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April 11, 2014

The Kansas poet laureate invites your verse

Kansas poet laureate Wyatt Townley has requested participants submit verse in the form of the American cinquain. “I want to get people thinking about the concept of ‘home,’” said Townley, who lives in Leawood.

The Kansas poet laureate invites your verse.

For National Poetry Month, Wyatt Townley has launched HomeWords, in which Kansas residents or those with roots there are asked to wax poetic about the state, but not just in any old way.

She has asked participants to submit verse in the form of the American cinquain.

The form, according to Townley, is five lines long, containing this sequence of syllables: two, four, six, eight and two.

An example:

One eighth

of an acre

of Kansas is enough

to love a woman in, make art,

keep faith.

Submissions may appear online and in newspapers across Kansas.

“I want to get people thinking about the concept of ‘home,’ 

” said Townley, who lives in Leawood.

“What is home, where is home, and how does that intersect with poetry? Can we find home on the page or in a poem that lives inside us, the poem that we are?”

To find submission guidelines, go to the “HomeWords” link at

KansasHumanities.org

.

Meanwhile, Townley will read Tuesday at the Johnson County Central Resource Library at 9875 W. 87th St. in Overland Park.

Part of the Thomas Zvi Wilson series, the reading will include poet Trish Reeves, whose book “In the Knees of the Gods” was published by BKMK Press. It starts at 7 p.m.

The unwinding

George Packer believes it was 1978 when the center began to cease holding.

“That was the year I graduated from high school,” said Packer, whose book “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America” won the 2013 National Book Award for nonfiction.

Packer spoke at Unity Temple on the Plaza on Thursday.

“It’s an arbitrary starting point,” he said.

“But a lot of trends go back to that period: the loss of blue collar jobs, the decline of unions and the financialization of the economy, or pushing paper rather than making things.”

To illustrate the impact of these trends, Packer found individuals who had to reinvent themselves, such as a former auto parts factory worker who now works as a community organizer.

“I was drawn to those people because of their resilience, and I am hopeful when I am with them,” Packer said.

“But I am not as hopeful when I am thinking about Washington and Wall Street.”

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