30 Poets in 30 Days


Welcome to Larksong's celebration of National Poetry Month - 30 Poets in 30 Days!  This annual event brings together poets from all over the country with poets local to Nebraska. This year we asked Larksong members first to fill half the reading slots, and the other half we filled during a visit to the Associated Writing Program's Conference and Book Fair in Seattle. Most of those were new acquaintances and this event was their introduction to Larksong. The mix of new and familiar allowed us to reach in this one program one of the primary objectives of all the programs we offer: to bring new voices to Nebraska audiences and help send Nebraska voices out into the world. Nebraska has a rich and active literary life and this 30 Poets program is designed to celebrate it.

We recorded 30 poets for this event - 31 actually, there's a bonus double reading on April 6! We reached them via Zoom, visited them in their homes, found them at work, at the airport, and at the Associated Writing Program Conference in Seattle. The poems range from heartbreaking to laugh-out-loud funny, and like such emotions in life they are all mixed up in this list, so you never know what you'll find when you click on a link and start watching. Be ready for anything!

The link to each daily reading will become "live" at 3 am CST on the date they're listed. To watch, click on the 30 Poets 30 Day thumbnail image. The video will play in your browser. Once live the link will stay live so you can watch as many times as you like. You can also find them on YouTube on Larksong's channel under 30 Poets in 30 Days. There's even a playlist! 

A big thank you to all the poets involved!




April 4 - Linda Stringham

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Linda Stringham: Linda visited us in the sunroom at Larksong Writers Place where she read one of her sonnets in honor of The Bard. Linda is a native of Norfolk, Nebraska, a longtime Lincoln Chaparral poet and, a one-time Write Stuff member who served as a "poetry lady" in a few area schools. A verbivore at the core, she is pretty sure no endangered species have been hurt by her verse.

April 5 - Twyla Hansen

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Twyla Hansen: We visited Twyla in her very natural habit in north Lincoln. Her connection to and love of the natural world can be seen in the view she sees each day from her writing and reading space. It’s a beautiful place, inside and out. Twyla served as Nebraska’s State Poet for the term 2013-2018. Her latest book of poetry Feeding the Fire came out this spring from Wayne State College Press. Her book of poetry, Rock • Tree • Bird (Backwaters Press 2017), won the 2018 WILLA Literary Award and the 2018 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry. She has six previous books, including Nebraska Book Award winners Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet and Potato Soup.

April 6 - Lucy Adkins & Marjorie Saiser

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Lucy Adkins and Marjorie Saiser: Today’s reading is a Daily Double treat featuring the poets Lucy Adkins and Marge Saiser. As I tried to say in the introduction, (which looks a lot like something that belongs on an outtakes reel!) the idea for pairing them came to me from V. Hansman, the founder of Prospect Street Writers House in North Bennington, Vermont. #ProspectStreetWritersHouse’s philosophy is embodied in poet Donald Hall’s maxim – “The friendship of writers is the history of literature.” These two poets have been friends of and to so many writers in the Nebraska writing community. Their place in the history of Nebraska literature cannot be understated. Lucy is a writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Her chapbooks include One Life Shining: Addie Finch Farmwife from Pudding House Press, and Two-Toned Dress, which was the winner of the 2019 Blue Light Press Poetry Prize. Her full-length collection of poetry, A Crazy Little Thing, was published by Wayne State College Press just this spring. Marjorie Saiser is the author of eight books of poetry and co-editor of two anthologies.  Her work has been published in American Life in Poetry, Nimrod,,, RHINO, Chattahoochee Review, Poetry East, Poet Lore, and other journals. She earned her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at UNL and has received the WILLA Award and the High Plains Book Award.

April 7 - Grace Bauer

Friday, April 7, 2023

Grace Bauer: Grace Bauer visited Larksong Writers Place on a cold, grey day where we recorded her beautiful poem and then talked about poetry as the wind blew outside. We wish we had recorded that part too! Grace’s wisdom as a poet and a teacher is worth preserving for the ages! Grace was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and has lived in New Orleans, Montana, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Nebraska. She worked as a waitress, a telephone solicitor, an insurance clerk, a census processor, a barmaid, and a librarian’s assistant, before earning her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst and beginning a thirty-year career as an award-winning teacher of Creative Writing, Literature, and Women’s Studies at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. 

