October events

Join us for an afternoon with WOTA on Thursday, October 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. in room 201 at Musser Public Library! We’re launching an afternoon meeting for those who can’t make Tuesday night or just want more WOTA in their life. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share.

We’ll meet again on Tuesday, October 16 in the board room of Musser Public Library for our regular monthly meeting. Business starts at 5:30 and the fun at 6. We’ll participate in a writing activity, share short work, and then anyone who wishes can stay for the critique group, where we discuss longer works in more detail.

If you’re looking for some inspiration this month, write a piece using these words: pumpkin, headless, shadowy, surprise.

As always, writers of any genre, any age, and any level of experience are welcome to WOTA meetings. There is a membership fee for those who want the WOTA perks (like discounts on books, access to grants and scholarships, etc.) but inquiry meetings are free.

And if you’re starting your holiday shopping, remember that books make great gifts! WOTA anthologies are available for sale on Amazon and from your favorite WOTA member.

See you soon, and happy writing!

September Meetings & Events

We’re excited to announce three ways to mingle with writers this September!

Join local writers in room 201 of the Musser Public Library on Thursday, September 6 between 1 and 3 p.m. This is an inaugural afternoon meeting designed to create a forum and supportive space for those who can’t make the regular Tuesday night meetings—and anyone who wants more WOTA in their lives.

riv to riv coverOn Saturday, September 8 join us at Muscatine’s Second Saturday as we add area authors Tom McKay and Mike Bayles to the mix of music, food, crafts, and fun on display on downtown 2d street. Stop by between 4 and 8 p.m. to greet Tom and Mike, buy and sign books, check out the new poetry anthology, and find out more about WOTA.

Then join us for our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the first-floor conference room of Musser Public Library. You’re welcome to attend the business meeting, starting at 5:30, to help us plan upcoming events. Writing exercises and activities will start at 6, and those who are interested can stay for a longer critique workshop after we all share work. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring a short work to share. See you there!

New Anthology Now Available!

Writers on the Avenue is delighted to announce the publication of our latest poetry anthology, From River to River: Thoughts on Life in the Great Bend. This beautiful collection of poetry, interspersed with captivating photography and original art, captures the natural beauty, seasons, and philosophical introspections of artists and poets who have been shaped by life near the Mississippi and the unique region known as the Great Bend.

riv to riv coverThe collection includes winners and favorites from WOTA’s 2018 poetry contest, featuring prize-winners in the adult, teen, and youth categories; contributions from WOTA members; and poets young and old, aspiring and accomplished, including poems by Salvatore Marici, Mike Bayles, Dennis Maulsby, Dustin Joy, G. Louis Heath, Anna Counter, and Misty Urban.

To get your copy, find the book on Amazon or contact us. All proceeds benefit WOTA’s efforts to support writers and encourage the literary arts in and around Muscatine, Iowa.

August Word Challenge

Join Writers on the Avenue for our August monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 21 in the first-floor conference room of Musser Public Library, 408 E. 2d St., Muscatine. The business meeting starts at 5:30, and your input is appreciated; the writing portion, including exercises, sharing work, and the critique group, commence at 6:00 p.m.

If you’re looking for a writing prompt, the July group generated this list of words: peace, ferris wheel, penmanship, overboard, score, vacation, exhilarating, release, wing, county fair, spendthrift, exit, and jehosaphat (if you don’t have use for mild expletives, you can overlook this last).  Can you tell it’s fair season? Remember to bring copies to share. Also, feel free to post your work here to share — we always love seeing what people come up with!

Come out to Muscatine’s Second Saturday in August and stop by WOTA’s table on 2d street to browse books, chat with local authors, and find out more about what we do. Hope your month is full of inspiration!

July meeting & more

Please join us for our monthly WOTA meeting on Tuesday, July 17 at the Musser Public Library’s new digs at 408 E 2d St. in Muscatine, right across from beautiful Trinity Episcopal church. We’ll meet in the board room on the ground floor and I imagine we’ll all have great fun in the swivel chairs. The business meeting begins at 5:30 to plan upcoming events and such; the writing fun starts at 6:00. Bring a friend, bring a pen, bring a short work to share.

If you’re searching for inspiration, we generated the following words for the challenge. Work them into a poem, story, memoir, screenplay, microfiction, collage, song, or whatever form you wish: ICE CREAM, FOLLOW, PENALTY, CORPULENT, APPLE, TOMATO, FLOOR, ELECTRIFYING, ANTICIPATION, HUMIDITY. Don’t ask me why there’s a food theme to this one. Just go with it.

As our writing exercise for the June meeting, we experimented with ways to make our writing more descriptive. The tips that Misty shared and the exercise she suggested are available at her blog, The Writing Well, for those interested.

