The Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program is Off to a Great Start in Valentine!

Valentine, you waterfall city, you beauty on the Niobrara, you poet-feeding wonder!

I rolled into Valentine with poets Zedeka Poindexter and joe fromLongIsland for the first stop of the Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program this past Monday. We spent the day at Valentine High School, meeting with some pretty wonderful students and teachers, reading poetry, answering questions, geeking out about some poetry at a full school assembly and then several different classes through the day.

We had a break which included lunch at the Coach Light Inn and a waterfall visit, both of which were stunning. The coach light had one of the best burgers I’ve ever had (Cream cheese, pepper jelly and bacon on it? Why, yes, that sounds delightful), what has to be the finest pie in the region (peanut butter pie? Sour cream and raisin? Lemon Meringue? Don’t mind if we do… ), and then the hike down to Fort Falls just outside of town was just what I needed after such a lunch.

In the evening, we had another great meal at the Peppermill and a reading at the Valentine Public Library, a place I think joe wants to move into for the fireplace and the conversations with some of the best librarians around.

We had a warm reception at the school and the reading, we really felt honored by how well Valentine treated us and how the students engaged us in really wonderful conversations. Even a stop at the Dollar Tree proved magical as, when the clerk asked what we were in town for and we answered “Poetry,” he lit up and ended up playing me a recording of a song he wrote with lyrics that knocked me out and talent on the guitar and drums.*

Valentine, thank you. We all want you to adopt us.

Thank you, Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation, Humanities Nebraska, Valentine Public Library (especially you, Anne Quigley), and Valentine High School for making this possible. Thank you, too, Niobrara Lodge, you treated us well!

*=Bonus Track: The musician I talked to at the Dollar Tree said to look for him at Apple Music. When I did, I found this (it’s not the song he played me but you still get the sense):

The Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program Kicks Off Nov 7-9!

As part of my 2022 Laureate Fellowship, I’ll be touring the Nebraska Panhandle with poets Zedeka Poindexter and Joe fromLongIsland next week, with stops in Valentine, Gordon, and Chadron. This program will visit high schools during the day and then host public events in the evenings, encouraging a dialogue through poetry.

Public events include:

  • Nov 7, 7pm show at the Valentine Public Library (324 N Main St)
  • Nov 8, 7pm show at the Gordon Theater (320 N Main St)         

All events take place with help from the Academy of American Poets and Humanities Nebraska.

Book Signing at Disneyana in Southern California

It was fun to finally meet my publisher in person at the Disneyana Show and Sale last weekend in Orange, CA. On top of meeting Dave Bossert, I also got to sit with author and historian Don Ballard as we signed books and chatted with folks dropping by The Old Mill Press table.

September Events and Readings

I’m excited for the readings I have these next few weeks! In addition to a few school and senior center visits, I’ll be at:

  • August 31, 7pm, I read with Lydia Kang at the Dundee Book Company. See details here.
  • September 8th, 5:30pm, I’m part of a panel discussion for the Nebraska Writers Collective’s screening of the documentary Louder Than a Bomb at Film Streams in Omaha. Here are THOSE details.
  • September 10th, 7pm, I am the featured poet for the Omaha Poetry Slam at the Benson Theatre.
  • September 11, 3pm, I get to read at the The Allegro Wolf Arts Center in Sutton, NE to promote my new book. See a few details here.
2022 Poet Laureate Fellows

Academy of American Poets 2022 Poet Laureate Fellowship Announcement!

I’m thrilled to announce I was named by The Academy of American Poets as a 2022 Poet Laureate Fellow (along with an incredibly talented list of other poets). It makes a big difference for my work and lets me really dive into what I want to do with this next year!

Thank you, Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Arts Council, and Nebraska Library Commission for your help with my application and for all your support of me and the things I love in Nebraska.

Most of all, thank you Sarah for your help, your belief, and your patience: I love you.

A Couple More Summer Readings

I’ll be reading from the new book at the Rapid City, SD Public Library (610 Quincy St) on July 26th at 5:15 (Mountain Time). Come out!

I’ll also be at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet on July 30th in Lynnwood, WA. The event is sold out, but if you have tickets, stop by my table and say “Hi.”

And if you’re somewhere else hoping for a reading, let me know, I love the road and love seeing different parts of the country.