In this episode, two local poets, Leah Sewell and Israel Wasserstein join us to share their poetry and talk about their writing process and their sources of inspiration as Kansas poets. Guest co-host Miranda Ericsson brings her knowledge of the local poetry scene. Whether you already read and enjoy poetry or you are about to listen a poet read their work aloud for the first time, this podcast will enlighten and entertain!
Leah Sewell has made a name for herself in Topeka as a woman of immense talent, creativity, and ambition. Sewell founded the Topeka Writers Workshop, and won the 2010 Women Making Headlines Award in the media category from the Topeka Chapter of the Association of Women in Communications. She has been a recipient of the PenWomen Award for Letters, and is a candidate for a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. She also works as a freelance graphic designer, with over a dozen poetry and prose book covers to her credit.
Sewell’s poetry has appeared in [PANK] Magazine, Rufous City Review, Weave Magazine, Flint Hills Review, Inscape, Midwestern Gothic, Mochila, Stone Highway Review and other journals. Her poems have also been anthologized in Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems and To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices. Her poem “The Crimson Lady” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012, and in 2013 she won the Emerge Publications Chapbook competition for her first collection, Birth in Storm.
Sewell was the editor-in-chief of Topeka’s arts and entertainment magazine, seveneightfive, for five years. She was also the founding editor of Topeka family and lifestyle magazine, XYZ, and worked as its arts director. Recently Sewell became a co-owner of XYZ, and has opened a workspace in NOTO, the North Topeka arts district.
Israel Wasserstein was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas. He received his BA in English from Washburn University, and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico. He is currently a lecturer in the English department at Washburn University, and serves on the Editorial Board for Woodley Press of Topeka. His work has been published in Flint Hills Review, Red Mesa Review, Border, seveneightfive, Senses, Fickle Muses, Inscape, and others. He contributed work to the anthologies Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, A Face to Meet the Faces, and Earthships, and his 2012 poetry collection, This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, was named a Kansas Notable Book.
- Birth in storm : poems by Leah Sewell
- This ecstasy they call damnation : poems by Israel Wasserstein
- “At Twenty Eight” from Beautiful Trouble by Amy Fleury
- To the stars : Kansas poets of the Ad Astra Poetry Project
- Begin again : 150 Kansas poems
- The sum of two mothers : poems by Dennis Etzel Jr.
- Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness Edited by Carolyn Forché
- Missing You, Metropolis: Poems by Gary Jackson
- Birthmarks by Jim Daniels
Local poetry events
- First Friday Poetry Crawl – First Friday in April, 2014
- Israel Wasserstein is reading at 8pm, 4th Thursday in April, 2014 at the Big Tent Reading Series, Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, KS
- Kansas Open MicPoetry Network on Facebook
Thanks for listening!
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