Kansas Poet Laureate to present on “home”

Hesston College will host Wyatt Townley, Kansas Poet Laureate, on campus Friday, March 20. Townley will read her poetry at an 11 a.m. forum and lead a 3 p.m. workshop for select Hesston College students. Her presentation and workshop center around the theme “home.”

Forum will focus on Townley’s work and the work of other poets that “invites us to come home to the poetry that underlies our lives in an age of distraction.” Recognizing home as a long-held Kansas value, Townley reflects on poetry, saying, “ 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.”

The theme of home will extend to Townley’s workshop, entitled “HomeWords.” The short poem, the “American Cinquain,” will be used to discuss large themes, in accordance to the state poetry project.

Townley has published three poetry books. Her work has been featured in settings such as National Public Radio, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, The Paris Review and Newsweek, and has been twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

“Townley’s presentations and workshop will build on themes of ‘home’ explored as last year’s First-year Experience theme and offer a rare opportunity for students to learn firsthand from a nationally lauded poet,” said Karen LeVan, Hesston College English faculty member.

The Kansas Humanities Council, a group that supports community humanities programs, makes the Kansas Poet Laureate position possible. To learn more about the council, visit kansashumanities.org.

Showalter Villa will also host Townley at 3:30 p.m., Thursday Mar 19. Question and answer sessions and book signings will follow both Townley’s Hesston College and Showalter Villa presentations. The forum is open to the public and will be in the Hesston Mennonite Church Sanctuary.