Map of Kansas Literature

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William J. Karnowski, Map

William J. Karnowski, Kansas Author

William J. Karnowski

The Sod House Green Cover

Dispensation, Book Cover

Catching the Rain, Book Cover

Painting the Train, Book Cover

Pushing the Train, Book Cover

Harttails and Highways, Book Cover

The Hills of Laclede, Book Cover



        William J. Karnowski grew up in rural Jackson County located on the north end of the Flint Hills of Kansas. He and his thirteen brothers and sisters spent their childhoods on the Hoot Owl Hollow Ranch. He attended Kansas State University studying Forestry and Game Management and also attended Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Karnowski has traveled from Maine to California, from Canada to Mexico, absorbing and reflecting on his passage through the good and bad times from the '60s to present. Bill has traveled the length of the Oregon Trail, the Sante Fe Trail, and to the Great Smokies and back in the sports cars that he has built.

William Karnowski, his wife, Sue, and their children live and work in Northeastern Kansas on their farm in Wamego, Kansas. Karnowsk, who now owns a construction company with his brother, Dave, makes furniture and writes poetry by night.

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

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Writing Samples  


Four steps sounding like two,
He crossed the frozen lake.
He howled his presence known,
and entered the fallen brake.

The air had bite of blade.
Ice stole its ride unwanted.
His belly only wished a morsel,
and speared him as he hunted.

Three cries then silence.
He ate without a whimper.
Sleep dragged away his senses,
and hid this night of winter.

A snarl tore his eyes wide open.
Two fires of hate and welcome.
The bear had no pride, nor thanks,
nor question of a bum.

In the pink of black of morning,
Yet, silence of the night,
He knew there was no health,
In staying for a fight.

Four steps sounding like two,
He left the fallen brake.
He howled his presence known,
and crossed the frozen lake.


In my land
of flush excess,
I only dare
and have elected
to speak frankly
from the start.

Here I stand,
my sweet princess.
I lay it bare
and unprotected,
so walk gently
upon my  heart.


a sparrow sings outside the glass
Ann senses a coming question
his finger tracks down her forearm
cotton sheets crisp like sandpaper
fresh laid carpet now springs upward
then of course there is the sweet taste
of cold peaches sublime peaches
the musty brick smell of street rain
small girls whispering a secret
warm of sun and cool of shadow
cry for milk baby cry for milk
mystery of thunder without
the scalpel stab wound of lightning
how does he express his hope
how does he ask her quiet face
my love, “do the blind dream in feel?”

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