Monthly Archives: May 2014

WWA First Chapter Award Winner Announced

Congratulations to Wisconsin writer Gary Jones for recognition for his non-fiction book Gentleman’s Dresser in the Wisconsin Writers Association (WWA) First Chapter competition. Details are here:

Also, check out the Council for Wisconsin Writers website at for news about  CWW contest winners and more.

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A Few ‘Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat’ Spots Still Open

I’m a bit behinder in posting info, but here’s an email note from Wisconsin poet and former CWW board member Robin Chapman:

Last chance to register! 5 days immersed with writers from around the country in the art, craft, business of writing

Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat

June 16-20. Only a handful of spots left!

Refresh your writing life this summer in beautiful Madison, WI, at the annual Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat. Last year more than 130 writers from 15 states and other countries gathered to immerse themselves in the art, craft, and business of writing through Write-by-the-Lake’s world-class instruction and valuable peer relationships.

Breaking news! Marilyn Atlas just inked a deal to write a new book on the very topic she’s covering in her Write-by-the-Lake Master Class: writing characters!

Master Class: Creating 3-Dimensional, Non-Stereotypical, Memorable Characters, Marilyn R. Atlas

How and why does a reader become intrigued and invested in the life of a memorable character? What constitutes 3-dimensional, memorable characters? It is a conscious interweaving of characters’ thoughts, wants, goals, secrets, flaws, and delusions. For a character to move us, he must move the plot forward in a true way that is consistent with his DNA. We will discuss several facets of the “evolution of personality” that are present in the best screen and television examples.

Marilyn Atlas is equally at home in the worlds of film, television, and live theater. Among her film credits are Real Women Have Curves for HBO—which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival—A Certain Desire, starring Sam Waterston, and Brides’ March for Lifetime Television. She is featured in the book Write Now! by Penguin/Tarcher Press.

Click for Write-by-the-Lake details & to register»

For details and to register, please go to this site:

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Great Wisconsin Writers: The Next Generation

Madison’s Capital Times newspaper columnist and editor emeritus Dave Zweifel recounts his encounter with some future Wisconsin opinionators and opinion shapers in a forum of winning 5th- and 6th-grade editorial writers.

You can read all about it at

Congratulations to these young writers and, we hope, future Council for Wisconsin Writers contest winners.

Please visit the CWW website and learn more about the organization at

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WFOP Upcoming Events

Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Cathryn Cofell sends the following news: 

TUES, MAY 13, MOISES VILLAVICENCIO BARRAS AND KATRIN TALBOT, presented by the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective:  7:00 p.m. at THELMA Center for the Arts, 51 Sheboygan Street in Fond du Lac.   Moises will read from his latest bi-lingual collection, Luz de Todos los Tiempos/Light of All Time, Cowfeather Press. Katrin’s collection Freeze-Dried Love was recently released from Finishing Line Press.  Open mic follows.  Refreshments and good company happening at THELMA.  Visit for more information.

WED, MAY 14, ​ROLF OLSON featured at the DICKINSON POETRY SERIES: On the second Wednesday of every month the Dickinson Poetry Series features a reading by a local or regional poet followed by an open mic and reception. The public is welcome, and admission is free.  7:00 p.m. at the UUF, 10341 Highway 42 in Ephraim.  For more information visit or call 920.854.7559.

SAT, MAY 17, 10-11:30 a.m.  Language of Nature: Poetry Reading and Discussion at Maywood Environmental Park, 3615 Mueller Road, Sheboygan, WI 53083.  Led by Maryann Hurtt, Georgia Ressmeyer, and Marilyn Windau. We’ll read from our own poetry and encourage you to bring 1-2 nature poems of your own, or a favorite by someone else, to read and discuss. $1 donation for printed materials appreciated. Pre-registration preferred (call Maywood at 920-459-3906 for registration and directions).  After the program, tours of the park will be offered, weather permitting.

Monday, MAY 19, 6:30 p.m., Harmony Cafe, Appleton ​ – MARILYN TAYLOR AND MARY WEHNER

The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP) Fox Valley Poetry Series meets at Harmony Café, 233 E. College Ave, Appleton on the third Monday of every month except December (the first Monday). Each evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with the featured reader(s), followed by an open mic open to anyone who wishes to read 1-2 poems.

