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About the Editors

John G. Neihardt

Greg Kosmicki

Greg Kosmicki is the Founding Editor and Publisher of The Backwaters Press. His most recent book, It's As Good Here as it Gets Anywhere (WSC Press) was a finalist for the 2017 High Plains Book Award. He and his wife Debbie are retired from the social work field, and are parents of three, grandparents of two.

Mary K. Stillwell

Mary K. Stillwell’s most recent collection of poems, Maps & Destinations, was published in 2014 by the Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Her The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser was published in 2013 by the University of Nebraska Press. Fallen Angels, a chapbook, appeared the same year (Finishing Line Press).

Moving to Malibu, Stillwell’s first full collection, was published by Sandhills Press as part of their Plains Poetry Series. She has studied writing in New York with William Packard and on the plains with Ted Kooser. Stillwell, who earned her PhD in plains literature from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has published widely, with poems and criticism appearing in The Paris Review, The Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, Midwest Quarterly, South Dakota Review, The New York Quarterly, Midwest Quarterly, Book of Re-reading of Recent American Poetry II, Women’s Studies, and numerous anthologies. Stillwell, who served on the selection committee for the current Nebraska state poet, served as co-editor of Nebraska Presence, published by Backwaters Press.

About the Poets

Lucy Adkins

Lucy Adkins grew up in rural Nance County near Fullerton, received her undergraduate degree from Auburn University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has been a writing group and workshop leader for many years and co-presents the Humanities Nebraska program “Poetry of Women on the Land.” Her poetry has been published in many journals, including Rhino, Northeast, Briar Cliff Review, Concho River Review, and the anthologies Woven on the Wind, Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace, Crazy Woman Creek, and the Poets Against the War anthology. Her chapbook,One Life Shining: Addie Finch, Farmwife was published by Pudding House Press, and her fiction has appeared in the South Dakota Review. In addition, she has co-authored a book of non-fiction, Writing in Community, which won an “Ippy” in the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards.

Susan Aizenberg

Susan Aizenberg is professor emerita of creative writing and English at Creighton University in Omaha, where she made her home for thirty years. Aizenberg is the author of three poetry collections: Quiet City (BkMk Press 2015); Muse (Crab Orchard Poetry Series 2002); and Peru in Take Three: 2/AGNI New Poets Series (Graywolf Press 1997) and co-editor with Erin Belieu of The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (Columbia University Press 2001). Her awards include a Crab Orchard Poetry Series Award, the Nebraska Book Award for Poetry and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Levis Prize for Muse, the Nebraska Book Award Honor Book for Poetry for Quiet City, a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council, the Mari Sandoz Award from the Nebraska Library Association, and a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner award.

Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals, among them The North American Review, Numero Cinq, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Connotation Press, Spillway, The Journal, Midwest Quarterly Review, Hunger Mountain, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and have been reprinted in several anthologies, including Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867-2017 (SFASU Press), New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press), and Wild and Whirling Words: A Poetic Conversation (Etruscan). Aizenberg now lives and writes in Iowa City. She can be reached through her website,

Denise Banker

Denise Banker is the recipient of an Executive Director's Guest Fellowship from Civitella Ranieri Foundation Umbertide, Italy; was awarded the Gaffney/Academy of American Poets Award, the Louise VanSickle Award, and the Dudley Bailey Fellowship while she was earning a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has appeared in The ALAN Review, Prairie Schooner, The Midwest Quarterly, Natural Bridge, dirtcakes, literature and art in (re)spite of, and in several anthologies. She has taught English and creative writing at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and Concordia University, Nebraska; and served as publicist for Copper Canyon Press. Currently, she is a public health educator living in Port Townsend, WA.

Carole Barnes-Montgomery

My pioneer heritage, the strong women who make up a great deal of my family history and my own years in the country raking hay, birthing calves, and tending horses prepared me to write of the hardships females faed settling this country. My writing is also enriched through my work with the Nebraska State Historical Society where I am an active docent. Sharing Nebraksa history with fourth grade students is a challenging and fulfulling pastime in retirement. I belong to three writing groups and enjoy my voyages into publication and the camaraderie of my writer pals.

Grace Bauer

Grace Bauer’s most recent book of poems is MEAN/TIME, published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2017. A 20th anniversary re-issue of her ground-breaking collection The Women At The Well was published in 2016 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Other books include: Nowhere All At Once (winner of the Society of Midland Authors Book of the Year Award for 2015), Retreats & Recognitions and Beholding Eye, as well as several chapbooks. She is also co-editor (with Julie Kane) of the anthologies Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical & Creative Responses to Everette Maddox (Xavier University Press) and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, just out from Lost Horse Press. Bauer teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Stephen Behrendt

Stephen C. Behrendt is George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A widely published scholar of the literature and arts of the British Romantic period, he is also the author of three collections of poetry, Instruments of the Bones (1992), A Step in the Dark (1996), and History (2005), all published by Mid-List Press, Minneapolis. His poetry has appeared in many literary journals.

Brian Bengtson

Actor, playwright and poet, Brian E. Bengtson was a native of Omaha, and has been featured in many national, gay/Lasbian, and HIV/AIDS journals, such as Hurakan, Davids's Place, Bay Windows, and Poetry Motel. The Crawlspace Theatre in New Orleans first produced his on-act play, entitled Fags in the Mall, in 1991. He served four and a half years as Poetry Editor for the New Voice of Nebraksa (the state's oldest and longest-running L/G/B/T magazine until it folded in 1998). His first chapbook, entitled Gay... Some Assembly Required, was published by Lone Willow Press in 1995. His newest books of poetry are First Chill (Publishd America, 2005) and Leavenworth Street (The Backwaters Press, 2009). He lived in Omaha with his partner Chris, and his dog Lucy, who shares her home with two cats because she lacks an opposable thumb. Brian passed away March 27th, 2015.

