Poetry Workshops to Inspire Beginning and Experienced Writers

Everyone is a poet at heart, whether or not they’ve discovered their innate abilities. The Northwest Cultural Council of Illinois offers a variety of workshops to help poets at all levels. The workshops, from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturdays, May 13, and June 10, will be at Palatine Public Library, 700 N. North Court, Palatine, IL.

Humor will be explored on May 13 with Poet Maureen Flannery of Evanston, IL. From the clever play on words to the laugh-out-loud line, the relief provided by humor in serious poetry renders it more enjoyable and accessible.  Participants will study the exaggerations of Poet John Dixon and the funny observations of Poet Laureate Billy Collins.  Participants are invited to bring and share one of their humorous poems for critique.

Flannery is the author of eight books of poetry, including Tunnel into Morning, Destiny Whispers to the Beloved, and Ancestors in the Landscape. Her latest book, Navigating by Expectant Stars, is a poetic response to the discovery of her parents’ wartime love letters.  She has published more than 500 poems.

Many poets turn to works of art or photography for inspiration, but is the mere description of an art piece sufficient to make a poem successful? Poets will explore ekphrastic poetry on June 10 with Poet Bill Yarrow of Lincolnwood, IL.

In Yarrow’s workshop, participants will examine classic and contemporary ekphrastic poems and discuss what elevates some above others, exploring whether principles of effective composition can also apply to works outside the ekphrastic tradition. 

Yarrow, professor of English at Joliet Junior College in Illinois and editor at the online journal, Blue Fifth Review, is the author of The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and four chapbooks. He has been nominated eight times for a Pushcart Prize.

The  “Second Saturday Poetry Workshops,” are partially sponsored by Poets & Writers in New York, The Ritzenthaler Family Foundation in Warrenville, IL and Nancy Heggem of Palatine.

The Northwest Cultural Council serves the Northwest Corridor of Metro Chicago and is a non-profit organization. It supports and promotes the work of area visual artists and poets, offering a variety of programs including corporate gallery exhibitions, co-sponsored by businesses, convention and visitors’ bureaus, libraries, and hospitals; and art and poetry competitions.

For more information, contact the NWCC, 847-382-6922.