Poet Mark Sanders presents during this month’s Plains Writers Series

Olivia Wright, Staff Writer

The Plains Writers Series hosted Nebraskan poet Mark Sanders on Thursday, March 2 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne State College Humanities lounge. 

The Plains Writers Series happens four times a year, with one poetry and fiction Plains Writers Series each semester. The Plains Writers Series precedes a biannual poetry or fiction slam where the highlighted author is encouraged to judge. The Plains Writers Series is open and free to the public.  

Sanders returned to the Plains Writers Series for his fifth time, reading poems from his published books “Landscapes, With Horses” and “In a Good Time” along with excerpts from his upcoming creative nonfiction memoir “Homecoming Parade.” 

Sanders said he hasn’t returned to Nebraska since 2019 when the WSC Press published his book “In a Good Time” but being back has always felt like home.  

“It’s always good to be back in Nebraska,” Sanders said. “I wanted to read things that would matter to this audience, to us here, and share our experiences.” 

Chad Christensen, managing editor of the WSC Press, said WSC makes the perfect host for a literary communion, since both authors and students share an affinity for rural Nebraska.  

“It’s a great way to feel connected to contemporary voices,” Sanders said. “It establishes a broader, more dynamic community. And I think it’s good that there is this multiple viewpoint of the world in which we live.”  

Christensen said the Plains Writers Series allows students a chance to connect with published writers living in the region while also providing authors with an open venue and audience. Authors are encouraged to open a forum of discussion with students about their process and craft and allow students to purchase their signed books after the readings.  

“Our aim is to support writers from the Great Plains,” Christensen said. “Every time we bring in authors to read at the Plains Writers Series, we try to build a friendship with them.”  

Christensen said the Plains Writers Series started in 1977 by JV Brummels, a retired English professor from WSC, after Brummels saw the need for encouraging strong voices in Nebraskan literature.  

Christensen said he became co-director of the Plains Writers Series in 2012 and took over completely in 2016 when Brummels retired.  

“The Plains Writers Series gives us an opportunity to bring in awesome regional authors,” Christensen said. “We have a lot of dedicated patrons who continually support the Plains Writers Series.”  

Sanders said he loves how the Plains Writers Series holds no expectations, and that students are provided with a unique opportunity to hear his work and possibly be inspired.  

“I love the fact everyone came out to hear me read,” Sanders said. “I appreciate that everyone was willing to give me an opportunity to share the things that I see.”