Ron Block

Since the 1880s, Ron Block’s family has lived in the vicinity of Gothenburg, Nebraska, where his father farmed and his mother taught in country school and then in town. After attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he studied poetry with Hayden Carruth at Syracuse University. Since then he has published two books: Dismal River (poetry) and The Dirty Shame Hotel (short stories). His work has received a number of awards, including the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Nebraska Arts Council and a National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship. After teaching at North Dakota State, Marquette University, and Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, he moved to New Jersey where he lives with his wife and children and teaches in the Department of Writing Arts at Rowan University.

John Brehm

John Brehm was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, and educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He is the author of Help Is On the Way and Sea of Faith, the associate editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry, and the editor of The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, The Sun, The Writer’s Almanac, The Norton Introduction to Literature, and many other journals and anthologies. He lives in Portland, OR, and teaches for Mountain Writers Series and Oregon Literary Arts, in Portland and for the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, CO.

Robert Brooke

Robert Brooke is Professor of English at the University of Nebrask-Lincoln, where he directs the Nebraska Writing Project. He has published four books and over forty articles on the teaching of writing, including Rural Voices: Place-Concious Education and the Teaching of English (NY: Teachers College Press, 2003), a collection featuring community-classroom projects throughout Nebraska. In his work for the Nebraska Writing Project, he has sponsored numerous writing workshops for children, teachers, and community members across the state; published yearly informal anthologies of teachers' creative writing; and provided mini-grants to improve writing in the state's schools.

Amy Knox Brown

A fourth-generation Nebraskan and third-generation Lincolnite, I’m currently an associate professor and program director of English at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha. My publications include a short story collection, Three Versions of the Truth (Press53, 2007), a poetry chapbook, Advice from Household Gods (Longleaf Press, 2008), and a nonfiction true crime/memoir, What Is Gone (Texas Tech University Press, 2017). Individual stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Shenandoah, Midwestern Quarterly, and other literary journals.

J.V. Brummels

JV Brummels’ grew up on a farm north of Randolph and a ranch located pretty much equidistant from Clearwater, Ewing, Chambers and Bartlett. His work has been recognized with a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Elkhorn Prize and the Mildred Bennett Award for contributions to the state’s literature from the Nebraska Center for the Book. His Book of Grass was awarded the 2008 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry, and his Cheyenne Line and Other Poems was selected as one of 150 significant Nebraska books by the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association.

A retired professor at Wayne State College, home of the longest running poetry slam west of Chicago, he’s also written and published short fiction and a novel. For the last 20 years he’s served as publisher of Logan House, co-founded with Jim Reese, which specializes in contemporary American poetry.

Brummels and his partners run Lightning Creek, a grass-fed beef operation, based in Wayne and Stanton Counties.

Shirley Buettner

Although she was born in Kansas, Shirley Buettner has been a Kearney, Nebraska, resident since 1945. She completed her B.A. in Education degree at Nebraska State Teachers College in 1956 and an M.A. at Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), in 1984. She taught in the UNK English Department for eight years. Shirley learned how to write poetry under the direction of Nebraska poet Don Welch, has published in small presses and in several anthologies. Juniper Press, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, published her two books, Walking Out the Dark, and Thorns. Both feature poems about farm and family. Shirley passed away June 9, 2008.

Michael Catherwood

Michael Catherwood is the author of Dare from The Backwaters Press.  His second book of poems is If You Turned Around Quickly, published by Main Street Rag , and his third book is Projector from SFA Press in 2017. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming from Westview, Louisiana Literature, New Plains Review, Measure, and The Common. He has been Associate Editor at Plainsongs since 1995 where he writes essays. He is editor at The Backwaters Press.

James Cihlar

James Cihlar’s newest book, The Shadowgraph, is forthcoming from the University of New Mexico Press in 2019. He is the author of the poetry books Rancho Nostalgia (Dream Horse Press, 2013), Undoing (Little Pear Press, 2008), and the poetry chapbooks A Conversation with My Imaginary Daughter (Bloom, 2013), and Metaphysical Bailout (Pudding House, 2010). His writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, and Nimrod. His website is

Shelly Clark Geiser

Shelly Clark Geiser is the author of The Cockroach Monologues, Vol. 1, a chapbook of insect persona poems, (Zero Street Books, 2011). She is co-editor of an anthology of interviews and works by Nebraska writers: Road Trip: Conversations With Writers, (Backwaters Press, 2003). This book won two Nebraska Book Awards, best anthology and best design. Shelly’s poetry has been anthologized in Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace; The Untidy Season, An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, and Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. Her poems have appeared in IMPACT: An Anthology of Short Memoirs from Telling Our Stories Press; Natural Bridge (University of Missouri-St. Louis), and elsewhere. Shelly received a BA from University of Nebraska, Kearney, and a Masters Degree, from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Shelly’s hometown is Imperial, NE where she lived for over forty years. She currently lives in Bellevue, NE.

Elizabeth Clark Wessel

Elizabeth Clark Wessel is the author of four chapbooks, most recently First one thing, and then the other (Per Diem Press, forthcoming 2018). She has translated numerous novels from the Swedish, including The Believer by Joakim Zander & What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde. Her co-translations of the journals of Hilma af Klint are forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in 2018. She co-founded the independent poetry press Argos Books, which currently has more than thirty books in print. She was born and raised in Imperial, Nebraska and, after many years of living in New York and Connecticut, recently moved to Stockholm, Sweden.

