Welcome to Arlin Buyert Poetry

“The sun sets fast tonight
and the shadows take their places in the dark.”

A new poem from Arlin during Covid. Centuries of Sorrow

Centuries of Sorrow

I remember growing up in Iowa
without the Sioux and Dakota.
Our high school mascot
was a mighty Indian.

I remember learning about plantation slaves
but Mr. Lubach didn’t tell us about rape
by the master, lynching parties in the town square,
and the auction block selling humans
like cattle in a sale barn.
We named our beloved black lab Niggie.

I remember dad and mom whispering about Hitler,
Dachau, and Auschwitz as smoke from their stacks
drifted across Europe, blanketing the complicity
of Germany’s Christian churches.

I remember the Navy stationed me in Mississippi
in 1967 and during my first week, two synagogues
burned to the ground.  White Only signs in
Wideman’s Restaurant, biracial Navy couple’s
home burned, white schools, black schools,
white churches, black churches, Klan rallies.

Today, the Cherokee Nation still walks the trail of tears,
white knees choke black necks, mass incarceration
of black teens and profiling dominate injustice
Latinas face The Wall, immigrants separated
from their weeping children, mosques burn,
antisemitism and Muslim phobia blare like sirens
that echo up the family tree.

Sadly, I remember I am a privileged white man,
standing high on the podium while being protected
by the dark umbrella of caste.

The May edition of the Heartland Journal published Arlin's poem "Rear View".

Arlin's new poem, Mama's Eyes has been accepted by Poetry Leaves and will be published in their May 20th - June 3rd, 2020 Anthology. To learn more please visit: https://www.poetry-leaves.com/

A new poem, Mama's Eyes

  1. Mama's Tired Eyes

The only things my mama bought at Jim's Grocery

were flour, sugar, chocolate, salt and pepper.

She cooked three meals every day,

never ate in a restaurant, baked all our bread, Mama's Eyes

Arlin's latest book, "Razor Wire" is a 2019 Nominee for the 41st Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award

There will be an Awards Program and Luncheon on Saturday, October 5th Kansas City Public Library honoring the Award Nominees.
For reservations and information call 816-701-3400


Arlin has recently had a poem accepted for publication to Glass Poetry Press. Glass Poetry Press is a micro-press in Toledo, Ohio that publishes poetry chapbooks. They also publish the online poetry journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry.
Arlin's poem for publication: Different Rules

The Johnson County Library again hosted an evening of poetry by Arlin's inmate students. What was different this time was these were all ex-convicts who were not only reading their poetry inspired by Arlin's teaching, but also poems of those still incarcerated. The evening was painful and profound. The near capacity audience sat spellbound for 60 minutes.





Click here to watch video of the last poem of the evening.







KKFI Radio "Jaws of Justice" podcast with Jeffery Humfeld interviews Arlin regarding the Lansing Prison Story as well as the upcoming poetry reading on March 19th. Listen Now.





No Second Chance for Lansing Prison Poetry Teacher.
The Kansas City Star

No poetry for you: Overreaction ends Lansing prison class, with no chance for appeal! Read More

Set in a state prison, these interrelated free-verse poems take the fictitious voice of inmates who speak about their lives and dreams. The concept for Razor Wire comes from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. 

The book will be available on Amazon and in local Kansas City book stores.


Arlin's poem Notes From the Joint has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry.  This poem reflects Arlin's experiences teaching poetry at Lansing Prison.




On November 8th, 2018 the Interurban Arthouse sponsored an "Open to the Sky" poetry reading featuring Lansing Prison current and former inmates.





On Tuesday, September 17th, 2018 the Thomas Zvi Wilson Reading Series presented an evening of poetry with Arlin Buyert.
Special musical guests Pat McGee, Jean Spikes,
and Steve Spikes.

See the Video Page for live performances.



Early morning
sitting near the dock
under the arms of an old oak,
I hear waves
waft a psalm of peace
in a holy way.

She is a window
looking deeply into the earth,
a passage to my depths
blanketed with water
that runs free yet bounded
by rocky shores and unseen winds.

I hear the loon's lilt,
see a swift sweep the surface,
feel the bite of morning's chill,
smell the cabin's cedar story,
taste alone on my lips.

Arlin along with 3 Lansing Prison inmates had poems published in the latest edition of the Coal City Review.