Readorama: Baghdad-born poet Dunya Mikhail to read in Kansas City

Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail will read in Kansas City this month as part of the Midwest Poets Series.

Mikhail, born in Baghdad in 1965, worked as a translator and journalist before coming to the United States after the Persian Gulf War.

Her book, “The War Works Hard,” was named one of “25 Books to Remember from 2005” by the New York Public Library.

“Dunya Mikhail combines the authenticity of witness to global events with the essential poetic virtue of wit,” said Robert Stewart, poet, series director and editor of the New Letters literary magazine in Kansas City. “Both qualities make hers a rare and important voice.”

Mikhail today works as an Arabic instructor at Oakland University in Michigan.

She speaks at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Mabee Theater in Sedgwick Hall on the Rockhurst University campus. Admission is $3 at the door, although no one will be denied admission for lack of funds.

For more information, go to

Stewart, meanwhile, will share the microphone on Friday with Richard Newman, poet and editor of River Styx, a St. Louis literary journal. The event begins at 8 p.m. at the Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave.

More poetry

For the first time the Kansas City Rose Society, along with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, is sponsoring a Valentine’s Day poetry contest for children.

Two things to remember: All poems must be postmarked by Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, and all poems must contain the word “rose” at least once.

The competition is open to children across the greater Kansas City area in third through eighth grades. Winning entries will be published on the website of the society, whose members care for the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden in Loose Park.

For submission guidelines, go to

Thorpe Menn award

Nominations for the 37th annual Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award are now being accepted.

The award, presented by the American Association of University Women-Kansas City Branch and the Kansas City Public Library, is presented to an area author. Nominations will be accepted until May 1, and the award will be presented at a luncheon this fall.

For information, call 913-449-1130 or send email to

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to