Poetry reading at the Raven 9/15/2017


Photo credit; Denise Low


On Sept 15th, I hosted a reading at The Raven in Lawrence, KS that featured Linzi Garcia, Anna Ciummo, Joan Koromante, and Victor Clevenger.  This reading was the first featured reader event for Linzi and Anna. In addition, the reading was the first promotional event for Anna with her “Dreamflowers” book published by Asinimali Publications earlier this year.

Richard Robert Hansen, the editor of the Poems For All donated several copies of his project for this reading including “Tecumseh Whispers” by Dorie Renee Hogan.  Denise Low, the former poet laureate of Kansas from 2007-2009 was gracious enough to be a surprise guest reader and read “Tecumseh Whispers” to start off the reading.  Dorie’s family and friends were in the audience and this culmination of events helped make the entire reading unique.


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The Dorie Renee Hogan Project 2016



Pic Taken 10/1996

I first met Dorie Renee Hogan while on a pay phone in the hallway of the gymnasium at Highland Park High School in Topeka, KS.  As a student at HPHS, I was heavily involved in Air Force JROTC my junior year. Captain of the Color Guard Team, Captain of the Drill team, second in command of the entire flight, (I may have actually held the rank of Cadet Captain at the time) my focus was on heading to West Point.

Poetry was no where in sight in my life at that time. In fact, I couldn’t stand literature.

After finishing presenting the colors before a basketball game, I entered the hallway…passed a pay phone just outside the gym and a student asked me if I wanted to talk to a girl who was on the other end of the line. Being 17, this is something that I wouldn’t turn down. What transpired during that phone call and subsequent phone calls drastically and dramatically changed my life.


Senior picture

There was a sense of poetic randomness to Dorie. She was known for sending poems written on scraps of paper and glued to construction paper which were mailed out to friends.  She usually sent work anonymously. My focus at the time was on left, right, left…shining shoes, crew cuts, left shoulder arms, making cadet LTC. So, her free spiritedness made a substantial impression on me. I only met Dorie once in person. A brief chat at a McDonald’s at the corner of 29th and California in Topeka. Other than that, a few phone calls and random notes that Dorie would send me via snail mail were the only means of communication that we utilized.

I wandered thru time for several years eventually coming to the conclusion that poetry was a sole means of expression that I wanted to explore and utilize. Time moved along….years went by. As I began to become involved in the poetry community, a nagging thought began to grow within me. I never had a chance to thank Dorie for the impact she had on my life.

Ten years ago I decided to look Dorie up online in an attempt to reach out and thank her. After being unable to find a profile for her on MySpace, I searched for her on Google which lead to my discovery of her obituary. On October 22nd, 1996 Dorie left her parents’ home in Tecumseh, KS and was heading to Lawrence on Hwy 40. It snowed heavily that day. At approximately 11:50 am on October 22, 1996 Dorie lost control of her 1992 Mercury Topaz one mile east of Big Springs. Kenneth Kilmer was driving a tractor-trailor in the opposite lane and unfortunately a head on collision occured. Dorie wore a seat belt but she died at the scene. Upon discovering the news, I obtained her obituary and every news clipping I could find. My life was altered forever. The biggest artistic influence in my life was gone. I eventually gathered the courage to contact Sheryl Hogan, Dorie’s mother and had a few conversations with her.


As my writing career began to take off in late 2015, I simply felt like that I had unfinished business to see to its final conclusion. Self promotion is a necessary evil for a writer however it seemed to be an original sin to see my career grow but the legacy of Dorie Hogan fading away.  After consulting with Sheryl, a poetry prize was developed and launched on January 6th, 2016. (Dorie was born on 1/6 in 1974). The prize targeted first time local female poets between the ages of 17-22 who were seeking to publish their first book of poetry. The age range was selected as such because I met Dorie when she was 17 and she passed at 22 years of age. The intent of the prize was to give a young female author a shot…a chance that Dorie never had. A winner of the prize was selected. Anna Ciummo, a Topeka resident and freshman at Washburn University.


