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Annette Billings map: Topeka, Lawrence
Annette Hope Billings

Annette Hope Billings

Gimme Your Lunch Money Book cover

Twisting Topeka bookcover

Our Last Walk book cover

Descants for a Daughter book cover

A Net Full Of Hope book cover







































Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author hailed for a dynamic delivery of poetry. She has been dubbed "The Maya of the Midwest" by some readers. She received the 2015 Topeka ArtsConnect Arty Award for Literature.  Her work includes poetry, short stories and plays.

A registered nurse for decades before she began to write full-time, her  penchant for caring is evident in her words.

Her books include a collection of poetry, "A Net Full of Hope" and a book of affirmations, "Descants for a Daughter." Her work has  been published in journals and periodicals as well as several anthologies of poetry and short stories.

--- Bio submitted by author

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  


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Writing Samples  

This crowd of poems,
who loiter en masse on this page,
take many routes to get here.
I labor with them all,
some acutely more than others.

They may present sideways,
squares edging from my circular soul.
A few, contrary and overdue,
linger cocooned in my deep,
reluctant to be born.
Others enter smoothly,
oiled and round,
they ease from me like breath.

The odd ones erupt like a sneeze
unstoppable in force.
A fraction shed like blood,
packed cells, emotions that stain the page.
Scores tap-tap my shoulder,
patient and polite at dawn.
A handful box my ears, 2am,
demand I write them down.

Most feel familiar like they
were my company in womb,
others feel of subway strangers
who just so happen to share my path.
Many leave me giddy,
while the one that follows wrests a toll.
A measure are tsunamis,
currents rife with debris.
One can coat my skin in pleasure,
the very next slathers me with pain.

A fraction ache to the surface,
ears deaf to my protests,
they beg my pardon
while they break my heart.

This crowd of poems
who loiter en mass on this page,
take many routes to get here,
through sheer heaven,
through near hell
through salvation,
through demise.

Once I imagined
I created them,
now I know
poetry created me.

I am as a captive
to your every authored work,
held concubine and hostage
by the way you turn a phrase.

Your titles unravel me,
I become prostrate to prose.
Slain in one poem,
resurrected in the next,
I happily hang on every word.

It is to no avail to release me,
I will remain at your feet,
hardly a prisoner
when I so eagerly stay.

I thrive in grottos of your text,
make my home in crevices
of your manuscript,
sigh, and find delight there.

I am your reader,
do with me what you will,
I wait,
for you to write again.

There, just right there,
captured in the electric cleft
between bow and cello strings,
suspended in the expectant space
between bow and cello strings,
nestled in the warm air between mouth and
French horn,
fixed in the potent pause between
drumstick and drum---
there, just right there,
music waits.

In those languid moments as the musician
sojourns spellbound on bench,
engulfed in creative reverie,
there, just right there,
art and artist convene.

As she gracefully hovers
just shy of keys
poised to emancipate sound
by the laying on of hands,
there in that interlude,
the spirit's song resides,
the heart's aria makes its home.

Music emerges long before
one note is confined to paper,
before one chord is struck
or coaxed from by percussion,
or breath or bow.
Music commences in the promise
made by instrumentalist to instrument.

Like a laboring woman looks
to her midwife,
the song beseeches, "Deliver me!"
And with passionate kiss of fingers on keys
the music is eased into our expectant ears
arriving newborn each time it is played.

Music begins ages before we hear it,
its nascence in the heart of the musician.
In the deep of their breath
it stirs and follows a course of glory
to exit through brillian voices,
through blessed hands.

Each instrument just a holding place
a stopover, a conduit
for music which is ever all around and
within us
awaiting the peace,
the shalom,
the Namaste,
the runyararo
where it presents its soul to ours---
simultaneously ancient and new,
a mysterious gift from a divine giver,
the voice of Sacred,
music to our ears.

*Runyararo is Shona for "peace"


Annette's Website

Annette's Facebook Page

HUSH - Library Podcast #77 - Arty Awards

KCUR 89.3 Radio

Liberty Press

CJ Online

785 Magazine

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