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NOT WITHOUT KANSAS by Simone Savannah

It is when I am in Kansas

that laughter enters me through the shoulders

makes me stain your chocolate couch

with coconut-oil arches…

There we do herb rituals—mimic earth to fire…

my small coughs mimic your love energy stuttering back to you.

You feel like my only God

when your tongue swipes my touch

when you make me mimic my own vibrations

or stir me.

There we have children that laugh like us

I make love to you with my hands at the edge of my mouth.

And I want to say something about loving you

but gargle your kiss in my throat—


What does the title, “Emerging poet,” mean to you?

I feel like there are a number ways to be an “emerging poet”. For me, it means that I am beginning to carve of spaces for myself in the poetry community. I think that publishing, readings, fellowships, and recognition are definitely a part of finding that space, and I think, too, that you should be emerging on your own terms—defining your personal/professional goals and defining how you want to be a writer, then committing to those intentions.

Do you consider yourself an “emerging” poet? Why or why not?

I think so! I set goals for myself to share my work and to make connections, and each day I find myself growing as a writer and reaching those goals. And I know my accomplishments don’t cut it for others’ definition of emerging—that I might need to publish more poems, attend more readings or workshops, etc.

What do you think it takes to be “recognized” in the poetry community?

I think being involved in the community in some way—attending readings/open mics, sharing work, attending workshops, publishing poems. And being “recognized” is harder from some than for others, of course, especially when it comes to race, sexuality, and education.

How do you think power politics shape the poetry community?

I think it informs how we recognize contributions to the poetry community. It informs what type of work is published, and who gets to be considered emerging or established.

What does community mean to you?

Community is everything to me. Having a loving and supportive community is important to my growth and sanity as a poet and artist. I’ve learned so much from my writing mentors and friends, and have connected with some great people who root for me! I am where am I now and who I am now because of my relationship with various communities. And I am thankful to be apart of this one.


SIMONE SAVANNAH is from Columbus, Ohio and recently received her PhD Creative Writing from The University of Kansas. Her poems are forthcoming and have appeared in Big Lucks, Powder Keg, Apogee, GlitterMOB, Voicemail poems, The Fem, The Pierian, Vending Machine Press, and Blackberry: A Magazine. Her chapbook, Like Kansas, is forthcoming from Big Lucks in 2018.


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