poetry

Sep 23, 2020

“When did you realize poetry could be your companion? Your release?” 


In this episode of the Johnson County Library podcast Did You Hear, Dr. Randall Horton and Anishinaabekwe poet Louise K. Waakaa’igan discuss poetry both as a lifeline and as a discipline.  It’s a discussion between two people who share a gift for and love of poetry; but it’s also a discussion between two people who share a common language that only those who have been “inside” can fully understand.  


An unrelenting advocate for personal voice and perfect line breaks, Dr. Horton is equally passionate about eradicating

Connection Writing Contest Winner

By Annie Newcomer
5
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 25, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our Poetry writing contest on the theme of Connection with "Acushla."


Annie Newcomer lives in Prairie Village with David, her husband of forty years and their daughter's Aussiedoodle, Summit. Her first published piece, "My Red Shoes" was about how her sister Patty's death affected her, then a young child herself. Patty suffered in life with severe cerebral palsy. She was a blessing and an angel.


Acushla


Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there

Hook: A Memoir

By Randall Horton
5
Rated by Lisa A.
Oct 18, 2019

“We script our lives on reaction rather than action, meaning daily life is always in response to, or a reply to, a command or demand. The world uses us in that way...The world does this--holds us down.”― Randall Horton, Hook: A Memoir


Randall Horton and I have lived wildly different lives. His memoir, Hook, tells part of his story: as an undergrad at Howard University, as an addict, as a cocaine smuggler, as a prisoner, as a reader, as a poet, as an author, as an educator, as a mentor, as a friend. Yes, all of this is part of his story—and, like his story, the book itself is unique. It’s

Feb 7, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Pat Daneman has won the poetry category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Congolese Refugee Family Watches Fireworks for the First Time".


Pat Daneman is from Long Island, New York and currently lives in Lenexa, Kansas. She has published fiction and poetry in many print and online magazines, including The American Journal of Poetry, Escape into Life and the Bellevue Poetry Review. Her poems have been anthologized in Best of the Net and New Poetry from the Midwest. She is the author of a chapbook, Where the World

Virgin

By Analicia Sotelo
5
Rated by Emma F.
Jul 15, 2018

"We're all performing our bruises"


It’s eighty-two degrees and I sit on sun drenched concrete, hot pink book in hand, pebble- small crimson strawberries staining my left hand and right knee. Suddenly, a fluttery brown butterfly wiggles between my thigh and the ground, crouching against my skin. I shriek- being the put together young woman i am- and then quiet, carefully shifting to stare at this beautiful thing that has chosen me to rest against. It flutters upwards too quickly, shooting straight into my neck where its wings rustle kisses much too softly against the most intimate sections

Jun 22, 2018

Johnson County Library and The Writers Place are pleased to announce that Michael Harty has won the poetry category of our writing contest on the theme of MUSIC with "Ralna's Song".


Harty has been practicing psychology and psychoanalysis in the Kansas City area for a long time, and publishing poetry for a fairly small percentage of that time. So far he's had poems in Kansas City Voices, I-70 Review, New Letters, Coal City Review, and other magazines, and he's published a chapbook, The Statue Game.


Ralna’s Song


Nobody on the Lawrence Welk show
knew her the way I knew her,
all

Time Writing Contest Winner

By Frank Higgins
5
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 19, 2018

The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Frank Higgins has won our TIME poetry contest with his poem "The Summer We're All Sixteen". We love way the poem circles back on itself and illustrates both the universality of time and its unique passage for each of us.


Frank Higgins writes plays, and occasionally poetry and haiku.


 


The summer we’re all sixteen


we buy bathing suits we hide from our mothers.
And in the deck chairs at the town pool
we each let a boy rub baby oil
over our shoulders and backs.
And those boys, who gulp so hard
you can hear their

Jan 11, 2018

The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Lisa Allen has won our Ain't It the Truth writing contest in the open category for her poem "Adoration."  With precise yet smoldering language, Allen's narrator carefully unravels the "secret histories" of the women who raised her--what remains hidden beneath the facades they were forced to adopt to survive.

Allen's choice of perspective allows readers to put themselves in the narrator's shoes and imagine the inner-workings of the matriarchs in their own lives.  "Adoration"'s truth doesn't come from absolute fact as much as lived

Devotions

By Mary Oliver
5
Rated by Hannah Jane C.
Dec 10, 2017

This is a superb collection of Mary Oliver's poetry. I believe there is a poem for every person in this volume. Interestingly, from Oliver's books I like least (Thirst and Felicity, for example), the chosen poems for this collection are strong and really resonate with me. I plan on reading those collections again, thanks to Devotions. On the flip side, my favorite books by Mary Oliver (Owls and Other Fantasies and Blue Iris) are represented by my least favorite poems. I still found an abundance of magic and beauty in this collection, a staggering amount really, and I feel most pleasantly

