Map of Kansas Literature

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AJ Rathbun, Kansas Author

A.J. Rathbun

Want, Book Cover, AJ Rathbun

Party Drinks, Book Cover, AJ Rathbun

Good Spirits, Book Cover, AJ Rathbun

Dark Spirits, Book Cover, AJ Rathbun

Party Snacks, Book Cover, AJ Rathbun





A.J. Rathbun is an author, mixologist, poet, and cooking instructor based out of Seattle, Washington. Rathbun grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, graduated from Smoky Valley High School in Lindsborg, and earned his MFA in creative writing from Western Michigan University.

He has worked variously as an usher at The Art Institute of Chicago, Rock Band Roadie, envelope stuffer, marketing assistant, director of the Poetry After Hours prgram at the Seattle Art Museum, waiter, bartender, and was a co-editor of the literary magazine: LitRag.

Rathbun currently lives with his wife, Natalie, and dogs, Sookie and Rory, in Seattle and, when on pre-tirement, San Martino, Italy.

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


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Writing Samples  

A Small Object Of Any Kind

Some days aren't so bad. Today,
as you drive, I touch your rough fingers.
Gardening, you say. The cuts from pulling weeds,

the streets now covered with mist, danger
something solid through the light, like clothes
covering a small boy lost for hours,
playing hide-and-seek while his mother calls
the police, fire department, God.

Everything settles down, then boils
Asking to stay, the invitation to leave,

drawing breath as streets stretch out
from under your endless car. Here we go,
shaking hands. Here we are, at the corner
where I live and you fade
into a radiant spot against sky. Here

we walked though deserted fairgrounds, food stands
like hungry children, a ten-year-old girl
mud-flecked, shoeless, on a pay phone, and I
almost set a hand to your elbow.

I am that close to changing the world.

---From Want

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  • Best Food Styling and Photography Award
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