KC Poetry Calendar

Upcoming Readings

May 2024

KC Poetry Calendar

Hi, my name is Bob.I find it's often really difficult to keep up with what's happening in our local poetry scene. I hope this resource can help.

If you'd like me to add a reading or event to the calendar, dm me on instagram or send the following info to kcpoetrycalendar@gmail.com:

  • name of the event

  • featured readers

  • location of the event

  • time of the event

  • any relevant websites or social media handles

KC Poetry Calendar

Check out some of the regularly scheduled poetry friendly or poetry centered open mics, slams, and other events:

KC Poetry Calendar

If you'd like me to add a reading or event to the calendar, send the following info to kcpoetrycalendar@gmail.com:

  • name of the event

  • featured readers

  • location of the event

  • time of the event

  • any relevant websites or social media handles

KC Poetry Calendar

KC Poetry Calendar

KC Poetry Calendar


United We Rest

by Kiernan Walshire

I like to eat my lunch among the dead. In Union Cemetery,
where great trunks of redbud and spruce climb up up up
to offer shady solace to the thousands who rest below,
I peel an orange and plunge my fingers into its flesh,
considering the quiet economy of death. Not to be
outdone by trees, great vaulted monuments strike heavenward,
proclaiming: the more money in life, the louder your memory will be.
Despite the survived-by’s best efforts, stones crumble into shifting soil.
I cannot decipher the patina-kissed plaques behind the mausoleum gates.
My dear city’s legacy sprawls out
among crooked rows of marble tombstones grinning like teeth:
founder, businessman, war hero.
Cherished mother-sister-wife. Beloved daughter aged 7 months.
You souls, forgotten or otherwise, with all your infinities, rest in the Lord.
My lunch hour closes, but I do not want to go. Hopefully, one day,
when I am dead, someone will join me here for a favorite fruit
beneath a newly planted tree,
alive with cackling crows and the playful habits of squirrels.

Selected as an Honorable Mention for the 2023 Dear KC Poetry contest

Kiernan Walshire is a professional copywriter and lifelong Kansas City resident/fangirl. She has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas and resides in the Longfellow neighborhood with her husband and two toddlers.

I feel horrible, he doesn’t

by Hayley Veilleux

yet know I can’t love him, even when I smile,
balance porcelain on my head. I love him like a McDonalds
bag. Like I have allergies and he’s a pillow of hair.
He and I are always forgetting about tomorrow
(I’m busy skimming 1,001 Movies, he’s an acolyte
of spirals—a receding hairline).
I practice telling him We’ll meet again
in the landfill someday!
It’s never been convincing.
I feel horrible, he doesn’t know how to plank a straight line
without plummeting for beer. He often looks at me
as if I’ve saved him from spontaneous combustion.
He borrows my books and records and lines his shelves with future
projects always expanding like weeds gone rogue.
He’s crunched all the numbers. This is it! he says.
I call him Boy and he answers. I am water evaporating.

Hayley Veilleux is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at UMKC. In addition to working for the Maya Angelou Book Award, she is a freelance photographer and co-edits the Kansas City-based literary art journal, Dead Peasant. Her writing has been published in Sepia Quarterly, The Pitch, and Medium Weight Forks.

It Already Fell

by Rye Bradshaw

What does your borrowed god
Have to say?
About the angels falling from the sky?
What does your god know?
About my desperation to be whole
And my heart which changes
Every time I look upon the face
Of a joy so pure it shakes.
Why would He tell me
That I might turn away
From the only thing that shifts
My battered sense of self?
I would fall
Again and again
If it meant that I could fix
Myself as the being I know in my head.
Nothing could shake the sulfur
From my wings
If I could only get to the other side
Of the hate which holds me in place.
I am the angels wings pinned under glass
And when I come up for air
I do not recognize this place.
Break me now.
For I no longer wish for perfection.
You say that destruction becomes me
And you beg me to fall apart.
So that I can give away
The pieces of my divine ruin.
Fractions of myself
Easier to swallow.
But I am not half of anything
And divided Glory is not to my taste.
What does your god know
About me?
For I am now the only God
That stands in my way.

Hey, I’m Rye! I am a local barista, poet, and aspiring audiobook narrator. I live in Kansas City and pass the time reading and info dumping about various silly things. Come say hi to me on my Instagram @ryebreadpoems and follow my work!


by Marísa Adame Grady

“en theos”: the god within.
the god that jubilates and shakes
with nerves, and rushes with adrenaline
when stepping on a stage.
my god is calling to me //
she is a bare black box
and barely enough room to breathe.
she is in the middle of the curtain // as it crashes
her eardrums still catch deafening applause.
she always leads me to another empty players’ house
with another untold story.
this is how I make my life,
if not my living.

