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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.
Here’s to a poetic 2023!
I’m featured in an interview on this week’s episode of The Tomorrow Society podcast, talking about At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros. Check out this week and other weeks, as Dan has great guests in a podcast worth enjoying as you drive, clean the kitchen, meditate, however it is you take in your favorite podcasts: https://tomorrowsociety.com/matt-mason-disneyland-podcast/
There’s a new review of my book at The Tomorrow Society wherein the reviewer gets everything right (well, almost, I do find his lack of enthusiasm for churros disturbing).
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)
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.
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.
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!
Most of all, thank you Sarah for your help, your belief, and your patience: I love you.
I enjoyed being at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet. Thank you, everyone who picked up a copy of At The Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros and everyone who stopped by to chat!
Reading #1 is on Friday, June 10, 2022 from 7-8pm! Poetry book launch at the Florence Mill (9102 N 30th St, Omaha).
This is my 4th book of poetry, just released by The Old Mill Press: At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros. I will read from the new book as well as answer questions and autograph books. See more at the Facebook Event Page.
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.