Back to All Events

Thomas Zvi Wilson Reading Series presents Eric McHenry

The Thomas Zvi Wilson reading series is curated by Jeanie Wilson. Thomas Zvi Wilson initiated this reading series in 2001. The co-sponsors are The Writers Place (TWP) and the Johnson County Library. Mr. Wilson’s objective was to broaden outreach for TWP and create an additional venue for poetry and prose writers to read. After Thomas’ health failed, his wife, Jeanie Wilson, a TWP emeritus board member and poetry and short story writer, curates this popular reading series in his memory. The readings (with the exception of November and December) are conducted at the Johnson County Central Resource Library from 6-8 p.m.  Specific details for each reading will be e-mailed monthly. The reading series are free and include light refreshments. The contact number for questions is 913-826-4600.

ERIC McHENRY was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, and is a fifth-generation graduate of Topeka High School. He is the poet laureate of Kansas for 2015–2017. His debut collection, Potscrubber Lullabies (Waywiser, 2006), received the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University, the largest American prize for a first book of poetry. His second, Mommy Daddy Evan Sage (Waywiser, 2011), was a collection of short poems “for precocious children and immature adults” illustrated with woodcuts by Nicholas Garland.

His latest book, Odd Evening, was published by Waywiser in 2016. The poet Linda Gregerson said of it, “At their brilliant outer limits, poetic form and ethical vision are indistinguishable, as Eric McHenry’s masterful poems remind us. The unforgiving injunctions of rhyme and end-stopped line refuse to euphemize, and so are particularly good at conveying the unforgiving declensions of age and envy, physical abjection, personal and institutional indifference. And, of course, poetic form this sharply rendered is also an unparalleled instrument for satire: the only bow to wickedness in these pages is wicked fun. Eric McHenry sounds like no other poet working in America today. I thank our lucky stars for his white-hot independence.”

McHenry’s poems have appeared in the New Republic, Field, Yale Review, Cincinnati Review, Orion, Poetry International, The Guardian (UK) and Poetry Northwest, from whom he received the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2011. From 1994 until 2009 McHenry worked as a journalist, writing and editing for various newspapers and university alumni magazines. His prose has appeared in Slate, Salon, the Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and he has been a poetry critic for the New York Times Book Review since 2001. He earned a BA in English from Beloit College and an MA in creative writing from Boston University. He lives with his wife and two children in Lawrence, Kansas, and teaches English at Washburn University.


Eric McHenry

Eric McHenry