Kansas Poet Laureate
Kansas' 4th Poet Laureate

Kansas Humanities Council




Learn More About...


Wyatt Townley
Visit Her Website



Previous Kansas
Poet Laureates


1. Jonathan Holden

2. Denise Low

3. C. Mirriam-Goldberg

4. Wyatt Townley

5. Eric McHenry

6. Kevin Rabas


Laureate History










Wyatt Townley was the 4th Poet Laureate of Kansas a position sponsored, supported, and promoted by the The Kansas Humanities Council. The theme of her laureateship was Coming Home to Poetry; her programs and workshops centered on this subject. Her mission spread the good word and grow the state of poetry by travelling to communities far and wide, giving readings, talks, workshops, and other programs.


Wyatt's work has been read by Garrison Keillor on NPR, featured by Ted Kooser in his American Life in Poetry column, and published in journals ranging from The Paris Review to Newsweek.


She won a Master Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Kansas Arts Commission to complete her latest book of poems, The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley Press), selected as a Kansas Notable Book. Other books of poetry include The Breathing Field (Little, Brown) and Perfectly Normal (The Smith).


Wyatt served as a frequent literature panelist for the Kansas Arts Commission and in 2003 was invited to help establish the State Poet Laureate position. A founding board member of The Writers Place, and for years a visiting author with Young Audiences, she serves on the board of the Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education.


The confluence of poetry and poetry-in-motion has shaped Wyatt’s life. Formerly a dancer, she has taught yoga for over thirty years and is the founder of Yoganetics®, a therapeutic system that has spread to ten countries. HarperCollins published her book on the method, Yoganetics, deemed an “Editor’s Choice” by Yoga Journal. (www.yoganetics.com; www.WyattTownley.com)




Kansas Humanities CouncilThe Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information or to donate to the Poet Laureate of Kansas program, visit www.kansashumanities.org.


Press Release from Kansas Humanities Council  (May 05, 2013)


Wyatt Townley - named Kansas' 4th Poet LaureateTOPEKA – The Kansas Humanities Council (KHC) announced that Wyatt Townley of Shawnee Mission, Kan., has been named the 2013-2015 Poet Laureate of Kansas. As Poet Laureate of Kansas, Townley will promote the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans through public readings, presentations, and discussions about poetry in communities across the state.


“Wyatt’s work, along with her knowledge of the craft and history of poetry, will guide Kansans as they make the connection between poetry and humanities at Poet Laureate events across the state,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council.


“I’m humbled and honored to be asked to serve as Poet Laureate of Kansas,” shared Townley. “It’s wonderful that the laureateship has found its way home to the Kansas Humanities Council – a natural habitat for it. The notion of ‘home’ is a long-held Kansas value, and I’d like to start a conversation around the state about coming home to poetry. Poetry is a place we can return to in all kinds of weather, with its innate power to heal and comfort, transform and inspire. Its porch light is always on.”


Wyatt Townley is a widely published, nationally known poet and a fourth-generation Kansan. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac” with Garrison Keillor, in US Poet Laureate Emeritus Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and published in journals ranging from “The Paris Review” to “Newsweek.” She has published three collections of poetry: “The Breathing Field” (Little Brown), “Perfectly Normal” (The Smith), and “The Afterlives of Trees” (Woodley Press), a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award.


A founding board member of The Writers Place in Kansas City, MO, Townley has served as a teaching artist with Young Audiences and Writers in the Schools program, and has appeared at writers’ conferences and literary festivals in the Midwest and Northeast.


To request a Poet Laureate of Kansas presentation with Townley, visit www.kansashumanities.org.


Support for the Poet Laureate of Kansas has been provided by Lon Frahm of Colby and Friends of the Humanities.


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