“Everything is Ephemera:” Etzel releases poetry book

Kodee Christensen

Washburn University English professor, poet and author, Dennis Etzel, has released his new book of poetry, “Everything is Ephemera.”

Fueled by personal experience and passion for education, the book is a must-read for any student or learner.

“With this book, the poems were gradual over the last seven years,” said Etzel. “I would write here and there about things in my own life: being at Washburn, my sons and homeschooling and things about self-care. Last year, I decided to look at all the themes of this poetry and ways to think about it as a collection. It really came out of nowhere.”

While Etzel didn’t intend to write a book, his process of writing the collection of poetry was not lacking in peer review and input from trusted colleagues.

“Dennis has written a compelling connection to which almost anyone can relate, especially when it comes to his poems about his school days,” said Kevin Rabas, 2017-2019 Kansas Poet Laureate and friend of Etzel. “Almost everyone went to public school. Almost everyone knows the fears and anxieties of K-12, and Dennis takes them on fearlessly and with a brave vulnerability – aiming to tell his story and shed light on all of our stories.”

Dennis’s experience in education, both good and bad, were the inspiration for “Everything is Ephemera.”

One of his mentors was the inspiration for the title itself.

“Margy Stewart was an English teacher when I was at Washburn. We stayed in touch after I got my second degree from Washburn and stayed in touch beyond my grad school experience. We kind of adopted each other,” said Etzel. “When Margy was retiring, she was packing up things and throwing out her paper lesson plans and she said, ‘everything is ephemera.’ That nothing lasts. That was, and still is, magic to me.”

These sentiments align with Etzel’s discussion of his schooling experiences.

“Dennis Etzel Jr.’s ‘Everything is Ephemera’ is a collection of poems about identity, time and place,” said Dr. Jericho Hockett. “His poems show us that these things are indeed ephemeral as he invites the readers to join him in smashing houses that are actually cages to let, ‘new buildings rise/ in your own buildings’ through the work of facing our ghosts and listening to the voices of those we love ‘to identify what sounds/ link to recognize’ ourselves.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Etzel’s original plan to release the book at a book reading alongside other Kellogg Press authors had to be rethought.

He decided instead to upload a series of videos on YouTube – briefly discussing the book and reading a few of the poems from it.

“Education never ends,” said Etzel of what he hopes readers take from the book. “Everything is Ephemera. Good education never ends.”

“Everything is Ephemera” is available now at http://www.kelloggpress.com/.

Edited by Hannah Alleyne, Wesley Tabor