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Morning Sun
  • State poet laureate to visit PSU Thursday

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  • Wyatt Townley, poet laureate of Kansas,  will visit Pittsburg State University on April 3.
    Sponsored by the PSU Distinguished Visiting Writers Series,  she will present a free public reading from her work at 8 p.m. in the  Governor’s Room of the Overman Student Center. A reception will follow and copies of her book will be available for purchase.
    Appointed poet laureate of Kansas in 2013, Townley is winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award for her latest collection, “The Afterlives of Trees.” She won a Master  Artist  Fellowship from the  Kansas  Arts Commission to complete this book, which was named a Kansas Notable Book.
    Townley’s other books include “Perfectly Normal” and  “The Breathing Field: Meditations on Yoga.”
    Her work has been read by Garrison Keillor on National Public  Radio, featured by Ted Kooser in his “American Life in Poetry” column, been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in hundreds of venues ranging from “The Paris Review” to “Newsweek.”
    Formerly a dancer and a yoga teacher for many years, the confluence of poetry and poetry-in-motion has shaped Townley’s life.
    “The body is a poem, writing itself with every breath,” the poet laureate said.
    She said that she is also influenced by setting.
    “We think of the sky as above us,” she said,  “but of course we’re in the sky and the  sky’s in us. We breathe it in and out, and rearrange it with every step. This is still relavatory to me. I’ve always been fascinated by space, as so many of us Kansans are, with our great view of the stars...space is a big theme for me, from personal space in and around the body all the way out to the cosmos, micro to macro.”
    The Distinguished Visiting  Writers Series is sponsored by the  PSU English department and the Student Fee Council.

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