April 8 - J Stevens Berry

Saturday, April 8, 2023

J. Stevens Berry: We visited Steve Berry in his offices in Lincoln where he regaled us with so many good stories we could have spent the afternoon there with him! We recorded two of his powerful poems about his time in Vietnam, which are included in his upcoming book "Foot Soldier." A well-known criminal defense attorney and founder of the Berry Law Firm in Lincoln, NE. Berry attended Stanford University, Infantry Officer School at Fort Benning, GA, and the Judge Advocate General School in Charlottesville, VA. During his service, in 1968 and 1969, Berry was the chief defense counsel for II Field Force Vietnam, the largest general court martial jurisdiction for American forces in Vietnam. He also served as defense counsel with the 101st Airborne, the 82nd Airborne, the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, and other units. His Vietnam memoir, Those Gallant Men, 1983, recounts his efforts to defend the commander of the Green Berets and some of his officers against murder and conspiracy charges. The book was a Military Book Club selection for the Book of the Month, and is considered an important historical document on the Green Berets trial. Berry has written prize winning poetry and was the lead author of a book on the use of forensic science in criminal cases. From 1956-1960 Berry studied poetry with Yvor Winters and prose with Wallace Stegner at Stanford University.

April 9 - Mike Stinson

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Professionally, Mike is a former counselor/educator. Now, he makes a living writing haiku. (If your response to that statement is “really?!” you won’t be the only one who fell for that joke. I’m not saying I did, I’m not saying I didn’t.) In the real world, Mike is spending his retirement years writing haibun and haiku, volunteering, exploring, walking/hiking, music, some photography. He has engaged in various genres of writing, including a poetry feature for a small town newspaper and a personal interest column called, "Walking the Dog." Since retirement from his psychotherapist profession, he has cultivated a deeper appreciation for haiku as an art form and way of life. He has had poems published in an extensive number of journals and anthologies. He is particularly inspired these days by meandering the backroads of the Great Plains, while taking in its history, people, and beauty. His chapbook “extra innings” is a collection of baseball haiku, which, he says, has provided a conduit to connect with so many folks out there in heartwarming ways.

April 10 - Zie Jorgenson

Monday, April 10, 2023

Zie Jorgensen first came to our attention when Larksong hosted a Nebraska Writers Collective event, "Take Up Space," part of the spoken word poetry program for youth. Those events are always full of energy and we love to hear the young people reading their poetry. Zie wowed us then with the poem they share with us here. Zie is currently a first-year student at Nebraska Wesleyan University. They are an art major and theatre minor. They were in a slam poetry club all throughout high school. Zie's older sister, Elanor, also did slam poetry, which is how Zie came to love poetry and performance. Zie is also involved in theatre, band, and gaming, and recently took part as an understudy in NWU's production of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare."

April 11 - Paula Ray

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Part of the fun of doing this project is visiting poets in their work spaces and homes. Paula Ray's home said "An artist lives here" from the moment you step off the sidewalk out front. It is a beautiful, inspiring space. No wonder she is doing so many good things in the arts!

Paula Ray  is a semi-retired psychologist and a lover of reading and writing poetry. Inspired by Marjorie Saiser and Lucy Atkins, Paula became an active member of a group of poets that meets monthly at Francie and Finch bookshop in downtown Lincoln. Paula is also an active playwright and member of the Angel’s Theatre Company Playwriting Collective. Her new work will be performed this summer in the annual First Flight Play Festival in July. In her soon to be released book, Max and the Listening Tree, Paula hopes to inspire young people to achieve a sense of personal calm and self-awareness in nature.

April 12 - Deb Carpenter-Nolting

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Deb Carpenter-Nolting joined us via Zoom from her home in outstate Nebraska where we got a glimpse of her writing space and library. Envy is not a good look on anyone, but I was wearing it that day! Life in a library in the countryside - a writer's dream! Deb expresses her artistic side in a number of ways. She is a poet, essayist, newspaper columnist, songwriter, performing artist, and teacher. Deb is the author of three books: Grizzly Attack in Colorado: The Ed Wiseman Story (P.L.A.N. Publishers 2013); Nature’s Beauty Kit (Fulcrum Publishing 1995); and Chadron (with Ken Korte and Composition I students. Arcadia Publishing 2004). She has published articles in Nebraska Life Magazine, Colorado Life Magazine, Plains Song Review, and Cattle Business Weekly. Many of her stories and poems can be found in anthologies. She has recorded several poems and songs. Some of her work has been featured on radio and television programs. Her most recent album is Windblown, produced by Martin Gilmore in 2012.