Marilyn Coffey

Marilyn June Coffey, born and raised in Alma, Nebraska, lived for thirty years in New York City. Now she resides in Omaha with her feisty orange cat.

Her Nebraska Presence poem, “Pricksong,won a national Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, 1976.  “Pricksong” also has been published in Aphra, a feminist magazine, Lincoln Square Community Council Center for the Arts, New York, NY, June 1975; Parnassus of World Poets, India, 1994; Pricksongs: Tart Poems from the Sixties, Omega Cottonwood Press, Omaha, 2013.

Anthologies, newspapers, and journals such as New American Review, Sunbury, and New England Journal have published more than seventy of Coffey's poems. Her writing has been read in England, Australia, India, Japan, Canada, Denmark.

Coffey’s books include Marcella, a world record-breaking novel published in London & New York. Her Mail-Order Kid: The Story of An Orphan Train Rider, is an Amazon & Kindle best seller. Thieves, Rascals & Sore Losers, a saucy Nebraska history, is an Amazon Best History Book. Coffey’s latest book, a memoir, That Punk Jimmy Hoffa!, is set in Alma, Omaha and Washington D.C. in the Kennedy era.

Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, holds her manuscripts in its Marilyn Coffey Collection.

Paul Dickey

Paul Dickey's poems have appeared in about fifty online and print journals, including recent publications in Sentence, Cue, Southern Poetry Review, Rattle, and The Cider Press Review. Although he published in the 1970s in the quality journals of the region-Kansas Quarterly, Quartet, and Nimrod, his first chapbook What Wisconsin Took was released in June, 2006, by The Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin-­Madison Libraries. Two other collections They Say This is How Death Came Into the World and Images of Knowing have been named finalists in recent national chapbook competitions. Dicky has lived in Omaha since 1985, is marriedm and has three adult children.

Marilyn Dorf

Marilyn Dorf grew up on the farm homesteaded by her great grandparents in Boone County, Nebraska where, as an only child, she spent much time exploring nature, reading, and daydreaming. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, including South Dakota Review, The Christian Science Monitor, North Dakota Quarterly, Nebraska Life, Northeast, Timber Creek Review, Plainsongs, Platte Valley Review,Willow Review, Coal City Review, and others. Her chapbook, This Red Hill, was published by Juniper Press. She has been nominated for Pushcart Prize, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her dog, her computer, and a houseful of books.

Lorraine Duggin

Lorraine Duggin lives in Omaha, which is her hometown. She’s published poetry, fiction, memoir, and non-fiction in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, North Atlantic Review, Short Story International, among others, and in several anthologies. Her work has been the recipient of a Vreeland Award, Academy of American Poets First Prize, Mari Sandoz Prairie Schooner First Price for short story, Pushcart Prize nomination, Maude Hammond Fling Fellowship, Nebraska Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award for Poetry, and other recognition. She earned a B.A. in English/Journalism, an M.A. in English from UNO, and a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from UN-L. She is a Master Artist in Literature in Artists in Schools/Communities program of the Nebraska and Iowa Arts Councils, is on the Speakers’ Bureau for the Nebraska Humanities Council, and teaches ESL at Metropolitan Community College, for which she won an Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.

Pat Hemphill Emile

Pat Hemphill Emile is Assistant Editor of American Life in Poetry. She also serves as an Editorial Assistant for Prairie Schooner. Her poems have appeared in Hedge Apple and Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace: Writing by Women of the Great Plains/High Plains.

Kelly Madigan Erlandson

Kelly Madigan worked for 30 years as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. She is the author of Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days (McGraw-Hill, 2007) and a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She was awarded the Distinguished Artist Award in Nonfiction from the Nebraska Arts Council in 2006.

Becky Faber

For over twenty years, Becky Faber has been a manuscript reader/assistant editor for Plainsongs (Hastings College). Her poetry has been published in So to Speak, Small Brushes, Blue Collar Review, Plains Song Review, and Midwest Quarterly as well as in the anthologies Nebraska Presence, Women Write Resistance, Rural Voices, and Lyrical Iowa. She is the author of One Small Photo, a book of poems published in 2017. Becky holds a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with specializations in Cather Studies and Great Plains Studies. She is a Fellow for the Center for Great Plains Studies and a board member for both the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association. Raised in Iowa, Becky moved to Nebraska as an adult—first living in Peru, then Cozad, and in Lincoln since 1988.

Charles Fort

Charles Fort is the author of six books of poetry including: We Did Not Fear the Father (Red Hen Press) and Mrs. Belladonna’s Supper Club Waltz (Backwaters Press).  Fort has poems in The Best American Poetry, 2000, 2003, and 2017. He is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Founder of the Wendy Fort Foundation Theater of Fine Arts. In 2017, Fort completed One Had Lived in a Room and Loved Nothing, 220 Villanelles, including sequences on Bergman films and Dante's Inferno. His first novel The Last Black Hippie in Connecticut will be published in 2020.

Gaynell Gavin

Gaynell Gavin's prose and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in various publications such as Prairie Schooner, North Dakota Quarterly, Fourth Genre, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Best New Poets 2006 (Charlotte: Samovar Press 2006) and Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace (Omaha: The Backwaters Press, 2002). Gay's poetry collection,, Intersections, was published in the 2005 Main Street Rag Editor's Choice Chapbook Series. Her memoir, What I Did Not Say: Reflections of an Attomey at-Large, was a finalist for the 2003 Associated Writing Programs Award Series in Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

S.C. Hahn

I'm a native of a Nemaha County farm and live in Sweden, but Nebraska is still home to me in many ways. The place where a person is born and raised runs through a life like a river that never goes dry, and Nebraska people and places are still source of life for many of the poems and essays that I write. My work has appeared in journals and anthologies across the US and in the UK.