Photo credit: Richard Robert Hansen

During the development and promotion of the poetry prize, Sheryl notified me that approximately 20 pages of Dorie’s unpublished work existed as well as several of her paintings. I had worked with Richard Robert Hansen, editor of the Poems-For-All project this year and after editing a small selection of Dorie’s work, I submitted a piece entitled “Tecumseh Whispers” to Richard as well as an image of a watercolor painting for possible publication. Richard accepted the work and “Tecumseh Whispers” became #1515 of the Poems-For-All project. This is the first time Dorie became published, 20 years after her death.

On September 15th, I will be hosting a reading at The Raven in Lawrence, KS. Dorie’s minibook will be given away for free. In addition, Anna Ciummo will be presenting her first book of poetry “Dreamflowers” published by Asinimali Publications. Anna will be joined by Linzi Garcia (the reading is also her first featured reading), Joan Koromante (who edited Anna’s work), and Victor Clevenger. Sheryl Hogan has expressed interested in attending. The reading will be the first poetry reading Sheryl has ever experienced.

Dorie never had a shot at exploring the events that come with being a published author. I never had an opportunity to thank her. In my humble opinion, authors have a moral obligation to help others in this business…be it advice or simple encouragement. The culmination of events during 2015-2016 were my attempt to do both. Help poets get a shot in this business and to make sure that Dorie is not forgotten.


On October 22 of this year I will return to the Tecumseh Cemetery, the final resting place for Dorie. Ive returned from time to time everytime Ive been published in print to pay my respects. This year I’ll return…no Facebook event page will be created…no crowds will gather. I will leave copies of my work that have been published…and I will leave copies of “Tecumseh Whispers” at her site. It’s a small cemetery…big open sky…and silence.

If we have crossed paths in this poetry realm as you read this…the sole source of our intersection in life was my limited but profound interaction with Dorie Hogan.

At some point during every reading Ive ever done, I’ll scan the crowd in an attempt to see if she is there.

At some point while listen to either “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure (Or the cover by Dinosaur Jr) or “Lounge Act” by Nirvana…or “Lithium” for that matter…Dorie is never far from my thoughts. This will never change.

I honestly dont know where I will go next or what direction I will head. I have other readings scheduled…other poems of mine to attempt to get published. I will move on in life but I can finally rest knowing that I did what I could to give someone an opportunity that Dorie never had…and that the effect Dorie had on her world would be honored and remembered.

And the world continues to breathe…

And the tears will eventually stop flowing…

And the earth will keep on spinning.

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Interview with Marcia Epstein

talk with me

Photo Credit: Marcia Epstein

On 8/24, I had a chat with Marcia Epstein on “Talk With Me” about a variety of topics in the poetry field including my involvement with the Dorie Renee Hogan Poetry contest and the publication of her work “Tecumseh Whispers”, the poetic resonance post Kansas City Poetry Throwdown, my involvement with the Poetrybay Facebook page and Poems-For-All, as well activities planned in Lawrence and elsewhere.

I also read my contributions to the 2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology published by Crisis Chronicles Press as well as the Prince influenced anthology entitled “Delirious” published by NightBallet Press.

The interview can be accessed here.

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Article for Poetrybay



I’ve recently accepted a position as a roving correspondent for the Poetrybay Facebook Blog.  Edited by George Wallace, the intent of the Facebook page is to promote “essays and commentary on contemporary poetry, videos, books, litmags, and events” around the world. Other editors include Annie Christain, Kofi Forson, Deborah Hauser, Jim D Deuchars, John Roche, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Francine Witte, Odilia Galvan Rodriguez,
Pramila Venkateswaran, Shiv Mirabito, Craig Kite, and Michael McLaughlin.

My first blog entry entitled “Poetry in the Heartland” may be seen here which focuses on the Pop Poetry Series published by Spartan Press in KC. Featured are the works of Jason Preu and Gustavo Aybar.

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Poems For All


Richard Robert Hansen owns and operates “Poems-For-All”, a unique press that specializes in miniature books of poetry. The intend of the project is to spread poetry in a similar manner that a farmer would spread seeds.

