The Kansas Humanities Council (KHC) announced that Wyatt Townley will be presenting her final presentation as Poet Laureate of Kansas at the Koester House Museum in Marysville on Thursday, April 30. The event, “Coming Home to Poetry,” will begin at 7 PM.
Townley began her two-year term as Poet Laureate of Kansas in 2013. In this role, she has promoted the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans through public presentations and discussions about poetry in communities across the state and a statewide newspaper column. She lives in Shawnee Mission, Kan.
“When Wyatt was chosen as Poet Laureate of Kansas, the selection committee knew her talents and charismatic presence. What we didn’t fully realized was Wyatt’s passion for the position and her devotion to sharing poetry with Kansans statewide,” said Julie Mulvihill, KHC Executive Director. “While the humanities connect us to the larger human experience, her poetry magnified it. The Kansas Humanities Council is grateful for this gift Wyatt shared with all of us.”
As Poet Laureate, Townley presented “Coming Home to Poetry” and poetry readings to 68 organizations across Kansas. Her newspaper column, “HomeWords,” was published for 53 weeks and featured 105 cinquain poems written by Kansans—a number that reflects the 105 counties of the state.
“The laureateship itself was a poem for me,” Townley said. “What an honor and delight traveling Kansas and connecting with people about things that matter—love, death, and Poetry!
“We laughed, we cried, we got chills. We put over 10,000 miles on our 16-year-old van, never breaking down and managing to dodge all blizzards and tornados,” Townley said. “Internally, I found a path from private to public that I could travel, and made new friends along the way. It was all poetry, all the way down.”
A widely published poet, Townley looks forward to more time in her writer’s studio when a new poet laureate is named. Her next collection, Rewriting the Body, will soon be published. Other projects are also percolating. “Possibly a memoir that centers on the laureateship and the great leap for an introvert from solitary practitioner to ambassador,” she adds. “There are some juicy book projects I’ve put on hold, and some life projects as well—singing, drawing, and teaching Yoganetics. But first: a vacation!”
Support for the Poet Laureate of Kansas has been provided by the Friends of the Humanities.
The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information or to donate to the Poet Laureate of Kansas program, contact Leslie Von Holten, Director of Programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org, or visit www.kansashumanities.org.