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I was in Anaheim on a trip to present for the Disneyland Alumni Club and recorded videos of me reading poems from At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros. It may not be the next Disney+ hit, but it was fun doing quick recordings around the Park. I’ll be adding one or two for the next few weeks to the YouTube Playlist here.
Pick up the whole book here from The Old Mill Press: https://bit.ly/3MGfwzd
At The Corner of Fantasy and Main is about more than Disneyland, midlife, and churros. It’s about how our heart is sometimes more reliable than our memory and how places that are touchstones in our lives stay with us in ways that don’t always seem to make sense. And, well, it’s about Disneyland, midlife, and churros.
Though April is National Poetry Month, October is always a great month for poetry for some reason, kind of “Poetry Month, Part 2.” This year, I roamed from Kansas City to Lynch, spent a week in Dunning and Halsey with trips to Scratchtown in Ord and Anthem in Thedford.
In addition to readings and workshops, I also gave a talk on American poetry in the 1920s, which was a blast. I’ve always been fascinated by that decade as it seems like that’s where American poetry turned away from an emotional focus to an intellectual puzzle, so, of course, I thought I hated it. Turns out, I still sort of hate it but am now much more fascinated by how Ezra Pound was a poetry kingmaker (and a jerk) whose poetics I admire but whose influence I abhor. So, you know, I learned things.
And November! We go back to the classic sports commercial and the announcer asks: “Matt Mason, you’ve had a full month of poetry, what are you going to do now?” The answer is, of course:
November 4: 1-3:30pm (Pacific Time), I’m speaking to the Disneyland Alumni Club at their monthly meeting in Huntington Beach, California.
November 7 and 14: 1-2:30pm, I’ll be running two more writing workshops at the Exeter Senior Center thanks to the Nebraska Arts Council’s Creative Aging Arts Program.
November 7: 7-8:30pm, I’ll be reading with students at the Grand Island High School Little Theater (as well as working with students for a few days).
November 12: 5-9pm, I’ll be emceeing the John G. Neihardt Foundation’s Laureate’s Feast and Auction at A View On State (13467 State St, Omaha). Jonis Agee and 2023 Nebraska Youth Poet Laureate Aliyah American Horse will be presenting! For tickets and more information, see neihardtcenter.org.
November 14: 7-8pm, I’m reading at a Prairie Art Brothers event at the Frank Museum of History & Culture, 2010 University Drive, West Campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
November 19: 2-4pm, I read at the Crete Public Library (1515 Forest Ave, Crete).
I’ll also be with writing groups, doing visits for The Nebraska Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud program as well as visits with Fort Calhoun Elementary, Ralston Schools, Zoom visits ranging from Fairbury High to St. Cyril of Jerusalem School in LA, and more!
And, holy cow, September has been outstanding. Trying to make a living as a poet isn’t easy but has been profoundly rewarding in the people I’m meeting and the experiences I’m invited to be part of. September has been a whirlwind, with trips from northern Nebraska to Marceline, MO to the Nebraska panhandle to the Black Hills and back.
Work like this takes a lot of support and belief from others, so I’m grateful for Newman Grove Public Schools, Humanities Nebraska, the Hartington and Niobrara Public Libraries, Mount Marty University, the National Association of State Arts Agencies, Pierce Public Schools, the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, Alliance Public Schools, Arthur County Schools, the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Mullen Public Schools, the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center, the Mullen Arts Center, the Nebraska Poetry Society, and the South Dakota Humanities Council for making these kinds of events happen. (And: thank you, Sarah!)
