Laura Spencer / KCUR

Eighth Street Tap Room, a bar at 8th and New Hampshire in Lawrence, Kansas, hosts poetry readings each month in a dimly lit basement. As poets take the stage, they're cast in a reddish light, with gold streamers as backdrop.

Sunday's event started with a short open mic session, and then three featured poets. The final reader of the night: Hadara Bar-Nadav, an associate professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Andrea Johnson is a Kansas City native, now studying English, creative writing and music up at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

She wrote this piece after graduating from high school, when she and a few of her friends were facing long-distance relationships as they headed off to college.

Class issues can be all over the headlines, even when the word 'class' never appears. So says Kansas writer Sarah Smarsh. A quick breakdown of recent headlines through the lens of class in Kansas.


Several months ago, KCUR asked “artist types” to tell us how parenting changed their art. Artists from across the region shared their stories about trying to find the time to be creative, while also juggling careers and the responsibilities of parenthood. 

It's clear from the responses that becoming a parent can dramatically change how artists commit to their craft.

Our city is teeming with people who dream of writing that novel... someday. If those aspiring writers decided to turn their literary dreams into reality, where would they begin? Our guests offer advice and personal stories in honor of National Novel Writing Month.


Paul Andrews

Portrait Sessions are intimate conversations with the compelling personalities who populate our area. Each conversational portrait is paired with a photographic portrait by Paul Andrews.

"I am the bone of the bone of them that live in trailer homes."

Kate Hiscock / Flickr, Creative Commons

With eaters taking an interest in food extending beyond recipes, food writing is gaining a voracious audience. Food can be a character, or a source of potent metaphor. It can also tell us something important about ourselves and our society. Kansas City experts offer insights and recommendations.

Guests and their recommendations:

Cat Neville, founder, Feast Magazine

Sergio Troncoso

Sergio Troncoso writes books dealing with the communities we belong to and the borders that surround us. Every summer he crosses his own borders from his home in New York to teach creative writing to local high schoolers, at the George Caleb Bingham Academy for the Arts.

KU Gunn Center For The Study Of Science Fiction

Every year at the University of Kansas, the faithful and talented gather at the intersection of reality and imagination. What brings the most outstanding in their field to Lawrence? The study and writing of science fiction. On Friday's Up To Date, guest host Suzanne Hogan looks at The Campbell Conference, a local conference which brings writers and fans together.

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.

Writer Ray Bradbury was an American icon. His work straddled genres, uniting the seemingly-disparate worlds of science fiction and high literature, haunting readers' imaginations with side shows, skeletons, bright stars, the dark skies of space, solitary front porches and late night train whistles. 

Writing can be a solitary pursuit, and that can mean the tricks of the trade remain quiet

Remembering KC Writer Tom Ryan

Aug 29, 2012

He's here forever, but gone for now, succumbing to a sudden heart attack.

There's no debating that a good non-fiction book can bring life to overlooked history.  But when everything's been told about that event....or you have an idea for an "alternative" history, where to turn? Historical fiction.

New Approaches to Teaching Postsecondary Writing

Jan 18, 2012

First up on Thursday's Central Standard, a look at new approaches to helping students write at a postsecondary level. We discuss a new framework that fosters what’s called “habits of mind” and is gaining wider use, even in light of the current teach-to-the-test mentality in school systems across the nation. We're joined by Professor Linda Adler-Kassner, President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators and Director of Writing Program at UC-Santa Barbara.

A Memoir of Farm and Family

Dec 27, 2011

Growing up on a farm made Jo McDougall a poet. She remembers walking around barefoot, and taking in the sights and the sounds of her families rice farm in - no, not Asia - but in rural Arkansas. She points out that many people may not realize that rice is grown in the US, and Arkansas is the largest rice-producing state in the country.