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.


Christine Swanberg has published nine books of poetry, including, THE RED LACQUER ROOM, WHO WALKS AMONG THE TREES WITH CHARITY,  THE ALLELUIA TREE, and most re-cently WILD FRUITION: SON-NETS, SPELLS, AND OTHER INCANTATIONS. 

Over 500 hundred of her poems appear in journals and anthol-ogies. An interview appears with Christine in POET’S MARKET 2008. Her poems have received three Pushcart nominations, and she has received many literary and community awards as well as Arts Council Awards for various projects. Editing and contest judging have also been a big part of Christine’s literary career.

Christine gives readings and workshops throughout the USA, most recently Palm Beach Community Center, FL; Sedona, AZ; Poetry Rendezvous in Taos, NM; and the Emily Dickinson Series in Door Country, WI. She has been a writing teacher and mentor for forty years.


Our next workshop, "Weaving Magic into Poetry," led by Christine Swanberg, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at the usual location, the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, Room 6N (Third Floor).

Have you ever listened to a poet read and been swept away by the beauty of the language? Do you ever wonder how some poetry sings while other poetry falls flat? Perhaps it is because the poet has used tools, both intuitive and cerebral, to create poetry that casts a spell on the reader or listener.

Here are some tools that we can look at:
>The poem as supposition. Starting a poem with a supposition can lend the poetry a little magical realism. Try beginning a poem with these words: Suppose, If, When, Whenever. Where might that lead?

>The poem as spell. Deliberately writing a poem as a spell can be fun and take the poem somewhere unexpected. Spells can follow naturally after suppositions. 

>The poem as incantation. What if you allow your poem to use repetition and musical word choice that lifts it above prose? Add this to your ongoing poem if it feels right. 

>Use of personal symbols. Do certain words, phrases, or symbols ever crop into your head? Have you tried using them? 

>Use of shape. Shaping a poem artistically can also add to its magic. Sometimes it’s fun to use tercets or even hexagrams.

Christine will share a few poems that have used some of these tools and help us improve the ones submitted in advance for critique. If we have time, we will each be encouraged to start writing a poem, trying something new.

Optional Workshop Assignment:  You may send one poem for critique, preferably a poem using a technique listed in the workshop description above. 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: February 4, 2018. 

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, 1634 Barnsdale  Rd. # 105, La Grange Park IL 60526. 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 Wilda to see if your poem can still be submitted.

Would You Like to Lunch with Other Poets?  Some of the poets gather at Panera, on the Southeast corner of State and Congress, between 11:30 and noon to have lunch or a cup of coffee together before the meeting. You are invited to join us there.

Halloween Open Mic at After-Words Bookstore was a success!!

The Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 reading at After-Words Bookstore in Chicago was a success! The reading took place from 6 to 8 p.m. and was a joint reading between members of the Illinois State Poetry Society and Poets and Patrons of Chicago. The theme this year was "Autumn / Halloween," and took place in a newly renovated room in the bookstore, located at 23 E. Illinois Ave., Chicago.

Tavon Briggs reads at After-Words Bookstore in Chicago on October 25.

Tavon Briggs reads at After-Words Bookstore in Chicago on October 25.

Featured poets included Judith Tullis, Marjorie Rissman, Diane O'Neill, Susan T. Moss, David Nekimken, Caroline Johnson, Tavon Briggs, Lauren Staniec, Stelle Martin, Ray Ziemer, Yashica a.k.a. Cookee, Frank Hubeny, Peter Halliday, Mary Lenox, Myron Stokes, and Diann Martin.

The bookstore, which sells new and used books, celebrated its 20th year of being in business this year. To read more about the store, click on this link: http://www.after-wordschicago.com/

We plan to have other readings in the future, so stay tuned for details.

About 25 people came to read or listen to poetry on Oct. 25, 2017 at After-Words Bookstore in Chicago. Poems centered on Halloween memories, descriptions of autumn, Chicago, politics, and more.

Past Workshops   and Readings

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