Writing Classes & Workshops 

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How to Write a Haiku

Thursday, December 16th, 6:30p CST

W.H. Auden said, "In poetry you have a form looking for a subject and a subject looking for a form. When they come together successfully you have a poem." 

Even when writing Free Verse poetry, there is an art to line endings and stanza breaks that amplify the poet's voice and message. 

Practicing the forms of traditional poetry improves our skills in rhythm, word choice, line endings, and other important features of a poem's structure.

In this virtual workshop series, we will take a look at a particular poetry form to discover how and why it works. 

This is a collaborative workshop that includes discussion and writing practice. 

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35


Raina León
"Back In the Day": The Element(ary) of the Body

Saturday, March 12th 10:00a CST

If you were like me as a child, you thought that if the wind blew just hard enough and if you held your arms out strong at just the right angle, you would be able to fly.  You knew your body for the wonders and possibilities of it!  In this workshop, we imagine the moment of first identifying our belly buttons.  We reclaim what others may have teased - a curved back, a lisp, an differently shaped nail - as beautiful.  We are beautiful and worthy of delight. We will explore how our unique qualities are natural and in tune with the miraculous mundane of the natural world. This is a cross-genre workshop in which we will use various experimental techniques to shake loose and play, drawing on readings from writers like Bettina Judd, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Laurie Ann Guerrero among others.  Movement based meditation, online magnet poetry, random word generators, collage techniques, and more will lead you into a new seeing and love of the self. 

DR. RAINA J. LEÓN is an Afro-Latina writer and author of Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self (Alley Cat Books, 2019) as well as four other poetry books. She is a full professor of English Education at Saint Mary’s College of California and founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online journal of Latinx arts. Her fourth book of poetry, black god mother this body, is forthcoming from Black Freighter Press in 2022. She is currently working on a hybrid manuscript that explores black feminism, mothering, and resistance in and to the academy.

Raina received her BA in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University (2003), MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College Columbia University (2004), MA in Educational Leadership from Framingham State University (2014) and PhD in Education under the Culture, Curriculum and Change strand at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (2010). She recently completed her MFA in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California (2016).

She has received fellowships and residencies with the Obsidian Foundation, Community of Writers, Montana Artists Refuge, Macdowell, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale, among others. She seeks out communities of care and craft and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, and Macondo.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Kim Noriega
The Well Turned Poem

Saturday, June 18th 10:00a CST

The turn—sometimes called the swerve, the twist, the pivot, or in a sonnet, the volta—is a significant shift in rhetorical and/or dramatic trajectory in a poem. It’s that moment of acceleration when the poem careens around a blind curve then lifts off the page, rocketing us into another dimension. It is, says poet-novelist Kim Addonizio, “the leap from one synapse to another, one thought to a further thought, one level of understanding or questioning to being in the presence of the mystery.“

In this workshop, we’ll explore the power of the turn with an emphasis on structure, rather than form or genre. We’ll study specific poetic structures—such as elegiac, emblematic, and the mid-course turn—as a means to writing poems that do indeed turn, leap, and swerve, in short, poems that move/us. We’ll read example poems that utilize these structures, then, we’ll write together and share our results. Each participant will receive a link to the poems studied during the workshop as well as a list of other poems to explore. Additionally, participants are invited to send poems written during the workshop to the facilitator for individual feedback within one month of the workshop.

KIM NORIEGA is the author of "Name Me", the title poem of which was a finalist for the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in textbooks, journals, and anthologies including: American Life in Poetry, Paris-Atlantic, Split Lip, and The Tishman Review. She was the winner of San Miguel Literary Sala’s Flash Nonfiction Prize, a finalist for the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize, and one of 30 poets selected to collaborate with 30 film artists as a part of the 2018 Visible Poetry Project.

Kim recently retired from a 30-year career with San Diego Public Library as the head of its family literacy program. She is a Teaching Artist and Writing Mentor with the Poetry Barn and President of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit, AIM Higher. She is a certified facilitator of the Creative Regeneration Process and an expert consultant in Family Literacy with the Pacific Library Partnership.

Kim is passionate about writing, teaching, wolf recovery, and the well being of feral cats. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Ernie, and—you guessed it—a clowder of cats. For more about Kim’s work and her offerings visit kimnoriega.com.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Gauri Awasthi
Coming Soon

Saturday, August 20th 10:00a CST

Details coming soon.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35


Freesia McKee
The Poetic Line

Saturday, January 22nd, 10:00a CST

As artists, our most foundational tools can be the ones most difficult to use. Case in point: the poetic line. Together, we will conduct experiments in poetic lineation to determine the range of powerful ways lineation changes a poem. This interactive, anti-racist craft session is designed for poets of all skill levels, experiences, and poetic goals. 

