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Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 9:00 am - Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

photo by Chehalis Hegner

photo by Chehalis Hegner

In conjunction with the visit of Naomi Shihab Nye, Write On presents Writing on the Door, two days of poetry craft workshops led by some of the Upper Midwest’s finest poets.

Registration for the conference includes the reading by Naomi Shihab Nye on Thursday, March 23, and two workshops both Friday and Saturday. The conference is open to both adults and teens.


Early Bird Registration before January 20: $90
General Registration after January 20: $120
Single Session Registrations available after February 15: $45

For general registration: click here to register online; for other payment options, please call 920-868-1457.

The reading by Naomi Shihab Nye takes place at the Door Community Auditorium in Fish Creek, Thursday, March 23, 7 pm. All workshops are held in Fish Creek venues: Homestead Suites (HS), Door Community Auditorium (DCA), and Peninsula School of Art (PSA). Peninsula Bookman is the official bookstore of the poetry conference and is conveniently located to workshop locations.



We’ll look at several poems grounded in the natural world by Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, and others, to identify aspects and poetic techniques that contribute to the poems’ beauty and power. Using prompts or stems suggested by Hasse, you’ll create drafts about places in nature that you long for or know and love.

A POETIC CONVERSATION with June Nirschl and Judy Roy (DCA)

Click here to register online.

The art of conversation has shrunk in recent years, technology and incensed exchanges having replaced the civility and beauty of language. Poetry is a way to begin to restore that gift and to enliven our human dialogue. This workshop will explore poetry as a conversation between two or more writers. Such conversation might take the form of thoughts on a given topic, questions and answers, or call and response (as in the musical tradition). We will examine the work of contemporary poets engaging in conversation and participants will have the opportunity to participate in collaborative writing.


What’s with poets anyhow?  Why can’t they just say what they mean? What goes into writing a poem that sometimes makes it so hard for readers to understand?  If you are a poet yourself, what are the challenges of being not only the writer but the first reader of your own work?  Do you know who’s speaking?  Who you hope is listening? Why it matters? Answering such questions, from simple pun to complex image, can enrich your poetic experience. With illustrations from some familiar works, we will discuss the symbiotic reader-writer relationship to see how understanding it might enhance our visions and revisions as readers and writers.

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 1 – 4 PM


Most of us travel somewhere during the course of our lives, and conversations with friends are often full of images and stories from those trips, whether they were long or short, convivial or solitary, for work or pleasure. “Travel writers” often seek to entice others to take the same trips, but there are other reasons for writing about our journeys, and the tradition of doing so in poetry goes back to The Odyssey. In this workshop, we will discuss examples of published poems about travel, do some free writing, and write a new poem as we share our travel experiences with each other to see what news travels best.


Click here to register online.

Explore, experiment, and engage your brain as you create poems and stories for children. Curiosity and wonder are encouraged—there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions or share your experiences. The presentation portion will also touch upon markets, age categories, genres and formats common within the children’s publishing industry. Participants should bring two printed copies of a poem or picture book text for workshopping.


We all mine our backgrounds, and there are many different voices in which to tell our stories.  Poetry offers a wealth of opportunity.  We will work with prompts to dig deeper into memory, recalling a significant incident or revelation, and experiment in finding different ways to bring it to life as a poem.  How does the child’s voice, for instance, or the adult’s voice, looking back, shape the meaning.   We will share some examples from well-known poets.  Participants are encouraged to bring a poem they have written that fits the “memoir” category. 



Click here to register online.

In Naomi Shihab Nye’s collection Honeybee, bees are the recurring metaphor that inspire poems about communication, connection, change, and resilience. In this workshop with poet and artist Sharon Auberle, we’ll look at what it takes to create a sustained metaphor for a chapbook-lenght collection of poems. Come prepared with a subject — animate or inanimate — to write about for a series of poems. What inspires or intrigues you: apples? tigers? your grandmother? Bruce Lee films? We’ll spend time “dipping and diving down into the nectar of scenes” to get you well on your way to a series of poems. If possible, research your topic and bring some drafts of poems with you. Participants should read Honeybee in advance of the workshop.


In his well-known essay on civil disobedience, Henry David Thoreau encouraged all to be “a counter friction” to any unjust government “machine.” Poet Alice Notley has declared, “It’s necessary to maintain a state of disobedience against. . . everything.” Poetry, of course, has often become the voice of resistance on many fronts and many the righteous poem has succeeded in raising awareness. But this workshop will encourage an-other tactic—humor. Participants will look at poems by the likes of William Carlos Willams and Ron Padgett, Heid Erdrich and Emily Dickinson to see how they use wit and play to challenge ideas or traditions. We will brainstorm about small and large disobediences, do a writing exercise, draft a “disobedient” poem—and share our drafts for laughter or a time out!