Twyla Hansen

Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen is co-director of Poetry from the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective ( Her newest book is Rock • Tree • Bird (Backwaters Press 2017). Two previous books won the Nebraska Book Award for Poetry, and Potato Soup was selected as a Nebraska 150 Notable Book. Her writing is published on Academy of American Poets (, and in Poetry Out Loud Anthology, Prairie Schooner, Midwest Quarterly, Organization & Environment, Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, and many more. She and her husband live in Lincoln on a wooded, wildflowered, and wildlife-friendly acre, winning the Mayor’s Conservation Landscape Award in 1994.

Neil Harrison

Neil Harrison presently lives in his hometown, Norfolk, Nebraska. His poetry publications include a chapbook, Story (Logan House Press, 1995 &1996), and the collections: In a River of Wind (Bridge Burner’s Publishing, 2000), Into the River Canyon at Dusk (Lone Willow Press, 2005), and Back in the Animal Kingdom (Pinyon Publishing, 2011). His fiction has appeared in the anthology Here From There, and in various journals, including Nebraska Territory, Platte Valley Review, Pinyon Review, and Paddlefish. Before his retirement, he taught English and Creative Writing at Wayne State College, in Wayne, Nebraska, and at Northeast Community College, in Norfolk, where he coordinated the Visiting Writers Series.

Art Homer

Raised in the Missouri Ozarks and the Pacific Northwest, Art Homer worked on trail crews and as an ironworker before attending Portland State University and the University of Montana. Since 1982, he has taught poetry and nonfiction writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Writer's Workshop, where he was named a Regents Professor in 1995. WordTech Press published his fourth poetry book, Sight is No Carpenter, in November 2005. His nonfiction book, The Drownt Boy: An Ozark Tale (University of Missouri Press, 1994) was a finalist for the AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction. He and his wife, poet & fine press printer, Alison Wilson, grow grapes in a corner of their 80 acres. They have built their own house in the opposite corner. Art is the proud owner of an old pickup and a young chocolate Lab to ride in the back.

Don Jones

Don Jones was born in Kimball, Nebraska, in 1938. He taught English at the U of Nebraska-Lincoln where he won the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Vreeland Award. He then taught at Hastings, Carleton, and St. Olaf. He's also been a medical caseworker, postal clerk/carrier, and poet-in-residence. He's now retired in Pueblo, Colorado. He's had poems in Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Nation, etc. His books Medical Aid and Other Poems (U of Nebraska Press) and Miss Liberty, Meet Crazy Horse! (Swallow/Ohio U Press) can be had @

William Kloefkorn

William Kloefkorn is an Emeritus Professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. He has published several collections of poetry, three memoirs, two collections of short fiction, and a book of children's Christmas stories. ln the l 970's he initiated the Poets-in-the-Schools program in Nebraska, and he bas read his work and conducted workshops in many colleges and universities across the country. Among his awards are three honorary doctorates. In 1982 he was named Nebraska State Poet by the Unicameral. He and his wife, Eloise, have two daughters and two sons and a wide assortment of well-behaved grandchildren. William passed away May 19, 2011.

Bruce Koborg

Bruce Koborg served in the Marine Corps quite some time ago and he has been involved in the Omaha poetry scene for approzimately sixteen years. Army of One was written during the summer of 2003, at a place called Phyliss' Musical Inn in Chicago. Bruce has worked in a series of cubicles for the past few years, and he writes when he can. Somee of his work has been anthologized and some of it ends up only on bar napkins.

Ted Kooser

Born in 1939 in Ames, Iowa, Ted Kooser is an American poet and essayist who teaches half-time at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as Presidential Professor of English. He is married to Kathleen Rutledge, former Editor of The Lincoln Journal Star newspaper, and has one son, Jeff, two granddaughters, Margaret and Penelope, and two great-grandchildren, Lily and Zachary. Kooser and Rutledge live on an acreage in rural Nebraska.

Ted Kooser, the author of many books, served two terms as the U. S. Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006, and during his second term he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection, Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press). His most recent collections of poems are Splitting an Order (Copper Canyon Press) and The Wheeling Year (University of Nebraska Press). Kindest Regards, his new and selected poems, will be published by Copper Canyon in the spring of 2018. Candlewick Press publishes his children’s books, the most recent of which is The Bell in the Bridge, his third such book. Two others are forthcoming. For the past twelve years he has edited a weekly poetry column called “American Life in Poetry,” which has an estimated worldwide readership, both on line and in print, of 3,500,000.

Greg Kuzma

Greg Kuzma has taught the writing of poetry to undergraduates at UNL since 1969. He continues to love his teaching. Beginning in 1994 he became Faculty Advisor to the Undergraduate Literary and Fine Arts Magazine LAURUS, and he will complete his tenure with issue 07/08, to be published in the summer of 2007. Greg began writing screenplays in 1995, and he has written 16, but sold none. He continues to work on "Blooms berries," a film about Virginia Woolf and her to-the-death struggle against The Patriarchy, as well as a second film, concerned with the retreat of the French Army from Moscow in the winter of 1812.

Steve Langan

Steve Langan is the author of Freezing, Notes on Exile and Other Poems, Meet Me at the Happy Bar, and What It Looks Like, How It Flies. Langan teaches at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, at the English Department and the MFA in Writing program, and he’s UNO’s Interim Director and Community Liaison for Medical Humanities.

