The Poet Laureate of Kansas promotes the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans. Poet Laureate of Kansas Wyatt Townley is available free-of-charge for public readings, presentations, and discussions about poetry in your community (as funding allows). Events must be free and open to the public.
Poet Laureate of Kansas
Wyatt Townley of Shawnee Mission is the 2013-2015 Poet Laureate of Kansas. Wyatt is a widely published, nationally known poet and a fourth-generation Kansan. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, in US Poet Laureate Emeritus Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column, and published in journals ranging from The Paris Review to Newsweek. She has published three collections of poetry: The Breathing Field (Little Brown), Perfectly Normal (The Smith), and The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley Press), a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award. More information can be found on her website.
WANTED: Poems for “HomeWords”
Calling all poets and poets-to-be with Kansas roots for a weekly poetry column, edited by Kansas Poet Laureate Wyatt Townley, to be published in newspapers across this great state. Click here for more information.
Poet Laureate Events
Click here for a list of upcoming Poet Laureate of Kansas events.
Coming Home to Poetry (30-60 Minutes)
The notion of “home” is a long-held Kansas value. Join Poet Laureate of Kansas Wyatt Townley as part of her statewide conversation about coming home to poetry. “Poetry is a place we can return to in all kinds of weather, with its innate power to heal and comfort, transform and inspire. Its porch light is always on.” Wyatt will explore what home is, what poetry is, and how they intersect — reading both her work and that of other poets.
How to Bring the Poet Laureate of Kansas to Your Community
1. Click here to find out if your organization is eligible for a free program.
2. Contact Wyatt Townley at to confirm time, date, and location.
3. Publicize your event. Download a press release, Poet Laureate bio, photo, and KHC logo poster.
4. Tell us how it went. After the event, download and fill out a Poet Laureate of Kansas Evaluation and Cost Share Form and email them to Leslie Von Holten, director of programs: leslie(at)kansashumanities.org.
5. Questions? Click here for Wyatt Townley’s FAQs.
For a list of workshops and other offerings outside of KHC’s Poet Laureate of Kansas program, please visit Wyatt Townley’s website.
Press Releases, Articles & Interviews
- Wyatt Townley named Poet Laureate of Kansas
- Denise Low interviews KS. Poet Laureate Wyatt Townley
- “HomeWords” by Wyatt Townley, Humanities, Spring 2013
- Wyatt Townley’s poems featured in Kansas Leadership Center’s The Journal, Summer 2013
- Wyatt Townley to present at Kansas Book Festival
- “The Kansas Poet Laureate Revels in Slowness and Silence,” Kansas City Star Magazine, October 19, 2013
- “Kansas Poet Laureate ‘comes home’ to Emporia Arts Center,” KVOE AM 1400
- “An Interview with Kansas Poet Laureate Wyatt Townley,” Kansas English: The Journal of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (2013)
- “The Kansas poet laureate invites your verse,” by Brian Burnes. The Kansas City Star, April 11, 2014.
- “Interview with Three Kansas Poets Laureate,” The Museum of Americana.
- “Kansas Poet Laureate Visits PHS,” The Pembroke Hill School website. (PDF)
- “Wyatt Townley, Poet,” KANSAS! Magazine, Summer 2014. (PDF)
- “A Conversation with Kansas Poet Laureate Wyatt Townley,” Mind’s Eye, Johnson County Community College, 2014.
- “It’s Our Community,” Johnson County Community College (Video).
Poet Laureate of Kansas Sponsors
The Poet Laureate of Kansas program is made possible with support from the Friends of the Humanities.
“The Poet Laureate of Kansas program will benefit the entire cultural life of Kansas and as a sixth-generation Kansan, I think that’s important.”
—Lon Frahm, Colby
Click here to learn more about the program’s major donor, Lon Frahm.
Donate Now and add your support to the Poet Laureate of Kansas program.
For more information about the Poet Laureate of Kansas program, contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, leslie(at)kansashumanities.org or (785) 357-0359.