Thursday, February 7, 2013


Over a dozen poets from Kansas are coming to Independence Community College to read from To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices, edited by Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, at 7:00 p.m., February 8 in the ICC Library. This moving tribute to the arts and culture of Kansas focuses on our state motto (“To the stars through difficulties”) through the use of the renga, a 700-year-old Japanese form of poetry in which each writer adds new lines to the poem.

Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg developed the project as part of her website,, to help lift up and share the literary arts in Kansas. Throughout 2012, new sections to the renga appeared at the website every two to three days, giving subscribers and visitors to the site the poetry equivalent of regular sequels. Mirriam-Goldberg says, “The renga draws together descendants of pioneers, lovers of dogs or cats or both, attorneys and people who've spent time in jail, old hippies and young activists, social workers and psychologists, mothers and grandfathers, mathematicians and dancers, college professors emeritus and current students, authors and editors, ministers and mediators. In our poetic conversation, we celebrate Kansas and make community with others and with readers.”

The reading features Kansas poets Goldberg, Shawn Pavey, Lydia Lowe, Olive Sullivan, Roland Sodowsky, Laura Lee Washburn, Lori Hartness, Daniele Cunningham, Melissa Fite-Johnson, Larry Fleury, Chris Anderson, and Lori Baker Martin. The event is organized by Lori Baker Martin, who says she was moved to bring the reading to Independence because “of Independence's love of the arts, but also because these diverse Kansas voices have the power to uniquely move us and remind us of the beauty and wonder of our state.”

The reading includes poets reading new works beyond the renga, a book signing, and refreshments. For more information, contact Lori Baker Martin at 620-332-5464 or 620-515-7240. From the Independence Community College website at

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