April 13 - Brian S. Ellis

Thursday, April 13, 2023

We're off to Seattle now for the Associated Writing Program's Annual Conference for the next 15 readings! Things got crazy, as they often do at AWP, as evidenced here by the number of creative ways we strung together the introduction to each poet. Never mind that, just enjoy these fabulous readings! 

Brian S. Ellis was the first poet we recorded at the Book Fair. We weren't quite sure how it all would work, and there were/are some technical/user issues, but the poets were all fabulous! We found Brian at the University of Hell Press table, and honestly, how could we not stop and ask questions? Was it really a coincidence that he was the 13th poet we recorded this year? We'll leave that up to you to decide. His was the first book we bought at the book fair even though we vowed we wouldn't buy so many books this year. We heard him read, loved it, and thought, oh what the hell, just this one. A book doesn't weight that much.(Reader, we did not stop at one.)

A poet, storyteller, teacher, and prose writer based in Portland since 2010, Ellis is a story producer for Back Fence PDX, a live storytelling series, and teaches writing at Portland Community College. His books include Often Go Awry and American Dust Revisited, both published by University of Hell Press; and Yesterday Won’t Goodbye and Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom published by Write Bloody Press. You know you want to know more about presses with names like that, so I went ahead and provided links. Just click on their names.


April 14 - Todd Robinson

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Associated Writing Program' Conference' Book Fair is a great place to run into people you know. And that's literally what happened with Todd Robinson. I was ogling the Good Life Review swag and BAM! Ran smack right into the Toddfather himself, like a boulder in the stream of people! Merriment ensued and we asked him to read for us. Technically while in Seattle we were looking for people from elsewhere, as in not Nebraska, but I couldn't pass up the chance to get him on record. And besides, if you know Todd you know the elsewhere label is not totally inaccurate. 

Todd, affectionately known to acolytes as “Toddfather,” is a poet and educator based in Omaha. He is the author of Mass for Shut-ins and Note at Heart Rock. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in such epic venues as Prairie Schooner, Flyway-Journal of Writing and Environment, Kestrel, North American Review, Sugar House Review, Cortland Review, Natural Bridge, Superstition Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Chiron Review, A Dozen Nothing, and many others. Recipient of the 2011-2012 Thompson Learning Community’s Outstand Faculty Award, he has conducted writing workshops with The Seven Dotors Project, The Naturalist School, Nebraska Warrior Writers, Nebraska Writers Collective, and the CURAM center for research in medical devices. He is founder and host of the Kaneko Ar Museum’s Bibliophiiia reading series, which is currently on a long pandemic pause. He earned a B.A. and M.A. from Creighton University, and a PhD. From the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He serves as vice president of the board of directors of Big Feels Lab.

April 15 - Afaa Weaver

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Afaa Weaver: We met up with Afaa at the #RedHen booth at the Associated Writing Programs Conference Book Fair in Seattle where he was signing his latest book "Fire in the Hills." (A fabulous book, by the way, and another that came home with me. So much for my decision to not overload my suitcase! Worth it!) I admit I was so awestruck meeting Afaa I was somewhat tongue-tied. He was incredibly gracious despite my awkwardness. Add the bonus conversation I had with his wife talking about her horse, which included photos(!), and I have to say this was from start to finish a grand encounter at AWP! 

 Described by Henry Louis Gates as “one of the most significant poets writing today,” Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of fifteen books of poems that explore the depths and intersections of the personal and the public. The son of a sharecropper, he grew up in working class Baltimore, did a stint in the Army, and spent fifteen years as a factory worker, during which time he wrote intermittently and founded Seventh Son Press and the literary journal Blind Alleys. Weaver released Water Song in 1985, and won an NEA fellowship in the same year. Weaver’s many honors include four Pushcart prizes, inclusion in Best American Poetry (2014, 2015), The May Sarton Award, a Pew Fellowship, a Fulbright scholarship to teach at National Taiwan University and Taipei National University of the Arts, and the Gold Friendship Medal from the Beijing Writers’ Association. As a playwright, in addition to an NEA fellowship, he won the PDI award in playwriting from the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago for his play Elvira and the Lost Prince. Some of his poetry has been translated into Arabic and Chinese, and, having studied at the Taipei Language Institute in Taiwan, Weaver himself has done translation and written poems of his own in Chinese.

