Photo of Nancy Kangas

Nancy Kangas

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Nancy Kangas is a poet and teaching artist based in Columbus. She has poetry in books and journals, including Rattle (Poetry Prize Finalist), East Bay Review (Pushcart Prize nomination), and Cap City Poets. Her work springs from play and experiment and a desire to collaborate. In the early 1980s in San Francisco she launched Nancy’s Magazine, a collection of comics, literature, and advice–her own and others–as part of a project to cultivate a community of artists. Helping kids create their own magazines was the theme of her first workshop (Thurber House); others focused on upcycling clothing paired with expressive writing (Wexner Center for the Arts) and responding to visual art in poetry (Columbus Museum of Art). Her interest in mixing poetry with other media emerged in 1994 with Louizeaux Street, a poetry-theatre piece she wrote and performed (sponsored by Columbus Recreation and Parks). Since then she has written and performed other mixed-media works; a poetry-mini-musical, Spring Forward, Fall Back, was chosen to be in the 2004 Fringe Festival in Cincinnati. She created a poetry column for Ohio Edit, “Slides (Interpreted by Nancy),” which invites readers into old family photographs with short poems and flash fictions.

She is the co-director and producer of Preschool Poets: An Animated Film Series, which features poems composed by some of her students. It was selected by film festivals worldwide, including the Zebra Poetry Film Festival (Berlin), the New York International Children’s Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. In addition to poetry, she writes humor for Muse (a magazine for young readers) and is now directing a short animated film based on the writings and her workshops with children at migrant shelters on the U.S.-Mexico border. She loves bicycles, ping-pong, and improv.

Grade Levels/Age Groups

  • PreK
  • Grades 1-3
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult
  • Adult
  • Senior


Upon request







O Creek

May I roar like you
crash and be froth
Squeeze through boulders
because I have to
Pool for a while as glass

O creek
Your fierce your fast
your bravado with algae
Your hiss your bash
that low boom

How you shake a life out of finding your bottom


Writing sample courtesy of the teaching artist.