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Kansas City Poetry Jam Fest to Feature Kansas Poet Laureate & Grass Roots Open Mics Around Town

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

A 70s Record Jive style illustration with drippy red jam. A cute little jar with wings has a label which reads "poetry JAM" and the text says September 30th 11 am to 5 pm. The colors are vintage white, red, yellow and teal.

The Kansas City Poetry Jam is a one day micro-festival for all those on the poetic spectrum: readers, writers, teachers, students, performers, editors, and publishers of poetry. If you love poetry, join us for our first annual event. Poets should stick together, let's jam!

Sponsors: Helping regional writing artists catch up with each other and their creative practice is the mission of Ketchupedia. Inspired by our podcast by the same name, Ketchupedia aims to help writers get on the same page with education and networking opportunities. In 2020 we had a word of the day blog about publishing jargon, it's own special world of words. Begun by Flying Ketchup Press as an outreach to make room for regional writers, Ketchupedia's mission is to provide annual mentorships, publications, workshops, and open mics. This festival has grown out of our annual editorial mentorship. When we pass on the craft of writing, along with mentoring new editors, we meet our vision to create an exponential "poet-tree" effect making room for personal narrative that empowers, heals, and unites diverse audiences. Flying Ketchup Press ® was established in 2018 to champion new voices in poetry and short story. Our dream, to share worlds of wonder and delight; to share stories, maybe yours.

What's on the schedule?

Featured Readings by Kansas Poet Laureate, Traci Brimhall and celebrated Missouri Poet, Justin Hamm.

Experience Workshops from Six Teaching Artists:

Traci Brimhall: "Memory Feast" Explore connections Between Food, Memory & Language
Nettie Zan: "Press Play" Kinetics to Release Unconscious Creativity
Tyrone "Inkwell" Gethers Jr: "From the Wells of the Mind": Beginning Poetry for Beginning Writers
Lisa Allen: "Two Ears, One Mouth" Listening at the 'Side Door' Prompts
Jamie Lynn Heller: "Unbreakable" LineBreaks & other Pauses
Waco Porter: "Total Stop" Rhythm and Fixable Titles

Wait There's More:

Spend time networking with other poets during a bring your own sack lunch and book sale & author signing. Enjoy a panel discussion of authors and editors on “Poetry, Publishing, & New Technologies.”

When & Where:

September 30th from 11 am to 5 pm.

We are so glad to the folks at Englewood Art Center for hosting us. Our location, Englewood Arts. 10901 E Winner Rd, Independence, MO 64052. The venue is located in the up and coming Englewood Arts district on the east side of KC. It has a small stage with theater, conference seating and tables, a classroom, outdoor gathering space, and meeting areas. This is an accessible space.

What about the Open Mics?

The event will be followed by five individually sponsored open mics and readings in the Kansas City area that weekend to bring poetry out into the community for a "poet-tree" effect. We're looking for new and unusual venues to reach new audiences with poetry readings and spoken word. Contact us, to volunteer, or to bring books. All open mic sign-ups to read your work will be in person first-come-first-serve at each individual location and will be run by individual poets. A list of open mics will be posted on our website and at the KC Poetry Jam Fest, and our social media pages. Thanks!

What if you want to sell books?

If you're interested in bringing your books to sell at The Kansas City Poetry Jam, we will have an attendant near the book tables to collect money or direct digital payments directly to you. You may bring up to three titles, and we won't take a cut or charge a booth fee. Fill out this booksellers form and we'll send you book sellers info.

Tickets & Questions?

Tickets are $39 each and proceeds go to our featured Poetry Jam readers, teachers, panelists and emcees. Contact Polly Alice McCann, managing editor of Flying Ketchup Press or Mary Silwance, Poetry Editor. Find more FAQ's on our ticket page. Click the button below to reserve your seat now! Tickets are limited.



Traci Brimhall is the author of four collections of poetry, as well as her forthcoming book Love Prodigal (Copper Canyon, 2024). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Orion, The New York Times Magazine, and several times in Best American Poetry. A recipient of fellowships from the National Parks Service and the National Endowment of the Arts, she’s a professor at Kansas State University and the current Poet Laureate of Kansas.

Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives near Twain territory in Missouri. He is the founding editor of the museum of americana and the author of three collections of poetry, The Inheritance, American Ephemeral, and Lessons in Ruin, and a book of photographs entitled Midwestern. His poems, stories, phot

os, and reviews have appeared in Nimrod, The Midwest Quarterly, Sugar House Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and a host of other publications. Recent work has also been selected for New Poetry from the Midwest (2014, New American Press) and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize from the St. Louis Poetry Center.


An image of poet, Mary Silwance, wearing huge orange ceramic earrings and a black blouse. She is smiling widely with eyes toward the camera while black curly hair frames her face.

Originally from Egypt, Mary Silwance lives in Kansas City and is a mother of three daughters. She has been an English teacher, Farm to School Coordinator, environmental educator, and farmhand. Mary provides writing workshops is an adjunct at KCAI and serves on the editorial team of Kansas City Voices. Mary is the 2023 Poet and Poetry Editor in Residence at Flying Ketchup Press. She also explores ecology from an intersection of justice and spirituality in workshops and writing. While her poetry and essays appear in numerous publications, you can find her work, chapbooks, radio, zoom presentations, and workshop offerings at When not writing, you can find Mary gardening, hiking, thrifting, or planning her off-grid village.

Editor Polly MCCann is pictured wearing a purple cotton scarf and wide black glasses hanging off the end of her nose. She has blue eyes and brown hair.

Polly Alice, McCann is an artist, book designer, and poet with her MFA from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. Her art has been published in US newspapers and magazines, most recently Rattle Magazine, and has shown internationally from Santa Monica to the Netherlands; collected by buyers on four continents. She is the author of three picture books, a spiritual memoir, many collections of poetry, and editor of three international poetry anthologies. An adjunct humanities professor, she is the founder and managing editor of Flying Ketchup Press, where she “curates” galleries of talent inside small sharable packages. She teaches workshops on poetry, creativity, and art. She says her favorite thing is to tell stories, maybe yours. Find more at


Maryfrances Wagner

Missouri Poet Laureate 2021-2023. HER newest books are The Silence of Red Glass, The Immigrants’ New Camera, and Solving for X. Her newly reissued book Red Silk won the Thorpe Menn Book Award. She co-edits I-70 Review, is president of The Writers Place board, was 2020 Missouri Individual Artist of the Year. Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry East, Green Mountain Literary Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Main Street Rag, Rattle, River Styx, Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, et. al. For more, check her website:

Kēvin (Keevin) Callahan

Kēvin Callahan is an “accidental poet” who often finds his poems in the work a day activities of yard work or romantic remembrances of a long and happy marriage. In his other art endeavors Kēvin is a painter, photographer, and published author of A Sheltering Place, a book of short stories, Road Map: Poems Paintings & Stuff, several self-published short stories and one novel. Kevin resides in Parkville, Missouri with his wife, Karen. His two grown sons are both accomplished artists. You can find more of Kēvin’s work at


When Jerri is not writing, she is figuring out how to share her writing, and that usually means untangling tech stuff. From creating graphics, to websites, to books, Jerri keeps pulling at threads until she understands it enough to start experimenting. She shares her writing on her website, social media, emails, PDFs, books, and most recently, Substack. Oh yeah, video and podcasts, too. Chat with Jerri on socials: IG and Pinterest: EverydayScribe_com. FB, LinkedIn, TikTok: EverydayScribe



An image of poet, Mary Silwance, wearing huge orange ceramic earrings and a black blouse. She is smiling widely with eyes toward the camera while black curly hair frames her face.

Nettie Zan, award winning poet and artist, defies categorization by making endless lists of labels. They might be a friend of wasps, they probably have dirty fingernails. "The poem for me does not end on the page. I’m interested in seeing how the poems can live in other spaces. I’ve translated poems into storytelling performances, into high-intensity performance art, into comedy bits, into one-take videos, and into one-of-a-kind hand-made books. Sometimes, the same poem can be versatile enough to fit into more than one of those spaces. I’m particularly interested in creating multi-sensory environments for poems, and combining projections, music, smells and sometimes physical objects like hand-made pillows into the performance of a poem. To fully immerse a live audience in the spell-binding of a poem is a tremendous challenge, and incredibly rewarding. Poets sometimes have a reputation for dry and monotone delivery, I enjoy running counter to that idea and creating rich and spell-binding poetic happenings." You can reach them by asking Polly for their phone number, or emailing You should watch their youtube videos.