Marilyn L. Taylor, Ph.D., former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin (2009-10) and Milwaukee (2004-05), is the author of six collections of poetry.  Her award-winning poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, The American Scholar, Able MuseMeasure, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and the recent Random House anthology titled Villanelles. Marilyn taught poetry and poetics for fifteen years at UW-Milwaukee, and served for five years as a Contributing Editor and regular poetry columnist for The Writer.  She is a member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and the Council for Wisconsin Writers Board of Directors.  She recently moved from Milwaukee to Madison, where she continues to write and teach.

Mary Wehner is the author of two chapbooks…or the opposite, and To Sit With Animals, both letterpress editions by Red Hydra Press. Her letterpress broadside The Chinese Painting was also published by Red Hydra Press. She has published poems in print and on-line publications such as Southern Indiana ReviewWisconsin TrailsThe Writer Magazineqarrtsiluni and Verse Wisconsin. Her poem “Broken Shells at Dusk” was published as a lithograph in collaboration with Pollyanna Fernández Fernández, a Cuban artist at Taller Experimental de Gráfica, Havana, Cuba, with the Spanish translation by Maria Vargas.  She is a founding member of The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, serves on the board of the Council for Wisconsin Writers and was twice a poet in residence at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. She’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poetry and is also a visual artist; her paintings have been on exhibit in several Wisconsin galleries.

SAT, MAY 24, INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED DEAF POETRY TROUPE, FLYING WORDS PROJECT!!  A rare Wisconsin performance, sponsored by The Mill  (A Place for Writers) at the UW-Fox Valley Student Union from 1:30 to 3:00 pm.

What kind of performance does a deaf poetry troupe give? Not a quiet one. Flying Words Project, comprised of deaf poet and signer Peter Cook, and hearing coauthor Kenny Lerner, is known for the vitality of its work. Flying Words uses American Sign Language (ASL), English spoken word, sounds, and movement to bring their poetry to life. This makes their performances uniquely accessible to both hearing and deaf audiences.  The poetry is first written in ASL, and then Cook and Lerner determine how to express just enough words and sounds so that hearing audience members can see the ASL images for themselves. The goal of the Flying Words Project is to play with language. Cook and Lerner expand the concept of poetry by making it active and giving it a physical presence. You can be sure this poetry isn’t your grandma’s poetry—although she would enjoy seeing the performance, too.  Flying Words Project has performed at such venues as the Manhattan Theater Club, New York City; The Green Mill, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Theatre de Lucernaire, Paris; and The Mid-Summer Festival, Cork, Ireland.

Admission is free, donations accepted at the door.  Doors will open at 12:30 for open seating. For more information visit The Mill: A Place for Writers Facebook page (

TUES, MAY 27 NANCY RAFAL AT APPLEBLOSSOM BOOKS, 200 E City Center, Oshkosh:  Nancy has been writing all her life but poetry became prominent a dozen years ago.  She was the treasurer of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets for too many years but somebody had to do it.  Her writing sweeps from silly to serious with stop-offs for sappy and astute.  She has been published in numerous editions of the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Hummingbird, Free Verse, the Peninsula Pulse, and Wisconsin People and Ideas. The featured readers begin at 6:30 pm. An open mic will follow where participants may read one or two of their own poems or poems by others that they love.   Come early and enjoy a meal or grab a cup of coffee at Caramel Crisp and Café whose inner doors connect with the bookstore.

THURS, MAY 29, NEW POETRY READING SERIES AT THE READER’S LOFT PRESENTS BRUCE DETHLEFSEN, CHUCK RYBAK AND LAURI MCDIARMID:  6-8 P.M., The Reader’s Loft, 2069 Central Ct, Suite 44, Green Bay.   Welcome All! Open to the Public. Open Mic will follow the featured readings.  Wine, water, coffee, light finger food available.  Call 920-406-0200 for more information.

Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011-2012), has two chapbooks, A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor, and two full-length  books, Breather, published by Fireweed Press, and Unexpected Shiny Things, published by Cowfeather Press. His newest book, published by Little Eagle Press in April, 2014, is Small Talk.  A retired educator and public library director, he lives in Westfield, Wisconsin.  More can be found at

Chuck Rybak lives in Wisconsin and is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He is the author of two chapbooks, Nickel and Diming My Way Through andLiketown, as well as two full-length books published by Main Street Rag, Tongue and Groove, Winner of the 2004 Quentin R. Howard Prize in Poetry, and </war>.