April 16 - Douglas Manuel

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Douglas Manuel was one of the poets we had on our list when we headed to Seattle for the AWP conference. His book "Trouble Funk" was released at AWP and his publisher, Kate Gale at Red Hen Press, had sung his praises to us weeks before the release. We knew we wanted to have him be a part of our 30 Poets. Douglas was born in Anderson, Indiana and now resides in Long Beach, California. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, an MFA in poetry from Butler University, and a PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. His first collection of poems, Testify, won an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for poetry, and his poems and essays can be found in numerous literary journals, magazines, and websites, most recently Zyzzyva, Pleiades, and the New Orleans Review. He has traveled to Egypt and Eritrea with The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program to teach poetry. A recipient of the Dana Gioia Poetry Award and a fellowship from the Borchard Foundation Center on Literary Arts, he is a Bayard Rustin Fellow at Whittier College and teaches at Spalding University’s low-res MFA program.  

April 17 - Suzi Q Smith

Monday, April 17, 2023

 Suzi Q. Smith was the fifth poet we recorded at AWP and she was a delight to listen to! Suzi performs and teaches poetry and music throughout the U.S., in addition to leading workshops on writing and performance, and the kind of  presence needed for the stage was clear and present in her reading from her new book A Gospel of Bones! I felt like applauding as I listened to her poem. She  is an award-winning artist, educator, and organizer who lives in Denver, Colorado. Her collection of poems, A Gospel of Bones, is available from Alternating Current Press, and her second collection, Poems for the End of the World, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Union Station Magazine, Suspect Press, La Palabra, Muzzle Magazine, Malpais Review, The Pedestal, The Los Angeles Journal, Denver Syntax, Word is Bond, The Peralta Press, Yellow Chair Review, and in the anthologies The Mutiny Info ReaderDiverse-City, His Rib: Anthology of Women, and In Our Own Words, and her chapbook collection of poems, Thirteen Descansos, was published by Penmanship Books. She co-wrote the dramatic productions How I Got Over: Journeys in Verse and Where We Are From: Freedom is a Constant Struggle. She is also co-Editor of two Colorado Book Award Finalist anthologies, Tell It Slant: An Anthology of Creative Nonfiction by Writers from Colorado’s Prisons and All the Lives We Ever Lived, Volume I.

April 18 - Laura-Gray Street

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

When we stopped to visit with Laura-Gray Street at the Randolph College booth at the book fair I took one look at the book she had co-edited - The Literary Field Guide to Southern Applachia - and I knew it was coming home with me. It's a gorgeous hardbound book, the kind of book that makes me want to curl up in a corner and start reading right then and then. It is filled with beautiful poems befitting such a work of art. (If you're keeping count at home, yes, my suitcase was full of books on the return flight to Lincoln.)

Laura-Gray is the author of Pigment and Fume and Shift Work and co-editor of The Ecopoetry Anthology and A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia. Her poetry has received prizes from The Greensboro Review, the Dana Awards, the Southern Women Writers Conference, Isotope: A Journal of Literary Science and Nature Writing, and A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. and been supported by fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the  Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Artist House at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, and the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, where she was the Garland Distinguished Fellow in 2016. Street holds an MA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She is professor of English, directs the Creative Writing and Visiting Writers Series Program, and edits the MFA’s literary journal Revolute at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, beside the James River in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

April 19 - Gary Dop

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

If Gary Dop hadn't been at the AWP Conference it's possible we would have had to fly to Virginia to get him to be a part of our 30 Poets project. That's how much I admire him and his work. For the sake of our little nonprofit's budget we were lucky that he was there in Seattle. Gary is one of the kindest, smartest, funniest, talented-est people I know. (If you run into him ask him to show you his 3D cube poem. It's brilliant!) Writer and professor Gary Dop, together with the best faculty in the country, founded the Randolph College MFA program, the low-residency MFA which Poets & Writers hailed as a "a new kind of MFA program that makes diversity its mission." Dop is the author of the poetry collection Father, Child, Water (Red Hen Press), and his most recent play is Deemocracy: An American Absurdity in One Act (Rain Taxi). Prior to his gig in Virginia at Randolph College, Dop taught screenwriting at the University of Minnesota, and he was the Writer in Residence at North Central University. Dop's poems, stories, and essays have appeared in venues including Georgia Review, Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Sugar House Review, and North American Review. Dop earned his MFA through the University of Nebraska, and his experience as an actor, performer, and comic have helped him engage audiences throughout the country. Gary is the recipient of the Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize, a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and the Gillie A. Larew Distinguished Teaching Award. 