A KC transplant from Dallas, Texas, Marísa Adame Grady lives to tell stories. A firm believer that story determines its medium, Marísa houses her original projects within her small business, Colibrósa Productions. With two poetry books released and two short films in post-production, she is excited to help build the future of KC's vibrant arts scene. She is a Charlotte Street Writing Studio Resident for 2022-2024. She believes that stories have the power to change perception, and therefore to change the world.Socials:
IG: @colibrosaproductions
FB: @ColibrosaProductions

Incandescence, Bottled 2063

by Greer Banks

KC Poetry Calendar

First appeared in Soft Star Magazine

Greer Banks is a software developer and gardener. His work is published or forthcoming in Ouch! Collective and Soft Star Magazine. He can be found on Instagram @greerwrites


Her Heavy Century

by Effy Winter

KC Poetry Calendar

Effy Winter is an American poet and scholar specializing in literary studies with a concentration on the lives and work of German writer Assia Wevill and English poet Ted Hughes. A nominee for The 2018 Pushcart Prize, her poetry has appeared in numerous publications. In 2022, she began pursuing her academic work in England, dividing her time between London and West Yorkshire where she studies confessional poetry at The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre for Creative Writing.www.effywinter.com


at the corner of Troost and Emanuel Cleaver

by Claire Benevento

there is always / so much broken glass / in front of Walgreens / I am surprised / in sandals / none of it has worked / its way / through thin soles / into my callouses / it is part of my personality / in small towns / to go barefoot / through grass / on stage / or on campus / but here / I track / so much dirt / inside / I take my shoes off at the door but / underneath / my feet / still dark and pebbly / our own floors / I am thinking of winter / when they will be mostly / salt / rocks / caught in my socks / for now I wash my feet / towel / but they are damp / threads / bugs / onion paper / stuck / I should sweep twice a day / then I’ll put down a sheet / lie on my back / arms a T / feet in the air / like / that’s cleanafter hours / you leave / your boots / outside the door / you see / my legs shake / you see four corners / join them / with sailor’s knots / cocoon me in cotton / lift and suspend me / upside-down / the ends of my hair / brush the ground / glass

Claire Benevento is a queer writer from Kirksville, Missouri. She is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also teaches composition. She serves as a poetry editor for Flare Journal. She is the author of the micro-chapbook New Genesis (Ghost City Press, 2023) and her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Steam Ticket, Number One Magazine, Rogue Agent, Spry, and Botticelli. She can be found on Instagram @clear.winds.poems


My Beauty, It Blooms

by Zoë Dunning

When I was a 5 year old girl
A boy told me
I looked like a monkey
Jumping around and screeching with glee
While I tried to conceal the dark hair already
Creeping like vines across my limbs
I was 9 when my parents gave me my first razor
I sat on the bathroom floor to prune my bushes
Filling baskets with wilted, brown flowers and decaying leaves
Flooding the bathtub with a sea of my dirty insecurities
I was 11 when I switched to sharper blades
And raked this ground barren
Smoothed loose soil over
Looked at this tamed wilderness
And saw that it was good
I was 13 when a boy said,
“You have a better mustache than me &
I went home
Painted myself with hot wax
And uprooted those stubborn weeds
I spent most of my life
Attempting to shed
Peel back
My skin
I tore apart my joined brows
Stripped tree trunks bare
Plucked one head clean off
Three more emerging
I think I stopped this self desecration
When I became immune to the whispers and stares
If I missed my daily 5 o’clock ritual
I couldn’t bare it anymore
After I came out as trans
I decided to partner with my body
Rather than shrink back from this shell of a stranger
At first, terrifying
To subject myself to such scrutiny
Then, liberating
I dared to wait for my legs to bud and blossom
For my armpits to erupt with glorious audacity
My lips to darken unapologetically once again
Come into my garden
It’s begging to know you
Catch the scent of wildflowers
Look at this flourishing, abundant harvest
Eat me as I am
I’ve got so much to show you
Intricate lace patterns adorning my skin
Hair creeping like vines across my limbs
Cursive written across my body
A love letter to you & me
Some may laugh laying eyes on
“A man in a dress”
Blinded to my beauty by their fear of vulnerability
They may put me on display—
Monkey, dance!
But their beauty is a razor
It disappears
My beauty, it blooms

I’m Zoë Dunning (ze/they/he), and I’m a local queer, trans writer by nature and trade. I’m primarily a creative composer, poetry being my forté and passion, but I’ve dabbled in journalism and written for various publications and blogs. local queer, trans writer by nature and trade. I’m primarily a creative composer, poetry being my forté and passion, but I’ve dabbled in journalism and written for various publications and blogs.I’m a three time finalist in the Kansas City Poetry Slam. I regularly pour myself out to perfect strangers at Poetic Underground. I write poetry, both fact and fiction, about my queer experience, religious upbringing, trauma, polyamory, mental illness, disability, neurodivergence, and making sense of it all.To find more of my work, follow me on Instagram @mellifluouswriting or go to allmylinks.com/mellifluouswriting.


