Writers Workshop Blog

September BBQ

We are looking forward to another Writers BBQ. This year, we decided to wait a month to escape the bugs and our good pal John Capraro offered up his home for the event. This year's BBQ will occur on Saturday, September 28th between 3 - 6 p.m. The library will supply meat, corn, chips, and soft drinks; everyone attending is asked to bring a dish to pass (dessert or side). John lives right behind the library (on the south side near the employee parking lot), so you'll be able to park at the library for the afternnoon/evening. Please RSVP to Andy by calling the library (734-326-6123, ext. 2828), emailing (andy.schuck@westlandlibrary.org) or stopping in. Looking forward to a fun afternoon :)

Aug 21, 2013
June Meeting

It was poetry month at the Writers Workshop in June. Patrick contributed 3 of his nuggets to the festivities and Denise added a longer piece which she said was inspired by performance poetry. One thing I have learned about reading Patrick's work over the years is that it is never as simple as it seems. And still he surprises me with subtleties in emphasis that can change the whole meaning of the poem. For example in the short poem, "B-day", think about the many ways what we know of the relationship turns on the word "than":

I think that


Are definitely more excited about

The wedding


The groom

Denise's latest work, "Under the Influence of Depression," derived from attending a poetry reading where there was as much emphasis on the performance part as the poetry. This long-ish poem is a work that begs to be read out loud. Conversational stanzas detailing the ups and (mostly) downs of institutionalized depression are interrupted by almost schizophrenic choruses, like:







 This creates a song-like pattern, though never one that is a routine pop or blues number. If you have a chance to read this, read it to yourself first, then go into a private room and read it out loud to yourself. It's really quite wonderful.

Kudos to Cheryl Vatcher-Martin for publishing her National Novel Writing Month novella, Time Travelers, for 2012 on Create Space.

Long-time group member John Capraro has his most recent book, Reaching for Stars (Willow Moon Publishing), available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Support one of our great local writers and great guys.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, July 24th at 7 p.m. Hope to see you all there.

Jul 5, 2013
Ann Arbor Book Festival Writers Conference

This is a worthwhile conference to check out on UofM's campus on Saturday, June 22nd. Here is a link to more info about the individual sessions and authors featured:


Some great poets are featured including Patricia Smith, Kevin Coval, and Scott Beal (an Ann Arborite who runs the Open Mic at A2's Sweetwater Cafe). Some great fiction-oriented programs include "Writing with Your Ears" and "Dazzling with Dialogue." Check it out if you're able.

Jun 11, 2013
May 2013 Gathering of Writers

Check out this month's Gathering of Writers at the Plymouth Coffee Bean with poet and CMU Creative Writing professor, Robert Fanning. It's occuring this Thursday, May 16th, starting at 7:30 p.m. with an open mic (so bring your stuff, if you're interested). Cheers.

May 14, 2013
Skill Building Conference for Local Writers flyer
April Meeting

We had a spirited meeting this month as Sydney, Patrick, and Denise submitted a chapter from her novel, and poems. We all agreed that some extra writerly touches would go a long way toward making Sydney's work more publishable (descriptions, detailed actions instead of tags, and a greater sense of place), but the story has us hooked and we'd like to feel more of the conflict and mystery/history going on.

Patrick and Denise's poetry sparked the most spirited debate we've had in awhile (which is what writers ought to do, huh?). Even though Patrick's work seems off-the-cuff on first read, the language is chosen deliberately and must be read and considered before making final opinions. A couple of small changes can make all the difference- and we debated the need for some of those in our session.

Denise brought some intense imagery to her poetry, stemming from an episode of canning with her mother when she was young. It was a wrenching yet wonderful look at mother suffering a miscarriage, looked at from the perspective of a young daughter. One thing up for debate was the language of the daughter, whether she could actually say such things, but I think writers have to take some liberty in these regards since kids can't possibly put words to their feelings in these situations (and not many adults, either). Nice work, Denise!

We have our Skill Building Conference for Local Writers coming up on Saturday, May 11th from 9:30 - 3 p.m. All interested writers are asked to sign up at the library Events page here. For more info, check out the here link above.

We also had over 30 entries for our Westland Writes ... Poetry book this April and even more for our Book Title Poetry contest (lots of of kids and their parents submitted so the entries should be a lot of fun to read :) Look for our Book Release Party on Thursday, May 30th- it will be a lot of fun, even if you haven't submitted.

As always, send me an email at: andy.schuck@westlandlibrary.org if you're interested in getting more info about the Writers Workshop or would like to join. Cheers.

May 3, 2013
Emily Dickinson

A nice guide to reading Emily Dickinson and some facts you may not have known about her on this NEH page:


Apr 9, 2013
Open Mics in February

There are a couple of great Open Mics coming up at area coffee shops this week. The Westland Library's monthly Open Mic, which features singer-songwriters mainly but also comedians and poets, is happening this Thursday (2/21) at the Westland Biggby Coffee on Ford Rd. Biggby is offering discounted drink prices ($1 for sm. coffee or tea, and money off their fancier drinks).

The Plymouth Coffee Bean is also hosting their monthly Gathering of Writers, a more literary-based open mic and reading. This month's featured reader is Donna DeMeyer, a local writer and coffee aficionado.

Have fun wherever you decide to go.

Feb 19, 2013
Self-publishing 2013

This is worth a read for those of you thinking about going the self-publishing route with your work. The creator of Smashwords, an ebook community that was recently picked up by two large library systems, makes publishing (and specifically, indie and self-publishing) predictions for 2013.



Feb 2, 2013
January 2013 meeting

We had a light turnout this month but we were able to cover Chapter 3 from Jesse's 2nd book and 4 new poems from Patrick, including his "Una" series, based on his upcoming wedding (congrats to you, Mister Pat!).

First things first, though. A big congrats (!!!!) to our own John Capraro on getting his YA novel published. An e-copy will come out in February and the hard copy will be out in early March. Awesome stuff, John! Look for an author reading/signing at the library in the near future.

Back to the meeting: Patrick's wordplay is always a delight to hear (it's worth coming just to hear him read) and his draws inspiration from quirky characters, including Cool Hand Luke. Sometimes the work needs a little less backstory to understand, but all in all very enjoyable stuff.

The Japanese setting in Jesse's work has created a nice backdrop for book 2 of her epic fantasy but the constant (or inconsistent) shape-shifting had us going googly-eyed. The story is on the right track, though, and we're looking forward to future chapters.

Our Local Authors Conference (LAC) was also discussed as I am writing a Michigan Humanities Council grant to bring in famed Michigan authors like D.E. Johnson and Mardi Link. Look for more information in the coming months, but for now the event is scheduled on Saturday, May 11th.

Hope to see you all next month. So far, we have a couple of short stories from Brendan on the docket, so anyone who has attended in the past is able to submit work for our February 20th session.



Jan 25, 2013
New Poet Laureate

Congrats to Richard Blanco, the new Poet Laureate of the U.S. Here is a recent poets.org interview with Mr. Blanco, if you're interested in learning more about him or reading some of his work:


Jan 25, 2013

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