Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Poetry Pantry: A Partnership in Promoting Service

Janine Harrison
On Saturday, February 23rd, First Friday Wordsmiths (FFW), the student creative writing organization at Purdue University Calumet, and Books, Brushes, and Bands for Education (BBB4E), a not-for-profit children's organization for the literary, visual, and musical arts, will co-host its fourth annual creative writing workshop for children and adults. The event is open to the public.
"Poetry Pantry: An Open Hand is an Open Heart--A Day of Poetry for Social Change," which will take place in Purdue University Calumet's Student Union Building, includes two morning workshops, lunch, an afternoon workshop, and an open mic presentation in the Y Jean Chambers theater.
According to Michelle Golden, Director of BBB4E, "Anyone who is interested in poetry has the opportunity to come with a friend or make a friend there. I see the students who enjoy writing have a way to express themselves by truly concentrating on the process while they are engaged during the workshop. They have the chance to complete a piece and get immediate, one-on-one feedback not only from an instructor but by the audience who may hear the finished written work if the participant so chooses to personally present their writing on the intimate stage at Y Jean Chambers." Golden continued, "This opportunity could be a pinnacle moment for a child--either as a performer or audience member by enjoying the work of a peer or potentially a parent who might be participating in the adult section. I think that it is very powerful to have a child watch their parent create, perform and be involved in the process of their own self-discovery. It then demonstrates lifelong learning and the importance of giving yourself permission to explore beyond the formative years. This realization may not be immediately understood by a child, but the memory of it may plant an important seed and certainly form a different kind of bond between a child and a parent."
The first two years, the workshop, which is led by FFW student and faculty members, focused upon poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, serving children from second grade to senior year of high school. Last year, the focus narrowed to poetry exclusively and over 100 pounds of dry and canned food goods were collected to donate to a local food pantry. An adult workshop was also added. The workshop will continue with the same format this year, while adding a "poetry as agent of social change" theme, and setting a higher collection goal--of 200 pounds of food to donate. Unlike the past three years, in which children have been divided into group by age, participants will register to attend three workshops whose titles and descriptions most interest them. The adult workshop, however, will remain 18 and older. Children's poetry will then be sent to the Indiana Kids' Magazine for possible publication.
The cost, which covers materials and lunch, is $20 per participant and $15 for each additional family member. Participants are also asked to bring a non-perishable food item for donation.
For registration information, please call 219-932-3232.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marketing Advice

Looking for ways to market your book? Here is some advice from author and IWC member Meggie Tolkland.

  • Consider selling your book on craigslist. It's free! The best times to post your book are just before people get paid--i.e., Friday mornings and the 15th and 30th.
  • Promoting your book on social media? Make your posts just after breakfast, when most people are checking into Facebook or Twitter to start their days.
  • Put book club discussion questions on your website--it's a great tool for marketing your book to book clubs.
  • Having difficulty reaching editors or reporters? Try contacting freelancers. They get bombarded less.
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest are all ways to market your work through your existing social network--and they're free!
Learn more about Meggie and her current book on the IWC's author, speaker, and store pages. Or visit her website at

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Poetry Pantry

First Friday Wordsmiths of Purdue University Calumet and the not-for-profit organization, Books, Brushes, and Bands for Education will be co-hosting their fourth annual creative workshop on February 23rd. Please see information below:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

IWC PoPPs Up in Northwest Indiana Schools

This is the third year that Indiana Writers' Consortium has brought its Power of Poetry Project (PoPP) into Northwest Indiana schools. The project started in one school during the 2010-2011 school year and expanded to four schools for 2011-2012. This year PoPP is serving the 4th and 5th grades in eight schools that are located in Gary, East Chicago, Crown Point, Lowell, and Winfield.

PoPP kicked off with presentations to the fourth and fifth grade classes and their teachers. The pictures show IWC members explaining the program at Williams Elementary School in Gary (above) and Timothy Ball Elementary School in Crown Point (below).

PoPP is designed to build creativity by bringing poetry into the classroom. It does this in two ways. First, IWC provides teaching resources and suggestions for using poetry to meet educational standards. Second, PoPP encourages student to write poems and participate in a contest, with the potential to see their work in print.

Each student who participates by submitting a poem or artwork receives a lapel pin, and any student whose poem or artwork is published in the PoPP book receives a copy. (The final picture shows last year's book.) First, second, and third prizes are also awarded at each grade level.

PoPP is funded by a grant from the Crown Point Community Foundation and a grant from the Lake County Community Fund of the Legacy Foundation as well as by individual and corporate donations. The most valuable resource, however, is the volunteer time and effort put in by the PoPP Committee, consisting of of Katherine Flotz, Jackie Huppenthal, Sandra Nantais, and Judy Whitcomb, and by the PoPP judges, headed by Tom Spencer.

IWC is an IRS Section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and build a community of creative writers.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

April Mentoring Retreat for Christian Writers

We just received notice that American Christian Writers is holding a mentoring retreat in Fort Wayne April 5-6. For more information, go to

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Upcoming Events

Indiana Writers' Consortium Member Meggie Tolkland will conduct a FREE workshop on all stages of publication, including publicity, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 10, at the Munster Library, which is located at 8701 Calumet Avenue in Munster, Indiana. Young people are encouraged to attend, and the workshop is open to all, regardless of the town of residence. Registration is requested; call 219-836-8450.

As previously announced, IWC's Fifth Annual Banquet will be held on October 10, 2013 with Karen Kovacik, Indiana's Poet Laureate, as the keynote speaker. She will be speaking on "Falling Through Time: Writing the Self into History." This talk is focused on fiction and nonfiction as well as poetry and has a broad appeal. Save the date so you can benefit from Karen's insights.

We would like to include your events in future posts. Just send an e-mail to several weeks in advance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Indiana Writers' Conferences

As you make your resolutions for 2013, resolve to become a better writer. One way to do that is to attend a writers' conference.

Writers' conferences increase a writer's skills and confidence, provide networking opportunities, and may include meetings with editors and agents. The beginning of the year is a good time to select the writers' conferences you plan to attend.

There are many good choices throughout the country, but this post will focus on the ones held in Indiana.

Here is a short list of conferences scheduled in Indiana during 2013. They are arranged by conference date.

  • Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a Multi-State Conference, May 3-5 in Fort Wayne. For more information, see
  • Indiana University Writers' Conference, May 26-31 in Bloomington. For more information, see
  • Midwest Writers Workshop, July 25-27 in Muncie. For more information, see
  • American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference, September 12-15 in Indianapolis. For more information, see
  • Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference, November 1-2 in Indianapolis. For more information, see This website does not currently include information on the 2013 conference, including conference dates, but it is routinely held on the first week-end in November.
Feel free to leave comments adding other conferences to this list.