The Kansas Humanities Council announced that Wyatt Townley of Leawood, 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 civic life,” 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.