Kevin Rabas named Poet Laureate of Kansas™



FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Leslie Von Holten, Director of Programs (785) 357-0359

Kevin Rabas named Poet Laureate of Kansas™

TOPEKA — The Kansas Humanities Council (KHC) announced that Kevin Rabas of Emporia, Kan., has been named the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Kansas™. As Poet Laureate of Kansas, Rabas will promote the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans through public readings, presentations, and discussions about poetry in communities across the state.

“We are fortunate to live in a state of talented poets and writers,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council. “Kevin brings a deep understanding of poetry and joyfulness in sharing it with others. I know Kevin is eager to get out on the road, and Kansans will welcome him around the state.”

Rabas 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.

“Poetry can help create a place of inclusivity, a place to celebrate our state’s many diverse voices,” said Rabas. “From the page to the stage, all should feel and be welcome here. Through poetry, we can express the depths of the human heart and intellect, a place to voice joy and sadness and all thoughts and emotions in between.”

An accomplished musician, Rabas is known for combining his poetry with jazz during his readings. “Combining music and poetry can help broaden poetry’s scope and reach. It’s also good fun to hear and see,” said Rabas. “Hundreds of years ago, poetry was usually set to music. So, while not all of my readings include music, I like to give at least a taste of that tradition when I read.”

To request a Poet Laureate of Kansas™ presentation with Rabas, visit

Support for the Poet Laureate of Kansas™ has been provided by the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, Overland Park, and KHC’s Friends of the Humanities.

The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information or to donate to the Poet Laureate of Kansas program, visit


Photo available here: Photo credit: Photo by Dave Leiker

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