Nov. 8 Poetry Roundtable – Registration Closed!

If you were planning to attend the Nov. 8 poetry roundtable but hadn’t yet registered — oh, no! We’ve closed registration for the event. If you hadn’t previously communicated with Kathi, please do not plan to drop-in on this month’s activity.

A full calendar of events for 2018 is forthcoming, so look for the next series to be released shortly.

The Michigan Poet GLCL Benefit Contest

Submit here:


Ends on December 1, 2017

Multiple price options

Proceeds go to support The Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters, a literary non-profit in Grand Rapids, MI. The winning poem will be featured on a special edition Michigan Poet broadside. The winning poet will be invited as the guest of honor at a benefit reading at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, MI with guest judge Robert Fanning, and take home a cash prize of $500.


Entry fees are set in intervals of $10. Submit poems no longer than 25 lines. No previously published work or simultaneous submissions. Submit all poems in a single document. This contest is being judged blind. Do not include your name in the file you upload for your submission. Poets are encouraged to consider the broadside medium when submitting their work. Poets will be expected to pay their own travel expenses to attend the reading in their honor (Grand Rapids, MI) Poets who do not wish to attend the reading may still submit work. If a poet chooses not to attend, the winning poem will be read by the guest judge Robert Fanning.

Normally, The Michigan Poet only considers work from poets living at least half the year in Michigan. However, as this contest is a fund raiser, we *will* accept submissions from poets living anywhere in the world for this contest. Submit carefully – no refunds will be issued.

About our guest judge:

Robert Fanning is the author of six poetry collections, including four full-length collections: Severance(Salmon Poetry, Ireland. Forthcoming, 2019), Our Sudden Museum (Salmon Poetry, Ireland. 2017),American Prophet (Marick Press, 2009), and The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006), as well as two chapbooks: Sheet Music (Three Bee Press. 2016), and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award, 2001). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. Recent work has also appeared on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor on NPR, and Fanning was interviewed at the Library of Congress for the nationally-syndicated radio program “The Poet and the Poem.” A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is also the founder and facilitator of theWellspring Literary Series in Mt. Pleasant, MI., where he lives with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children.

Additionally, we’ve had the pleasure of previously collaborating with Robert. His warmth and energy embody both the power of poetry as well as the heart of community. The Michigan Poet believes his voice and actions are exemplary and rings true with our mission.

RESCHEDULED: October Poetry Roundtable

The Poetry Roundtable scheduled for Oct. 12 has been rescheduled to Tuesday, Oct. 17. The event will still begin at 6:30, still be facilitated by Dierdre Fagan and still be conducted at the Kalamazoo Avenue office.

We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you at Writers Squared. If you’d like to attend the Poetry Roundtable, please register—it’s a free activity.

Writers Squared—Awards::Rewards (Oct. 12, 6:30p)

Join us for the October installment of the Writers Squared series, titled Awards::Rewards, Three Michigan Poets Read New Work (from Small, Independent Publishers). The event—which is free and open to the public, no RSVP required—will take place on Thursday, October 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the Koning Micro-Cinema at Wealthy Theatre.

Marc J. Sheehan is the author of Limits to the Salutary Effects of Upper Midwestern Melancholy, winner of the Split Rock Review Chapbook contest, and two full-length poetry collections, Greatest Hits (New Issues Press) and Vengeful Hymns (Ashland Poetry Press). A prose writer and essayist as well as a poet, his fiction has been featured on National Public Radio’s Three-Minute Fiction series as well as on the program Selected Shorts. Formerly the coordinator of writers workshops and readings through the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, he currently resides in Grand Haven.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske is the author of eight books/chapbooks, including Dominant Hand (Mayapple Press), Before the Rain (March Street Press), and the forthcoming Last Hula (Standing Rock). She is the president of Friends of Poetry in Kalamazoo (purveyor of Celery City Publications), and was awarded the Community Medal for the Arts in 2017. Her next book, Art Talks Back, is an ekphrastic project with artist Mary Hatch, due out from Caffeinated Press this fall.

Eric Torgersen is the author of, most recently, In Which We See Our Selves: American Ghazals (Mayapple Press, 2017) and seven other poetry collections, notably Good True Stories (Lynx House) and Heart. Wood. (Word Press), as well as two books of fiction—all from small presses. He has a BA in German Literature from Cornell and an MFA in poetry from Iowa. Professor Emeritus at Central Michigan University, where he taught for 38 years, he continues to serve the literary community of  Mt. Pleasant, where he lives with his wife, the quilt artist Ann Kowaleski.

