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Bear Review's [soft] launch of a new Kansas City poetry reading series

Updated: Mar 21, 2023




No literary activity connects a city better than free, live readings. Founding co-editor B. Rivka Clifton and I started Bear Review in my dining room in December of 2013 and, ever since, our vision has always been to connect the various spokes of the community we’ve found here in Kansas City to something like a hub or rim. Metaphors aside, each spring, and once during the fall, we’ve hosted a backyard reading at my house here in South Hyde Park, Kansas City, Missouri. The poets who read at these readings, each Bear Review contributors, read their work to rapt audiences, poets and readers who take access to the literary art of poetry as seriously as editors and I do. Living at the center of a metro-area population of 2.2 million, we’ve known there must be many more who would come out to hear our contributors read than could fit comfortably in my backyard.


So, for this reason, co-editors and I have decided to broaden access to in-person readings to more poetry lovers in the Kansas City area. That’s why we’re starting a free, public reading series to showcase Bear Review contributors from our region and beyond, and we’re collaborating with Wiseblood Booksellers, located here in Westport, Kansas City, MO, a cozy bookstore tucked within a large record shop. We love that Wiseblood has an ample collection of new and used poetry books, and that it’s here in Westport, Kansas City, within walking distance of Bear Review’s birthplace. Among other details, we’re still working out how often we’ll book and schedule readings. But I wanted to announce the soft launch we have scheduled. Take a look and set your calendar alerts!


--Marcus Myers


Bear Review’s Reading Schedule for March 2023


Friday, March 3 at 7:00 CST – Wiseblood Booksellers, Kansas City, MO

Courtney Faye Taylor & Andrew Johnson will be reading from and signing their new books


Wednesday, March 8 at 6:00 PST – AWP Offsite Reading at The Blarney Stone, Seattle, WA

A collaboration between Bear Review, Bayou, New Delta Magazine, Tired House, Rougarou, and Peauxdunque Review. Bear Review contributors: Stacey Balkun, Melissa Crowe, Mag Gabbert, and Rusty Morrison. Meet BR editors Mason Arnold and Nikki Ummel


Friday, March 31 at 7:00 CST

The Lady Lazarus Group: Jenny Molberg, Erin Adair Hodges, Hadara Bar-Nadav, Bridget Lowe, and Courtney Faye Taylor. These poets will be reading to celebrate the launch Erin Adair-Hodges and Jenny Molberg’s new books. Poets will sell and sign books.



Meet Our Readers


Andrew Michael Johnson is an author, poet, and essayist living in Kansas City, Missouri. His work has appeared in The Sun, Image, Commonweal, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. He is the author of two books: The Thread and On Earth As It Is. He is the recipient of an ArtsKC Inspiration grant, a Rocket Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, a Vermont Studio Center residency, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He is currently a studio resident at Charlotte Street Foundation.




Courtney Faye Taylor is a writer and visual artist. She is the author of Concentrate (Graywolf Press, 2022), which was selected by Rachel Eliza Griffiths as the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and named a finalist for the 2023 NAACP Image Awards.

Courtney earned her BA from Agnes Scott College and her MFA from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program where she received the Hopwood Prize in Poetry. She is also the winner of the 92Y Discovery Prize and an Academy of American Poets Prize. The recipient of residencies and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Charlotte Street Foundation, Courtney’s work can be found in Poetry Magazine, The Nation, Ploughshares, Best New Poets, The New Republic and elsewhere.




Jenny Molberg is the author of three poetry collections: Marvels of the Invisible (winner of the Berkshire Prize, Tupelo Press, 2017), Refusal (LSU Press, 2020), and The Court of No Record (LSU Press, 2023). She edited the Unsung Masters book, Adelaide Crapsey: On the Life & Work of an American Master. Originally from Dallas, TX, she earned her BA at Louisiana State University, her MFA at American University, and her PhD at the University of North Texas. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the Longleaf Writers Conference. Her poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, VIDA, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, The Adroit Journal, Oprah Quarterly, and other publications. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Central Missouri, where she directs Pleiades Press and co-edits Pleiades: Literature in Context.




Erin Adair-Hodges is the author of Let’s All Die Happy, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and Every Form of Ruin, both from the Pitt Poetry Series. Recipient of the Allen Tate Prize and the Loraine Williams Poetry Prize, her work has been featured in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, PBS NewsHour, Ploughshares, Sewanee Review, and more. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the Adirondack Center for Writing, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, and Vermont Studio Center. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, she now lives with her family in Kansas City, Missouri, and works as a fiction acquisitions editor.




Hadara Bar-Nadav is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America, and other honors. Her award-winning books include The New Nudity; Lullaby (with Exit Sign), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Rilke Prize; The Frame Called Ruin, Editor’s Selection/Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight, awarded the Margie Book Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Fountain and Furnace, awarded the Sunken Garden Prize, and Show Me Yours, awarded the Midwest Poets Series Prize. In addition, she is co-author with Michelle Boisseau of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. Individual poems appear in the American Poetry Review, The Believer, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and elsewhere. Hadara is currently Professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.




Bridget Lowe is the author of the poetry collections My Second Work and At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky,both from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her poems have appeared widely in publications includingThe New Yorker,Poetry,American Poetry Review,Best American Poetry,The New Republic,Parnassus,Boston Review,A Public Space,Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Her honors include the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Discovery/92Y Poetry Award, a fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation fellowship to MacDowell for an extended residency.



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