Each year, Poets & Patrons hosts our workshops, led by established poets, editors, and teachers from Illinois and surrounding states

 Linda Wallin © 2017

Linda Wallin © 2017


The workshops are designed to increase skill in writing both traditional and non-traditional poetry. Unless otherwise noted, the workshops will be in room 6-N on the third floor of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois. Workshop participants are invited to join us for an optional lunch at the Panera at 501 State Street before each workshop in order to enjoy each others' company and talk about poetry generally.

Members of Poets & Patrons who have published books are invited to display them for sale at any of our workshops and/or at the reading of the winning poems from the Chicagoland Poetry Contest. Members can also list their books on our website.

Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see a list of past workshops.


June 23: A Poem in Dialogue with Another Poem: a Workshop Sponsored by Poets & Patrons, led by Jan Bottiglieri and Tony Trigilio.

On Saturday, June 23, Poets & Patrons is sponsoring a 3-hour workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Harold Washington Library (400 S. State St., Chicago, Room 3rd Floor-6N ). Reading and writing are interconnected processes. This writing prompt encourages you to read other poets with the vulnerability and openness that can allow you to be deeply influenced by your reading. Write a poem that responds to any published poem that you have read in the past year: 1) Use one line from this poem as the opening line of your poem; 2) Put quotation marks around this line (or italicize it); and 3) Cite the poet by titling your poem, "Poem Beginning with a Line by [name of poet]." The form and subject matter is up to you. Your poem's form and subject matter do not have to resemble the form/subject matter of the original poem to which you are responding. Here is an example:

Poem Beginning with a Line by Milosz

“The most beautiful bodies are like transparent glass.”

They are bodies of the selfless or of those newly
dead. What appears transparent is really flame
burning so brightly it appears like glass. What
you’re looking through is the act of giving: One
thing in life needed desperately, given to another,
or perhaps life itself. The most beautiful bodies
are not transparent, but sometimes the color
of lead, like the elephant whom a child with some
peanuts lifts by the trunk in his hand in the swirling
dust, so that it appears he has lifted a monument
or a city with all its pain. The bodies that seem
transparent are made of an ice so pure it appears
to be glass sweating, where you, desiring another,
glimpse your own face that weighs nothing and is burning.                     —by Mark Irwin, from Poetry (May 2011)

You may send one poem for critique, preferably a poem in conversation with another poem. If possible, email it to wildamorris@ameritech.net with P & P in the subject line. Otherwise mail your poem to Wilda Morris, 499 Falcon Ridge Way, Bolingbrook IL 60440-2242. Deadline: June 6. Fee: The workshop is free if you do not submit a poem. If you submit a poem for critique, there is a fee of $5 for members; $10 for non-members. If you submit a poem, you must pay the fee even if you do not attend the meeting because the poems are critiqued in advance (leader feedback will be mailed to you if you are unable to attend the meeting). Please pay at the meeting, if you attend. Otherwise, mail your check made out to Poets & Patrons to the treasurer Beth Staas, 1725 35th St. #2101, Oak Brook IL 60523. Membership dues of $20 are due at the beginning of the year, and can be also paid at the meeting. E-mail questions to Wilda. If you do not get a reply to an e-mailed poem, call Wilda at 630/739-2983 to be sure your poem was received. If you miss the deadline, email to see if your poem can still be submitted.

Tony Trigilio’s most recent collection of poetry is Inside the Walls of My Own House (BlazeVOX [books], 2016). His selected poems, translated by Bony Hernández, is forthcoming later this year from Guatemala's Editorial POE. He is the editor of Dispatches from the Body Politic (Essay Press, 2016) and Elise Cowen: Poems and Fragments (Ahsahta Press, 2014). He co-edits Court Green, and is an Associate Editor for Tupelo Quarterly. He is a Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia College Chicago.

