Steven Hind





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Steven HindSteven Hind
is a native Kansan who grew up at the headwaters of the Verdigris River near Madison.  He was educated at Emporia State University and the University of Kansas.  He taught English in Kansas for 36 years.  Three collections of his poetry have been published:  Familiar Ground (1980), That Trick of Silence (1990), and In a Place With No Map (1997).  A forthcoming collection to be published in spring, 2006, is titled The Loose Change of Wonder.

Hind’s poetry has been published in periodicals, including Cottonwood, Farmer’s Market, Midwest Quarterly, Inscape, Ellipsis, Kansas Quarterly, American Land Forum, and Kansas English.  His poems have been printed in various anthologies, including 30 Kansas Poets, Kansas Voices, The Book of Contemporary Myth, and As Far As I Can See.  He served as editor of Young Kansas Writers for five years and has been a book talk presenter for the Kansas Humanities Council since 1986.

“Poetry is a mediation between feeling and experience, a guiding light, and a demonstration of how language works.”

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At Home in a Word


You call this blanket of grass

Prairie, because you were born

a member of a tribe who took

to the lean feast in that name.

Your lips hold the word in

to give thanks just so: Prairie,

you say, and hear the grass

speaking through the thorny wind

season after season.  You sit

wrapped in that word.


-- from In a Place With No Map:
New and Selected Poems
Topeka: Woodley Press,   1997: 14



Ghost Dance


The blue shirt in which my father

died chafes my skin with the dried

sweat of his race.  The bullfrogs

punctuate the river’s whisper.


My steps step uncertain steps

in the dust as lightning forks the west,

a flash turning the darkness to dream:

The river runs deep, swimming with fish,

where coyote comes to the shore.


“Brother, it is good to see you.  Tonight

will be a feast, and every animal will

tell the story of the ancestors.  You will

find a place beneath the trees and know

the story of your kind so long denied.


And all of us will feel the embrace of life

in a world that fits its rightful place.”



Climb through a missing window

in a country house and you enter

the ghost of another life.  Tempered

by years of weather, a flowered wallpaper

rots in ribbons to the whisper of wind

through the empty windows.  That

stove-less chimney, the creak at the top

of the stairs, the open trunk with its

rummaged junk, a torn tintype of

someone’s stiff-backed ancestor –

the upper room becalmed with emptiness

as your breath whispers, Yes, yes, I

know:  loss is forever.  I know now.



Stafford Ball Back Home 

           “Blunders cry out information.”

                     William Stafford, Daily Writing


We never report our scores.

No one in our league does.

Our uniforms are camouflage

jerseys and shorts.  We play

in the old cow lot and change

the rules once we know them.

The lazy give up and go pro,

if they’re grim enough. Sometimes,

we all get a trophy:  Least Valuable

Player.  I won again last week.


Excursion, Ghost Dance and Stafford...
are from a new collection to be published by
Washburn’s Center for Kansas Studies
in the spring, 2006.  The collection is titled

The Loose Change of Wonder

All poetry on this page
© by Steven Hind, 2006


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