And here’s what’s coming for October, with trips to Central Nebraska, Kansas City, and more:
October 1: 1-4pm, Start the month at Raymond Central High School (In the Mustang Room,1800 W. Agnew Rd, Raymond NE). It’s free and open to the public, with a reading, Q&A, and a writing workshop: https://www.facebook.com/events/328116633043900/
October 6: 5-8pm, Legal Aid of Nebraska commissioned me to write a poem for their 60th Anniversary Celebration. I’ll read it at that event, find information and tickets here: https://fundraise.givesmart.com/e/oHRhoQ
October 7, 14, 21, and 28: POSTPONED: online writing workshop through the Larksong Writers Place. https://larksongwritersplace.org/
October 8: 1-2:30pm, I’ll be teaching a free writing workshop with the Castle & Cathedral District and Metropolitan Community College’s 14th annual Art & Literary Festival. This event is at Cali Commons (518 N 40th St, Omaha) and registration is required as space is limited: https://joslyncastle.com/events/special-events/art-and-literary-festival-2023.html
October 10: 6pm, I read in Central Nebraska at Anthem Coffee (39295 NE-2, Thedford NE)
October 13: 7pm, I’ll see YOU, Northeast Nebraska, with a reading at the Lynch Public Library (423 Hoffman St, Lynch NE)
October 14: 6-7pm, I’ll be reading with Michelle Troxclair and Devel Crisp as part of the Castle & Cathedral District and Metropolitan Community College’s 14th annual Art & Literary Festival at the Joslyn Castle (3902 Davenport St, Omaha). It’s free! https://joslyncastle.com/events/special-events/art-and-literary-festival-2023.html
October 19 and 22: 6-7pm, I’m giving a talk on “The 1920s, How It Ruined Poetry For The Rest Of Us” for the Castle & Cathedral District and Metropolitan Community College’s 14th annual Art & Literary Festival at the Joslyn Castle (3902 Davenport St, Omaha). Come on down for this free event: https://joslyncastle.com/events/special-events/art-and-literary-festival-2023.html
October 20: 7pm, tell your KC friends! I head down to Kansas City to read in The Writers Place Reading Series featuring Alarie Tennille, Wayne Courtois, and me at The Writers Place at Nonprofit Village, 31 W 31st ST, Kansas City MO: https://thewritersplace.wildapricot.org/
October 21: And I stick around in KC for Pageturner, a great fundraiser for The New Territory magazine at The Hayloft at Lifted Spirits Distillery (1734 Cherry St, East Crossroads, Kansas City MO). It runs 4-8pm, tickets are $80-$110 at: https://newterritorymag.com/events/pageturner2023/
October 27: I’m working on an event in Lincoln, details coming soon here and on my State Poet Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NeSP3
The big news: Rock Stars comes out September 5th! If you haven’t bought a copy for yourself and 12 for the neighbors, you can get it straight from the press here: https://buttonpoetry.com/product/rock-stars/
I’ll be reading from it in Omaha that same night at the Florence Mill (see below). Also coming up are a lot of appearances, both virtual and in-person, including appearances at the South Dakota Festival of Books and the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, it’s an exciting month!
September’s Public Poetry Events
(All times Central unless otherwise noted)
9/5: 7pm, Rock Stars Book Release at The Florence Mill (9102 N 30th St, Omaha NE 68112)
9/6: 7-8pm, Featured on Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour on KDVS UC Davis, https://www.poetrytechnology.com/
9/7: 6pm, Read at the Schuyler Public Library (108 E. 18th Street, Schuyler NE 68661)
9/8: Noon-1pm, Humanities Nebraska’s Curiosity Connections online discussion, https://humanitiesnebraska.org/event/curiosity-connections-with-nebraska-state-poet-matt-mason/
9/12: 5pm, Read at the Hartington Public Library (106 S. Broadway, Hartington NE 68739)
9/13: Noon, read at Mount Marty University in Yankton, SD (South Dining Room)
9/13: 5pm, Read at the Niobrara Public Library (25414 Park Ave, Niobrara NE 68760)
9/16: Read at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum 2023 Dreaming Tree Gala, Marceline MO, https://www.waltdisneymuseum.org/events
9/19: 5:30pm Mountain (6:30 Central) writing workshop, 7pm Mountain (8pm Central) reading at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center (908Yellowstone Ave, Alliance NE 69301)
9/20: 6pm Mountain (7 Central), reading at the Mullen Arts Center (109 NW 1st St, Mullen NE 69152) with Lyn Messersmith
9/22-24: Featured Writer at the South Dakota Festival of Books, Deadwood, SD, https://sdhumanities.org/festival-of-books/
9/23: 10am, online Writing Workshop with the Nebraska Poetry Society, https://www.nepoetrysociety.org/workshops
Also, I’m appearing at Pacific Springs in Omaha, Newman Grove Schools, Pierce High School, Alliance High School, Arthur County Schools, Mullen Public High School, the Exeter Public Library and a few more.
