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News & Reviews
Submit local poetry news, reviews you've written of stuff you liked or hated, other strong opinions, gossip whether relevant or scandalous to:


Wisconsin Writes
MADISON —The Department of Public Instruction is filling a void in the world of educational materials thanks to a collaborative project involving DPI staff and more than a dozen authors from around Wisconsin. The video series, called “Wisconsin Writes,” features walk-throughs of the writing process by each author and a look at their typical work day. Each author who agreed to participate appears in two types of videos. First, they demonstrate their writing process by moving forward on an actual piece they were working on. The second element, a straightforward interview, gives students advice on writing and a sense of what it’s all about. Featured writers include the state’s poet laureate, Kimberly Blaeser of Burlington, poetry, Wisconsin Poet Laureate, “Goodbye to All That.” Numerous other writers from throughout the state donated their time to help students understand writing.

2015 Isthmus Haiku Contest results:

6/10/15: Juan Felipe Herrera Named U.S. Poet Laureate:

Urban Spoken Word Collective, the third-Thursday slam and poetry reading at Genna's on the Capitol square, was named one of Madison's best ways to live it up on a budget.

The poems from Bridge I, II, III, and IV are now up on the Chazen website:

Calls for Submissions

2016 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Student Poetry Contest is open:
Deadline January 16.

2016 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Muse Contest is open:
Deadline February 1.

2016 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Contest is open:
Deadline February 1.

2015–16 Bus Lines Call For Poetry
Metro and the Madison Poets Laureate invite you to send short poems, haiku, prose poems, or excerpts from longer poems, 3-5 lines total, to the Bus Lines Call for Poetry. Submissions can be made in English, Spanish or even Spanglish! The theme this year is "Write Your Madison." Help us see what you see and hear what you hear. Share your poetry stories about Madison with the thousands of passengers who share the bus with you every day. Select poems will be chosen to appear on Metro promotional materials.
Featured poems will be chosen from the following categories:
Elementary Students, Middle School Students, High School Students, and Adults (18+).
Submissions can include up to (3) poems. Students should include their name, school, grade and sponsoring adult if under 18. Please also include a contact phone and/or email for both the student and sponsoring adult. Adult entrants should include their name, phone and email address.
Please send entries to or mailed to:
Metro Transit, Attn: Bus Lines Poetry, 1245 E. Washington Ave., Suite 201, Madison, WI 53703.
Entries must be submitted by January 31, 2016. All submissions are final.

February 1 Deadline—Poetry Speaks: An Open Call
2016 marks MMoCA’s 115th anniversary and 10th year in its Cesar Pelli-designed facility, which opened in April 2006. To observe the occasion, the museum will plan a series of events and programs to be held on April 8, 9, and 10. For the weekend-long celebration, MMoCA invites poets to submit works that animate, celebrate, and deliberate on the value of the arts to a community. Sarah Sadie Busse and Wendy Vardaman, proprietors of Cowfeather Press and Madison’s fourth Poets Laureate, will choose poems for presentation. The poems will screen throughout the weekend on a large-scale video monitor in the museum’s lobby; a selection will be professionally audio-recorded for broadcasting in the museum and out onto State Street. A printed portfolio of all submitted poems will be available for review.
To submit a poem for Poetry Speaks:
Poems must be received no later than 5 pm on February 1, 2016. Poems should be sent to or by mail to Sheri Castelnuovo, curator of education, MMoCA, 227 State Street, Madison WI 53703.
Poems should be submitted as a single-spaced, left-justified document, unless variation from this standard is required to maintain the integrity of the work.
The poet’s name, telephone number, address, and email address must be included with the poem.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council awards grants for public humanities programs, which deepen our understanding of life, culture and society through reflection and conversation rooted in the study of history, literature and other branches of the humanities. Our grants are offered to non-profits and ad hoc committees for programs—and many of them involve poetry! Our grants are up to $10,000.00 in seven different cycles throughout the year, and giving grants to small communities in Wisconsin is one of our top priorities. Programs we have helped to bring to fruition include a poetry festival by The Friends of Lorine Niedecker in Fort Atkinson, a workshop and reading featuring Todd Boss at the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua, and a Native American reading series in Lac du Flambeau. Learn more about how your own local community can be aided in providing poetic programming to the general public by checking out the WHC grant guidelines, and calling Shoshauna Shy at (608) 262-0706. Upcoming events statewide that we have helped with financial support at

