Monday, April 6, 2020

#MichiganWriters April 2020 Newsletter


April 2020 Newsletter 

Happy National Poetry Month!

Everything and nothing is happening all at once. We at Michigan Writers hope that this message finds you well, safe, sane, and snug in the comfort of your home. 

Normally, this newsletter has a good number of writerly events for you to attend in person. This month, even though we are all homebound, there is no shortage of things to get involved in, so keep reading below and follow the links to some excellent activities to keep you busy and inspired.

First, there are some announcements from Michigan Writers: our chapbooks winners, scholarship winners, news about the new Dunes Review issue, and a new publication opportunity for the writing you are (hopefully) doing while you are stuck at home.

Then you will find the usually monthly reading list, some excellent activities, resources, free courses, and sources for inspiration and exploration. There are even a few virtual events to attend.

So take a look, and return often to this list whenever you have the itch for some writing inspiration.

Be well, stay safe, & Keep Writing!

Michigan Writers News & Events

MW Cooperative Press Chapbook Contest Winners!

Michigan Writers Cooperative Press (MWCP) is pleased to announce the winners of our annual chapbook contest. This year we will be publishing two new authors, Ryan Shek and Kathy Rabbers

Ryan is the author of the short fiction collection, Bluetongue and Other Michigan Stories.

Kathy is the author of the poetry collection, The Mountain Ash.

Both books will be published in June, and we hope to celebrate them at our usual launch event at Interlochen Center for the Arts, pending the condition of the current public health emergency.   

Bluetongue was selected by Hadley Moore. Hadley's collection Not Dead Yet and Other Stories won Autumn House Press's 2018 fiction contest and was longlisted for the 2020 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection.

Of Bluetongue, Hadley Moore praises: 

I knew from the first few lines that I was going to like this manuscript. There is a strong sense of place in these stories, portraying Michigan in all its natural beauty—and all the loneliness its stretches of wilderness can beget. As a reader, I have two major requirements: (1) to be engaged—caught up in the pure Then what happened? pleasure of a story—and (2) to be dazzled at the sentence level. These stories more than fulfilled both. The three linked pieces in Bluetongue and Other Michigan Stories are unblinking, and in their honesty they are satisfying but also heartbreaking.

The Mountain Ash was selected by Fleda Brown. Fleda's tenth collection of poems, The Woods Are On Fire: New and Selected Poems, was chosen by Ted Kooser for his Contemporary Poetry Series from the University of Nebraska Press. 

Of The Mountain Ash, Fleda praises: 

"I'm new here," begins the first poem in Kathy Rabbers' The Mountain Ash. Each poem in this rich collection carries that same wide-eyed quality. Here is a life in poems, told simply, but nothing is simple seen with such awareness. The image of a young girl who is "too young to know sadness," but still chokes on the memory of her mother with an unknown man at the beach. The same mother tries to plant a mountain ash tree and fails, as her marriage is failing, and yet she teaches her daughter to love words. Darkness and wisdom are threaded through these poems. In "Fifth Grade Daydream," my favorite in this collection, the classroom fills with water which reveals at last the beauty of every detail, and brings a "wisdom beyond the fifth grade." These poems manage to live gracefully in both worlds, the always-new past and the wise present.

Congratulations to Ryan and Kathy, and thank you to the members of Michigan Writers, who make make the publication of these new voices possible. 

Scholarship Winners

We recently held our annual scholarship raffle for members. The lucky winners this year are Nancy Parshall, Linda Hahn, and Maureen Connelly. 

Congrats Nancy, Linda, and Maureen! 

Scholarship winners can use their awards toward tuition to the Interlochen Writers Retreat, or to other approved writers retreats, conferences, or workshops. Be on the lookout for our next scholarship opportunity later this year. 
Dunes Review
Coming Soon!

The new issue of Dunes Review is almost here! Given the current situation, we are foregoing a public launch event until later. 

Members can expect their copies of Dunes Review to arrive in May. 

Dunes Review 

Fall 2019

Available Now


Send Us Your New Writing -- Another Opportunity for Publication with Michigan Writers

Love (and Other Thoughts) in the Age of Coronavirus

Are you writing?

Many of us writers — most of us, probably — have at some point wished fervently for just a little bit of solitude to get a little writing done. If the world would just slow down, we lamented. If we just had a little peace and quiet, unbothered by the cacophony of a hurried and harried modern life.


If you've been writing about your life during this strangest of Strange Times — or if you'd like to have a good reason to focus so that you can write — we would like to offer a place to share that writing electronically, in a section we'll be creating on the Michigan Writers website. We'll be curating submissions that focus upon reflections and narratives that may help all of us to feel more together through this global event —  as together in spirit as we must remain separate in body. 

We'd like to invite shorter pieces of prose and poetry that invite readers into a shared experience. Our purpose is communal and egalitarian, which is why we discourage politics, polemics and pontifications. We encourage writing about actual experience, rather than abstractions such as political or economic theory. 

These pieces are for online reading where brevity is a blessing, so please limit prose to no more than 2,000 words. Poets especially should be aware that complex print formatting does not translate well to web formatting.