This event is free and open to the public. Writers Squared is a reading/discussion series presented by Great Lake Commonwealth of Letters, a literary non-profit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Writers Squared 2017 is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author vs. Editor: Forging the Literary Life in Michigan

Join us for the September installment of the Writers Squared series, titled Author vs. Editor: Forging the Literary Life in Michigan. The event—which is free and open to the public, no RSVP required—will take place on Monday, September 18, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 122 of the Applied Technology Center (Bostwick) at Grand Rapids Community College.

Brandon James Anderson is a co-founder and senior editor at The Fly Came Near It and serves as editor of Old Northwest Review. He holds an MFA from San Diego State University and has had previous work appear in Fiction International and Web Del Sol Review of Books. A native of Flint, Michigan, he currently resides with his wife in the town of Fenton.

K.M. Zahrt is the author of two novels, The Nature of Plots and Odd Man Outlaw, and the short-story collection Thanksgiving with Pop-Pop. He is also an editor at Old Northwest Review where he has contributed interviews with Emmy Award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry, and New York Times bestselling author Thomas C. Foster. He lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

This event is free and open to the public. Writers Squared is a reading/discussion series presented by Great Lake Commonwealth of Letters, a literary non-profit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Writers Squared 2017 is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



Jot Writers’ Conference

The fall Jot Writers’ Conference will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 15, at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. Attendance is free and no RSVP is required.

This event features author and illustrator Laurie Keller, author and editor Paul Kent Muckley, and poet Emily Van Houten. The event will also see the release of Jot That Down: Encouraging Essays for New Writers, edited by A.L. Rogers and published by Caffeinated Press.

This conference celebrates its 10th anniversary of providing several TED-style talks from writers, editors, poets and illustrators — then opens the door to individual writing time to put the speakers’ advice into immediate practice.

“I, Too, Am Michigan” Voices of the Immigrant Experience

Join us on Friday, June 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Koning Micro-Cinema at Wealthy Theater (1130 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids) for the next installment of the Writers Squared series: “I, Too, Am Michigan: Voices of the Immigrant Experience.”

Speakers include:

Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq and came to the United States in 1996. Recipent of a Kresge Fellowship, the Arab American Book Award, and the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing, Mikhail is the co-founder of Mesopotamian Forum for Art and Culture in Michigan. She currently works as an Arabic special lecturer at Oakland University. Her books include The Iraqi Nights, Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea, and The War Works Hard.

Jennifer Clark is co-editor of Immigration & Justice For Our Neighbors (Celery City Books), an anthology of multicultural writing published in collaboration with Justice For Our Neighbors-Kalamazoo, and the author of Necessary Clearings (Shabda Press). Her second poetry collection, Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman, is forthcoming from Shabda Press.

Hedy Habra was born in Egypt and is of Lebanese origin. She is the author of two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes and Tea in Heliopolis (winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award) and a collection of short fiction, Flying Carpets (finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award). A recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Awards, she has a passion for painting and teaches Spanish at Western Michigan University.

This event is free and open to the public. Writers Squared is a reading/discussion series presented by Great Lake Commonwealth of Letters, a literary non-profit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Writers Squared 2017 is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Replacement for Hub hours

We are partnering with Caffeinated Press to offer an alternative place for quiet writing. GLCL members may use free writing space at Caffeinated Press offices at 3167 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Suite 104, GR 49508.  Their telephone is 888-809-1686.  Please check their Facebook page at or the online calendar for available hours at

A Fresh Coat of Paint!

Thanks for your patience over the last few days as we’ve tweaked our website to meet GLCL’s needs for many years into the future. As we continue to evolve in this fifth year of our existence, we’re focusing on improvements that will help you — the members of our local literary community — to grow as literary citizens.

Want to stay engaged?

  • Donate to the GLCL. Every contribution helps us to advance our shared mission.
  • Visit the Water Cooler, our online community discussion forum. (Of course, if you’re a GLCL member, you’ll have access to members-only forums and related content.)
  • Check out the Events calendar.
  • Sign up for one of our newsletters (see the “Hot Off the Press!” widget to your right).
  • Add our blog’s feed to your favorite newsreader.
  • Reach out to us through our new Contact Us form.

We’re still migrating our current memberships into this new platform; stay tuned for instructions. Our new membership-management capability will streamline the ordering and renewal process, as well as provide you with more options for supporting GLCL’s mission.

We are still fine-tuning some parts of this new website, so we welcome your help in finding and squashing occasional bugs. Use the Contact Us form to leave your feedback.

On this first day of spring, with bright sun and warm(ish) air, it just feels like all things are new again. We hope you’ll “spring” into this new website, knowing it’s just the first of several steps your new board of directors is taking to advance the GCLC’s mission of encouraging, promoting and celebrating the literary endeavors of writers in the Great Lakes region.

Thanks for your support!