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.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35


Maria Nazos
Sorry, Not Sorry: Curses, Confessions, & Apologies for Things You're Secretly Glad You Did

Saturday, April 9th 10:00a CST

How do we interrogate meanness, retribution, and anger in our poems? How do we turn rage into light and heat? This virtual craft talk will investigate how we can project our unflinching humanity on the page while remaining likable. We’ll explore various poets who manage to get away with risky confessions, potentially volatile statements, and controversial revelations, all the while asking ourselves, what keeps us as distant readers engaged? When are we turned off? Is there a way we can ethically invoke shock, discomfort, AND compassion toward ourselves, our subjects, and our readers? The last half hour of class will then be devoted to creating our own ethical “mean-person” on the page through a series of guided writing prompts. We’ll have a wonderful time! 

MARIA NAZOS' poetry, essays, and translations are published in The New Yorker, American Life in Poetry, Cherry Tree, Birmingham Review, North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Copper Nickel, Florida Review, Rosebud, TriQuarterly, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She served for several years as the editorial assistant for the former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and his nationally syndicated newspaper column.

Her work has been widely anthologized, including appearing in What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump, edited by Martín Espada (2020 Northwestern University Press) and Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, edited by  Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (2016, Lost Horse Press.)

A Pushcart nominee, Maria is the author of A Hymn That Meanders (2011 Wising Up Press) and the chapbook Still Life (2016 Dancing Girl Press). Maria has received scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Kimmel Harding Nelson Foundation, the University of Nebraska, where she took her PhD in Creative Writing, and the Vermont Studio Center. She lives with two crazy cats and a patient husband in Lincoln, Nebraska. You can find her website here.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Holly Lyn Walrath
Journaling for Poets

Saturday, July 9th 10:00a CST

Poets are observers. One way to keep track of your observations and ideas is through a writing journal. In this workshop, we'll cover the basics of journaling for poets, not just as a method of processing and keeping track of your thoughts, but as a method of improving your writing life and working towards a career as a writer.
In this workshop, you'll cover how to manage large ideas or projects, track submissions, create goals, revising, and more, all while exploring popular methods of journaling to find the one that works for you. If you feel out of sorts or disorganized in your writing life, this workshop is for you!

HOLLY LYN WALRATH is a writer, editor, and publisher. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Analog, and Flash Fiction Online. She is the author of several books of poetry including "Glimmerglass Girl (2018), "Numinose Lapidi" (2020), and "The Smallest of Bones" (2021). She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master's in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. 

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Kwame Dawes
What Art Can Teach the Poet

Saturday, February 19th 10:00a CST

Poets over the centuries have found value and challenge in dialoguing with the work of painters, photographers, sculptors and other artists who find expression through the physical image. It is a challenge because the poet trades in words—in the abstraction of words.  Many poets in the past didn't have access to art unless it was available in museums and other centers close to them.  Today, technology has given us access to great artwork from the past and in the present moment and from all over the world.  As Nebraska poets, there may be a great deal we can learn from the art of the Midwest which has a long tradition.  French novelist, Marcel Proust, made some provocative and helpful comments on art in his insanely long opus, A La Reserche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time): “It is only through art that we can escape from ourselves and know how another person sees a universe which is not the same as our own and whose landscapes would otherwise have remained as unknown as any there may be on the moon.” There is something richly complex about the strange combination of empathy and self-awareness, which strikes me as important to poets—how we can be native and alien to ourselves and to others and how productive that can be for poets.  This workshop will devote itself to writing in response to art—seeking language that can live up to the brilliance of great art.  The workshop will combine some useful considerations of technique and strategy with actual writing time and the time to share. 

KWAME DAWES is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, Nebraska was published in 2019. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and George W. Holmes University Professor at the University of Nebraska.  He teaches in the Pacific MFA Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  His awards include an Emmy, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Nora Magid Award and the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. In 2021, Kwame Dawes was named editor of American Life in Poetry. In 2021, Dawes was nominated for the Neustadt Prize.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35


Matt Mason
Metaphor & Simile are Like, Ummm, the Batteries that Make a Poem (or any description) Run

Saturday, May 14th 10:00a CST

We all KNOW that metaphors and similes are important for poetry, we all had to learn that in high school. But they're also great for speeches and really any description you might use in life. In this workshop we'll go a little deeper than being tested on which one uses "like" or "as" and which doesn't. We'll talk about what they bring to a description, how we can make them work more effectively in what we communicate. And also, they're fun to play with and useful, too, beyond just poetry.

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."

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

Writing by the Lake

Muse Maintenance

Bi-Monthly on the 2nd & 4th

Wednesday 6:30p-7:30p

Join us for a virtual gathering of fellow poets of all levels that inspires and motives each other toward our personal writing goals. Think of this as your bi-monthly jolt of confidence for hitting your writing goals mixed in with a little fun. Free and open to all members.

After you RSVP, you will receive a "thank you" with the zoom link information on it.


Nebraska Poetry Society

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The Nebraska Poetry Society is a non-profit 501c3 organization.