Keep writing!

Poetry Contest Winners

WOTA is thrilled to announce the winners of the spring poetry contest. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding poets:

Adult winners:

1st: “Summer” by Richard Thurston
2d: “Panorama” by Rick Bierman
3d: “Empty Basket” by Mike Fladlien

Honorable mentions:

“And the Winner Is . . .” by Vicky Dovenspike
“You Know It’s Spring When . . .” by Dan Moore

Teen winners (age 13-17):

1st: “America” by Jake Peterson
2d: “She gazed onward” by Bailah Bognar
3d: “Wintertime” by Kate Mayerhofer

Honorable mentions:

“A Love of the Game” by Madison Heisch
“Halloween” by Delaney Holbert

Youth winners (under 5-12):

1st: “Thanksgiving” by Kevin Ciss
2d: “The Month Poem” by Clio Vogel

Winning poems and selected entries will be published in the forthcoming anthology FROM RIVER TO RIVER. Thanks to everyone who entered for giving us the opportunity to read your work!

Scholarships Available to Attend Creativity Camp!

Come get your biannual dose of inspiration at Creativity Camp, held this year from Friday, June 15 to Sunday, June 17 at Langwood Education Center in Grandview, IA. Full details will be available soon on the Society of Great River Poets website, but here’s the skinny:

Workshops will cover everything from plot, the short story, and using your senses to water color painting, yoga, and more. There will be plenty of opportunities for break-out writing sessions, strolling through the woods for inspiration, and even paddling on the pond. Day workshops will be followed by shared meals and the chance to share stories around the campfire.

Accommodations are available in a rustic lodge, with shower and plumbed toilet facilities. There are also hookups available for campers  (extra $10 charge). There is a kitchen, including refrigeration, available in the main lodge for your food.

Cost is as follows: Friday $15, Saturday workshops $30, Sunday workshops $30, or three-day package for $60. You are invited to apply for a scholarship of up to $60 to attend workshops (lodging and food provision will be your own responsibility). Please note that this is an adults-only weekend; participants must be 18 or older.

Apply for a scholarship here, or send an email with questions. Priority will be given to dues-paying members of WOTA and SGRP, but anyone with an interest in cultivating their creativity is welcome to apply. Successful applicants will be notified by May 30. Hope to see you there!

Spring News: Meetings and More

Hi, writers! Here’s a quick overview of our agenda for the spring.


April’s monthly meeting is Tuesday, 4/17 at the Student Center at Muscatine Community College, 152 Colorado St. Bring a pen, bring a friend, and bring a short work to share! The business meeting will start at 5:30 and the writing fun begins at 6:00. Everyone is welcome to stay for the critique group after to discuss longer works.

Anthology Submissions

We are accepting submissions until May 10 for our anthology, River to River, in which we will publish the winners of our spring poetry contest. Send poems on any style or subject that might be broadly interpreted to suit the theme of life in the Great Bend. While preference will be given to those living in or writing about living near Muscatine and the Mississippi, we are open to all kinds of quality work. We are also seeking digital artwork in keeping with the theme of rivers. Contact us with any questions.

Scholarships to Creativity Camp

WOTA is offering scholarships to attend the Society of Great River Poets’ Creativity Camp held June 15-17, 2018. This is an adult-only weekend getaway at Langwood Education Center near Grandview, IA, filled with workshops on craft and creativity and the opportunity to soak up inspiration from the great outdoors. More info on the camp can be found on the SGRP website. To be considered for a scholarship, contact WOTA for more information. Preference will be given to applicants affiliated with WOTA or SGRP.

May Meeting

Save the date for our May meeting on May 15, 2018, and keep your Second Saturdays open this summer to stop by the WOTA table, say hi, and browse works by local authors. Until then, keep writing!


To submit poetry or artwork for consideration in the anthology, email an attachment or copy and paste in this form. We look forward to reading your work!



Upcoming in April

First and foremost: The deadline for our spring poetry contest in March 30, so send your entries if you haven’t already and you reside in the included counties. We can’t wait to read your work!

Our March meeting witnessed some old favorites and some new thrills as we continue to tweak our new meeting format. We tried our hand at writing haiku (and didn’t do too badly!) and the critique group had an earnest and successful beginning. This summer we hope to bring local authors and good lit to the Muscatine Second Saturday events, and scholarships are available for the Creativity Camp in June—contact us for more details.

Last but not least, if you’re up for the challenge, incorporate these words into a piece and post here or on our Facebook page: pear, redundant, agnostic, befuddled, intent, enlightened, elevation, procrastination, cement, admiration, and relief. Lots of feelings in those words. Have fun, and keep writing!