prairie art brothers



The Prairie Art Brothers and Kearney Public Library invite you to celebrate poetry throughout the month of April 2023 with How the Light Gets In: Celebrating Poetry in Central Nebraska. We have a variety of events and projects planned to recognize, inspire and celebrate how poets view our world and our feelings.

How the Light Gets In

We took the name of our event from the lyrics by poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen from his 1992 song, Anthem. Like most of his work, the song explores religion, isolation, loss and — ultimately, redemption:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

We feel that poetry offers a slight opening in the darkness of the world, a place where the bright light of hope, insight and thoughtfulness can shine through. You can join us to help celebrate poetry during the month of April 2023 with a list of events featuring poets from Kearney and Nebraska.

schedule of events

bruce whitacrematt masonlucy adkinsrp smithChuck PeekJake RileyMarjorie SaiserAmy Plettner

Events are free unless noted

FridayMarch 31, 20237:30 p.m.Screening of Dead Poets SocietyThe World Theatre  $
SaturdayApril 1, 20234 p.m.Open Mic Poetry ReadingThe G.W. Frank Museum
7:30 p.m.Screening Dead Poets SocietyThe World Theatre
SundayApril 2, 20232 p.m.Screening of Dead Poets SocietyThe World Theatre
MondayApril 3, 20231 p.m.Celebrating Poetry: More About PoemsKearney Public Library
TuesdayApril 4, 2023NoonWorkshop with poet Bruce WhitacreKearney Public Library$
7 p.m.Reading by poet Bruce WhitacreKearney Public Library
MondayApril 10, 20231 p.m..Celebrating Poetry: More About PoemsKearney Public Library$
TuesdayApril 11, 2023NoonWorkshop with poet Matt MasonKearney Public Library$
7 p.m.Reading by poet Matt MasonKearney Public Library
SundayApril 16, 20233 p.m.Open Mic Poetry ReadingKitt's Kitchen & Coffee
FridayApril 21, 20237 p.m.Cowboy poets R.P. Smith, Jake RileyThe Archway
ThursdayApril 27, 2023NoonWorkshop with Adkins, Plettner & SaiserKearney Public Library$
7 p.m.Reading by Adkins, Plettner & SaiserKearney Public Library


Community Poem

In addition to readings by established poets and writers, How the Light Gets In includes opportunities for writers in the community to contribute to the festival. We will be collecting poems, writings and ideas through March 27, 2023, for a community poem. Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason will use the writings and ideas of community members to create a group poem.

The deadline is March 27, 2023.

You can contribute to the project by downloading a form here, print it, entering your poem/ideas and take it to a drop box at Kearney Public Library, 2020 First Ave., Kearney. You may also email your work to:

Matt will synthesize the material, move ideas around, incorporate lines or use the writings for inspiration — all on the theme of Kearney’s 150th anniversary. Matt encourages poets to write about what keeps them in central Nebraska, the strong sense of history in Kearney and even their hopes for the future.

Matt Mason will reveal a video recording of the community poem at the final event of the festival at 7 p.m., Monday, April 27, 2023, during a reading with Lincoln poets Lucy Adkins, Amy Plettner and Marjorie Saiser.


Staff at the Kearney Public Library will create a physical display of poems and poetic thoughts on their Poet-Tree — with words contributed by the public. Come to the library to help build this creative and interesting display where you can include your efforts and read the work of others.


How the Light Gets In: A Celebration of Poetry in Central Nebraska is presented with the support of:

The Nebraska Arts Council

The Nebraska Cultural Endowment

Kearney Public Library

Humanities Nebraska

Nebraska Arts Council

Nebraska Arts CouncilNebraska Cultural EndowmentKearney Public LibraryHumanities Nebraska

You can help support this project in several ways:

Spread the word – Remind your friends about the events and encourage them to attend. Posting information on social media also helps to let community members know about the project.

Participate – Attend the events, share your poetry, watch the videos and purchase a copy of the companion book, Swimming Against the Light.

Financial Support – You can also support Prairie Art Brothers by donating funds to the organization through Kearney Area Community Foundation. Visit the website or call 308-237-3114 for details.

Updated — March 16, 2023