And now: Your 2023 State Of The State Poet Address. [Cue the trumpets!]
Hello, all! With just under 2 years left in my term as State Poet, I have to say how thrilled I am to be your poetry ambassador, visiting schools and communities to write poetry, listen to poetry, read poetry, and talk shop about poetry in schools, libraries, bars, theaters, street corners, coffee shops, living rooms, wherever you’ll have me.
In my project to participate in poetry events in all 93 Nebraska counties, I’m back to making progress (after an extended pandemic break) and have been honored to present at least once in 43 Nebraska counties so far. That leaves a lot to go, but as I made it to 31 counties during my first full year, I feel it’s going to happen (barring too many blizzards, ice storms, virus variants, and other such things).
This past year, I left my job leading the Nebraska Writers Collective (Who you should donate to RIGHT NOW as they are more amazing than ever) and am now working to make my living as a poet/speaker/etc.
How does that work? Good question… one I’ve been asking myself a lot. I’ve been granted time thanks to a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets which essentially pays me a salary for the next 6 months and I hope to extend that to, well, forever.
That time is being used to write, of course, but also to see if I can figure out this earning a living through commissioned poems, poetry readings, writing workshops, corporate trainings, book signings, giving talks, and more (both in Nebraska and around the country).
Over the past year, I’ve been commissioned to write several poems, facilitated a team building session for a board of trustees, appeared at schools, libraries, community events, and many others in Nebraska, California, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Washington. I hope for a lot more in 2023 so that I can keep doing the work I feel most talented at and excited by. So far, I have appearances lined up in about 10 Nebraska counties this spring as well as in Wyoming and Iowa.
Also this year, I published a new book: At The Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros from The Old Mill Press. What started as a project I wasn’t sure about turned into what might be my most meaningful book so far so I hope you’ll check it out: https://theoldmillpress.com/product/at-the-corner-of-fantasy-and-main-disneyland-midlife-and-churros/
As I move forward, please let me know if you would be interested in bringing me in, commissioning a poem, or know any agents, contacts at businesses, colleges, high schools, etc. who you’d recommend me to in Nebraska and beyond. I’ve thrown myself out into the universe this year and hope to make this work out.
And thank you to Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Nebraska Library Commission for making it possible for Nebraska to have a State Poet. Please follow and support them.
Here’s to a poetic 2023!