Please send only original work, and since we are aiming to encourage you to write, please send new rather than repurposed work. By submitting, you grant us the right to publish your work on the web, but you will retain all other rights. 

To submit, please send, as email attachments:

  1. Your submission, in Microsoft Word (.DOC or .DOCX) or RTF format;

  2. A bio of yourself of 75 words or fewer; and

  3. A photograph to accompany the bio. 

Direct email to Daniel Stewart, We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Get Involved

If you are interested in becoming more involved in Michigan Writers, please reach out to us and let us know a bit about yourself and how you'd like to be involved. Contact:
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April Reading List 

Stop what you are doing. Click through and read. 

Essay: Paul Theroux: "Paul Theroux Recalls a Fear-Filled Lockdown"

Fiction: Italo Calvino: "The Daughters of the Moon"

Poetry: Alicia Ostriker: "April" & "After the Shipwreck"


Activities for Writers,
While We Shelter in 

Here is a compilation of resources for writers that can give you inspiration while you are staying home and helping keep everyone safe:

Crosshatch Artist Emergency FundDonate or Apply for emergency funding support for working artists. 

Poetry Postcards: Start with your own first-draft poems,  write them directly onto postcards, and then send them to people. You will also get poems in the mail too. Find out more here: 

Ekphrasis: Visit an art museum, browse their collection online, and write some art-inspired poems, stories, or essays. Here are a few: Art Institute ChicagoMoMASFMOMA 

Journal for Joy: A free course to from April 1 - 30 to explore the power of journaling for clarity, stress busting & personal growth--in 5 minute bursts.

Yale Happiness CourseThe Science of Well-Being. Online and free to enroll. Increase happiness and build more productive habits.  

National Parks ServiceFind your virtual park. Take a virtual tour of a national park. Write a travel essay about your experience.

Met OperaStream Operas for free each night from the world's greatest opera house.

Smithsonian InstitutionExplore online exhibits from America's premiere museums. Use as inspiration for your writing project.
Book Spine Poetry

Stare at your bookshelf. Seek titles that speak to you in unexpected ways. Stack a few books to make short poems from the titles (see example in picture to the right).

Snap a picture of your best found book spine poems and share them to the Michigan Writers Facebook page.  



Heather Shumaker Virtual Events
Virtual Book Signing

Heather's adventure children's book, The Griffins of Castle Cary is celebrating its first birthday with the release of a new paperback edition. Her March book signing event at Horizon Books was cancelled, so you're invited to a Virtual Author Book Signing.

Heather signed 50 copies of her middle grade book The Griffins of Castle Cary (with gloves on!). The Griffins is a mystery adventure for kids 7-13. You can order either paperback or hardcover right now for the same price ($7.99) at Horizon. Horizon will either ship it to you (extra cost for shipping) or hand it out curbside as you drive by.

Author Video Chat

Heather has launched a new author chat aimed at kids and families during the school closure. It's called "Fiction Friday." You'll find it on YouTube:

It's a mix of writing lessons, ideas behind writing the Griffins, encouraging young authors, a few bad jokes, and more. She's planning to post a new Fiction Friday episode every week while schools are closed.

Heather Online: Please visit Heather on the web or join her newsletter.


April 9: A Free Virtual Event!
An Evening w/ Terry McMillan @ 7-9 PM

The National Writers Series brings author Terry McMillan to your home on April 9. You can use Zoom or watch on Facebook or YouTube.

McMillan, author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale, has a new book about friendship, loss and aging, It's Not All Downhill from Here. Guest host is Rochelle Riley, former columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

See image below and click link for details about a special offer--a book and dessert experience at

Order by April 3 and we'll happily drive over this bundle of deliciousness (a signed hardcover book and 12 Morsels) right to your home. Offer is limited to the first 50 people to sign up and homes within 15 miles of Traverse City.

Postponed -- April 22 event: Pam Houston

Stay tuned for info about other upcoming National Writers Series events.

Poets Meet Musicians 
Acoustic Mead Tap Room

No event this month.

We hope to see you again very soon.

Poets Meet Musicians is a free, monthly event where the public is invited to share both poetry and music. Bring some poetry or some songs to perform. Mingle with other poets, musicians, and local performers. Everyone is welcome! 

Join us for poetry, music, and good company. 

Acoustic Mead Tap Room
119 N. Maple, TC 49684
Details? Tom 231-392-6121


Member News

Congrats, David!

D. R. James's Flip Requiem is now out from Dos Madres Press. According to Anne-Marie Ooman, this chapbook "flips poetic expectations like a skilled juggler of the world's finest carnival. From meditations on aging to explorations of the future, from the beauty of the natural world to cosmic considerations, from ekphrastic (a whole section!) to experimental, from haiku to jazz, these poems reveal James's depth and incredible range. These are skilled and tender poems, both readable and surprising." Click here for more information:

Please send us your news so we can help you celebrate!

