Brian Daldorph’s eighth full-length collection of poetry is a tribute to his adopted state, Kansas, where he has lived through the four seasons year by year, in Lawrence.
Daldorph is originally from England and had made a home for himself in Lawrence through his teaching at the University of Kansas and at the Douglas County Jail. He is also the editor of Coal City Review.
Kansas poetry blooms in these pages, not only poems set in Lawrence, Linwood, Garden City, and Coffeyville, but also in the more mythological locations of Stony Creek Cemetery, Brook Creek Park, Oak Hill Cemetery and Stull, which, legend has it, is one of the gates of Hell.
These are poems about Kansas people: a Vietnam vet still angry at the government who betrayed him; undertaker Zeke Haskins, looking out of his office window at his dying small town. The football coach’s wife who fears that her husband will recruit their sons for the sport he loves.
There are ghost stories here, jail visits, love stories and break ups, a Kansas story about Brown Recluse spiders and Black Widows “waiting in outhouses and dreams with that one bite/ to freeze your limbs and jam your lungs . . .”
Kansas Poems was chosen as the finalist for the 2020 Birdy Poetry Prize contest.
The event is particularly meaningful, as it is held in honor of the 100th birthday of Daldorph’s mother, who passed in 2015. Please register for the event at: tinyurl.com/kspoemsregistration.
Daldorph will do a second, shorter reading of Kansas Poems with the winner of the 2020 Birdy Poetry Prize, JC Mehta (Selected Poems: 2000-2020), on March 13, along with the winner and finalist of last year’s contest, Carol Kapaun Ratchenski (A Certain Kind of Forgiveness) and Ruth Maus (Valentine).
Kansas Poems is available for preorder at the Meadowlark Bookstore.