Diane Wahto graduated from the Wichita State University MFA program in 1985. That year, her poem, “Somebody Is Always Watching,” won the Academy of American Poets Award. Since that time she has continued to write poetry.
She taught journalism at Winfield High School, then taught English Composition and creative writing at Butler Community College.
Her book of poetry, The Sad Joy of Leaving, was published by Blue Cedar Press and came out in October 2018. The book launch was held at Watermark Books and Café, where she read with Michael Poage and Kelly Johnston.
Other recent publications include “Empty Corners” in Same, “Persistence,” in The Ekphrastic Review, and “Yellow Music,” in Heartland. She was co-editor of two issues of the 365 Days Anthology.
Diane joined Kansas Authors Club in 2014 and served in several positions, including two years as District 5 president and as the Awards Chair for the state 2015-2020. She was co-chair, along with Connie White, of the state convention in Wichita in 2019.
She is survived by three children and five grandchildren, all of whom she enjoyed seeing as often as possible. She, her husband Patrick Roche, and their dog Annie lived in Midtown in Wichita, Kansas.
Diane’s website: Poet of a Certain Age
Lyrical Literature, by Jim Potter
by Diane Wahto
Lake Huron, cold and clear in summer,
tempts me into its deeps, alone, secure.
The Australian crawl I learned in the pool
of my home town pushes me through
the gray water with barely a ripple. Reach
of arms, kick of legs, body stretched
full out. I think of the life beneath
me, unseen fish, waving aquatic plants.
I give one kick, turn, tread water, look
at the distant sandy shore. This
is not my element. I must go back,
stand among the birch trees,
join my husband, my children,
the day that lies ahead.