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Proclamation group photo
Proclamation signing
Nebraska State Capitol
January 22, 2018

L to R: Rod Wagner (Nebraska Library Commission), Governor Pete Ricketts, Mary K. Stillwell (co-editor) honor the 2018 selection, Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry, at a proclamation-signing ceremony for 2018 One Book One Nebraska.
See below to read Proclamation

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Get the Book

  • Find a copy of the book @ your library®—audio, eBook, and print editions are available
  • Borrow a book club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission, or any of Nebraska's Regional Library Systems
  • Libraries can contact the Backwaters Press directly by e-mail at to purchase books at a discounted price. Please include your postal mailing address, and specify the number of copies desired.

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Discuss the Book & Poets

  • Discuss the book using these suggested Discussion Questions
  • Book a Speaker

    Local activity: Host a scholar listed on the Speakers Bureau of Humanities Nebraska. Apply for a grant from Humanities Nebraska to finance your event. Public programs sponsored by not-for-profit organizations may be eligible for funding assistance from Humanities Nebraska. See for details on their Speaker's Bureau General Public Programs Eligibility Requirements and for steps to book a speaker and to access application forms. Example programs:

    • " Nebraska, Our Song " by Mary K. Stillwell
      Join the editors and poets of Nebraska Presence, the 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, in the exploration and celebration of our state's history and people. This program is part reading and part discussion. An editor (or two, depending on availability) and a small group of poets (depending on availability) will read their work, share the story of what inspired their poems, share the challenges of writing about our state, and discuss various themes found in the collection. This presentation encourages participation and can be adapted to the interests of the group, such as the exploration of family relationships, owning one’s voice, the loss of the small farm and agrarian way of life, and the shadow side of “the good life.” Please let us know of your special interests with your request. The audience will have ample time for a Q & A session.
    • " Nebraska, Our Muse " by Mary K. Stillwell
      Join the editors and poets of Nebraska Presence, the 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, in the exploration and celebration of our state's history and people. This program is part reading, part writing, and part conversation. An editor (or two, depending on availability) and a small group of poets (again, depending on availability) will read work from Nebraska Presence that feature the landscape and inhabitants (past and present) of our state: the lay of the land, the people, nature (flora and fauna), animals of air, land, and sea and talk a bit about how these poems help us to better see and think about what is right before us. A short writing workshop will follow, with writing prompts and suggestions for exploring our state through writing poetry. Participants will share their work, if they wish, and poets will answer questions about writing as well as about sending out work and publishing.
    • "Poetry of Women on the Land" by Lucy Adkins & Marge Saiser
      Women pioneers and homesteaders played an important part in the development and heritage of Nebraska. In this program, Marge Saiser and Lucy Adkins will honor them, sharing poetry they have written from the point of view of Nebraska women living from the 1890’s to the present. In addition, to provide a flavor of daily living in early Nebraska, they will feature excerpts from diaries and letters of plains women from the past.
    • "Poetry from the Plains" by Twyla M. Hansen
      Hansen will read selections from her poetry and discuss how the landscape of the Great Plains has inspired, influenced and shaped her writing. Her poetry follows in the footsteps of earlier Plains writers, using a sense of place to make connections between the natural and human worlds, the land and all its inhabitants–the ordinary, extraordinary food for poetry and stories about the human experience on the Plains and beyond. This presentation encourages audience questions on subjects of interest to creative writers.
    • "Playing Around With Words: Poems, Stories, and the Creative Process" by Twyla M. Hansen
      Creative writing is a process that thrives on practice. This writing workshop focuses on the creative process for both poetry and short prose. Twyla will use readings of her own and others’ writing, along with guided writing exercises, to create an interactive and supportive workshop. Through these exercises, participants will retrieve their own and others’ experiences to generate new possibilities for unique stories that might also be shaped into a poem or essay. For beginning and seasoned writers, middle school through adult.
    • "The Conversation Through Time: An Introduction to Poetry of Nebraska" by Mary K. Stillwell
      When Ted Kooser was named poet laureate, we were reminded that Nebraska offers a well-stocked literary breadbasket, heaped with books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Mary K. Stillwell focuses on our state’s rich heritage in song and poetry, from Pawnee times to present-day writers who continue the conversation about who we were and who we are into our time.
    • "Growing up Czech in Nebraska" by Lorraine J. Duggin
      This presentation features various aspects of Czech-American culture and history, including arts and literature, folk songs and dance, folktales and lore, traditional costumes, Czech festivals of Nebraska and the following areas of interest: The Roots of the Poet’s Song: Growing up in South Omaha; Czech Neighborhoods of Omaha.
    • "Family Stories into Literature: The Role of Gossip and Research in Fiction" by Karen Gettert Shoemaker
      This presentation focuses on the ways writers can use family stories and history to write literature. Sometimes the voices in our heads are enough. Sometimes we need to look beyond the boundaries of self to find the best that is within us. This presentation discusses the ways to excavate history, both our own and the world’s, as a way to finding the true stories only we can write. The program is available in both presentation format and writing workshop format. For adults.

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