April 20 - Nakeena Hayden

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Nakeena Hayden is a poet with vision - a vision of how to take care of herself and the people around her. She is a Program Manager at When She Thrives, a center in Pittsburgh dedicated to equipping single mothers to move their families from poverty to prosperity through advocacy, education, personal + professional development. Her poetry speaks directly to and from the clarity needed to live up to that ideal. I met her through Tiffany Huff-Strothers, the Founder and CEO of When She Thrives, and I walked away from meeting these two strong women inspired about their work and the role of poetry in finding the voice we need to speak up and speak back.

April 21 - Wandeka Gayle

Friday, April 21, 2023

Wandeka Gayle  When we met Wandeka Gayle at the AWP Book Fair she said she was not a poet. Fiction is her thing, she said, though she did have a few poems she had published. We asked her to read for us and we discovered her poems were so beautiful we can’t wait to read her fiction too!

Wandeka is a Jamaican writer, visual artist, and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Spelman College. She has been awarded writing fellowships from Kimbilio Fiction, Callaloo, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Gayle has a PhD in English/Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Her collection of short stories, Motherland and Other Stories, was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2020. Other writing has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Transition, Interviewing the Caribbean and other journals and magazines. She is currently working on her first novel, My Name Is Sweet Thing. Her art has been featured on Smile Jamaica, It's Morning Time (TVJ), in Focus Magazine, Da Vibe Magazine, and the Southwestern Review.

April 22 - Natalie Young

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Natalie Young is a founding and managing editor of the award-winning poetry magazine Sugar House Review. If you haven’t seen it you should check it out right now. It’s a beautiful lit magazine and it publishes beautiful work! She is also an art director for an ad agency based out of Salt Lake City.

Her poetry book All of This Was Once Under Water is available from Quarter Press. Her poems have been published in Green Mountains Review, Los Angeles Times, Rattle, South Dakota Review, Tampa Review,, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. Natalie is a member of the Utah Arts Advisory Board, as well as the board of Lightscatter Press.

Natalie is half Puerto Rican and half Brigham Young. She's left-handed and a fan of Dolly Parton and green olives.

April 23 - Liz Ahl

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Liz Ahl is one of those people you meet when you're young and then spend the rest of your life glad you know her. She's talented, accomplished, and wicked funny. Meeting up with her at AWP is always a highlight of the conference. There's much heartache in her latest book, but so much beauty too. Yes, it found a spot in the suitcase on the trip home. Worth it!

Liz is the author of A Case for Solace (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2022), Beating the Bounds (Hobblebush Books, 2017), Home Economics (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016), Talking About the Weather (Seven Kitchens Press, 2012), Luck (Pecan Grove Press, 2010), and A Thirst That’s Partly Mine (winner of the 2007 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest).

Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, among them Prairie Schooner, Sinister Wisdom, Measure, Rogue Agent, West Trestle Review, Nimrod, and Crab Orchard Review.

Her work has also been included in several anthologies, including Outer Space: 100 Poems (Cambridge University Press, 2022), This Assignment is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013), COVID Spring: Granite State Pandemic Poems (Hobblebush Books, 2020), Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press, 2018) and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017), among others.

She has been awarded residencies at Playa, Jentel, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She teaches writing at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

April 24 - William Trowbridge

Monday, April 24, 2023

During the years when Bill Trowbridge and I taught together at the University of Nebraska Omaha's MFA in Writing program I learned a great deal from him. First and foremost was to take everything seriously. KIDDING! Bill can find the humor in anything and he knows how to tell you about it so you can see it too. But with the humor, he knows how to find the deeper meaning that has you laughing and leaves you thinking. He's a storyteller and a poet.   

William Trowbridge holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a PH.D. in English from Vanderbilt University.  He served as Poet Laureate of the State of Missouri from 2012-2016.

His poetry includes nine full collections: Call Me Fool, [Red Hen Press, fall 2022], Oldguy:Superhero—The Complete Collection, [Red Hen Press, 2019],  Vanishing Point, [Red Hen Press, April, 2017], Put This On, Please [Red Hen Press, 2014], Ship of Fool [Red Hen Press, 2011], The Complete Book of Kong [Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2003], Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger [Universiy of Arkansas Press, 2000, 1995, 1989].  He has also published four chapbooks: Oldguy: Superhero, a graphic chapbook in the form of a comic book, [Red Hen, 2016], The Packing House Cantata [Camber Press, 2006], The Four Seasons [Red Dragonfly Press, 2001], and The Book of Kong [Iowa State University Press, 1986].

