Monthly Archives: June 2024

Nebraska State Poet Nominations Due August 16th

June 28, 2024

FOR MORE INFORMATION:                            
Sam Hennigh, Communications Manager

Nebraska State Poet Nominations Due August 16th

The Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission are seeking nominations for the next Nebraska State Poet. This designation recognizes and honors a Nebraska poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. Nominations must be submitted online no later than midnight CDT on August 16, 2024.

Nominations may be made by any organization or individual in the state of Nebraska. To be considered, nominees must consent to the nomination. All nominations will be reviewed by the State Poet Selection Committee, which is made up of five individuals who are established members of Nebraska’s literary, cultural, educational and academic communities. After the committee selects finalists, the governor will make the final selection.

State Poet nominations will be collected and reviewed online only. The first step is to contact to verify if the poet in question has been nominated already. After the nominator has received a response to their query, the second step is to complete the online nomination form using the Nebraska Arts Council’s SlideRoom application site. The site includes complete instructions for submitting nomination materials.

The Nebraska State Poet will be chosen based on artistic excellence, exemplary professionalism demonstrated by significant publications and special honors, an established history of community service in the advancement of poetry in Nebraska, and the ability to present poetry and interact effectively with a public audience. In addition, the State Poet must be a legal, full-time resident for at least three years prior to the nomination deadline and must maintain Nebraska residence dur­ing his or her full term of office.

Once selected, the Nebraska State Poet will serve a five-year renewable term as an advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature in Nebraska. Duties include giving public presentations and readings, leading workshops and discussions, and providing outreach in schools, libraries, literary festivals, and various venues in rural and urban communities throughout the state.

Statewide presentations will be funded in part through the Nebraska Arts Council’s Nebraska Touring Program and the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. An annual stipend will also be provided to support a statewide project, designed by the State Poet, and participation in programming led by the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. The stipend will be $10,000 annually for the first two years of the term, with possible adjustments during the final three years, subject to sponsoring organization budgets.

The position of Nebraska Poet Laureate was established in 1921 when John G. Neihardt was appointed by the Legislature. In 1982, William Kloefkorn was appointed Nebraska State Poet by Governor Charles Thone. Kloefkorn served as State Poet for more than 25 years until his death in May 2011. In November 2013, Governor Dave Heineman appointed Twyla Hansen as Nebraska State Poet. When her term ended in December 2018, Governor Pete Ricketts appointed Matt Mason as State Poet. Mason’s service ends in December 2024.

For more information about the Nebraska State Poet selection process, visit State Poet Selection Guidelines – Nebraska Arts Council or State Poet Nomination Guidelines – Humanities Nebraska. Humanities Nebraska is a private nonprofit with a mission to help people explore what connects us and makes us human. Humanities Nebraska is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, an appropriation from the Nebraska Legislature, private donations, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a public-private partnership with state dollars matching private dollars to benefit the arts and humanities in Nebraska.

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Upcoming Events in July

This summer is hot, and so are these events! If you’re looking for something to do in July, here are some upcoming literary events* that may pique your interest!

