Below you will find a list of upcoming workshops in chronological order. Click on the title of the workshop, and the link will take you to the page where you can get complete info and register online (please note: you do not need a PayPal account to register online).

Please check back as we’ll be updating this page with more workshops as we get more scheduled. For more information on any of these workshop offerings, please contact Ryan Collins,

Generative Writing Workshop: Poetry in Nature

Poetry Workshop led by Aubrey Ryan | Presented by Nahant Marsh Education Center and MWC

When: April 16, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM CT

Where: Nahant Marsh Education Center (4220 Wapello Ave, Davenport, IA 52802)

Cost: $15.00 for members | $20.00 for non-members

Register today via the Nahant Marsh Website:

Description: The poet Mary Oliver writes that our instructions for living life are to “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” In this workshop, participants will take time to pay attention to and be astonished by Nahant Marsh. We will explore a variety of generative writing techniques and poetry forms with a goal of finding our favorite ways to tell of our astonishment. This workshop is for any and all skill levels.

Instructor Bio: Aubrey Ryan is the author of CHOIR (MWC Press) and Good Beast (Phantom Limb Press). Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, DIAGRAM, Pinwheel, Hobart, and elsewhere. Aubrey lives in Iowa with her family and a garden.

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This event is presented as a part of Illinois Humanities’ annual Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards. This annual youth poetry competition honors the legacy of Illinois’ own Gwendolyn Brooks: renowned poet, author, and the first Black Pulitzer Prize winner. Each and every one of the young poets who take part in this competition is a part of that legacy. Brooks summed up the contest best in a note in 1977: “All the children who entered the contest are winners… They worked hard. They created. And that is what is important.”

Learn more and submit a poem at


Many terrific poems create a certain magic where the language transforms a large thing into something small and personal or takes a small thing and expands into something large and universal.

In this workshop, we’ll look at some examples of such magical poems (including poems by Gwendolyn Brooks); then, we’ll write our own poems, using our five senses, our memories, and our feelings. We will close the workshop by sharing our poems and look ahead to writing new ones.

Students will be invited to submit their poems to the Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards, a statewide youth poetry competition founded by Gwendolyn Brooks herself when she was Illinois’s poet laureate. Illinois Humanities has been proud to present the competition since 2017.

These workshops will be divided into two age groups: grades K-6 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and grades 7-12 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. They will be hosted at the Midwest Writing Center by Executive Director Ryan Collins. Food and drinks will be provided.

This event is free and open to students in grades K through 12, but space is limited.
Please visit the Illinois Humanities website to register.