1:52 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Kansas Citians Recap 2014 In Haiku

If inspiration strikes, you can still send us your 2014 haikus. Tweet them with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

We asked for haikus/ to sum up 2014/ Thanks, Kansas City.

That is our thank you poem to everyone who obliged us and answered this week’s Tell KCUR question: What are your most important memories of 2014 in haiku?

The three-line, five-seven-five-syllable formula proved most effective in conveying 2014, with muses ranging from sports, to engagements, to family and public tragedies — plus one of KCUR's transmission hiccups.

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Up To Date
4:04 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Writes A Poem For The Kansas City Royals

Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate 2001-2003, joined Steve Kraske in-studio Thursday.
Credit Bill Anderson / KCUR

When Up To Date host Steve Kraske was joined in studio by Billy Collins, he wasn't expecting the former U.S. Poet Laureate to have scribed a few lines a la Casey at the Bat as he waited in the green room.

But, impressed by the Royals and their fans, Collins offered this tribute.

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Up To Date
3:10 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Suburban, Domestic And Middle Class Poetry Of Billy Collins

Credit Bill Anderson / KCUR

Billy Collins likes to remind people that he once served as Poet Laureate of the United States when he gives talks around the country. It serves as a punch line of sorts for him, but what a line it is. 

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Arts & Culture
3:32 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

For Poet Alice Friman, Kansas City Is An Unexpected Mecca

Poet Alice Friman returns to Kansas City for a reading at Rockhurst University for its Midwest Poets Series.
Credit Lillian Elaine Wilson

Kansas City can be inspiring in surprising ways. A walk in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art did the trick for Georgia College’s poet-in-residence, Alice Friman, who reads Thursday evening at Rockhurst University. 

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Up To Date
2:26 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

'Only A Game' Host Bill Littlefield On Sports And Poetry

Credit Zephyr Press

Bill Littlefield is host of Only a Game the syndicated program aimed at the serious sports fan and the steadfast sports avoider. (It airs Saturday mornings at 6:00 on KCUR.)

Littlefield has written several books on sports and two novels so his latest work, Take Me Out, a book of sports-related poems, is a bit of a departure. Bill talks with Steve Kraske about what inspired him to poetry, the history behind Only a Game, and his thoughts on this year's World Series.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas City Poet Xanath Caraza Has Words For El Salvador

Xanath Caraza, far right, was among the presenters at the Segundo Festival Internacional de Poesia de Occidente in El Salvador in August.
Credit Xanath Caraza

Kansas City poet Xanath Caraza is used to answering questions from the college students in her writing classes at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. But last month, she spent an intense six days answering questions from children who want to be poets in El Salvador, which is struggling with gang violence after years of civil war.

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Poet Gearóid Mac Lochlainn Returns To KC For Irish Fest

Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, a native of Belfast, Ireland, has been described as a 'performance poet.'
Credit Michael McDonald/MKD Photography Ltd

Belfast bard Gearóid Mac Lochlainn is back in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to perform at the Irish Fest. Known for his bilingual work with poetry and music, his most recent book and CD is called Criss-Cross Mo Chara

In 2008, after then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, honored him for his contribution to Irish arts, he talked with New Letters on the Air host, Angela Elam, about his first book and CD called Stream of Tongues.

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Up to Date
11:24 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Facing Addiction With Ink And Pen

The path to wholeness for those whose lives have been touched by addiction is always different. But for at least one group of Kansas Citians, that road has been filled … with writing. Poetry and prose that chronicle and process and maybe even transform the struggle. 

On Friday's Up to Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks two women taking part in an annual reading of work stemming from addiction.


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Central Standard
2:09 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

LISTEN: Upcoming Lawrence Poet Reads Her 'Boundaryless' Prose

Lawrence, Kan. poet Patricia Lockwood is becoming well known for her off-the-wall poetry.
Credit Grep Hoax

The following content may be offensive to some. Discretion is advised.

In the world of poetry, Patricia Lockwood is the "it girl" right now. The Lawrence, Kan., resident's poem "Rape Joke" went viral last summer, pushing her Twitter following to more than 40,000.