His poems have appeared in more than 50 anthologies and textbooks, as well as in such periodicals as Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, Columbia, Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and New Letters.  

He is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University, where he was an editor of The Laurel Review/GreenTower Press from 1986 to 2004.  Now living in Lee's Summit, Missouri, he teaches in the University of Nebraska Omaha MFA in Writing Program.

His interests are reading, travel, motorcycling, wine tasting, fine dining, and trying to keep the damn rabbits out of the hibiscus.

April 25 - Yolanda Franklin

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Yolanda Franklin is a poet’s poet. You can't help but feel joy when you hear or read her poetry even when the poems are filled with vulnerablility and pain. As the poet Camille Dungy wrote “Yolanda J. Franklin writes poems marked by vitality and wonder, urgency and care.”

Yes, yes she does.

Yolanda J. Franklin is a contemporary African-American poet, author of Blood Vinyls (Anhinga Press 2018) which Roxane Gay calls ‘a must-must-must read.’ A four-time Fulbright Scholar Award Finalist, Franklin is also a Cave Canem, Callaloo, and VONA Fellow. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Frontier Magazine, Sugar House Review, Southern Humanities Review, and The Langston Hughes Review. Her poetry also appears in the anthology It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip Hop (Minor Arcana Press 2017).

She is a two-time recipient of the J.M. Shaw Academy of American Poets Award. Franklin is a proud third-generation Floridian.

April 26 - Billie Tadros

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Some meetings are just meant to be and this was one of them. I met Billie at the last panel on the last day of the AWP conference - a panel I hadn't even meant to attend. I was in the wrong room - hey, it was a long conference! By the time I figured that out it was too late. I was sitting close to the front, because I'm always the good student, so I couldn't just get up and walk out. That felt too rude. All the panelists were interesting, but when Billie got up for her portion of the presentation I knew immediately she belonged with our 30 Poets. The poem she reads here was the poem she talked about in the panel and I loved it. The last panel of the last day of any conference usually means everyone in the room bolts for the door when it's over, but Billie not only agreed to stay to record, she seemed happy about it! Connections, that's what AWP is all about, and connecting with this new poet turned my fatigue-made mistake into a gift.  

Billie R. Tadros is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Theatre at The University of Scranton. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and she is a graduate of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University. She is the author of three books of poems, Graft Fixation (Gold Wake Press, 2020), Was Body (Indolent Books, 2020), and The Tree We Planted and Buried You In (Otis Books, 2018), and three chapbooks, Am/Are I (Francis House, 2020), inter: burial places (Porkbelly Press, 2016), and Containers (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in The Boiler, Black Warrior Review, Bone Bouquet, The Collapsar, Crab Fat Magazine, Entropy, Fairy Tale Review, Gigantic Sequins, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Horse Less Review, Kindred, Lavender Review, Menacing Hedge, No Tokens, phoebe, pnk prl, r.kv.r.y., Tupelo Quarterly, White Stag, Wicked Alice, Word Riot, and others, and in the anthologies Bearers of Distance (Eastern Point Press, 2013), Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), and The Queer South (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014). 

April 27 - Kelly Madigan

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Heading home from AWP at last. The Seattle Airport was fitting place to record my longtime travel partner, Kelly Madigan. She is a poet on the move, always going somewhere exciting and doing something interesting, paying close attention to the world and then writing about it in poems and essays that take my breath away.  Follow her on Facebook to read her posts with a new poem each day of April. You'll be glad you did! 

Kelly is a writer with roots in both Iowa and Nebraska, and an advocate for conservation in the Loess Hills. Her book Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making It Through the First 30 Days, published by McGraw-Hill, is an effort to quickly get tools into the hands of people struggling to get sober, and is based in part on her 30 years of work as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Kelly is also an award-winning poet and essayist, whose awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in creative writing, and the Distinguished Artist Award in Literature from the Nebraska Arts Council. She teaches creative writing workshops with an environmental focus through Larksong Writers Place. Her collection of poetry, The Edge of Known Things, was published by SFASU press.