 WRITING YOUR LIFE with Laurie MacDiarmid (PSA)

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This workshop will focus on the joys and challenges of capturing our lives in language. Come prepared with pen and paper (or device) to snatch and share a moment of your existence using vivid language and reflection.



Why not use the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau as an excuse to take a walk, write a poem, and reflect upon Thoreau’s legacy for poets (and others) in the 21st century? We’ll read Thoreau’s famous essay “Walking” beforehand, then review some modern and contemporary poems that seem to bear the “shadow of Walden” and influence of Thoreau. Then we’ll take a brief but attentive nature walk in honor of Thoreau’s 200th birthday. Finally, we’ll use our reflections on Thoreau as well as our direct observations of the natural world to generate new poems, and briefly offer workshop and revision suggestions.


Click here to register online.

It has been said that in order to write a good song lyric, you set out to write a poem and then lower your standards. But the song lyric is a genre unto itself, requiring different skills and different points of emphasis than a poem does. What constitutes a good lyric? We’ll take a look at a couple of particularly masterful examples. Then, using pre-written rhythms and melodies, we will write our own lyrics. No musical expertise required.


Click here to register online.

Confessional poetry emerged during the late 1950s and flourished into the early 1970s.   It has been described as poetry “of the personal,” focusing on extreme moments of individual experience, often set in relation to broader social themes. The “confessional” style was courageous for its day, but not without criticism which eventually stigmatized the genre. Today, “first person personal” poetry has become the standard. Albert DeGenova will explore confessional poetry and some of its criticisms. He will present a perspective for examining in your own poetry how much confession may just be too much confession, as well as including writing prompts to help participants dig deep to find poems they may have never thought were there.



Sharon Auberle is a writer and photographer who fell in love with the Door in 1984 and made it her beloved home in 2008. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee for her poetry and her photography has been exhibited in juried shows at the Hardy Gallery and Cheryl Stidwell Parker’s Portrait Show. In addition, photos have appeared at Third Avenue Playhouse, UUFDC, Crossroads Coffeehouse and elsewhere. She is the author of Crow Ink, EVErywoman, and Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball and co-author of the collection Wind Where Music Was with the poet and artist Ralph Murre.

Kimberly Blaeser, Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2015-2016, is a passionate spokesperson for literature, the arts, and social justice. Blaeser has performed her poetry at venues around the globe and identifies the most memorial sites for readings as the Borobudur Temple in Indonesia and a Fire-Ceremony at the Borderlands Museum Grounds in arctic Norway. Her publications include three books of poetry, most recently Apprenticed to Justice. She also edited Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. A Professor at UW-Milwaukee and enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Blaeser teaches Creative Writing and Native American Literature. Her poetry has been praised as a celebration of nature, family, and Native American traditions. She is currently at work on Picto-Poems which combine wildlife and nature photography with her poetry.

 Wisconsin singer-songwriter Katie Dahl has performed her original songs everywhere from the dusty cliff country of Mali, West Africa, to the winding canals of southern France, to the cedar forests of the American northwoods. The depth and power of Katie’s alto voice, the literate candor of her original songs, and the easy humor of her live performances have earned her numerous songwriting awards. She has released three studio albums: County Line (2009), Leaky Boats and Paper Birds (2012), and Ordinary Band (2015). Katie is also a playwright whose musical Victory Farm premiered to high acclaim in 2012 and has since been made into a live cast album.

 Alice D’Alessio retired from corporate and non-profit communications positions to focus on writing poetry and non-fiction, and has published five books.  The first poetry book , A Blessing of Trees, was awarded the Posner Prize from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, for best poetry book published in Wisconsin; the second, Days We Are Given won first place and publication from Earth’s Daughters.   She has taught workshops at Green Lake for Elderhostel, at the Washington Island Literary Festival, and various other venues. She has won several Hal Prizes, and was co-editor of the book, The Professor’s Room, a tribute to Norbert Blei. Her latest book of poetry is Walking the Tracks, published by Fireweed Press in October 2016.

Albert DeGenova is a poet, editor/publisher, teacher, and blues saxophonist.  He grew up in Chicago and now lives in both Chicago and Sturgeon Bay. In June of 2000 he launched the literary/arts journal After Hours, for which he continues as publisher and editor. DeGenova is half of the performance poetry duo AvantRetro and co-hosts The Traveling Mollies, one of Chicago’s longest-running open mic/reading series. He is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Black Pearl, The Blueing Hours and Back Beat, a collection of poetry combined with memoir. DeGenova has also published three poetry chapbooks. He earned his MFA in Writing from Spalding University, Louisville.