Announcements went out for the Dreaming Tree Gala at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline on September 16th. It’s an event featuring a number of Disney dignitaries and I get to read a poem before a dinner curated by author Marcy Carriker Smothers and a talk by animator and Disney Legend Floyd Norman. It’s a thrill to get to read from At the Corner of Fantasy and Main to a group like this. See details about the event at: https://www.waltdisneymuseum.org/events
Also, today my poem “The Issue of Rattle” was the poem featured on Rattle’s website. This issue is my first time being published in Rattle after submitting for, oh, decades… It includes an audio version with me reading at: https://www.rattle.com/the-issue-of-rattle-by-matt-mason/
And the August 10th (my birthday!) edition of Bangladesh’s Daily Sangbad newspaper’s literature page includes a photo of me and Bimal Guha from a reading in Lincoln a few weeks ago. It was an honor to read with Bimal, a writer with over 20 books published and numerous awards in Bangladesh.
I had a fun conversation with talented poet Tyler Michael Jacobs about writing, publishing, and State Poet-ing. Check it out here: https://casit.bgsu.edu/marblog/an-interview-with-nebraska-state-poet-matt-mason/
I had the pleasure of leading an on-stage conversation with Ada Limón and Nebraska Poetry Out Loud champion Amelia Escalante. This was all part of celebrating the Nebraska Cultural Endowment’s 25th anniversary! (Photos by Ben Semisch).
The Nebraska Cultural Endowment does a great deal to help Artists and audiences in Nebraska. They are the first and only cultural endowment in the nation to sustain both arts and humanities through privately-supported and publicly-matched funds.
I’m thrilled to announce that At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros has won Silver (top 3) in the Independent Book Publishers Association awards this year! It’s an honor to be recognized in the Poetry category, and I’m more grateful than I could ever express to The Old Mill Press for believing in this collection.
The book ALSO won recognition being shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Awards (meaning it’s in the top 10% of entries, though did not win the top prize).
Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way!
I’m incredibly proud of this book and grateful to see this kind of recognition coming in for it.
Read about my latest poetry exploits here in Milford Magazine, the whole issue is up at: https://milfordmagazine.com/milford-magazine-issue-4/
Two of my favorite arts groups are posting a video poem every day this month in celebration of National Poetry Month and both posted poems of mine today. Check out my poems and all the others through the end of April.
Mississippi’s wonderful Tishomingo Arts Council shared “Song For Tishomingo” through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TishCoArts/videos/735963384833925
And The Prairie Art Brothers of Kearney shared “Ode to Fourth Graders,” dedicated to the students I worked with a few weeks back in Alliance, Nebraska: https://youtu.be/Hxgm4YmVgOQ
Enjoy the month, celebrate responsibly!
Support Matt through Patreon at:
And buy his 4th book, At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros from The Old Mill Press: https://theoldmillpress.com/product/at-the-corner-of-fantasy-and-main/
Matt Mason is the Nebraska State Poet and has run poetry workshops in Botswana, Romania, Nepal, and Belarus for the U.S. State Department. His poetry has appeared in The New York Times and Matt has received a Pushcart Prize as well as fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Nebraska Arts Council. His work can be found in Rattle, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, and in hundreds of other publications. Mason’s 5th book, Rock Stars, was published by Button Poetry in September of this year.