James Magorian

James Magorian was born in Palisade, Nebraska. He attended the Universities of Nebraska, Illinois State, Harvard, and Oxford. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including The Hideout of the Sigmund Freud Gang (Black Oak Press), children's books, and the satirical novel Hearts of Gold (Acme, 1996).

Mordecai Marcus

Mordecai Marcus, b. 1925 in Elizbeth, N.J., grew up mostly in Brooklyn. He holds degrees from Brooklyn College, New York, and Kansas Universities. He has taught at Rutgers, Kansas, Purdue, and Nebraska Universities and has lived in the Midwest since 1952. Married in 1955, he has a son and a daughter. He abandoned poetry writing in 1948 but resumed it in 1969, since when he has published some 600 poems in journals and anthologies and seven chapbooks. He has also published many articles and a book on Robert Frost's poems. He is retired from the University of Nebraska-­Lincoln and has lived in Lincoln since 1965.

Clif Mason

Clif Mason's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many magazines in America and England, including Evergreen Review, Southern Poetry Review, New Millennium Writings, Peacock Journal, The New Guard, and Orbis. He is fortunate that his work has been awarded prizes by the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, Writers’ Journal, SPSM&H, Plainsongs, the Midwest Writers’ Conference, and the Academy of American Poets. His work has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Award to Rwanda, Africa.

Matt Mason

After earning his MA in Creative Writing from the University of California at Davis, Matt moved to Omaha where he lives with his wonderful wife Sarah and daughter Sophia. Over 100 magazines and anthologies have published his poems, including Laurel Review, Prairie Schooner, The Morpo Review, and the online edition of Mississippi Review. New Michigan Press released his chapbook Mistranslating Neruda in 2003 and Lone Willow Press put out When The Bough Breaks in 2005. His first full-length collection, Things We Don't Know We Don't Know, was released by The Backwaters Press in April, 2006.

Janelle Masters

Janelle M. Masters is a writer of creative nonfiction, short fiction, and poetry. Her poetry chapbook Flash Flood was a finalist in Main Street Rag’s 2007 competition. She has poems published in Whole Notes, The Comstock Review, Theology Today, Potpourri, Prairie Schooner, Runes, Margie, Poetry Motel, Common Ground Review, Nebraska Life, Nebraska English Journal, Rectangle, Elkhorn Review, Midwest Quarterly, and elsewhere. Masters received a Merit Award for poetry from the Nebraska Arts Council in 2000, and one for prose in 2003. Her hometown is Arcadia, Nebraska and she lives in Hastings, Nebraska where she taught English and creative writing at Hastings Senior High School for 24 years. She has an MA from Claremont Graduate University, an MA in creative writing and a BA in English from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where she wrote her honors thesis under the guidance of Don Welch.

David McCleery

David McCleery is the former host of Voices of the Plains, Conversations with Nebraska Writers, on KZUM radio; and the Publisher/Editor of A Slow Tempo Press and of Leaves of Grass. A recipient of the Mayor's Art Award for Literature, he lives in Lincoln, where he is the Store Director of the world famous Russ's Market at 17th and Washington Streets.

Nancy McCleery

Nancy McCleery's six poetry collections include Girl Talk, The Backwaters Press, 2002; Blown Roses, bradypress, 2001; Polar Lights, Transient Press, 1994 and Staying The Winter, Cummington Press, 1987. She has received Literary Fellowship Grants from Alaska and Nebraska Arts Councils (1980, 1986, & 1995) and her poetry has appeared in Musical Theatre Pieces and Visual Art. Nancy earned an MA in Creative Writing/Poetry under poet Greg Kuzma at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1979). She has taught at the University level, in Community Arts Programs and now teaches privately in Lincoln. Nancy has a son, a daughter and two granddaughters. Nancy passed away Feb 20, 2017.

R.F. McEwen

R. F. McEwen is currently in the Department of English and Humanities at Chadron State College, where he has taught for the past twenty years. He completed his graduate work in English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1986. Since then he has been a frequent contributor to Prairie Schooner. His poems have also appeared in Kansas Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Melville Extracts, and other journals. His book, Heartwood and Other Poems (A Slow Tempo Press, 1996) was featured on CBS's "Sunday Morning". He is currently at work producing a two-volume CD "The Stories and Songs of Joe Heaney," as well as working on a book-length manuscript Bills Boys and Other Poems. R. F. McEwen also continues to be active in his first trade, tree trimming, which he began in Chicago in 1962.

J.J. McKenna

McKenna is professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where be teaches contemporary literature, temperament theory, and creative nonfiction. His poetry has appeared in more than 30 literary and mainstream journals and magazines including The Louisville Review, Hawaii Review, and ideals Magazine. His poem, At the Japanese Gardens was nominated for the 1999 Pushcart Prize.

John McKernan

John McKernan was born in and grew up in Omaha. He has taught at Marshall University in West Virginia since 1967. He has pubUshed his poems in dozens of periodicals including The New Yorker, Paris Review, and the Atlantic Monthly. He edits the poetry magazine ABZ. A volume of his selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust, has just been published by The Backwaters Press.