Max Garland’s first book, The Postal Confessions, won the Juniper Prize for Poetry from UMass Press; his second book, Hunger Wide as Heaven, was the winner of the Cleveland State Poetry Center Open Competition. His writing has appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Georgia Review Gettysburg Review, Arts and Letters, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, Best American Short Stories, Creative Nonfiction and many other journals and anthologies. He has received a NEA Fellowship for Poetry,  Michener Fiction Fellowship, a Bush Literary Fellowship for Poetry, the Tara Short Fiction Prize, and fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board in both poetry and fiction. He served as the 2013-14 Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, and is currently Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s first Writer-in-Residence, as well as Professor Emeritus at UW-Eau Claire, where he taught Creative Writing for many years.

Margaret Hasse is the author of five books of poetry and recipient of grants and awards for her work. About her latest book, Between Us, published in 2016, Jim Moore writes: “The poems call out back and forth between the joys that fill our hearts and the griefs that empty them in the way that poetry has done since ancient times: sometimes in stunned bewilderment, sometimes with blazing assurance.” Margaret’s poems appear in unusual places, such as stamped into sidewalks, printed on bicycle spoke cards, and in 2017, will be posted in Twin Cities’ public transportation vehicles. She is known as an outstanding poetry workshop leader and thoughtful respondent and editor of poems.

Dion Kempthorne played on the 1963 Wisconsin Rose Bowl team, earned a PhD in English at UW-Madison, taught writing and literature in the UW Colleges, and served as CEO/Dean at UW-Richland.  Now a professor emeritus, he lives in the woods of Richland County and spends his days reading, writing, hiking, and cutting firewood.  His poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Verbatim, The Capitola Review, Hummingbird, Verse Wisconsin, and Mature Years.  He was the first-place winner in the Wisconsin People & Ideas 2014 poetry contest.  In addition to writing poems, he is at work on essays about Emerson and Thoreau and on a memoir that explores the personal benefits of reading and writing poetry.

Since her retirement from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh as Chair of the English Department, Estella Lauter has reveled in the writing community here, publishing three chapbooks with Finishing Line Press (one of them in the New Women’s Voices series) and enjoying membership in three writing workshops. Her poems have won awards from WFOP, the Wisconsin Writers Association, Fox Cry and the Peninsula Pulse. She tied for first prize in the 2009 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry contest, and her work has been published in several literary journals, including Free Verse, Verse Wisconsin and Wisconsin People and Ideas. Two poems were nominated for the Pushcart award. Poems have also appeared in several anthologies, including The Nature of Door, Sweeping Beauty, and Echolocations. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Door County for 2013-2015, during which time she founded the Door County Poets Collective to publish an anthology, Soundings: Door County in Poetry (Caravaggio Press, 2015). Most recently, she co-edited the 2017 Poets Calendar for WFOP with Francha Barnard on the theme of water.

Laurie MacDiarmid is a Professor of English and Writer in Residence at St. Norbert College. Laurie’s scholarship and creative work focuses on issues of identity and relation. She has published a chapbook of poetry, Float, that explores the joys and challenges of motherhood, and her full-length poetry manuscript, “Consolation Prize,” treats memory, family, class, country, gender, sexuality and of other crucial markers of identity. Her current work in progress is a mélange of poems, vignettes and short stories devoted to the nine years she and her family lived in Mexico City.

June Nirschl worked as an English teacher and municipal clerk, and it is her love of the written and spoken word that has spurred her interest in poetry. Her work has appeared in the Peninsula Pulse, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Museletter, and Fox Cry Review. Her publications include the chapbooks: Slightly Off Q, with Nancy Rafal and Judy Roy; Two Off Q: a Conversation in Poetry, with Judy Roy; and the collection Before & After.

Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author of One Plastic Bag and Water is Water, both named Junior Library Guild selections. Her titles have received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly in addition to being named to several recommended and “best of” reading lists. Miranda makes regular appearances at schools, libraries, and bookstores, and has been a guest presenter at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center along with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. Miranda also serves as Mentorship chair for We Need Diverse Books™, volunteers for Books for Africa, and is a regional advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers (Wisconsin Chapter). She believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind.

A Wisconsin native, Judy Roy retired from careers as a psychologist and then as a French teacher. Her work has been included in the Common Ground Project, Nature of the Door, and Living Up to Memorial Day, a production of the Isadoora Theater Company. She has read at the Wisconsin Book Festival and other venues throughout the state and beyond its borders. Roy has studied in numerous workshops with some of the best poets in Wisconsin and at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, she has co-authored the chapbooks Slightly Off Q and Two Off Q.


Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 9:00 am
Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 9:00 pm
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