Awards & Publications

March 25, 2015: Wisconsin Writers Award Winners announced by CWW
The Council for Wisconsin Writers is proud to announce the winners and honorable mentions for this year’s Wisconsin Writers Awards. Winners of the Wisconsin Writers Awards for work published in 2014 will each receive $500 and a week-long writing residency at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point. Honorable mentions will receive $50. Out-of-state judges made the decisions for each award.

The Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award goes to Chloe Krug Benjamin of Madison for The Anatomy of Dreams (Atria/Simon & Schuster). There was no honorable mention this year.

John Hildebrand of Eau Claire is the winner of the Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award for The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac (Wisconsin Historical Society Press). Tom Pamperin of Chippewa Falls receives honorable mention for Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis) Adventures in a $300 Sailboat (Cedar Street Press).

Sean Bishop of Madison is the winner of the Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award for his book The Night We’re Not Sleeping In (Sarabande Books). Honorable mention goes to Angela Sorby of Milwaukee for The Sleeve Waves (UW Press).

Double Exposure (Sky Pony Press) by Bridget Birdsall of Madison is winner of the Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award. Janet Halfmann of South Milwaukee receives honorable mention for Animal Teachers (Blue Apple Books).

Margaret Benbow of Madison is the winner of the Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction with “Joe Szabo and the Gypsy Bride” (The Antioch Review). Liam Callanan of Milwaukee is the recipient of an honorable mention for “Exhibit A” (Commonweal).

Catherine Jagoe of Madison is the winner of the Kay W. Levin Short Nonfiction Award for her essay “A Ring of Bells” (Gettysburg Review). Patti See of Chippewa Falls receives honorable mention for her essay “Hunter’s Mother” (The WayFarer).

The Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award for five individual poems goes to Cathryn Cofell of Appleton. Honorable mention goes to DeWitt Clinton of Shorewood.

The winner of the $250 CWW Essay Award for Young Writers is Kade Byrand of Sheboygan, a sophomore at IDEAS Academy in Sheboygan for his essay “Shadow Dad.” Honorable mention goes to Erica Howe of Readstown, a junior at Viroqua Area Public School, for her essay “Narrowing it Down.”

CWW’s biennial award, the $500 Christopher Latham Sholes Award, recognizes a Wisconsin resident for his or her outstanding encouragement and support of Wisconsin writers. This year’s winner is Daniel Goldin, the owner of Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee.

The public is invited to celebrate Mr. Goldin and our state’s fine writers at the CWW’s Awards Banquet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. Banquet tickets must be reserved by Tuesday, May 12.

More information about the winners, judges, banquet registration, and the Council for Wisconsin Writers can be found at

Motherlung, by Lisa Marie Brodsky, has been published by Salmon Poetry.

"Lisa Marie Brodsky's poems are like a knife cutting away subcutaneous fat to reveal the abnormal tissue that needs to be excised before the healing can begin. Motherlung, in its quiet emotive passion, chronicles the tenuous strength of the mother- daughter relationship in terms so stark and final it leaves the reader gasping for breath at the end of each poem … and understanding at the end of each life. These poems will stay with you, a perpetual guiding play of light and shadow over the soul." —James P. Roberts

Reviews: submit brief opinions or reactions to poets or poems you read or hear for the benefit of those who might not have encountered them. More unsolicited reviews would be welcome—about or by Madison-area poets, please.

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