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Central Standard
2:07 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Lawrence’s ‘Smutty Metaphor Queen’ On Her ‘Lawless’ Poetry

Patricia Lockwood is gaining notoriety for her poetry... and her disregard for social taboo.
Credit Grep Hoax

The following content may be offensive to some. Discretion is advised. 

"Rape Joke," "Live Nude Dads Read The Sunday Paper," and "The Cum Queens of Hyatt Place" are just the tips of the iceberg when it comes to poet Patricia Lockwood's absurdity.

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Central Standard
11:27 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Kansas City Artists Reflect On The Legacy Of Maya Angelou

Poet and author Maya Angelou passed away last week, but her influence on artists and writers around the world remains.
Credit York College ISLGP / Wikimedia Commons

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." For Maya Angelou, these words were a way of life. Her poetry and prose, even her off-the-cuff remarks during interviews, made people feel things deeply.

On Tuesday's Central Standard, local artist Peregrine Honig and writer Natasha Ria El-Scari join host Gina Kaufmann to share how Maya Angelou impacted their lives.

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Arts & Culture
8:13 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou, On Trying To 'Do Better And To Be Better'

Author Maya Angelou died Wednesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.
Credit Dwight Carter, 2001

Poet, memoirist and political activist Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age of 86, reportedly after a long illness. 

“Hello, good morning ..." is how Angelou opened the conversation when we talked by phone last week. At home in Winston-Salem, N.C., she joked about the weather in the Midwest.

"Because I think you people change weather in the way that other people change clothes," she said with a laugh.

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Central Standard
2:45 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Glenn North: Fostering Raw Self-Expression At 18th And Vine

Poet Glenn North has held court at the American Jazz Museum's Blue Room for the past decade.
Credit Terance Williams / Facebook

When Glenn North read a poem at the grand opening for the American Jazz Museum in 1997, something clicked.

From that moment on, the poet and the museum grew in tandem.  In 2004, North officially joined the museum's staff, establishing a nationally recognized spoken word scene at the museum's Blue Room.

North recently left his post as education manager and poet-in-residence. He plans to finish his master's degree and focus on his poetry.

Upon his departure, Central Standard invited him to sit down for a talk. Among the highlights:

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Arts & Culture
9:38 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Teen Poets Compete In 'Louder Than A Bomb'

A semifinal competition in March at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit courtesy: Louder Than A Bomb-KC

The spoken word competition called Louder Than A Bomb, named after the Public Enemy song, started in Chicago, Ill. in 2001. It's now considered one of the largest youth poetry festivals.

Cities across the country, including Kansas City, are launching their own Louder Than A Bomb programs.

A program bridging divides in Kansas City

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Up to Date
11:59 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, March 28-30, 2014

'Run or Dye' is a version of the popular 'Color Run.'
Credit Neeroc1 / Flickr-CC

Ready to confront the weird weather with a bit of fun? Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 28-30, 2014 has you covered.

Keiko Matsui (New age music), 8 p.m. Friday at the Jazz Museum's Gem Theater, 1615 E. 18th, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $47 

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Up to Date
10:34 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Missouri's Poet Laureate Draws On King Kong For Inspiration

William Trowbridge is Missouri's poet laureate.
Credit williamtrowbridge.net

From King Kong to a certain accident-prone coyote, the things that inspire Missouri's third poet laureate are different, to say the least. 

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with William Trowbridge about his unusual muses and his tenure as poet laureate.


  • William Trowbridge, Missouri poet laureate

HEAR MORE: William Trowbridge speaks at 7 p.m. March 11 at the Mabee Theater at Rockhurst University for the Midwest Poetry Series.

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Arts & Culture
8:25 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Reciting Poetry Helps Kansas City Teens With Vocabulary, Self-Confidence

Stacy Lafontant recites 'America' by Claude McKay. Stacy is from Haiti, and says she relates to McKay because they have the shared experience of being from another country.
Credit Lauren Kirby / KCUR

Stacy Lafontant is nervous. The 16-year-old junior at The Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts is about to step up to the podium to do something she’s never done before in public: Recite poetry.

“I’m going up in front of a lot of people,” she says, “and there might be kids that are better than me; I might forget the words.”

