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poetry

Katie Moore/The Topeka Capital-Journal

Annette Billings says poetry isn’t about precious kittens and pretty flowers. Rather, she says, the form often calls for much harder, more controversial subject matter.

“Sometimes I feel compelled to write about a murder,” she says, “or a woman who’s living in a domestic violence environment.”

H.C. Palmer

H.C. Palmer had graduated from medical school but hadn't yet finished his residency when the Army drafted him in the mid-1960s.

President Lyndon Johnson's administration took 1,500 men from medical training programs across the country and sent them to Vietnam as surgeons.

By August 1965, Palmer found himself in a war zone as part of the First Infantry Division. All these years later, he says he’ll never completely find his way out — nor will others who’ve been similarly exposed to the “many horrific things that happen in war,” he told me in a recent interview.

Anne Boyer

Kansas City poet and essayist Anne Boyer, who teaches writing at the Kansas City Art Institute, is among this year's winners of the Whiting Award, a prestigious honor that comes with $50,000.

The awards, presented to emerging writers, "are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come," according to the Whiting Foundation. Boyer is one of ten winners announced Wednesday evening at a ceremony in New York City.

courtesy: Robert Stewart

Robert Stewart has nurtured a lot of up-and-coming writers over the decades he's spent as an editor at New Letters magazine and as a writing instructor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

In December, Stewart released a new book of his own poetry. He called it "Working Class" in recognition of his roots as well as the blue-collar ethos he brings to writing.  

Segment 1: Local poet writes collection based on his working class roots. 

For Robert Stewart, poetry isn't ethereal — it's a working class endeavor. He shares how his background as a plumber's apprentice, ditch-digger and truck driver shaped his worldview as a writer. 

Aaron Brown

Brian Daldorph, who teaches English at the University of Kansas, published his sixth book of poetry late last year. “Ice Age/Edad de Hielo” is both a celebration of his late father’s life and a glimpse into losing a parent to Alzheimer’s, which Daldorph did in 2012.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr-CC

Segment 1: Is The Cat in the Hat's design inspired by blackface? 

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood ... to find that it is actually racist? As our society's perspective on race evolves, we look at racial undertones within children literature.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

In recognition of Kansas Day, today's show is all about the Sunflower State. We start things out with a poem about the town of El Dorado (and the way we pronounce it.) Then, learn about the person Johnson County was named after, Reverend Thomas Johnson.

Also, the story of Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee prophet who dreamed of uniting the Native American tribes into a single government.

Guests:

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Sheri "Purpose" Hall is a spoken word poet, an author, an ordained minister and an activist. She's represented Kansas City in national poetry slams and recently, a video of her performing one of her poems, "Irregular Rape Poem," has gone viral. Hear her story.

Guest:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Students at Central Academy of Excellence spent a semester composing short stories, plays and spoken word poetry about gun violence. The class was a collaboration between Kansas City Public Schools and KCUR's reporting project, The Argument

On this episode of Central Standard​, a few of those students and their teacher reflect on their work.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When seven Kansas City poets read new work this weekend, it'll be inspired by colorful, layered collages — a pieced-together medium that holds deep meaning for one emerging area artist.

“I think about collage as a metaphor to describe black culture,” says Glyneisha Johnson, a recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and Charlotte Street Foundation resident artist.

From a collaboration between a big-band trombonist and two local rappers to an opera about an ill-fated expedition on Mt. Everest, it's been a busy year in the local arts scene. Our panel of avid arts-goers share their favorite moments from 2017.

Guests:

Courtesy Elizabeth Schultz

Few people in their 80s are inclined, or able, to feed time and energy into a second career. Elizabeth Schultz is such an anomaly.

As an English professor at the University of Kansas, Schultz was an acclaimed scholar on Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” However, just before her retirement in 2001, she felt a pull toward a more creative use of language.

Courtesy Tom Stroik

"One thing that a poet needs more than anything else — well, you need a sense of language — but you need people who love you. And I have that," the poet Michelle Boisseau told New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam earlier this year. "I have incredible colleagues, and of course my husband Tom [Stroik], and people who believe in your work. Just keep doing it."

Bonnie Bolling remembers when she first stepped on Middle Eastern soil. A writer, Bolling was in an airport in Dubai and the call to prayer came over the loudspeakers.

She’d never heard the call, and while she definitely felt reverence, she also panicked because she didn’t know what to expect or what her own response should be. Her heart beat hard as she stopped and awaited the reactions of her fellow travelers.

“I realized I was going to experience it in a way I was going to need to write about,” Bolling says of the Middle East.