  • July 2, 2024 Bonnie Johnson-Bartee Poetry Reading and Discussion
    Zoom, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
    Bonnie casts a tender yet searing eye upon family histories, dynamics, and the very notion of “women’s work,” recognizing how vulnerable and fallible we all are in our search for a meaningful life.
  • July 5, 2024 First Friday Book Talk & Reading with Daniel Simon
    Zoom, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
    Daniel Simon will read from his new poetry collection, “Under a Gathering Sky”, released in May 2024. He is an award-winning essayist, poet, and translator, as well as editor in chief of World Literature Today magazine at the University of Oklahoma, where he also serves on the affiliate faculty in English, International Studies, and Judaic Studies.
  • July 8, 15, 22, & 29, 2024 Stand Up Comedy Bootcamp for Beginners
    Larksong Writers Place, 1600 N Cotner Blvd.
    Lincoln, NE, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
    Join Serenity Dougherty in a 5-session Stand-up Comedy Writing Bootcamp, taking you through everything you need to know to write and perform your first stand-up comedy set! The bootcamp meets for 5 Mondays from 4:00-6:00pm, beginning 7/8/24. The cost is $250.00, with scholarships available. Limit 12 participants.
  • July 8, 2024 Author Tosca Lee: “Long March Home”
    Kearney Public Library, South Platte Room, 2020 1st Ave.
    Kearney, NE, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
    Multi award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee will be discussing her recent novel, “The Long March Home,” which she co-wrote with Marcus Brotherton. The Sequel Bookshop will be on site for book sales & signing after the discussion.
  • July 9, 2024 On Writing Presents: Matt Mason & Sarah McKinstry-Brown
    Benson Theatre, 6054 Maple St.
    Omaha, NE, 6:00 pm
    Participate in an engaging live reading with Nebraska State Poet Laureate Matt Mason and published poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown.
  • July 13, 2024 Visiting Author: Laura Essay, “Side Effects Are Minimal: A Novel”
    Francie & Finch Bookshop, 130 S 13 St.
    Lincoln, NE, 4:30 – 5:30 pm
    Nebraska author Laura Essay will join us to talk about her new novel “Side Effects Are Minimal”, a story that offers a gripping exploration of the opioid crisis and its profound impact on individuals, families, and society.
  • July 15-26, 2024 Young Writers Camp
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1400 R St.
    Lincoln, NE, Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
    For grades 8-12, The Young Writers Camp is a two-week program with many workshops and the opportunity to work with professional writers, professors, teachers, and more.
  • July 16, 2024 An Imaginary Gardens Reading at Mister Toad with Kiara Nicole Letcher and Miles Waggener
    Mister Toad’s, 1002 Howard St.
    Omaha, NE, 7:00 pm
    This event is free and open to the public. Join us for poetry and conversation! Hosted by Michael Skau. This month features Kiara Nicole Letcher and Miles Waggener.
  • July 20, 2024 Lightning Round with Matt Mason
    Zoom, 10:00 – 11:30 am
    Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason’s workshop about seeing what you can do with shorter poems, fitting ideas into a smaller spaces like snapshots or meditations.

Check out the NCB Calendar to stay up to date on upcoming literary events happening near you!

*The time, date, and location of these events are subject to change.
Some of this month’s events, workshops, or conferences may require registration or charge a fee.

Feel free to contact us if you have an event that you would like to be featured.

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Upcoming Nominations: Jane Geske and Mildred Bennett Awards

Nominations are open for the Jane Geske and Mildred Bennett Awards! 📚🏆 Do you know a group or an individual that has made significant literary/literacy contributions in Nebraska? Nominate them now! The Jane Geske award honors a group and the Mildred Bennett Award honors an individual. Nominations are due by August 15. Read more about each award and submit your nominations on the NCB nomination forms page.

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What We’re Reading: Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me

Where Nebraska Center for the Book board members share their thoughts about the books they are reading. This month’s review is by Laurie Yocom; Director, Wilson Public Library, Cozad.

Review of Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler.

I’m getting ready to plan a vacation to Yellowstone this fall, so I picked up a 2010 young adult novel, Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler, to get me in the mood. It also happened to fill a niche in our library’s summer reading challenge as far as being set in a national park.

The main character is K.J., who at 16 has a few things on her plate. Her dad, a reformed lawyer, has been a hunting and fishing guide for as long as K.J. can remember, but doesn’t know how to relate to his daughter. What she can’t remember is her mother, who died in a car accident when she was a toddler. K.J. struggles with dyslexia and expectations about school from her father. The resident klutz of her class, She has “bloomed” over the summer, now getting notice from all the townspeople—and not necessarily about her new look.

Thanks to her journalism class, K.J.’s interest in wolves intensifies when she partners with the new boy in town, Virgil. His mother has come to Montana to study the wolves. With Virgil’s photographs and K.J.’s research, it is not long before things escalate between those who want the wolves in the park and those who want them dead. And maybe someone wants K.J. dead, too.

Chosen as her high school newspaper’s editor, K.J. comes of age, falls in love, and learns about standing up for yourself and your ideas. The themes of bravery and not backing down is told throughout the story in terms of the main character as well as the wolves. Jokes, articles, quotes, and poetry sprinkled between chapters keep the serious narrative somewhat light.

By reading this, I got a sense of the Montana wildlife I hope to encounter this fall, especially an appreciation for wolves that I may not have had before. If you’re looking for a nonfiction selection about wolves, check out The Wolf Almanac: A Celebration of Wolves and Their World by Robert H. Busch.

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