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Up to Date
1:44 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Persian Poetry Brings The Past To The Present

Rumi's poetry has been popular for centuries, as seen in this 16th century book.
Credit National Library of France

It's been 800 years, but the words of Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, still seem to entrance people

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske speaks with Rumi scholar Coleman Barks about the poet's legacy and why his verses continue to thrive.


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Up to Date
4:00 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

From Poetry To A Prairie Home

Garrison Keillor joins Steve Kraske on Up to Date.

He’s a Minnesota guy on public radio with a loyal following. No, we're not talking about our own Steve Kraske.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, Garrison Keillor joins Steve to talk about his new book of poetry, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic and Profound. We take a look at how he stays on top of his game when writing and producing and find out what he does to get around writer’s block.

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Central Standard
10:29 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Married Poets Share Inspirations For Their Work

Local couple and professional poets Stanley and Janet Banks met while living in Kansas City and trying to get their writing careers off the ground. Now that the two have been married for years, they reflect on how their marriage to each other inspired their work. A common theme between both of their work is the impact that family members have on their lives.

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12:21 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

A New Poet Laureate For Kansas

Poet Wyatt Townley
Terry Weckbaugh

Wyatt Townley, a fourth-generation Kansan, has been named the new Poet Laureate of Kansas for 2013-2015.

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Up to Date
6:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Poetry With Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy
Bill Burke/Page One

Though she’s famous for her family name, Caroline Kennedy has made a name for herself in other ways, too.

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2:44 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

John Mark Eberhart Reads 'The Gospel Of The Dirt'

As books editor for The Kansas City Star, John Mark Eberhart was known for encouraging local writers - and publishing their work. Eberhart was also a poet. He died Tuesday, March 19.

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2:06 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco

Inauguration poet Richard Blanco
Nico Tucci / Courtesy Richard Blanco

During the President’s inauguration ceremony on Monday, Richard Blanco delivered a poem written especially for this occasion.  At age 44, he is not only the youngest, but the first Latino and openly gay poet to have this honor. 

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Central Standard
9:29 am
Tue July 24, 2012

William Trowbridge: Ship Of Fool

Trowbridge in front of the Ruskin Art Club, where he is about to give a reading.

Poet William Trowbridge has been appointed Missouri's next poet Laureate, and is the first Kansas City poet to receive the title.

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11:20 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Slam Poetry Meets Jazz

The House pianist, Everett Freeman, performs during the opening 30 minute set.
Eric Baker KCUR

Let’s play a word association game.  What’s do you think when I say, “Kansas City?”  Barbecue?  The Royals? How about jazz?  Now what about when I say “Jazz,” what do you think?  It probably isn’t poetry.

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5:31 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Poet Xanath Caraza Summons The African Roots Of Mexico

Israel Nazario's painting La Nina Que Corto La Flor (the girl who picked the flower) was the inspiration for Caraza's poem De Tus Manos (Out of Your Hands).

Kansas City poet Xanath Caraza recently published the poetry chapbook Corazon Pintado, a book of "ekphrastic poems" – or poems that respond to other works of art. 

Yanga, Yanga, Yanga

Yanga, Yanga, Yanga

Today, your spirit I invoke

Here, in this place

This, this is my poem for Yanga

Mandinga, malanga, bamba

Rumba, mambo, samba.

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7:16 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Turner Students Release Poetry Collection

Turner High School teachers Marlee Stempleman and Jessica Kendall have fashioned a poetry project called the Troubadours Poetry Club where students express themselves by writing and sharing their work.

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12:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Rememering Phil Miller, The Story of Fishbone

Poet and mentor Phil Miller believed that anyone can write a good poem who's willing to do the work. Join poets Randy Ratliff and Eve Ott as we remember Phil's determinedly democratic approach to poetry, and his contributions to the Riverfront Reading series.

Randy Ratliff, poet
Eve Ott, poet


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Central Standard
12:00 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

The KC Renga: Ghost Over Water

The poems were on display at the Leedy-Voulkos gallery in the Crossroads throughout the month of May.

At the beginning of May, a national art project started here in Kansas City.  This was first stop on a national tour for a conversation in the form of America Now and Here.  Here’s how a Renga works — more than 30 Kansas City poets were challenged to write ten lines each….the subject that emerged is Kansas City, with references to cattlemen, ghosts, prairie grass, and Troost.

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