Explore the Social and Emotional Landscape with State Poet Matt Mason at Kearney Public Library | Recent news
By RICK BROWN, Yard Light Media
KEARNEY — As far as timing goes, state poet Matt Mason missed the best time to release his latest book, ‘I Have a Poem As Big As the Moon.’
“It came out a little over a year ago and I haven’t had a lot of chances to read it because of, you know, certain things,” he said in an interview. from his home in Lincoln.
COVID-19 closures have prevented poets from holding public readings. For Mason, he kept his writing schedule – for a while.
“For the first four or five months, starting in March 2020 and all through the summer, I was really inspired,” he said. “I was writing a lot – stuff that I thought was really good. And then it fell off a cliff and slowly rebuilt itself. I haven’t done a lot of reading for a year and a half. I have did a few.I was in Chadron last month, but I’m going a bit slowly, taking in the scenery.
Mason will explore the social and emotional landscape of central Nebraska when he reads at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Kearney Public Library as part of the Front Porch Poetry series presented by the library and Prairie Art Brothers. Admission to the reading is free.
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Mason, the current state poet, will read with Twyla Hansen, the former state poet.
For Mason, a new book and an easing of pandemic restrictions give him hope.
“I feel like I’m in a good place physically, vaccinated and boosted and everything,” he said. “I think I have a little voice inside of me, when I walk into a room, just hoping everyone is okay. I want to be careful and protect the people around me.
In general, Mason admits a little anger.
“I think to some degree I was already angry in my writing,” he laughed. “But what can you do? It was an experience where I felt like my writing was going really well for several months and then I just hit rock bottom. It kind of reset me as a as a writer. I think that’s in a way that I won’t fully understand for several years.
Mason plans to read selections from his new book as well as other writing from before and after the pandemic.
When it comes to the bigger picture, Mason believes poetry can help writers and readers better understand themselves and their circumstances.
“A lot of poetry is just finding a way to translate feelings into words, which we think is the kind of thing that comes naturally,” he said. “But, you know, try to write a love letter and good luck putting it right. But as for other emotions and other experiences, that’s really what a poet is trying to do. When you read a really good poem is like experiencing something you haven’t experienced, through someone else. That’s the goal of poetry, that’s the goal of literature, and the goal of art in general.
At this stage of publishing, authors are increasingly publishing writing influenced by the pandemic.
“Some things are wonderful and some things are horrible – and it’s all politicized,” Mason said. “It’s going to be weird for a while. I am a 53 year old male, relearning what the world is about and my relationship with humanity.