Category: News

October’s Event Schedule and September Recap

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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:

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:

October 7, 14, 21, and 28: 1-2:15pm, I teach a writing workshop online through the Larksong Writers Place. It costs $125 and will give everyone the opportunity to talk writing and have your work gone over be me and everyone in the class:

October 8: 1-2:30pm, I’ll be teaching a free writing workshop with the Castle & Cathedral District and Metropolitan Community College’s are 14th annual Art & Literary Festival. This event is at Cali Commons (518 N 40th St, Omaha) and registration is required as space is limited:

October 10: 6pm, I read in Central Nebraska at Anthem Coffee (39295 NE-2, Thedford NE)

October 11: I read at Scratchtown Brewing Company (141 South 16th, Ord 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 are 14th annual Art & Literary Festival at the Joslyn Castle (3902 Davenport St, Omaha). It’s free!

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 are 14th annual Art & Literary Festival at the Joslyn Castle (3902 Davenport St, Omaha). Come on down for this free event:

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:

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:

October 27: I’m working on an event in Lincoln, details coming soon here and on my State Poet Facebook page:

September Readings Schedule

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:

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,

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,

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,

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,

9/23: 10am, online Writing Workshop with the Nebraska Poetry Society,

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.

I’m Having A Stellar Week

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:

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:

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.

In Conversation With U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón at the NCE’s 25th Anniversary

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.

At the Corner of Fantasy and Main is winning awards!

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.

Happy National Poetry Month!

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:

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:

Enjoy the month, celebrate responsibly!

The 3rd Pen Pal Poets Tour is Back from Southern Nebraska

In a wild 3 days, the Nebraska Pen Pal Poets Program brought Colleen O’Doherty, Fernando Montejano and me to BDS Middle School in Davenport, Lawrence/Nelson schools, Fairbury HS/Junior High, and Thayer Central High School in Hebron while also doing readings at the Red Cloud Opera House and at the Blue Bison in Hebron.

It was a whirlwind trip which got great student response as we talked poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, science fiction and so much more.

Colleen, now in Chicago, is mainly doing playwriting but kept students entertained with poems like a love poem for chocolate, a persona poem from the point of view of the mother of a school shooter, and more. Fernando put on his rocket boots and riled up students (in a good way) with all sorts of poems about the bad things we do as kids, love for science fiction, and so many good things.

It was an honor to share the stage with them at the Red Cloud Opera House, thanks to the National Willa Cather Center. We also saw the windy landscapes of south-central Nebraska and got some great food recommendations from students (who always say “Runza” but also pointed us to places like RWs in Davenport).

I’m grateful to support from Humanities Nebraska, and everything made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Mellon Foundation. The more programs like this that we can bring out to audiences in Nebraska, the better a place to live we’ll have.

Event and Appearance Dates, March 29-June 4:

I’m thrilled to have a number of appearances these next couple months, with even more in the works!

• With Colleen O’Doherty and Fernando Montejano 3/29-31 at Lawrence-Nelson Secondary School in Nelson, Bruning-Davenport Middle School in Davenport, Fairbury Jr. Sr. High School, and Thayer Central High School in Hebron and these 2 public events:

o 3/30, 7pm: Reading at the Red Cloud Opera House for the National Willa Cather Center

o 3/31, 3:30pm: And appearing at the Blue Bison in Hebron.

• 4/1, 7pm: Reading at The Lark in Hastings for the release of the newest issue of Plainsongs.

• Appearing at Central Community College in Grand Island and Columbus on 4/3 and 4.

• 4/6-8, One of the featured poets at the Poetry Palooza! in Des Moines –

• 4/11, noon and 7pm: Teaching a writing workshop and doing a reading as part of the Kearney Public Library’s Poetry Series –

• Appearing at Marian High School on 4/14.

• Appearing at Summerland High School on 4/24.

• Working with students from Platteview Central Jr. High on 4/26.

• 4/26, 6:30pm: Emceeing the NEA Big Read Slam Poetry Event at the Norfolk Arts Center.

• Teaching workshops at House of Hope Assisted Living and at Pacific Springs starting in May.

• Appearing at South Platte Schools in Big Springs on 5/2.

• Appearing at Disney Elementary in Omaha on 5/4.

• 5/12, 4pm: Reading a poem at the Nebraska Writing Project’s Poetry of Place celebration at the Nebraska State Capitol.

• 5/18, 7pm: Appearing at the Nebraska Cultural Endowment’s 25th Anniversary Celebration featuring US Poet Laureate Ada Limón at the Holland Performing Arts Center –

• 6/2-4, Keynote speaker and featured poet at Wyoming Writers Inc.’s annual Writers Conference in Cheyenne.

Thank you, Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Mellon Foundation, and more for making events like these possible.