Poetry in the Park

Join poets Tai Amri, Danny Caine, Melissa Fite Johnson, and Kansas Poet Laureate Huascar Medina for a poetry picnic in Buford M. Watson Jr. Park! Meet by the gazebo and bring your own chair or blanket! The Raven will provide snacks and drinks, but please wear a mask when you're not in your spot.


Tai Amri Spann-Ryan is Lawrence, Kansas' 2016 Langston Hughes Poetry Award Recipient, and is a co-founder of the collaborative group BLACK (Black Literature and Arts Collective of Kansas) Lawrence where he organizes events and readings. He was the chief editor of Tendrel: Naropa University’s Journal on Diversity, self-published the chapbook Ancient Writings of Dark Prophet The Undisciplined Mystic, and has published work in Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices edited by Angelina Conti and Justice Calls: Sermons of Welcome and Affirmation edited by Phil Snyder.

Danny Caine is the author of the poetry collections Continental Breakfast (Mason Jar Press 2019), El Dorado Freddy's (collaboration with Tara Wray, Belt Publishing 2020),  and Flavortown (Harpoon Books, 2020) and the book How to Resist Amazon and Why (Microcosm Publishing, 2021). His poetry has appeared in LitHub, DIAGRAMHobart, and Barrelhouse, and his prose has appeared in LitHub and Publishers Weekly. The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association awarded him the 2019 Midwest Bookseller of the Year award. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas where he owns Raven Book Store

Melissa Fite Johnson is the author of Green (Riot in Your Throat, 2021). She holds a BSEd in English and an MA in poetry and literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her poems have appeared in Pleiades, SWWIM, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Stirring, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, Ruth + Moth, Rise Up Review, Sidereal, One, Midwest Quarterly, Chiron Review, and elsewhere. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), and her collaboration with three other Kansas writers, Ghost Sign (Spartan Press, 2016), were both named Kansas Notable Books. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Melissa and her husband live with their dogs in Lawrence, Kansas, where she teaches high school English.

Kansas Poet Laureate Huascar Medina 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 new collection of poems Un Mango Grows in Kansas is available at huascarmedina.com. From 2018-2021 Huascar presented readings and discussions about poetry in communities across the state.


Event date: 
Friday, September 10, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Buford M. Watson, Jr. Park
727 Kentucky St
Lawrence, KS 66044

A book project conceived of by BLACK Lawrence co-founding member Tai Amri Spann-Ryan. The book itself consists of a poetic memoir that speaks to the difficulties growing up as a Black male on the East Coast of the United States. The purpose is to continue the fight and to highlight the light Black people bring to the liberation of all people.

Flavortown By Danny Caine Cover Image
ISBN: 9780578876344
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Harpoon Books - May 4th, 2021

At FLAVORTOWN's core is a sequence of poems that imagines a place called, well, Flavortown, an American culinary dystopia where Guy Fieri is patron saint and everything is painfully delicious and "authentic." The book juxtaposes the dispatches from Flavortown with portraits of the real-life Midwest, in the process exploring fatherhood, masculinity, and nostalgia.

Green By Melissa Fite Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781736138601
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
This book cannot be returned. Make sure what you're ordering is exactly what you want.
Published: Riot in Your Throat - May 1st, 2021

These poems tell the story of loss: loss of a father stolen by disease, loss of innocence. And while it could easily stop there this collection doesn't. Instead, it gathers strength and finds its voice and its fight. With wonder and awe and some well-placed anger, we see these poems emerge on the other side with a bit of hope and even happiness.

Un Mango Grows in Kansas By Huascar Medina Cover Image
This book is hard-to-find or out of print and we may not be able to get it. Email for more details.
ISBN: 9781952411045
Published: Spartan Press - April 14th, 2020

"With Un Mango Grows in Kansas poet Huascar Medina redirects our generational sense of place to illuminate the possibilities and the promises that place holds. He reimagines Kansas, the Midwest, the Americas, and the stars by expanding our perspective and examining our routines and our over mapped corners.

Event Category: