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Background Image Kevin Rabas

Kevin Rabas

2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Kansas

The Poet Laureate of KansasTM Kevin Rabas presented an original poem at the swearing-in ceremony of Laura Kelly, the 48th Governor of Kansas. “The poem,” said Kevin Rabas, “is a celebration of all Kansans as well as a celebration of our state.” Read Kevin’s poem “Kansas, Awakening."



Kevin Rabas of Emporia is the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Kansas. Kevin is a poet, jazz musician, and professor who teaches poetry and playwriting at Emporia State University. He also chairs the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism. His collection of poems, Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, was a Kansas Notable Book in 2010 and a winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award. He is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award, and the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award, among others. His most recent poetry collection, Songs for My Father: Poems & Stories, was published by Meadowlark in 2016. 



Kevin's 2017-2019 Poet Laureate Presentation: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Poetry can illuminate the path through our daily lives, revealing beauty in the mundane task and objects that we often overlook. As poet Naomi Shihab Nye observed, "Poetry helps us to see something worth seeing everywhere, whether inside or outside of us." Emotions triggered by everyday items — the memory of a lost mother, or the anxiety that comes with hope — often go unseen but are given voice through peoms that span continents and generations. As Kansans, most of us can appreciate memories connected to limestone postrock, birdhouses, soap dishes, soup bowls, and sunlight. With words and music, this presentation will uplift our daily experiences by exploring what poet Pablo Neruda called "odes to ordinary things." 


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