할머니 / Halmoni

by Hyejung Kook

KC Poetry Calendar

First appeared in Curating Home (Woodneath Press, 2021)

Hyejung Kook’s poetry has appeared in POETRY Magazine, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Other works include essays in Poetry as Spellcasting and The Critical Flame and a chamber opera libretto. Born in Seoul, Hyejung now lives in Kansas with her husband and their two children. She is a Fulbright grantee and Kundiman Fellow.


Peach Pit

by Gloria Hope Carson

I wanted to take you into my skin.
Envelop the sin I chose to be in with you.
Gave you as many parts of me as I could, though unsure what may come of it, I tried.
You met my eyes and you’ve lived inside of me ever since.
I cut open my chest for you like a peach.
Took out the pit that was my heart and asked you to swallow it whole.
I asked you with my glances and touches so soft that the peaches fuzz itself might
shiver. Quivering underneath you was a favorite pastime of mine.
Your pale hands danced around me for a while until you left me to rot with bruises of inattentive thought.
But why would I complain?
I loved you and you needed it and I needed to know what it felt like to be sliced open, to be forced
to be vulnerable and truly mean it.
Relationships are learning tools but both of us were fumbling around with some dull knife
attempting not to cut lines too deep.
I did swallow your heart and even when I let you go I refused to remove that seed from this body.
Maybe you’ve grown a new one somehow or maybe one day you’ll realize I still have it and you’ll call
to ask for it back.
Though I’m not banking on any of that.
It has grown into something else for me.
The ability to peel back my skin and look within to see what needed changing. I’ve
done some rearranging of fruitful fibers and told the voices of doubt they are liars.
I took your love and chose to nurture myself and those who surround me.
What my love have you done with mine?

Gloria Hope Carson is a poet, activist, and teacher in Kansas City. She believes in writing to express the innermost workings of the mind, heart, and body as well as to make better sense of what we experience and observe as we move through this multifaceted existence. She is in the process of finishing her English and Education degree at The University of Missouri Kansas City and is currently in the editing stage of completing her first poetry collection to be published by Astringent Press before the end of 2023.


All Hearts Feed Horses (March 2020)

by John Elizabeth Stintzi

All Hearts Feed Horses (March 2020) While the white horse and her rider gallop across the Earth we take the dog on a Sunday walk through the cemetery where even these century old stones are crowded with distance. Many pods of strangers are walking here

Originally published in Arc Poetry Magazine

John Elizabeth Stintzi is a writer, cartoonist, and editor who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. Their work has been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, The Malahat Review’s 2019 Long Poem Prize, the Sator New Works Award, and has been shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and the Raymond Souster Award. JES is the author of the novels My Volcano (longlisted for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Book Prize for fiction, and named a book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and the New York Public Library) and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat and their newest poetry chapbook Flamingos in the Greenhouse. They are currently at work serializing their first comic: Automaton Deactivation Bureau.


when i say i want to go home

by Melissa Ferrer Civil

i want to go home like pick berries off the bush
& hear the ocean in my mouth
hear the planting of gardens in the crease of my hands
hear the shade of the tree on my sunbaked skin
i want to go home like run in fields with no shoes
like drink coconut from the gourd
& eat mango off the tree
& the fiyah, oh da fiyah burns a path through the mystery in our chests
i want to go home like no locks on doors, no door bells, maybe no doors at all
but we’ll sing a song as we approach any home to announce & prepare them for our arrival
& we are welcomed with drink & food & games
where there are no borders in our spirit & thus the flow of life is in our names
home, where no one SAYS i love you
because it’s never a question to be answered
no one seeks what is abundantly provided
& our chests are mountains & rivers instead of hollowed out caves
home, where life is where the family is
where there are no structures that fragment the being into proper and professional
where we are eternally as we are in any moment
whether planting or hunting or loafing in the field or the river
home, where our hair & the leaves & the grass & the antennae are one
where the feet root deep into the soil to drink from the water below
where the hands hold ALL in gentle caress and guidance
where the senses are awake within
home, where the mighty laugh of the newborn
graces the ear of the elder as she leaves her encasing behind
& rejoins the river & tree of life that courses through our veins
& the wind races sharing in their joy and release
leaves pumping through the wild hair of children
as they chase their brethren--lion & lamb
goat & gallo, butterfly & moth
the wind, the river, the sand & sea
everything runs & swims as if it is flying
even the blood in our veins
even the pep in our step
even the grins above our chins
all free flowing
all flowing
all free
all all that they can be
y’know, Home.