April 28 - Charlene Pierce

Friday, April 28, 2023

Charlene Pierce describes herself as a poet and author in love with the transformative power of words. She’s right, words can change the world, especially when backed up by action, and her life is a great example of that. Charlene saw a need in Nebraska for more organizations dedicated to the literary arts, talked to other writers about that need, and from those conversations Nebraska Poetry Society was born. She has transformed the literary landscape in Nebraska, helping to educate and uplift all writers. She doesn’t just love the transformative power of words, she lives it.

Charlene Pierce is the President and founder of the Nebraska Poetry Society, a non-profit organization that makes poetry accessible to all. It is an essential mission to her as one with a disability who grew up in poverty. Her poetry has appeared in Page and Spine, BlazeVOX, Literary Yard, and the Nebraska anthologies How it Looks from Here, Voices of the Plains, and Misbehaving Nebraskans. She wrote and published The Poet’s Journal: A Beginner’s Workbook for Writing Poetry. By day, she is a freelance writer appearing on websites and blogs across the country and a contributor to Women’s Edition Magazine.


April 29 - Zedeka Poindexter

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Catching Zedeka Poindexter with enough time available to record one of her beautiful poems is no easy task - she is a busy woman! Clearly being the co-executive of Nebraska Writers Collective, one of the most active and respected literary organizations in the state, is no easy task either! Still, she has time to be gracious, generous, and make time for her own art as well as that of others. For that we are grateful - listen to this beautiful poem. She is always inspiring.

Zedeka Poindexter (she/her) is a North Omaha-born multi-talented and driven professional writer and performer with a robust account management and communications history. She holds a bachelor's degree in Communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In her work, Zedeka has built a historical record through poems and essays that draw on all five physical senses to connect with readers and listeners. By sharing stories of people in her community, she creates a relationship with her audience and guides them through the world as she sees and experiences it. Throughout her ten years of serving the NWC as a Teaching Artist, she has earned numerous awards and accolades such as Omaha Entertainment & Arts: Best Performance Poet, Amplify Arts: Public Impact Grant Recipient, The Union for Contemporary Art: Inside/Outside Fellowship Prize, Nebraska Arts Council: Artists In Schools Recipient, and much more.

April 30 - Linda Gettert Kallhoff

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Linda Gettert Kallhoff is Sandhills prairie dweller, daily paying homage to this land, its sky, & their inhabitants through photography, poetry, & prayer. She journeyed here from other careers to care giving & then a recent widowhood. She is now sole proprietor of a ranch in those Sandhills, hoping to foster its existence for the next generation.

She is a Larksong Board member, looking forward to expanding her contributions to Larksong’s mission of supporting writers, & readers & teachers of this fine art. 

That's Linda's humble version of her life and her role in Larksong. The truth is, there would be no Larksong Writers Place if it weren't for her. If she had not dedicated the first several years of her well-earned retirement to mentoring, researching, and planning with me, Larksong would still be a dream I was polishing in my mind, imagining instead of doing. The structure that holds this organization together was first constructed by her. The courage and conviction I needed at a time I needed it came from her. Her decision to help build a writers place was the single most important event in Larksong's history.  And dang, she can write poetry too! 

She was no slouch in her career years either! Linda Kallhoff received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Medical Social Services from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota. Linda served as the Social Services Director for Saint Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill, Nebraska, where she developed the hospital’s first Social Service Department. She worked for 35 years as an Area Director for an organization serving individuals who experienced Intellectual Disabilities. She focused her leadership efforts on transitioning from congregate, segregated services to community-based services designed around each customer’s goals, preferences, and support needs. In addition to area program administration involving budget oversight of 1.5 million dollars, human resource & facilities management, Linda developed curriculum and taught Person-Centered thinking and practices to new employees in the 22-county agency.

 Linda served as the first Education & Outreach Coordinator for the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Office of Public Guardian which came in to being in 2014. Linda coordinated statewide Guardianship Education classes for 1300 -1500 new private guardians annually. She developed the Court Visitor program designed to help determine eligibility for public guardianship. Linda also developed with Nebraska colleges & universities an internship program to support the work of the OPG & Associate Public Guardians across the state. Linda served as the OPG representative on the Lancaster County Homelessness Coalition, & the New Americans Task force.



Larksong is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are committed to supporting both the writers who come to us for instruction and the writers who come to us to teach. We keep our class fees low, offer free programming, and pay our instructors. Please consider supporting our mission by making a tax-deductible donation.