Laurie MacDiarmid is an Associate Professor of English and Writer in Residence at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She is also the author of Float, a chapbook of poems devoted to motherhood and Consolation Prize, a full length book that explores a father’s early death from cancer. Her poems have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals, including Antioch Review, Pennsylvania Quarterly, Mochila Review and Carolina Quarterly.



Erin Heiling is the new contact person for poetry submissions to The Scene: Oshkosh.  She is very enthusiastic about receiving your poetry with an eye towards publication.  Poets may contact Erin at:

Call for Fortune Poems, DEADLINE MIDNIGHT MAY 16 2014:  Contribute a fortune poem to a human Zoltar machine at Art Prom, 2014, a fundraiser event for Stoneboat literary journal and Paradigm Annex Theatre Collective in Sheboygan. The fortunes can be written in poem form, prose form, or whatever form best expresses the fortune you wish to put out into the world. To see what a real Zoltar fortune looks like, go here. Please send your fortune submission in the body of an email (no attachments please) to In the subject line, please write [your last name] Zoltar Submission. Please include your name, address, and phone. No bio necessary. The poems will be printed up on cards and there will be a small fee for prom goers to receive a fortune from Zoltar. We cannot pay you for your work, but please know that your creative effort is going to a good cause, two good causes in fact: Stoneboat and the Paradigm Annex Theatre Collective.  And, while you are at it, come to Art Prom and have some fun from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, May 31. Must be 21 or older to attend. $15 per person, ($25 per couple). For information on how to purchase tickets, visit Art Prom on Facebook or inquire at

Please visit the CWW website at

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Wisconsin Writers Feted at CWW 50th Birthday Awards Banquet.

What a great and wonderful time at yesterday’s Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Awards Banquet at which the Council celebrated its 50th birthday! Our keynote speaker and Major Achievement Award recipient was the inimitable John Nichols, whose extensive credits include: author of a dozen books, The Nation magazine Washington correspondent, a pioneering blogger, and associate editor of Madison’s The Capital Times. 

Other Wisconsin writers, whose works won first place and honorable mention in the Council’s eight annual contests, joined Nichols in the day’s festivities.

Seated from left: Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award 1st place Jeanie Tomasko, Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction honorable mention Margaret Benbow, CWW Essay Award for Young Writers 1st place Hannah Kinzer, John Nichols,Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award honorable mention Rebecca Williams Spindler and Madelyn Spindler

Standing from left: Kay W. Levin Short Nonfiction Award 1st place Craig Reinbold of Milwaukee, Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award 1st place A.M. Bostwick of Tomahawk,  CWW Essay Award for Young Writers honorable mention Satvir Kalsi of Brookfield, Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award honorable mention Rita Mae Reese of Madison, Kay W. Levin Short Nonfiction Award honorable mention Jill Sisson Quinn of Scandinavia, Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction 1st place Matt Cashion of La Crosse, Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award honorable mention Nicholas Hoffman and Jesse Gant of Appleton, Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award honorable mention Raymond D. Schrab of Hartford,  Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award 1st place B.J. Hollars of Eau Claire, Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award 1st place Amaud Jamaul Johnson of Madison

Unable to attend were Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award 1st place Jesse Lee Kercheval of Madison and Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award honorable mention Seth Abramson of Madison.

More about CWW and these writers is at

Congratulations to these fine and talented Wisconsin writers and a huge thank you to all who support and make possible the Council’s ongoing ability to recognize and award the many wonderful writers in Wisconsin.


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Wisconsin Children’s Writers Celebrate Good News

The first of each month, members of Wisconsin’s chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators shares their good news, which includes, among other things, their newly published books, awards and glowing reviews. Here is what got posted this month:

From prolific author Ann Bausum whose books published by National Geographic include Freedom Riders, Marching to the Mountaintop, Muckrakers, Our Country’s Presidents, Our Country’s First Ladies, among others: 

“My twin books Stubby the War Dog (for young readers) and Sergeant Stubby (for adult books), which go on sale May 13, are already earning praise from reviewers. The kids book has received starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal with such comments as “a triumph on three fronts: educational, emotional, and inspirational” (Booklist, April 15, 2014) and “a moving thoughtful dog story….a choice offering for dog lovers and history buffs alike” (School Library Journal, April 15, 2014). Kirkus praised the children’s book as “an absorbing read,” commenting that the book presents “a story that reads like fiction” (Kirkus, April 1, 2014). An early review for the adult title observed “the book’s charm simply radiates off the page” (Booklist, April 15, 2014). In short, so far, so good.”