Richard has published two mini books of mine and one small card that will be included in “The Edinburgh Inch” project which is distributed in Scotland.  “The haiku mumblings from dear john’s recipient” and “Murphy’s Law” are books number #1493 and #1494 of the Poems-For-All series. “Self Help” is #12 of The Edinburgh Inch project. Info on the “Poems-For-All” project may be seen here.


Photo Credit: Richard Robert Hansen

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The Shape of Words Broadcast 90.1 FM

Group photo

Pictured left to right: Myself, Ronda Miller, Annette Billings, James Benger, Anna Ciummo, Maria Vasquez Boyd.


A few of the previously scheduled readers at this year’s The Cellar Poetry Series (which has been unfortunately permanently cancelled) met in the studios of 90.1 FM to be interviewed by Maria Vasquez Boyd. On July 14th, Maria hosted “The Shape of Words”, a two hour program that interviewed area poets.  I started off the program and discussed my work that had been published in Poems-For-All as well as the projects with Crisis Chronicles Press and Night Ballet Press out of Ohio.

The podcast of the interview can be heard here.

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Reading at the Raven



On July 7th, I hosted a reading at the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, KS.  It had been a year since I’ve acted as host at an event and in fact it had been several years since I’ve hosted a poetry event that I didn’t act as a reader.


The following is a list of those readers who participated. Photo credits: Stephen Anderson-Story


James Benger is a husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications including Coal City Review, I-70 Review and Thorny Locust. James likes to hang out at the Writers Place in Kansas City and lives in South Kansas City with his wife. James has also been published in Reverberated Echoes: A Kansas City Reader (Asinimali Publications, 2016) and in the forthcoming collection As I Watch You Fade (EMP, 2016).


Jason Preu is a mystical satirist who writes poetry and short fiction from the suburbs of Kansas City. His wife and children provide much of his inspiration. Jason is a 2015-2016 Writer-in-Residence with Kansas City’s Charlotte Street Foundation and blogs irregularly at jasonpreu.wordpress.com. His work has appeared in various outlets around the world. Jason is also a contributing author to the Reverberated Echoes: A Kansas City Reader project (Asinimali Publications, 2016) as well as his forthcoming work, The Avocado Among Other Fruits (Spartan Press, 2016).


Gustavo Adolfo Aybar is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he received his MA in Romance Languages & Literature. He is a Cave Canem and Artist Inc. fellow. He has served on the board of the Latino Writers Collective, and his work can be found in their anthology, Primera Pagina: Poetry from the Latino Heartland. Other publications include: Harvest of New Millennium, Black Magnolias Literary Journal, NINE: A Journal of Baseball History & Culture, and Oranges & Sardines. Aybar’s second collection, We Seek Asylum, has been awarded the Poetry Grand Prize for the Willow Books Literature Award by Aquarius Press. Aybar is working on his third poetry manuscript and on translating the works of Mexican author/playwright Glafira Rocha from Spanish to English. Some translations of Rocha’s stories can be found in the online journals EZRA, Asymptote and the Brooklyn Rail’s InTranslation journal where Rocha’s short story “Interspersed Signs” was selected as a Pushcart nominee for Fiction in 2014. Gustavo’s In Between Line Breaks was released in May (Spartan, 2016).


Ryder Collins has a novel, Homegirl. Her chapbook, The way the sky was now, won Heavy Feather Review’s first fiction chapbook contest, and she has two chapbooks of poetry, i am hopscotch w/out hop and Orpheus on toast.


Mary Stone is the author of the poetry collections Mythology of Touch and One Last Cigarette, and the chapbooks The Dopamine Letters and Honey and Bandages (co-written with Kaite Longofono). Her poetry and prose has appeared in South Dakota Review, Mid-American Review, Arts & Letters, Gargoyle, and other journals. Her third collection, Deficiency, will be published by ELJ Publications in June 2017. She graduated with her MFA in poetry from the University of Kansas and currently lives in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursday Open Mic Poetry Reading Series. She lives with her dog, Rufio.

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