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Wyatt Townley, Kansas Author

Wyatt Townley

Perfectly Normal Cover

The Breathing Field Cover

The Afterlives of Trees Cover

Yoganetics Cover

Kansas City Ballet Cover









Wyatt Townley is the Poet Laureate of Kansas. Her work has been read by Garrison Keillor on NPR, featured by Ted Kooser in his American Life in Poetry column, and appeared in hundreds of venues ranging from The Paris Review to Newsweek. She has published five books, three of poetry. 

A fourth-generation Kansan, Wyatt won a Master Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Kansas Arts Commission to complete her latest book of poems, The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley Press), a Kansas Notable Book and winner of The Nelson Poetry Book Award. Other books of poetry include Perfectly Normal (The Smith) and The Breathing Field (Little, Brown).   

The confluence of poetry and poetry-in-motion has shaped Wyatt’s life. Formerly a dancer, she ran her own dance company in New York, receiving grants from National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. She has taught yoga for over thirty years and is the founder of Yoganetics®, a therapeutic system that has spread to ten countries ( HarperCollins published her book on the method, deemed an “Editor’s Choice” by Yoga Journal. For years a dance critic for Dance Magazine and The Kansas City Star, Wyatt was commissioned by the Kansas City Ballet to write its 50th commemorative history, Kansas City Ballet: The First Fifty Years.

Wyatt served as a frequent literature panelist for the Kansas Arts Commission and in 2003 was invited by KAC to help establish the State Poet Laureate position. A founding board member of The Writers Place, and for years a visiting author with Young Audiences, she serves on the board of the Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education.    

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Poetry in Motion:

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Writing Samples  

The Breathing Field

Between each vertebra
is the through line
of your life's story,
where the setting sun
has burned all colors
into the cord. Step

over. Put on the dark
shirt of stars.
A full moon rises
over the breathing field,
seeps into the clover and the brown
lace of its roots
where insects are resting

their legs. Take in the view.
So much is still
to be seen. Get back
behind your back, behind
what is behind you.


Yoganetics: Be Fit, Healthy, and Relaxed One Breath at a Time

Come as you are. No special gear or get-up required. Whatever the reason you opened this book, you are welcome here. Yoganetics is not the exclusive terrain of the young and thin, of contortionists, gymnasts, or dancers. It doesn't matter what kind of body you have or how many years it's been walking around.

Male or female, in shape or out, you are hereby invited to forget how you look. You are invited on a ride through your body, to find the secret path of breath and follow where it leads. As you travel the path within, your outer form will respond in wonderful, undreamt-of ways.

Just pull up a piece of floor and relax.

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  • Poet Laureate of Kansas (2013-2015)
  • Winner, Nelson Poetry Book Award (2012)
  • Kansas Notable Book Award (2012)
  • Winner, two poetry contests, sponsored by the State Poet Laureate and KAC (2011)
  • Winner, Master Artist Fellowship in Poetry, Kansas Arts Commission (2002)
  • Top 100 Noteworthy Books, The Kansas City Star (2002)
  • Winner, Kansas Voices Poetry Prize (2001)
  • Winner, Hackney National Literary Award in Poetry (1998) 
  • The Presidential Award for Outstanding Achievement—created in WT’s honor, first recipient, Purchase College, State University of New York

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