Past Writing Classes & Workshops 

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Sharon Carr
Spoken Word: The Power of Poetics Out Loud

Saturday, October 9th 10:00a CST

Join Sharon in learning about spoken word and the art of the slam poem as we explore what spoken word is, what we gain from it, and how we can amplify our written work through audible and visual performance. 

Sharon Nicole Carr has experience with spoken word from both performing in, and now aiding in running the Wayne State College Spring and Fall Poetry Slams. She is also an adjunct professor of editing for publication, as well as composition at Wayne State College. She is a freelance editor and layout designer for the WSC Press at Wayne State. In her spare time, Sharon creates artwork, creative writing, and zines.

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Sally Van Doren
Discovering Your Poetic Voice

Saturday, June 26th 10:00a CST

As poet Mark Van Doren (my husband’s grandfather) once said: “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” We will spend the morning working together to discover our poetic voices and nurture their development. Using in-class prompts, we will explore how voice emerges and creates the distinctive character that makes our poems unique. This session should be fruitful for those new to writing poetry as well as seasoned poets. We’ll draw upon the wonderful resource of a constructive group setting to find out how others hear us and how we can best hear ourselves.

Sally Van Doren is an American poet and artist.  She has published three collections of poetry, Promise (LSU Press 2017), Possessive (2012) and Sex at Noon Taxes (2008) which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American poets. A graduate of Princeton University (BA) and University of Missouri-St. Louis (MFA), she has taught creative writing at the 92nd Street Y, Washington University in St. Louis, the St. Louis Public Schools and the St. Louis County Juvenile Detention Center.

Holly Pelesky

Holly Pelesky

The Joy of Revision

Saturday, March 6th 2:00p CST

Although it's often thought of as work, revision simply means re-imagining what you've written. How playful, to separate yourself - the artist - from your art and take it somewhere new.

We'll discuss using space left in the margins for observation, reflection and experimentation. Afterward, I hope you'll want to return to some of your pieces, inspired to see them through a new lens and shape them into something even more impactful.


Holly is a graduate of the MFA Program at the University of Nebraska where she co-created its first ever fraternity consisting of a handful of emerging writers she is happy to share writing lives with. She works a predictable day job and afternoons as a slam poetry coach.

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Wendy Hind
Narrative Medicine for the Soul

Saturday, September 18th 10:00a CST

Every human being experiences universal, yet unique issues concerning their mental and physical state of wholeness. In this workshop we will explore how using poetry to tap into feelings surrounding our health can have enormous healing qualities. Close reading is an integral part of the workshop as is short prompted writing and discussion. I hope you will join me in exploring how poetry can be used as a powerful method in the healing properties of narrative medicine.


Wendy Hind, PhD/JD, uses poetry as a form of narrative medicine to understand and heal. Her chapbook “My Tattoos” will be available in August.  She is also the founder and curator of tiny poetry project – narrative medicine for the soul. #tinypoetryproject and

Shyla Shehan

Shyla Shehan

Poem Openings

Saturday, May 1st 10:00a CST

Whether your practice is to write a poem every day, once a week, or to write only when the poem stirs inside of you, there is always the question of “how to begin.” In this workshop we’ll explore several perspectives on the topic of poem ‘openings’ and experiment with a few approaches that go beyond using basic prompts to see what might help the words flow onto the page.

Shyla is the Managing Editor for The Good Life Review. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska where she leveled-up her poetry game and discovered that the writing life has more to offer than just a way to cope with the chaos of the Universe.

Stephanie Marcellus Poetry

Stephanie Marcellus

Exploring the Sonnet

Saturday, February 20th 10:00a CST

February brings hints of spring and what better time to play with Sonnets.  Improve your sonnet skills, or write your first one. Join us as Dr. Stephanie Marcellus shares some tips and tricks on writing sonnets. 

Dr. Stephanie Marcellus teaches creative writing at Wayne State College and is a 2019 recipient of the Balsley Whitmore Award for recognition in teaching.


Freesia McKee
Poetry for Prose Writers

Saturday, July 10th 10:00a CST

In this accessible, friendly workshop designed for writers of prose, we’ll go through the fundamentals of building a poem. You’ll learn to leap from your literary comfort zone into experiments with fragmentation, lineation, imagery, and more, and you’ll leave this workshop with a bouquet of poetic techniques you can start using right away.

Freesia McKee (she/her) writes poetry, prose, and genres in-between. She’s the essays editor at South Florida Poetry Journal, a regular contributor to the Ploughshares blog, and teaches virtual writing classes to students all over the country from her home in Macomb, Illinois. Freesia’s work has appeared in Flyway, Bone Bouquet, So to Speak, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Painted Bride Quarterly, CALYX, About Place Journal, and the Ms. Magazine Blog. Her poetry chapbook How Distant the City was published by Headmistress Press. Freesia welcomes you to connect with her at or through Twitter at @freesiamckee.

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Matt Mason

Waking Up Worlds

Saturday, April 10th 10:00a CST

In spring, we turn to life and flowers and sitcom clichés!

In this workshop, we'll try to avoid the latter, but we'll write poems about worlds waking up after winters (both calendar-wise and metaphorical). 

You'll hear some poems, write some poems and, if you like, share some of what you wrote.

Matt Mason is the Nebraska State Poet and Executive Director of the Nebraska Writers Collective. He runs poetry programming for the State Department, working in Nepal, Romania, Botswana and Belarus. Mason is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and the author of "Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know"  and "The Baby That Ate Cincinnati."

Nebraska Poetry Society