Hear the stories behind this year's Day of the Dead altars at the Mattie Rhodes Gallery, then meet a local spoken word poet/minister.

Guests:

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood . . . to find that it is actually racist? As our society's thoughts on race continue to evolve, we'll consult the author of the new book Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.

Jack Williams / NET News

In the middle of a cornfield in south-central Nebraska, an oasis of art is growing.

Art Farm, situated off a long dirt road outside the small town of Marquette, started back in 1993 as an artist residency program. Since then, it’s become a one-of-a-kind experience many artists can’t resist.

The similarities between Native American and Middle Eastern cultures, as told by poets in a new anthology that was published here. Then, two of the musicians from the local band Making Movies; their new album, I Am Another You, just made it onto the Billboard and Billboard Latin Charts.

Guests:

The poet Mbembe Milton Smith wrote some provocative words about a Kansas City suburb:

“There are uncharted places like Overland Park, Kansas or Greenwich Connecticut where they lock their back door if they heard black power was coming cause black folk wouldn’t dare come round the front.”

For a person of color, those words might articulate a vague feeling of uneasiness that accompanies a visit to Johnson County even today. But they come from the poem "Allegory of the Bebop Walk," written decades ago.

Jacob Yakob / Dogs of War LLC

If the father figure in your life has more than enough golf clubs, tools and those weird plaques adorned with plastic singing fish, why not consider giving him the gift of great cinema? Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics are here with a new batch of movie recommendations that any dad would enjoy.

Cynthia Haines

I, Daniel Blake, R

José Faus

Jun 16, 2017
Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

When he first immigrated to KC from Colombia at age 9, it was a shock. Since then, he's become a mainstay in Kansas City's art community as a poet, painter, playwright and mentor. On this show, we get to know José Faus.

Guest:

Joss Barratt / Entone Group

If you're tired of all the politics on television this week, you may want to try watching something on a different, slightly bigger screen. Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics are here with a new batch of weekend suggestions. They're sure to get you off that mind-suppressing couch and into an enthralling local independent theater. 

Steve Walker

I, Daniel Blake, R

Howard Simmons / Courtesy Washburn University

Gwendolyn Brooks lived in Topeka for just a few weeks after she was born. But the iconic poet – Brooks was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize — still has relatives in Kansas, and they’re ready to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday.

“I’m very happy and proud when I hear so many people here in Topeka that really had a lot of respect for her and the gift God had given her,” says Carolyn Wims Campbell, Brooks’ first cousin once removed (Brooks and Campbell’s father were cousins).

Norma Productions

June has arrived, liberating children from schools all over Kansas City and vexing adults with the impossible task of keeping them entertained. If you're looking for a mental escape from this annual phenomenon, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics suggest sheltering your mind in the safety of a good movie.

Steve Walker

The Wedding Plan, PG

New America / Flickr - CC

Today, Kansas's newest poet laureate discusses how to find extraordinary meaning in the seemingly ordinary events of our lives. Then, we speak with political journalist and long-time confidant to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, whose new writing delves into the complex life of one of America's great presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

Music Box Films

What do America's first celebrity chef, a poetry biopic and a heavyweight boxing drama have in common? Hint: They are your weekend plans, courtesy of Up To Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics. With an extra day off from work comes more time to lay low and take in a film — or four! It'll be well worth your while.

Steve Walker

A Quiet Passion, PG-13

IFC Films

City planning flare-ups, folk-rock, and a poetry biopic ... if these aren't movie topics appropriate for a public radio audience, nothing is. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics will give you the chance to revel in your nerdy-ness, and learn a little history in the process. We'd be lying if we claimed to be too cool for some popcorn and a well-crafted flick that features zero actual explosions.

Steve Walker

polarworld.co.uk

An explorer's sketchbook is more than a window into an unknown frontier — it's an intimate look into their everyday life. We visit with the author of a new book detailing the drawings, photos and scribblings of the various trailblazers who made them. Also, it's National Poetry Month and two poets tell how they and dozens of other participants will gather for this weekend's Kansas City Poetry Throwdown.

courtesy: Emporia State University

The Kansas Humanities Council on Thursday announced a new Kansas poet laureate: Kevin Rabas (pronounced as RAY-bus).

Rabas, an associate professor of poetry and playwriting at Emporia State University, grew up in Shawnee. He co-directs ESU's creative writing program and serves as co-editor of Flint Hills Review.

His latest collection of poetry, Songs for My Father: Poems & Stories, was published in 2016. 

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