Jan Bottiglieri lives and writes in suburban Chicago. She is managing editor for RHINO, and holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Jan’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than 40 journals and anthologies including december, Rattle, DIAGRAM and New Poetry from the Midwest. She is the author of the chapbook Where Gravity Pools the Sugar and the full-length poetry collection, Alloy (Mayapple Press, 2015). She’s working on her second full-length poetry manuscript, which centers on the 1982 film Blade Runner. Visit janbottiglieri.com.

Past Workshops   and Readings

April 28, 2018

Verbalize It: How the Best Action Word Can Enliven Your Poem

Led by Poets & Patrons workshop chair Wilda Morris, author of Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant.

February 24, 2018

Weaving Magic into Poetry


October 14, 2017

Golden Shovel Workshop

Led by Linda Wallin, president of Poets and Patrons and retired Special Education teacher.

August 26, 2017

Sonnets Are Fun!

Led by Mary Hanford, retired English professor and author of Holding to the Light (poetry), Dr. Sally’s Voodoo Man (novel), and Swimming at Villa Hugel (memoir).

June 18, 2017

Let Art Inspire Your Poetry: How to Be Ekphrastic

Led by Beth McDermott, Assistant Professor of English, St. Francis University, Joliet, and Associate Editor of RHINO

April 29, 2017

Speculative Poetry

Led by Caroline Johnson, Vice President and former President, Poets & Patrons of Chicago, and author of two chapbooks

February 25, 2017

What the Heck is a Prose Poem?

Led by Kathleen Rooney, Co-founder of Rose Metal Press and Senior Professional Lecturer,
DePaul University

October 29, 2016

Music as Muse

Led by Wilda Morris, Former President, Illinois State Poetry Society, and Workshop Chair, Poets & Patrons of Chicago

August 27, 2016

Using Fairy Tale, Myth and Legend in Your Poetry

Led by Jennifer Dotson, Program Coordinator, Highland Park Poetry, and winner of Journal of Modern Poetry Book Award

June 25, 2016

The Shape a Poem Makes

Led by Christine Swanberg, author of three books of poetry, workshop leader at The Clearing,
Door County, WI

April 23, 2016

What We Can Learn About Writing Poetry from Shakespeare

Led by William Yarrow, Professor of English, Joliet Junior College

February 27, 2016

In Praise of Praise Poems

Led by Tom Roby IV, President, Poets Club of Chicago and creator of The Poetry Wheel, and Jenene Ravesloot, author of three books of poetry

October 17, 2015

Surrealist Game Poetry

Led by Pamela Larson, poet, artist and photographer

August 22, 2015

Musical Matters

Led by Debra Bruce, Professor Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University, and Andrea Witzke Slot, prize-winning novelist, poet and essayist

June 27, 2015

Writing the Spiritual Poem

Led by Judith Valente, winner of the Aldrich Poetry Prize and a Catholic Book Award, and correspondent for PBS

April 25, 2015

Love Poetry with an Attitude

Led by Marilyn Taylor, former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin

February 28, 2015

Confessional Poetry

Led by Albert DeGenova, publisher and editor of After Hours

October 25, 2014

The Fun Art of Haiku & Senryu

Led by Charlotte Digregorio, Midwest Coordinator, Haiku Society of America and author of Haiku and Senryu: a Simple Guide for All

August 23, 2014

Ekphrastic Poetry: Writing Poetry about Other Forms of Art

Led by Donna Vorreyer, author of 5 chapbooks and two full-length manuscripts, and Cynthia Gallaher, designated by Chicago Public Library as among its “Ten Top Requested Chicago Poets”

June 28, 2014

The Short Poem

Led by William Marr, author of more than 20 books of poetry and former President, Illinois State Poetry Society, and Patrick Dunn, Associate Professor of English, Aurora University

April 26, 2017

Writing Chicago

Led by Caroline Johnson, author of two chapbooks, and Wilda Morris, author of Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant

February 22, 2014

Persona Poems

Led by Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody, Distinguished Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at Kennedy-King College, and Donna Pucciani, widely published, award-winning poet