Poetry gets top billing at Seward County Community College Wednesday, April 26, with two events planned for the public. The SCCC Library will host Eric McHenry, Poet Laureate of Kansas for its April Lunch in the Library Program at noon, and he will also read at the Seventh Annual SCCC Poetry Coffee House at 7 p.m.
For the noon event in the library, McHenry will be providing poetry readings, and will lead a discussion on poetry in communities. The program will be held at the SCCC Library in the Hobble Academic Building .
A fifth-generation Topeka native, McHenry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry seven times and received the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2011. His first book of poems, Potscrubber Lullabies, earned him the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2007, the largest American prize for a first book of poetry. Eric McHenry is a nationally known poet and associate professor of English at Washburn University in Topeka. His work has been featured in publications such as Poetry International, Slate, Yale Review, and Topeka magazine, among many others. He also contributes poetry reviews for the New York Times and Columbia magazine. Odd Evening, his third book of poems, was published by Waywiser Press in 2016.
Drawing inspiration from a Robert Frost essay for the title, McHenry will present “A Momentary Stay Against Confusion.” His presentation showcases poetry in a new light.
“There’s a popular perception that contemporary poetry is obscure and hard to understand,” said McHenry. “I’d like to share some poems that defy that stereotype, and to talk about how poetry can achieve a special kind of clarity not found in any other kind of writing.”
As Poet Laureate of KansasTM, McHenry promotes the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans through public readings, presentations, and discussions about poetry in communities across the state.
SCCC Library will be serving sandwiches, cookies, iced tea, and water for the April Lunch in the Library event. This program is free and open to the public, which is generously made possible by The Kansas Humanities Council, which conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785/357-0359 or visit online at www.kansashumanities.org.
McHenry will also appear at this year’s Poetry Coffeehouse at 7 p.m. April 26. McHenry will judge this year’s poetry contest and also give a brief reading at the Coffee House. Winners of two poetry contests will be announced and will read their poetry. Gourmet coffees, finger foods, and live music will provide a relaxing atmosphere.
McHenry will sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase, after the event, and a drawing for two signed copies of his books will also be held during the Coffee House.
The Coffee House/Poetry Reading takes place in the music wing of the Shank Humanities Building on the main SCCC campus. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Terri Barnes at 620-417-1451.