Sarah McKinstry-Brown

Winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards, Sarah McKinstry-Brown is the author of Cradling Monsoons (Blue Light Press, 2010) and This Bright Darkness (Black Lawerence Press, 2019). Sarah has been published everywhere from West Virginia’s standardized tests to literary journals such as Rattle, Green Mountains Review, Ruminate, The South Dakota Review, Sugar House Review, and Smartish Pace. An editorial board member for Spark Wheel Press, Sarah teaches creative writing to Susan T. Buffet Scholars at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is the proud founder, curator, and host of feedback at KANEKO, an interactive literary reading series. She lives in Omaha with the poet Matt Mason and their two, beautiful, feisty daughters. To learn more about Sarah go to

Sally Molini

Sally Molini began writing when she moved to Nebraska from California in 1994. She earned a BFA from the University of Nebraska Omaha's Writers Workshop, and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, Southern Poetry Review, Calyx, Best New Poets, Many Mountains Moving, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. Online journals include Mad Hatters' Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Tattoo Highway, DMQ Review, among others. She lives in Omaha with her husband and their two sons and a retriever named Max.

Charlene Neely

Charlene Neely was born and has lived in Lincoln most of her life except for brief stints in Beatrice, Geneva, Sterling, and Wahoo. She has poems coming out in Plainsongs, Misbehaving Nebraskans, and Voices from the Plains. Her book The Lights of Lincoln contains poetry and photographs of the Light Bulb art project in Lincoln. She is also the co-editor of Guide to More Nebraska Authors which has just been published. She loves to visit schools and other groups to share her love of poetry and words. Charlene is an active member is such poetry/writing groups as Lincoln Chaparral Poets, Write Stuff, and Nebraska Writers Guild where she is co-chair for the Nebraska Writers Guild booth at the Nebraska State Fair. Her poetry has won several awards including being one of eleven poems published by Persimmon Tree’s Central States Contest I 2012.

She considers the poem Unraveling which is included in Nebraska Presence an allegory for re-inventing one’s life.

Ernst Niemann

Has, among other things, taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Dana College.

Terrance Oberst

Terrance Oberst received his M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1993. He has facilitated a bi-monthly writing workshop for 13 years at the F Street Community Center in Lincoln, NE. He has published five volumes of poetry. The first, a chapbook, Returning, by mulberry press in 1994, a full collection, Transcendencies, by Pygmy Forest Press in 2000, a full collection, Kinship Patterns, by AuthorHouse in 2005, another full collection, SUN, by Pygmy Forest Press in 2008 and finally, a revised version of Transcendencies by AuthorHouse in 2011. He was also a John Ames Reader at the Bennet Martin Library in Lincoln.

Jan Petitt

Jan Pettit was raised in Wymore, a tiny dot on the map in the lower right-hand corner of Nebraska. She now lives in Minneapolis, MN. Her poetry and prose have appeared in National Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, Great River Review, South Dakota Review, Tusculum Review and more. She has an MFA from Hamline University in St. Paul, and a fondness for disappearing midwestern towns.

Amy Plettner

Amy Plettner’s first book of poetry, Undoing Orion’s Belt, is the 7th of the Kloefkorn series by WSC Press. She holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska and writing has been an intimate part of her life for over thirty years. Amy’s poetry has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, most recently, Misbehaving Nebraskans, Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867-2017, Bared a Les Femmes Folles Book, burntdistrict, Rattle, and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets. In 2012 she started, Women Out Loud, a monthly radio series on KZUM’s The Wimmin’s Show that features local poets and provides opportunities for their voices to be heard. She grew up north of Columbus, Nebraska and now lives south of Denton, Nebraska.

Hilda Raz

Hilda Raz lives in New Mexico where she is editor of the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series for the University of New Mexico Press and poetry editor for BOSQUE, a journal. She is a retired professor, University of Nebraska, where she taught in the graduate program in creative writing and edited Prairie Schooner, began the PS Book Prizes in poetry and short fiction and held the first Glenna Luschei chair.

Jim Reese

Jim Reese is an Assistant Professor of English, and Director of the Great Plains Writers' Tour, at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota, where he is Editor-in-Chief of Paddlefish. Reese's poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including New York Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, South Dakota Review, and others. His most recent collection is These Trespasses (The Backwaters Press, 2005). Poems from this book were recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Robert Ross

Bob Ross is a poet and fiction writer living in San Antonio. He is the author, with Margaret MacKichan, of In The Kingdom of Grass, a book of essays and photographs. He is currently revising a novel, working title The Woman Who Knew Bob Hope. lt is set in the l950s in a town a little bit like Ainsworth, Nebraska. He teaches at San Antonio College.

Marjorie Saiser

Marjorie Saiser’s hometown is Naper, NE, and she currently lives in Lincoln. Marjorie’s sixth book of poetry will be published in 2018 by The Backwaters Press. She has won five Nebraska Book Awards, the Willa Award, the 2017 Fourth River Folio competition, and the 2016 Mildred Bennett Award for leadership and service in the promotion of Nebraska literature, presented by the Nebraska Center for the Book. Saiser is co-editor of Road Trip, a book featuring interviews of Nebraska writers.

Mark Sanders

Mark Sanders is a Nebraska native, born in Creighton and raised on the eastern rim of the Sandhills at Ord; he attended Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) and UNL, where he received his Ph.D. in 1989. Sanders won the Mildred Bennett Award in 2007 for fostering Nebraska’s literary heritage, a work he did primarily as long-time editor and publisher of Sandhills Press and as an essayist on Nebraska poets. He has published his poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Poetry Wales, Poetry East, Ninth Letter, River Teeth, and numerous others (more than 500 publications). His books include Conditions of Grace: New and Selected Poems (2012) and Landscapes, with Horses (forthcoming early 2018), as well as Riddled with Light: Metaphor in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats, The Weight of the Weather: Regarding the Poetry of Ted Kooser, and The Red Book: The Selected Poems of Kathleene West. He is currently Chair and Professor of English at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Roy Scheele

Roy Scheele's poems in both verse and prose have appeared in such major journals as Measure, Poetry, The Southern Review and Verse and have been frequently anthologized. He has also published criticism as well as interviews with/profiles of such contemporary poets as Hayden Carruth, Miroslav Holub, and W.D.Snodgrass. He is Poet-in-Residence at Doane College in Crete.