Workshops / Conferences

Glen Arbor Arts Center 
2020 Writing Workshops 

Good Reading, Good Writing

If you're a writer, you're also a reader—someone who reads not only for pleasure but to discover and analyze good writing. Karen Anderson will explore both in "Good Reading, Good Writing," May 20, 1 – 3pm. Workshop cost is $25 GAAC members and $35 nonmembers.

Criteria for good writing include: Does it matter to me? (What's at stake?) Does it move me? (What do I feel?) Does it surprise me? (Is it fresh, original, free of clichés?) Students will discuss how these criteria might be applied to their work and then draft a brief essay to implement these ideas.

Karen Anderson is a writer who lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan. She was a columnist for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 30 years and has contributed weekly essays to Interlochen Public Radio.

Personal Power Tools

Karen Anderson explores how the arts give us tools for expressing our power in "Personal Power Tools" October 14, 10 am – 12 noon. In this workshop, students will engage in discussion and visit the "Power Tools" exhibition to discover how it enlarges one's vision of personal power. Workshop cost is $25 GAAC members and $35 nonmembers.

What is personal power? When do you feel most powerful? Least powerful? What would you do if you had more power? Students in this workshop will write a brief essay to capture these important ideas.

Karen Anderson is a writer who lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan. She was a columnist for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 30 years and has contributed weekly essays to Interlochen Public Radio. 


Writing The Personal Essay And Poetry

Share ideas, look "through the lens" of poetry, and experiment with line breaks in Patricia Duffy's "Writing The Personal Essay And Poetry" August 14, 10 - 11:30 am. In this workshop, students will gather ideas for writing, learn about crafting the ideas into personal essay and poetry formats, and end with a celebration read-around. Workshop cost is $15 GAAC members and $25 nonmembers.

Students will compare the styles of poetry and essay in order to determine which voice works best for their topic of choice. Weather permitting, the class will spend a small part of the workshop outside in nature looking and note-taking for "distance" in their ideas.

Patricia Duffy is a writing instructor at Mott Community College in Flint. She is the author of the novel Give or Take, and a new poetry collection Driftwood Fire. She gains writing inspiration from Michigan cycling trails and her writer's group, Instructors as Writers.

For more information about these workshops, go to, and click on CLASSES. The Glen Arbor Arts Center is located at 6031 S. Lake St., Glen Arbor.



Contests / Publishing Opportunities

Mission Point Press

Mission Point Press, a Traverse City partnership of professionals, provides inspired editing, design and marketing services to authors across the country. We also provide ghost writing services and help for those seeking an agent. Authors who use our editorial services can publish under the MPP imprint. For Michigan-based authors, MPP now offers state-wide distribution. For more information, visit

Wayne State University Press
Made in Michigan Writers Series

The Made in Michigan Writers Series is devoted to highlighting the works of distinguished statewide writers to showcase Michigan's diverse voices. Since 2006, the series has published poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, and essays by Michigan writers with the aim of encouraging the recognition of the state's artistic and cultural heritage throughout Michigan, the Midwest, and the nation.

Click here for more details on this series

Audiobook Recording Services by
Motor City Woman Studios

Audiobooks continue to rise in popularity. The Association of American Publishers recently released a report indicating a sizable increase in audiobook sales, jumping by 37.1%, an additional $127.1 million, since 2017.

Let Motor City Woman Studios transform your book into an audiobook and increase your visibility.

Services provided include:

--Hands-on Audio Engineer

--Access to narrators

--Editing to comply with ACX Standards (must be met to be listed on Audible and Amazon)

--Reserved Studio Recording Time

--Delivery to audiobook distribution platform

For a custom quote, email


Writing Groups

Charlevoix Writers Group 

The Charlevoix Writers Group meets the third Thursday of every month
at the Charlevoix Library, 220 Clinton St. in Charlevoix from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.

This is a critique group where we (nicely but honestly) critique others' work.

The group leader is Edd Tury who can be reached at

Freelance Marketplace Writing Group -- Rochester Writers

The group meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Rochester Hills Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 2800 S. Rochester Road (just north of M59).

Different topics and guests each month, however the main conversation is always about the Business of Writing (this is NOT a critique group). 


UP Publishers & Authors Association has been building a community of authors in Michigan since 1998. Information at

Group Updates

If you are part of a public or open writers' group, please contact us to share your meeting times or to update your group's information! 


Michigan Writers Newsletter Submissions

Next Deadline: April 27, 2020    

Want something to be featured in the Michigan Writers Newsletter? Please submit your news submission to:   

Please compile your information into a succinct email of 200 words or less. Be sure to include date, time, place, and how to get more information, if necessary. Please do not direct the editor to other websites to find information. If you would like the information featured in the newsletter, include it in your email. Are you a member of Michigan Writers? Be sure to let us know. 

Email Newsletter Editor

Michigan Writers

Michigan Writers is a vibrant community of people who appreciate the written word. As a non-profit, we seek to actively foster a vital literary community by encouraging, supporting, and connecting writers of all ages with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, and publication.
Copyright © 2020 Michigan Writers, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you either joined Michigan Writers, or you opted in to our email list on our website or at an event.

Our mailing address is:
Michigan Writers
PO Box 2355
Traverse City, Mi 49685

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