SPECTRA features innovative & award-winning poets from across the country with Quad Cities-based poets & writers at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Avenue Rock Island, IL), unless otherwise indicated.


SPECTRA Reading Series Celebrates National Poetry Month with Readings and Workshops featuring Acclaimed Poets jamie mortara and Gale Marie Thompson

SPECTRA: jamie mortata & Gale Marie Thompson
Readings – Friday, April 27 at 8:00 p.m. (Open Mic 7 – 8 p.m.)
@ Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL)
Workshops – Saturday, Saturday 28 at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
@ Midwest Writing Center (ground floor, Rock Island Public Library, 401 19th St. Rock Island, IL)


The SPECTRA Reading Series returns to Rozz-Tox on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 to celebrate National Poetry Month with two acclaimed writers—jamie mortara and Gale Marie Thompson. They will be the featured poets at SPECTRA on April 27, and will be joined by several Quad City-based writers, including poet Aubrey Barnes, who will be releasing a new limited-edition broadside at the event.

jamie mortata: “Underpinning Mortara’s games and science fiction gloss, there is a beating heart and an aching vulnerability that is powerful to witness.”
Publisher’s Weekly (review of Some Planet)

Gale Marie Thompson: “Yet in Thompson’s language—often declarative, sometimes questioning—nothing is ever pedestrian, the commonplace elevated instead to an almost eerie calm that belies the friction underneath.”
Rain Taxi (review of Soldier On)

The Out Loud Open Mic will precede SPECTRA, running from 7-8pm. Interested performers can sign-up prior to the start of Out Loud, and will have 5 minute sets to share their original poems, stories, songs, jokes, and whatever else. SPECTRA will start at 8pm, immediately after the Out Loud Open Mic, and will be free and open to the public. There is a $5 suggested donation to support touring writers.

Then, on Saturday, April 28, mortara and Thompson will lead poetry workshops at the Midwest Writing Center. The workshops are free for high school and college students. Full pricing info and workshop descriptions are listed below. Call or email MWC to register, or register using the PayPal link below.

Poetry Workshops – Registration
What school do you attend?

Please contact Ryan Collins at Midwest Writing Center for more information:
(309) 732-7330 |

Bios for mortara and Thompson

jamie mortara (pronouns: they/them/their) is a queer poet, performer, publisher, organizer, and artist. They grew up in New Jersey and have learned to stop apologizing for it. jamie is author of the poetry collection some planet (YesYes Books) and the interactive fiction collection small creatures / wide field (tNY Press). Three of their DIY zines are indie bestsellers and the others are likely scattered to the winds somewhere. Jamie is founder of the audio poetry magazine Voicemail Poems, a National Poetry Slam competitor, and has performed in 29 states and counting. jamie holds an MFA from UNCW, is a proud Capricorn, and a recipient of mail.

Gale Marie Thompson the author of Soldier On (Tupelo Press, 2015) and two chapbooks. Recent work may be found in Gulf Coast, Guernica, jubilat, Cosmonauts Avenue, Colorado Review, and Foundry, among others. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She is the founding editor of Jellyfish Magazine and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she teaches at Grand Valley State University. You can find her online at and @thegalester on Twitter.  

Workshop Descriptions for April 28

“For Crying Out Loud – Finding power on page and stage”
Instructor: jamie mortara
Time: 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Saturday, April 28

We’ll be discussing the oral and performative traditions of poetry, the practical tools of memorization and stage presence, and the empowerment of speaking your truth as loud as you can.

“Taking Alternative Routes: Writing and Discovery”
Instructor: Gale Thompson
Time:  12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28

Do you feel like writing a poem is sometimes a battle of the wills? That you’ve got one idea for a poem, but it’s got other ideas, and a mind of its own? Are you struggling with taking risks, or letting go of control? “When I make the mistake of imagining how a whole poem should unfold, I immediately want to destroy that plan,” James Tate has written. “Nothing should supplant the true act of discovery.” This workshop is about that act of discovery—about finding and trusting alternate routes, through language and logic, in order to let the poem take over. We will learn how to stop trying to write exactly the thing we envision. We will learn how taking risks might yield more interesting and astonishing discoveries you never intended or even knew you were capable of! As Tate said, “We know Columbus did not set sail for America. But what he got was not so bad.”

The 2018 season of SPECTRA manifests thanks to the generous support of the Regional Development Authority, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and Joe Chambers and Wells Fargo Advisors.


SPECTRA manifests thanks to the generous support of
the Regional Development Authority and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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