Terry Lee Shifferns

Terry Lee Schifferns lives south of the Platte River in the Big Bend Region of Nebraska and teaches writing at Central Community College. In 2015, she was awarded Distinguished Artist in Literature from the Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary journals including: Many Mountains Moving, Black Bear Review, Poets On, Poetry Motel, and Kinesis and anthologies: Bison Poems, Jane’s Stories, Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace, and Slamma Lamma Ding Dong, and Nebraska Presence. The essay, Is This Work? appeared in Leaning into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West. And today, she is still writing from the heart of the West.

Barbara Schmitz

Barbara Schmitz' most recent book, Always the Detail (SFA University Press) won Honor Book 2015 from the Nebraska Center for the Book. How Much Our Dancing Has Improved (Backwaters) won 2005 Poetry Award from Center for the Book. She has two books forthcoming--What Bob Says from Wayne State Press and Just Outside from Sandhills.

Karen Gettert Shoemaker

Karen Gettert Shoemaker's fiction and poetry have been anthologized in A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers and in Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace. Her short story collection Night Sounds and Other Stories was published in the United States by Dufour Editions in 2002 and in the United Kingdom by Parthian Books of Wales in 2006.

Michael Skau

Michael Skau is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He studied under Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso at Naropa Institute (now University) and has published books of literary criticism on Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Skau has also published poems in Carolina Quarterly, Northwest Review, Paintbrush, Kansas Quarterly, Laurel Review, Passaic Review, South Carolina Review, Hawai'i Review, and Texas Review, among many others. He was named Winner of the 2013 William Kloefkorn Award for Excellence in Poetry, and his collection of poetry, Me & God, was published by Wayne State College Press in 2014. He founded the Imaginary Gardens Reading Series, which he has coordinated and hosted every month since 2014. His chapbook After the Bomb was published by WordTech Editions in 2017.

James Solheim

James Solheim is a children’s author and poet with books from Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Penguin Young Readers, and other publishers. He gives presentations at schools, conferences, and libraries, with previous programs all across the nation—from Miami to Seattle, Alabama to Minnesota, Vermont to Arkansas, and of course in Nebraska. His inspirational Think Big! presentations involve fun-filled activities to help kids aspire to greater futures.

The Wall Street Journal and PBS included his book It’s Disgusting—and We Ate It! in their lists of best books for getting boys to read. His sixty magazine publications include long poems in The Kenyon Review and Northwest Review, as well as works in Poetry, The Missouri Review, and Poetry Northwest.

He has taught writing at Southern Illinois University, Northwest Missouri State, and Washington University in Saint Louis. He has lived in Omaha since 1999, where he created and manages the website for Omaha’s folk music and dance community.

Author website:

Judith Sornberger

Judith Sornberger was born and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. She was heavily influenced by the land and culture of the Nebraska Sandhills, visiting Hyannis, where her family had once ranched, nearly every summer as a child and returning as an adult for the Tin Camp Writers’ Picnics. Sornberger earned three degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she met the writer Bruce Barton, to whom she was married 30 years before his untimely death at 59. She lives outside Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, where her nearest neighbors are deer, bear, and bobcats. Her full-length poetry book Practicing the World is forthcoming in 2018 from CavanKerry Press. She’s the author of one other full-length collection Open Heart (Calyx Books) and five chapbooks, most recently Wal-Mart Orchid, winner of the Helen Kay Chapbook Prize (Evening Street Press). Her prose memoir The Accidental Pilgrim: Finding God and His Mother in Tuscany is from Shanti Arts Publications. She also edited the anthology All My Grandmothers Could Sing: Poems by Nebraska Women. Sornberger is Professor Emerita of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, where she founded the Women’s Studies Program and taught English and Women’s Studies.

Terese Svoboda

Svoboda is the author of ten books of prose and poetry, most recently Tin God (U. of Nebraska Press, 2006) and the forthcoming Black Glasses Like Clark Kent. Critic Geoffrey O'Brien named her first novel, Cannibal, one of the best books in print. Her honors include an O'Henry Prize for the short story, a nonfiction Pushcart Prize, a translation NEH grant, three NY Foundation for the Arts grants in poetry and fiction, a NYS Council for the Arts and a Jerome Foundation grant in video, the John Golden Award in playwriting, the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Prize in poetry, and the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. Her translation of Nuer song, Cleaned The Crocodile's Teeth, was selected by Rosellen Brown for the NY Times' Writer's Choice column. She is a native of Ogallala, Nebraska.

Kim Tedrow

Kim Tedrow is a Minnesota native who moved to Nebraska in 2000 for a job relocation. She received her Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska in 2016, where she won the Vreeland Award for Graduate Poetry in 2015. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner and in numerous anthologies, including Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017). She works in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Ruth Thone

Born in Scottsbluff, NE., 1931, graduate Journalism School, University of Nebraska, author of three books, Woman and Aging, Celebrating Ourselves, FAT: A Fate Worse Than Death? Women, Weight, and Appearance, and essay collection Being Home; weekly columnist for Lincoln Star, 5 years; commentator on Nebraska Public Radio, 5 years; currently bi-monthly columnist for Lincoln JournalStar; community activist in social justice; Humanities speaker re Women and Aging; free-lance writer for Nebraska Life, UNL Almni Magazine, and various other publications. Married to attorney, former Congressman and Governor Charles, daughters Anna, Marie, and Amy, granddaughters Charlotte and Stella, sons-in-law Hans and Bohus.