Melissa Ferrer Civil (she/they) is a christian, black, queer, femme, enby poet, organizer, and educator who battles with mental illness. They write into and from the body and the spirit therein. They believe in the words of June Jordan: "Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth." They are a Charlotte Street Studio Resident, a Chrysalis Institute Alumni, and have been published in voicemail poems, rising phoenix review, new territory mag, and elsewhere. You can find out more about them on their website: www.melissaferrerand.com. Follow them on IG & Threads: @melissaferrerand // and on twitter: @melissafpoet).


Breakup Songs

by Christina Santiago

Why, when I’m happily partnered,
Do I keep listening to breakup songs
Over and over and over again?
This must be a phenomenon
So many women I know
In healthy relationships
Play Lizzy McAlpine, Olivia Rodrigo,
Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves, on a
Constant loop?
Is it nostalgia?
Romanticizing heartbreak?
Is it the wounded parts of us
The parts that never fully healed
Rewinding the playlist again and again because
These songs touch the most
Honest bits hiding
Deep inside us?
There’s some universal truth we’re all
Tapping into as we
Put on our headphones and
Turn up the volume
Blasting the basslines until the
Outside world turns into a
A low hum in the
Background of a world that only the
Broken and betrayed can fully enter
When I ask myself this question directly
Why do I keep listening to breakup songs?
The first thing that comes to mind is:
It feels good to feel bad
It feels good to remember
Savor these past sorrows
It feels good to sink into sadness
To sit in it and let it simmer
And that’s the depression talking, right?
The part of me that’s gotten comfortable
Slinking into the darkness and
Setting up shop there
The part of me that seeks refuge in the
Solitude of social isolation
The part of me that sometimes wishes she could just
Fall asleep and
Stay that way
Maybe that’s part of it
But maybe it’s more than that
Because I don’t feel an empty void when I
Listen to these songs
They make me feel everything and
Dream anything
They push me out of my cocoon
In search of others who are
Just as obsessed with these songs as
I am
So we can listen and analyze the lyrics
I think that’s me craving connection through
That’s me remembering that
For me
It’s better to feel something than to feel
Maybe it is a phenomenon
Or maybe it is just me
Either way
At least I’m engaging with music
The thing that fills my cup ‘til it
Runneth over
The thing that resonates so deep in my soul it
Shakes my bones
So what if they’re breakup songs?
At least they remind me I’m
And I want to be

Christina Santiago is a journalist by day and a poet by night. At 28 years old - after a decade-long pause - Christina got back into creative writing. The result was her debut poetic memoir, published by La Resistencia Press, entitled You Can Go to Hell and Back. You can preorder that collection online now and find Christina on Instagram @christina.santiago.tv.


I Remember Myself

by Mary Silwance

KC Poetry Calendar

Mary Silwance lives in Kansas City and is a mother of three daughters. She has been an English teacher, Farm to School Coordinator, an environmental educator, and a farmhand. Mary provides writing workshops, serves on the editorial team of Kansas City Voices, is the 2023 Poetry Editor in Residence for Flying Ketchup Press and is an adjunct writing instructor at KCAI. Mary also explores ecology from an intersection of justice and spirituality in workshops and writing. While her poetry and essays appear in numerous publications, you can find her work, chapbooks, radio and zoom presentations as well as workshop offerings at www.marysilwance.com. When not writing, you can find Mary gardening, hiking, thrifting, or dreaming about her off-grid village.


The Art of Love for Kenneth Koch

by Jordan Stempleman

You see it’s only a napkin.
You see he bleached
his hair again? You see violence is so unoriginal.
You see some stud
taking off his shoes. You see
Detroit was never a lover of horses. You see you as a hut at nightfall with some
film crew inside recording the sounds of the swarming insects outside. You see working looks better than work. You see something erotic in sharing a Coca Cola.
You see a freemason as a good reference. You see whatever you can handle. You see under
the influence and owe everything to something so practical. You see I’m down for hearing things fall
but not for the falling apart.

Jordan Stempleman is the author of nine books of poetry, including Cover Songs (The Blue Turn), Wallop, and No, Not Today (Magic Helicopter Press). He edits The Continental Review, Windfall Room, and Sprung Formal and runs the Common Sense Reading Series.

KC Poetry Calendar

Starting in July, this space will feature one poem by one local poet each week. To have your work featured, follow the guidelines below:1. To have your work considered, send up to 3 poems in a doc, docx, or pdf file to:kcpoetrycalendar@gmail.com2. Previously published work is welcome!Please include any previous publication info in your submission email.3. In the body of your email, include a short bio with any links or social media handles to help readers find you and your work!Feel free to DM or email me if you have any questions.If you're a poet in the KC Area reading this, yes I want you to submit your poems!