Georgia Beaverson reports”

“I’m so happy to be able to share some good news this month. The Wisconsin Media Lab has contracted with me to serve as editor for 6 children’s books they plan to publish this year. Last year they published bios of such historical Wisconsin luminaries as Chief Oshkosh and the Harley-Davison duo. The 6 I will edit are also bios and will be free for classroom use.”

Kashmira Sheth says:

“Tiger in My Soup is nominated for Georgia Book award as well as Ohio Book award.

Also, in conjunction with National Library Week, the State Library of Ohio, Ohioana Library Association, and Ohio Center for the Book, Tiger in My Soup is selected as one of the 20 books for Choose to Read Ohio 2015 & 2016.”

Relative SCBWI newcomer Angie Stanton‘s new book Royally Lost, was released this past Tuesday.

“There was a great article today in the WI State Journal about my publishing journey” Angie says. Here’s the link.

Angie is having a book signing at A Room of One’s Own bookstore, 315 W. Gorham St., in Madison on Monday, May 12 at 6 p.m.

Congratulations to one and all!



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Wisconsin Magazine Names Poetry Winners, Honorable Mentions


Congratulations to one of Council of Wisconsin Writers newest board members, Lisa Vihos of Sheboygan, and her poem,  “Reversal,” for receiving honorable mention in the Wisconsin People & Ideas 2014 Poetry Contest. Pasted in here is Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine’s announcement. Congratulations, Lisa!

Congratulations to the Winners of the
Wisconsin People & Ideas 2014 Poetry Contest

  • 1st place: “Liturgy of the Swallow” by Dion Kempthorne – Richland Center
  • 2nd place: “The We of Two Horses” by Jeanie Tomasko – Madison
  • 3rd place: “Interior Landscape” by Judith Harway – Shorewood

Winners of the Wisconsin People & Ideas 2014 Fiction Contest receive cash awards of $500 (first place), $250 (second place), and $100 (third place). The first-place author also receives a one-week artist residency at Shake Rag School for Arts and Crafts in Mineral Point, and all three award-winning authors will read their stories at the 2014 Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison this October.

Our 2014 contest honorable mention poems and poets:

  • “ Wild Women in Old Movies” by Margaret Benbow – Madison
  • “Crossing Guard” by Bruce Dethlefsen – Westfield
  • “ Her Things Become Her” by Nancy Jesse – Madison
  • Heaven” by Kathryn Gahl – Two Rivers
  • “ Strip Scrabble” by Dion Kempthorne – Richland Center
  • “ Dollar Store Moon Poems” by Louisa Loveridge Gallas – Milwaukee
  • “ Snow Dance” by Richard Roe – Middleton
  • “ Katsura” by Jason Splichal – Eau Claire
  • “ Another day and we haven’t used Algebra” by Jeanie Tomasko – Madison
  • “Reversal” by Lisa Vihos – Sheboygan
Wisconsin People & Ideas is an independent print and online magazine that showcases fiction and poetry from new and established Wisconsin writers, highlights new works from our visual artists and photographers, and keeps readers informed about the science behind the issues that impact our way of life here in Wisconsin. We are the quarterly magazine of the nonprofit, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Visit for more information or to subscribe today.
This year the fiction contest lead judge is Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland (right). The 2014 contest was coordinated by Jason A. Smith, editor, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the preliminary judges were Jeremy Behreandt and John Lehman. The contest received 585 poem submissions from across the state of Wisconsin. All judging was done blindly and ranking was done solely on the merit of individual stories in the opinion of our judges.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their work to the 2014 poetry contest. Your participation is what has made this contest one of the best showcases for Wisconsin poets for over twenty years. Look for the first- through third-place poems to appear in forthcoming issues of Wisconsin People & Ideas, beginning with the spring issue in May 2014. Honorable mention poems will appear in subsequent issue of the magazine, beginning with the Summer 2014 issue. Congratulations to all our winners and honorable mention poets and keep on writing!

Wisconsin People & Ideas thanks lead and preliminary judges for volunteering their time and efforts to the 2014 contest, and extends a special thanks to 2014 contest sponsors Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point for donating a weeklong artist residency for the first-place winner and the Wisconsin Book Festival for hosting our contest winners’ reading. More information on the contest, prizes, and sponsors and be found at


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