Jon Volkmer

Originally from Nebraska City, he is the author the poetry colletion, The Art of Country Grain Elevators (Bottom Dog Press, 2006), along with a travel memoir, Eating Europe, and a young adult biography of Roberto Clemente. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in many journals, most recently Worcester Review, Maine Review, Southern Indiana Review and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Denver University, and a PhD in English from the UNL. He is Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.

Sarah Voss

Sarah Voss ("No Sweat") still lives in Omaha, and still works as a contract chaplain, though now exclusively for Methodist Hospital rather than for the police corps. Her first formal chapbook of poetry, Possum, Beaver, Lion: Variants, is just out from Finishing Line Press (2017, October).

Lynn Overholt Wake

Born in Omaha, Lynn Wake attended UNL and Simmons College in Boston. She has lived in Seward for forty-five years. With a life-long interest in children's literature, she explores E. B. White's environmental imagination for her PhD, believing that reading and writing is minding the earth

Rex Walton

I’ve been writing for more than 40 years, getting more involved with poetry after several courses at the UNL English Dept in 1984-86. I've worked with writers here in Nebraska with workshop presentations, most recently Writers Write!, through the Nebraska Literary Heritage Assn. From 2001 til approximately 2008 I organized Poetry at the Moon, a weekly series at Crescent Moon Coffee in Lincoln – we hosted over 250 readings during that time, with many writers from all over Nebraska and Iowa. I booked the writers, set up the equipment, printed fliers with biographical info for each reading, and researched for new folks by attending readings across the state. I turned the Series over to the Martinsons in approx. 2009, and it is still going on today. In 2015 I began, with Tom Franti, a weekly writing class at the Feast Program, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, a transition program for prisoners. I’ve been running a new series for the past 18 months, a monthly Songwriter/writer series at Mo Java Café’ in the University Place area of Lincoln. We’ve been going almost a year and a half now. Also, I ran a monthly reading/workshop series at Red Path Gallery in Seward, NE, for a short while.

Coreen Wees

Coreen Wees teaches at Iowa Western Community College. She is a former poetry editor for The Nebraska Review. She lives in Omaha with her husband, Greg, and they have a daughter, Regina, in college.

Don Welch

Don Welch was born in Nebraska and, after living in Texas, Maryland, Illinois, and Colorado, returned to his home state at an early age. The author of a number of books of poetry, his selected works appear in Inklings (Sandhills Press, 2001). Among his poetry prizes is the Neruda Prize for Poetry when judged by William Stafford. He was a poet-in-the-schools for 20 years, and he has taught English and Philosophy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for almost 50 years. Don passed away Aug. 6, 2016.

Kathleene West

Kathleene West grew up on a farm three miles west of Genoa, Nebraska. As a Fulbright scholar, she lived in Iceland two years. She is Professor of English at New Mexico State University and Poetry Editor of Puerto del Sol. She has traveled extensively in, and translated poetry from Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. Current research has taken her to Russia and Ukraine. West has published ten books of poetry and prose; her novel, The Summer of the Sub-Comandante, was published in 2002, the year the family farm was sold. Kathleen passed away July 7, 2013.

Jan Chism Wright

A native of Houston, Texas, I retired, moved to a farm in southeast Nebraska and was enthralled by the beauty of the land and the life I encountered. After a twenty-five year banking career, I am pursuing my dream of writing full-time. I am also active in supporting the many cultural activities of Brownville where I currently reside in the historic Thompson House (1860). After earning a BBA degree from the University of Houston, I took courses in creative writing there and at Rice University, St. Thomas University and Peru State College. Several of my works have been published in the Plains Song Review (2000, 2002) put out annually by the University of Nebraska Press and Nebraska Presence: an Anthology of Poetry (2007).

While I do not have talent of the visual art variety, I like to think I paint a picture with words. I moved from the city to the country, not just from city streets to interstates or highways but to rock roads with little to see but land and sky and an occasional farm house. It is not just a change in place but a change in mind.

In wandering down these rock roads and seeing the changes from day to day, from time of day, from season to season, from sunny to cloudy, from rain to snow, the beauty of this land spoke to us. We hope our work speaks to you.

David Wyatt

Born and grew up in Southern California, wanting to be a professional baseball player. Played one year of college ball at San Diego State, before flunking out. Three years in the US Army, in Oklahoma and Vietnam. Oklahoma was hotter. Recieved BFA in creative writing from UNO. Held one-year teaching fellowship in poetry at University of Oregon. Poems published in Cutbank, Carolina Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Northwest Review, Poetry and Poetry East. Recieved Distinguished Merit Award in Poetry from Nebraska Arts Council, 2006. Approaching a Diner in Postdam, a chapbook published by Crying Dime Press in 2007. Gathering Place, a book of poems published by WSC Press in 2016. Poems recently in Kestrel and Hummingbird; forthcoming in Poetry East.Currently a volunteer at Omaha VA Hospital. Wyatt works in the Criss Library at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

Rosemary Zumpfe

Rosemary Zumpfe is a writer and artist living in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her work explores the intersection between poetry and the visual arts. She teaches at Southeast Community College.

Fredrick Zydek

Fredrick Zydek is the author of eight collections of poetry. T'Kopechuck: the Buckley Poems is forthcoming from Winthrop Press later this year. Formerly a member of the faculty in creative writing at UNO and later Lecturer in Theology at the College of Saint Mary. He was the editor for Lone Willow Press. Fredrick passed away May 11, 2016.

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