crossing Borders: Personal Essays reveals a bit about his life on the Mexican-American border and how it varies from his current life in New York City, where he works to instill the same sense of hardworking determination in his two sons. Raised Catholic, he also looks at the border between religions, sharing some of the challenges he and his wife, who is Jewish, have faced. Troncoso also reads from his 2011 novel, From This Wicked Patch of Dust, and talks about his 2013 anthology of essays, Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence.
September 20, 2019 Xánath Caraza
Poet Xánath Caraza is a two-time International Latino Book Award-winner in 2018. In part one of this interview on stage at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, she describes her approach to her creative writing, which often begins in Spanish, and talks about her partnership with literary translator, Sandra Kingery. She reads from her award-winning bilingual book, Sin Preambulos/Without Preamble, and shares her poem about Kansas City, where she has lived for two decades. She also talks about her travels, including a pilgrimage to see a jade mask on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, which inspired some of the work in her 2019 collection Balamku. Caraza also shares poetry from her earlier book Ocelocihuatl/Jaguar Woman.
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.
Kansas City Literary Events
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