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
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;
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
Press Release from Kansas Humanities Council (May 05,
TOPEKA – 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.
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.
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.”
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
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
the Poet Laureate of Kansas has been provided by Lon Frahm of Colby and
Friends of the Humanities.