Dec 8, 2017

As the follow up to Milk and Honey, I had low expectations for Rupi Kaur's second book, The Sun and Her Flowers. Having existed in the poetry community, I am familiar with the conflicting opinions about Kaur and her poetry. "Too simple," some say. "Fake deep," others say, rolling their eyes. Parodies sprung up across the internet, poking fun at Kaur's short, loaded style. However, many others nearly worshiped Kaur, resulting in her immediate climb to the top of The New York Times Bestseller list. Yet, I have stood on a middle ground, owning and dog-earing Milk and Honey, but also understanding

Paterson (DVD)

By Jim Jarmusch
5
Rated by Sheida B.
Sep 26, 2017

Paterson is a quiet, beautiful love story.  It depicts a week in the life of a bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver) and his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). They live in the town of Paterson, New Jersey, which William Carlos Williams immortalized in his poetry. In his spare time, our Paterson writes poetry, mostly love poems about his wife. He writes down his poems wherever he can: in a small cupboard in the basement, in the bus before he starts work. He derives his inspiration from life around him so that the subtle rhythm of an average day becomes the beat of his poem. When Laura tells

Jun 12, 2017

The Readers Advisory Committee is pleased to announce that Kayla Wiltfong has won our Build a Better World poetry contest. We enjoy Politics for both Wiltfong’s skill and confidence. She employs double-meanings to great effect, referencing multiple news items seen and heard in both social and mainstream media. On the surface, it’s a very short and simple poem, that evolves with each reading and teases our understanding. It’s clever in its aphoristic, tweet-like form, and addresses the theme of Build a Better World in an interesting way. You build a better world by saving what you value.


K

Mar 20, 2017

For a poetry newbie, Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation is a nice introduction to the greats, both contemporary and historical. Hildegard of Bingen, who died in the 1100s, is included, yet so are poets like Billy Collins and Marie Howe who are alive and well.


My favorite, I think, is "So Much Happiness" by Naomi Shihab Nye, which begins,


It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against
A wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
Something to

Mar 10, 2017

The title of Cheryl Dumesnil's latest collection, Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes, is like an irresistible flashing light, letting readers know that there's dark humor to be found inside. And yes, her poems twinkle with dark humor, but they are also candidly soulful, colorful and even sweetly sexy at times. Her poem, The Gospel According to Sky, explores cloud shapes, and how "the immutable blue holds those changing shapes, like a lover who's finally learned how to love her right." My heart soars at the idea of the sky holding the clouds like they are all the pieces of its cherished

Ten Poems to Set You Free

By Roger Housden
5
Rated by Helen H.
Dec 29, 2016

I picked up Ten Poems to Set You Free because, of late, I’ve wanted to learn to read, understand, and enjoy poetry. It's not just important; it's necessary. I believe that, and want to feel it, too. I thought ten a manageable number, and Housden’s explanations might improve my enjoyment. I was right.


The third poem, Throw Yourself Like Seed by Miguel de Unamuno, immediately grabbed my attention, and I read it several times. His call to Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit, comes at a perfect time. Housden’s response provides context; Unamuno was dragged from his classroom during

Dec 16, 2016

In his introduction to Forever Words, Paul Muldoon says, “So ingrained in our collective unconscious is the voice of Johnny Cash that we can all but hear the boom-chicka boom-chicka of his guitar accompaniment, at once reassuring and disquieting in its very familiarity.” That was absolutely true for me as I was reading through this collection. 


Some of these poems are familiar songs by Cash, like “Don’t Take Your Gun to Town,” but the poetry expands the story beyond the recorded song, and reading it brings a new appreciation to the familiar lyrics. Others were previously unpublished works

Meet the Author: Eve Brackenbury

By Eve Brackenbury
5
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 9, 2016

Everyone knows poetry is a literary form with distinct sounds and rhythms meant to be read aloud. Eve Brackenbury, local poet and bookseller, will help participants who might never have spoken in front of a crowd learn to read poetry out loud. Her passion is evident in our interview and we hope you'll join us in learning how to turn your reading into a performance.


Tuesday, November 15th
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Central Resource Library - Logan Conference Room


Tell us about yourself. How did you get started writing?


Like many writers, I don’t really remember when I started writing. I

Sep 24, 2016

What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned is the most original, electric, and soul-altering book of poems I’ve read in more than a year. It reads like a nonlinear memoir that skips around Alexie’s life, with common threads charging the poems like drumbeats.  The largest theme - growing up on an Indian reservation surrounded by a cast of remarkable characters with haunting stories – shows up in nearly every poem.  Other themes of grief, recklessness, addiction, poverty and freedom reappear again and again. Alexie occasionally skips to the present, connecting his former and current selves, like the New

Jul 25, 2016

This is a collection of over 100 poems written by Tupac Shakur when he was 19. They confront topics from poverty to motherhood. They are presented in his own handwriting on one page and a typed version on the other.