Editor Polly MCCann is pictured wearing a purple cotton scarf and wide black glasses hanging off the end of her nose. She has blue eyes and brown hair.

Waco Porter was born in Galveston, TX on December 12, 1974 and was raised in the Marines. He met his wife in 1996. She and his three daughters have reinvigorated his pen and have been the backbone of his writing; the anchor for his wandering mind. He has two collections of poetry: Total Eclipse and Bus Stop and works as a physical therapist assistant with pediatric and nursing home patients. He likes living and writing in Kansas City where he’s experienced ”growth and support.”

Tyrone "Inkwell" Gethers Jr. is a freelance writer and author of two poetry collections Assorted Emotions: a book of Poetry and Prose and Love/Lost. He is the founder of Obsidian's Pen Writers Group as a space where writers can feel free to create in a space that is safe…where we, writers of color can feast upon banquets of ideas and practice. He is the host of "The Source of the Inkwell" on KUAW Radio and sits on the board of directors: Knowledge, Understanding, And Wisdom, (KUAW) radio is a Community Broadcast Project of the Black Family Technology Awareness Association. Tyrone sits as Vice-Chair of the organization poetry for Personal Power, lead Administrator for Poets EDU, a board member with The Music and More Foundation In his spare time, Tyrone enjoys spending time with his son and other family members."

Jamie Lynn Heller uses poetry as her caffeine (and she needs a lot to keep up with her life of school counseling, teaching, parenting, wife-ing, daughtering, aunting, neighboring, writing, and other-ings ). Her book Buried in the Suburbs was published in 2018 (Woodley Press) and received the 2019 Kansas Notable Book Award. Her chapbook Domesticated : Poetry From Around the House was published in 2015 (Finishing Line Press). She has 90+ poems published in literary journals and magazines. Visit

Lisa Allen's work has appeared in journals including Lily Poetry Review, South 85 Journal, Heroin Chic, Bear Review, The Normal School and more. Her essays have been included in three anthologies, including Listen to Your Mother, What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now (Putnam). She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program, where she was a Michael Steinberg Fellow. Her poem, "Prolapse: Etymology," was a finalist for the 2023 Best of the Net anthology and she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Lisa is a co-founder and co-director, with Rebecca Connors, of the virtual creative space, The Notebooks Collective, as well as a founding co-editor of the anthology series Maximum Tilt.


Grass Roots Poetry Open Mics around town that weekend:

1. Megan La Colla Linquist & Bob Sykora

Poetry Jam After Party

Saturday Sept 30th 7 to 9 pm

Bunker Art Center 1014 E. 19th St. KC, MO

2. Nettie Zan "Freaks n Witches Backyard Open Mic

Sunday Oct 1st, 2 pm

Bring your fables, poems, tall tales, tarot, dreams, songs and stories to Freaks n Witches Backyard Open Mic at Nettie Zan's house near Westport on October 1 at 2 pm. All types of art welcome, we'll be celebrating the turning of the year's wheel and our subversive and wild hearts.

FREE! Sober event, bring your own bevvie! Have some Mugwort Tea with Nettie.

Email or text Nettie for address at nettiezan at see ya'll sooooon

nettie zan

3. Tyrone Gethers Jr. and Mary Silwance TBA

Attend the open mic or festival? Take our Survey


a flying ketchup bottle with a pirate font that says Flying Ketchup Press. The bottle has wings and is slightly lifting off the ground. Its cap is a jaunty teal color. The ketchup is very red and the label is yellow.

Flying Ketchup Press ® established in 2018 Kansas City, Missouri to champion new voices in poetry, art, and short story. Our dream, to share worlds of wonder and delight; to share stories, maybe yours.

Ketchupedia is an outreach of Flying Ketchup Press ® began in 2020 as a grassroots network to connect the Kansas City & regional writers community through weekly blogs, a writer's word of the day podcast, a live poetry radio show, and an annual poet-in-residency including open mics, classes, and events to allow regional artists to explore motivation, creative goals, and advocacy. Our editorial mentorships create an exponential "poet-tree" effect making room for personal narrative that empowers, heals, and unites diverse audiences. You can find us a Flying Ketchup Press.


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