Mount Marty to Host Great Plains Writers’ Symposium on October 2

September 25, 2019

Mount Marty College (MMC) in Yankton, South Dakota is excited to host The Great Plains Writers’ Symposium which is scheduled for October 2, 2019, in Marian Auditorium on the College’s Yankton campus. The symposium will feature Mark Sanders, Sara Henning, and Kim Verhines.

The Great Plains Writers’ Symposium brings award-winning professional writers to campus for readings, discussions, and class workshops each year. Established in 2007, the event explores various elements of the arts and humanities, such as poetry, prose presentations, and storytelling.

This one-day event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Great Plains Writers’ Symposium visit

The schedule is as follows:

11:00 a.m. - Kim Verhines: Editing, Publishing and Narrative Craft

12:00 p.m. - Group Reading

1:00 p.m. - Mark Sanders: Landscapes and Lyric Narrative - Story Inside the Music of Poetry

2:00 p.m. - Sara Henning: My Darkness Visible: Creativity and the Writing Life 


Writers’ Biographies:

Kimberly Verhines is a creative prose writer and also the Director of Stephen F. Austin State University Press. She holds an M.A. from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho, where she worked with such writers as Robert Wrigley, Kim Barnes, Mary Clearman Blew, and Claire Davis. 

Among her publications are creative essays and short stories. Her essay “Dry Line” appeared in Borne on Air: Essays by Idaho Writers, edited by Mary Clearman Blew; the essay, “The Blue Hour Before Sunrise” appeared in Shenandoah and was also included among the notable works for the year in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Another essay, “That Old Gang,” was a finalist in The Iowa Review contest. She also just recently had a poem, “Camp Creek Cemetery,” published in a fine-press book, Pollinators (LaNana Creek, 2018). She currently has two manuscripts in-progress: The Blue Hour Before Sunrise: Essays and Drinking Rum from a Paper Cup: Stories. She currently lives in Nacogdoches where she raises horses on a small ranch.

Sara Henning is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently View from True North (Southern Illinois University Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Crab Orchard Poetry Open Prize, selected by Adrian Matejka. In 2015, she won the Crazyhorse Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, judged by Alberto Ríos, and most recently, she is the winner of the 2019 Poetry Society of America's George Bogin Memorial Award. She has published poems in many journals and anthologies, most notably Quarterly West, Crazyhorse, Witness, Meridian, and the Cincinnati Review. She teaches writing at Stephen F. Austin State University, where she also serves as poetry editor for Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Please visit her at her electronic home:

Mark Sanders recently won the Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry for 2019 from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. He is a poet, creative essayist, fiction writer, and literary critic, with more than 500 publications appearing in journals in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. His short story, “Why Guineas Fly,” was selected as one of 100 outstanding short stories for 2007 by Stephen King in Best American Short Stories; his essay, “Homecoming Parade,” was selected as one of the outstanding works of the year in the 2016 edition of Best American Essays. His writing has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes more than a dozen times and been listed among the notable works in Pushcart. He has had poetry featured in American Life in Poetry, a syndicated series published by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, and on the Poetry Foundation website.

Among his books of poetry are The Suicide (1988), Before We Lost Our Ways (1996), Here in the Big Empty (2006), Conditions of Grace: New and Selected Poems (2011), and Landscapes, with Horses (2012; expanded version 2017). Edited works include: On Common Ground: The Poetry of William Kloefkorn, Ted Kooser, Greg Kuzma, and Don Welch (with J. V. Brummels, 1983); Jumping Pond: Poems and Stories from the Ozarks (with Michael Burns, 1983);Three Generations of Nebraska Poets (with Stephen Meats, 2011); Riddled with Light: Metaphor in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats (2014); The Weight of the Weather: Regarding the Poetry of Ted Kooser (2017); and, A Sandhills Reader:  30 Years of Great Writing from the Great Plains (2015).

The Weight of the Weather won the 2018 Nebraska Book Award in the biography category, and A Sandhills Reader won the 2016 Nebraska Book Award for an anthology.

Sanders is the long-time editor of Sandhills Press, a small, independent press which he started in his small hometown in Nebraska in 1979. For his work in promoting the poetry of emerging and established Nebraska writers, he won the Mildred Bennett Award from the Nebraska Center for the Book in 2007 for fostering Nebraska’s literary heritage.