I Done Clicked My Heels

I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times

Presented By
Taylor Byas and Melissa Ferrer Civil

Poet Taylor Byas moved away from her hometown of Chicago and quickly learned how it’s regarded elsewhere. New friends asked her about “Chi-raq” and wanted to know about the thug life. But for Byas, Chicago was so much more complex than its reputation allows.

Her latest collection of poetry, I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times, discovers parallels between her experience and the one depicted in The Wiz, the 1978 movie version of the Tony Award-winning musical. Byas said that late in the project, she realized “this was a story about not only home, but what happens when you're whisked away from home; what does making a new home look like?”

She and Kansas City's poet laureate, Melissa Ferrer Civil, discuss structuring the collection with song titles from The Wiz, how leaving her hometown changed the way she saw it in her work, and representing in verse her growth and journey as a writer and as a woman.

I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times is the 2023 winner of the Maya Angelou Book Award, founded in 2020 to honor the legacy of Missouri-born author Maya Angelou. The award recognizes exceptional books by contemporary authors whose work demonstrates a commitment to social justice and diversifies contemporary American literature. It’s sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library, the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair in Continuing Education, and five other Missouri universities.

I Done Clicked My Heels

I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times

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Date & Location
Reception: 5:30pm
Truman Forum Auditorium
In Person