Midwest Writing Center Announces Poetry On Demand Program
Gift the gift of original poetry while supporting local writers

What: Bespoke Poems QC: Poems on Demand
When: Orders open thru the end of February
Where: Order online via the MWC website
Cost: Pay what you want starting at $20; tips encouraged for poets

This year for Valentine’s Day, MWC wants to help you give the ones you love something creative, personal, and one-of-a-kind: poems.

MWC is partnering with some of the best poets and writers in the community to offer bespoke poems, written for anyone you’d like to gift a poem. By participating in this limited-time program, you’re not only giving unique poems to people you care about, but you’re also supporting local writers and writing/literacy programs in the Quad Cities. Here’s how it works:

1. Visit the Bespoke Poetry page on the MWC website: http://www.mwcqc.org/bespoke-poems-qc/

2. Pay the fee using the PayPal link below (bespoke poems start at $20, but you can pay what you like from there—you can also leave a tip for the writers once you’ve received your poem, as poets keep 100% of tips)

3. Fill out the information form with information about the person and/or occasion the poem is to be written for, including your choice of poet (if you have one; if not, MWC will assign them)

4. MWC will send you a digital copy of the finished poem; hard copies can be mailed or picked up at the MWC offices in the Rock Island Public Library downtown branch.

5. Place your order before February 9 to get your poem before Valentine’s Day (bespoke poem program will run through February for all your special occasion and personalized gift needs).

Participating poets include Chris Britton, Emily Kingery, KayLee Chie Kuehl, Farah Marklevits, Nathan McDowell, Beth Roberts, and Philip Styrt (bios for poets available on the MWC website).   

Please contact Ryan Collins at MWC with any questions or for more info: (309) 732-7330, ryan.collins@mwcqc.org

List of Participating Poets (full bios listed below):

Chris Britton holds a BA in Youth Ministry & Adolescent Studies and an MA in Leadership in Ministry from Judson University. He served in a variety of director roles at YouthHope for over fifteen years. Now, Chris works at Thurgood Marshall Learning Center as their Digital Media & Creative Expressions Instructor. Chris lives in Rock Island with his wife, Trisha. Together they have three beautiful girls: Jada, Jordan, and Alyse.

Emily Kingery is an Associate Professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in multiple journals, and she has been both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee.She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community. 

Some representative examples of her work can be viewed at Trampoline Poetry, GASHER Journal, Cathexis Northwest Pressand Eastern Iowa Review. 

KayLee Chie Kuehl is a writer, poet, and filmmaker. As an adopted and multiracial woman, she has spent much of her life wondering where she fits. So, cultivating healing spaces has always been important to her, whether it be through her own material or in a collective. Her work focuses on race/culture, identity, and spirituality. 

Instagram: @kchiechie 
Website: https://kayleechiekuehl.com/ 

Salvatore Marici’s poetry has appeared or forthcoming in Toasted Cheese, Spillway, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Of Burgers & Barrooms (a Main Street Rag anthology), Poetry Quarterly, and more. In 2010, Marici was the Midwest Writing Center Poet in Residence. He has three books: Mortals, Nature and their Spirits (chapbook), Swish Swirl & Sniff, and Fermentations (all from Ice Cube Press). His fourth book should be out in September 2021 also from Ice Cube Press. Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, and he is a civil servant retiree as an agronomist. He is learning to maneuver a 17′ 10″ kayak through mangroves and in the Gulf. 

Farah Marklevits teaches and tutors at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and lives in Iowa with her family. Her poems are interested in language–its multiplicities of texture, tone, and meaning–as well as questions raised by gender, parenthood, and environmental impact. Her attention has also been captured by such various things as clouds, steel-cut oatmeal, aphantasia, and ticks. Farah’s writing has appeared in InterimSmartish PaceMichigan Quarterly Review, and other spaces. For more, go to www.farahmarklevits.com.

Nathan McDowell – is a Rock Island poet currently residing in Boston who uses poetry as a way of having conversations that can’t be had any other way.


Beth Roberts’ new book of poems, Like you, won the Ottoline Prize and was published by Fence Books in January 2021. Her first book, Brief Moral History in Blue, was published by New Issues in 2001. During most of the 20 years between and to this day she was/is a writer and editor working for Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Roberts is a former board member of the Midwest Writing Center. She lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Philip Styrt‘s poetry uses traditional forms of meter and rhyme to address contemporary ideas and issues, particularly in the sonnet form. His work has been published in, among others, Eastern Iowa ReviewThe Ekphrastic Review, and most recently carte blanche. He teaches English at St. Ambrose University and lives in Davenport with his wife, toddler, and toothless dog. Visit his website: 140syllables.blogspot.com