Brian Daldorph captures the beauty of Kansas in his newest collection of poetry, “Kansas Poems” from Meadowlark Press. Daldorph begins his collection with,
“For the beautiful state of Kansas, where, to my surprise, I have lived longer than anywhere else.”
As a transplant to Kansas, the poems resonated with me. They speak to the unassuming allure of Kansas. They give voice to the places and people we sometimes overlook as we journey through this state and travel from moment to moment enduring season after season.
Daldorph reminds us there are places and people just around the corner, that seem foreign to us, that are worth acknowledging. Places like the Oak Hill Cemetery, Menninger Clinic East Campus and West Campus, Kansas City’s Vietnam War Memorial and the real and figurative prisons some of us have come to call home. These real and figurative prisons that sit, “where cornfields used to be, a big white elephant made out of/ concrete, misery and wire.” He acknowledges the poet, paleontologist and inmate are all capable of unearthing with the same honesty and humanity. In Kansas Poems we all benefit from the excavating of moments that have lead us to our current places.
Here we are given an opportunity to speak with Kansas: white egrets in the Wetlands, winter snow, Kansas storms, and summer heat. The restlessness we sometimes feel is addressed. We are no longer bound by time, place or choice. We are freed to explore the greater Kansas that lives in and around us.