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Background Image Huascar Medina reading poetry at event in Topeka

Meet Huascar Medina

What's your Kansas story?

I am a transplant from Texas. I rode on a Greyhound bus for 20 hours from San Antonio, Texas, to Topeka, Kansas. My mother lived in Holton, KS. I went from a sleepless city to a quiet town. Topeka became the city I call home after 2003.  I’ve been in Kansas half my life. I may not have been born here, but I grew into my being in Kansas. To this day, I am asked where I am from. I tell them I am originally from Texas but I am a Kansan now. To some people it doesn’t make sense, but I believe it through and through. I am a special kind of Kansan. I am a Helianthus. I planted a seed here. My roots took hold here. I grew here. And I blossomed here. I am a Sunflower now and that’s a beautiful thing. 

Describe what you do now. What inspires you about what you do?

I am a poet. I advocate for poetry and poets. Poetry has shielded me in the harshest of times and freed me in the most limiting of situations. When I didn’t have the words to capture my sentiments, I found them in poems by other poets. Poems are a balm for the soul. I found healing through words. I am inspired by other poets. Hearing them share their truths openly and bravely is awe-inspiring. I think we all could use a little more awe in our daily lives and a bit of healing. This is why I advocate for poetry in our daily lives. 

Do you believe ideas can change the world?  How? Why?

Ideas must be attached to emotion if they are going to have a life. Yes, ideas have changed the world. No one can deny that. But having an idea is not enough. Someone has to feel that idea is worth embracing and sharing and do so. 

Why should people join our movement of ideas?

A movement of ideas is not one specific thought promoted. It is the gathering of multiple ideas from diverse minds. Our movement of ideas is about synergy. We are attempting to cultivate a united effect that is greater than the sum of their separate results. We want to progress together not apart. 

How would you like to see Kansas evolve in the next five years?

I want to see Kansas come together. I want us to see ourselves as Kansans first. Let go of the labels that have been placed upon us that we are told we must fit in that create divisiveness. I am not a liberal or conservative… I am a Kansan. Millennials are Kansans first. Baby boomers are Kansans first. Kansans are from the country and city. Anyone can become a Kansan. A descendant of a European immigrant living in Humboldt, KS today is as much a Kansan as a Latin American immigrant living in Liberal, KS. This is what I want to see occur in Kansas. 

What do you wish people understood about Kansas?

Kansas has an abundance of talent and skills. We are proud of being Kansans. Kansans work hard without the need for attention or validation. We put in the work that needs to be done because it has to be done. This at times has been viewed as self-effacing or meek. That is incorrect. We have integrity. The capacity to do what’s right when no one is watching. 

Lightning Round

Would you ever agree to be on a TV or radio game show? If so, which one and why?

I’d want to be on Jeopardy. It would be the most entertaining loss of my life. 

What is your favorite book and why? 

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. I read it every year from age 14 into my 20s. Gene taught me that we are forced to fight some wars far away from the battlefield whether we want to be soldiers or not. 

Name your top movie picks. 

  • Meet Joe Black
  • The Science of Sleep
  • The Aviator
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • The Squid and the Whale
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox

About Huascar Medina

Huascar Medina is the 2019-2021 Poet Laureate of Kansas. He is a poet, writer, and performer who lives in Topeka. He currently works as a freelance copywriter and as the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine publishing stories that spotlight literary and artistic events in northeast Kansas. His poems can be found in his collection How to Hang the Moon published by Spartan Press. He is the winner of ARTSConnect’s 2018 Arty Award for Literary Art. His forthcoming book Un Mango Grows in Kansas will be released in 2020. 




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