Okay, seriously, I don't get all the fuss about this. While there are a few nice lines here and there, the bulk of the poetry is pretty juvenile. Which is fine, he was 19. He writes about girls more than anything else, which is understandable. Again - 19. I guess I just don't understand why his adolescent poetry is considered so much better than other adolescent poetry. Does it

Bear Witness Writing Contest Winner

By Jemshed Khan
5
Rated by Helen H.
May 12, 2016

The Read Local committee is very pleased to announce Jemshed Khan has won our Bear Witness poetry contest for his poem "#48689." Entries included an impressive variety of poetic forms, including haiku and sonnet, making the selection very difficult. In the end, we selected "#48689" as, like the numbers in the title, it tattooed itself on our minds. The haunting imagery and vivid description lends the poem personal immediacy and requires remembrance. The person #48689, bearing witness as both executioner and innocent victim, gives us chills and the poem deserves repeated readings.


Jemshed

Feb 9, 2016

On Tuesday, February 16th at 6:00 p.m. The Writers Place and the Johnson County Library will present Poetry and Prose, a poetry reading by inmates and former inmates incarcerated at Lansing Prison. Arlin Buyert has facilitated the poetry program at Lansing Prison for the past four years. It is sponsored by Arts in Prison, Inc. which also features The East Hill Singers, theatre and yoga programs for inmates.


Arlin Buyert was born and raised on an Iowa farm near Sioux Center where he graduated from high school. Arlin was formally educated at Macalester College and The University of Minnesota

Jan 8, 2016

The Read Local Committee is pleased to announce Anna Francesca has won our Faster, Higher, Stronger Poetry Contest with her poem Citius, Altius Fortius. We love the poem, especially so close to this time of new year's resolutions, for Francesca's focus on herself and her own strength. The act of always looking forward reminded us a little of Matthew McConaughey's 2014 Oscar acceptance speech in which he declares his hero to be his own future self. We also love the poem's construction with consistent use of natural and mathematical elements throughout. And we especially love Francesca's

#IHeartU Writing Contest Winner

By Karin L. Frank
5
Rated by Helen H.
Dec 9, 2015

The Local Writers committee is pleased to announce Karin L. Frank has won our #IHeartU poetry contest with her entry Solace. We love the poem's progression from start to last lines, and the contrast between young and old. We enjoyed the sophisticated vocabulary punctuating strong imagery, and the poem is especially pleasing when read aloud. Try it! We're excited to hear Frank's reading of her own work at our April 9th 2nd Saturday event. Tell us what you like about Solace in the comments.


Karin L. Frank's poems have been published or are forthcoming in the Rockhurst Review, Taj Mahal

May 11, 2015

Arlin Buyert’s latest collection, Oh Say Can You See, opens with "Big Brother", a poem that exposes the aftermath of a spirit ravaged by war. It is a candid poem that ensnares the reader in raw emotion, a poem of spare words, grounding details and a haunting and unforgettable metaphor: “someone else came home:/quiet and brittle as a dead tree.” By the end of the poem, I felt as if Bobbie was my big brother.


Perhaps Buyert’s greatest poetical gift is his ability to always leave the door open to his memories. Somehow, as the poem is read, the reader becomes more than someone reading the poem

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume I

By hitRECord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
5
Rated by Hope H.
Jul 1, 2014

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume I is a creative, charming compilation of 1-5 sentence stories, poems, and artwork. The dainty book features 67 of the more than 8500 contributions originally submitted for the volume. Some made me laugh, others made me pause and reflect, and I kept flipping back to certain illustrations just to savor them a little longer. My favorite tiny story:


One day before breakfast, an
orange rolled off the counter
and escaped its fate, bounding
happily through the kitchen door.


Filled with hope,the egg followed.


You can thumb through it in a matter of

Jan 22, 2014

In the Palm of Your Hand isn’t just a handy poetry guide for poets, it also contains a hefty chunk of poems from both known and lesser-known poets.  Steve Kowit masterfully demonstrates that a combination of both writing and reading is essential for a strong and extensive writing path.


The book is organized quite well with simple but thorough explanations of various aspects and forms of poetry followed by thoughtful exercises.  Poems are peppered throughout the book, offering direction, insight and inspiration. 


I was quite impressed with the unique and multi-faceted exercises.  The

Nov 7, 2013

David Rothenberg's Bug Music is a highly readable  and eccentric investigation into an aspect of nature too easily taken for granted. Bugs produce very mathematical sounds based on natural cycles. What human ears are able to delineate is really only the tip of a very large iceberg connected to other icebergs. Delving deeply into the sounds of cicadas, crickets and katydids, Rothenberg is not afraid to suddenly go big-picture on his readers. He aims for nothing less than a direct connection between  a cricket’s chirp and jazz band’s rhythm section. There is a philosophical nature to Rothenberg

Oct 19, 2013

Love this author – love this illustrator – love this author and illustrator combo – love this book. That’s a lot of love, but if you read this book I think you’ll agree with me. I don’t remember how I came across the illustrator Mark Hearld, but my guess (and hope) is that we will be seeing and hearing a lot more from this talented British artist. His mixed media work reminds me of Eric Carle, but colorful and vibrant in a fresh new way.


Award-winning children’s author and biologist Nicola Davies provides the perfect poetry to go along with the artwork, to vividly present the abundance of