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In this episode, our guests are Topeka poets Dennis Etzel Jr. and Eric McHenry. Both are fifth generation Topekans, Topeka High graduates, and Professors of English at Washburn University–but they write very different work. Our guests read from their own poetry, talk about writing poetry in Topeka, and discuss the vibrant Kansas writing scene. Guest host Miranda Ericsson joins us for this lively and enlightening conversation.
Dennis Etzel Jr. was born, raised in, and never left Topeka, Kansas. He teaches English at Washburn University. His chapbook The Sum of Two Mothers was released in 2013, and his work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, DIAGRAM, and others.
He earned B.A. degrees in Computer Systems (1999) and English (2004) from Washburn University, an M.A. in English literature/creative writing and Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies from Kansas State University (2006), and an M.F.A. degree in creative writing from The University of Kansas (2010).
He is a TALK Scholar and Speaker for the Kansas Humanities Council, and volunteers for the YWCA of Topeka and Midland Hospice.
Eric McHenry’s new book of poems, Odd Evening, will be published by Waywiser Press in 2016. His previous collections include Potscrubber Lullabies, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2007, and Mommy Daddy Evan Sage, a children’s book illustrated by Nicholas Garland. He also edited and introduced Peggy of the Flint Hills, a memoir by Zula Bennington Greene. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, Yale Review, Cincinnati Review, Field, Orion, The Guardian (U.K.), Poetry Daily and Poetry Northwest, from whom he received the 2010 Theodore Roethke Prize. Since 2001, he has been a poetry critic for The New York Times Book Review. He lives in Lawrence with his wife and two children and teaches creative writing at Washburn University.
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Poet Interviews on TSCPL.org
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