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!

March Meeting

Join us on Tuesday, March 20 at the Student Center at Muscatine Community College for the next Writers on the Avenue meeting! The business meeting will begin at 5:30 to discuss the poetry contest and upcoming anthology. The writing fun will begin at 6:00. Bring a pen, bring a friend, bring something to share.

We will do a writing exercise, share our short works, and hold a critique session at the end. As always, there will be lots of camaraderie and inspiration as we try to bring out the best in one another. New members are always welcome!

If you’re up for a challenge this month, incorporate these words into a story, essay, song, poem, or whatever else suits your fancy. The words are: sestina, gerbil, lordosis, sabertooth, open, hilarious, queen, power, fidelity, and apricot. Feel free to post your response as a comment here, or share to the Facebook group. Write away!

February meeting

Join us on Tuesday, February 20 for the next WOTA meeting! Bring a pen, bring a friend, and bring work you’d like to share. We’re adding some new activities to the usual meeting format in hopes of sparking more inspiration and fueling some fresh ideas.

The business meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Center lounge of Muscatine Community College. Items on this month’s agenda include the poetry contest, our upcoming anthology, and a possible panel on publication. All are welcome, and all dues-paying WOTA members have a vote. Your input is appreciated, especially if you responded to the survey with ideas about more activities that you’d like to see WOTA undertake.

The writing portion of the evening will kick off at 6:00. This month’s meeting will include an on-the-spot exercise, so bring your favorite composition tools—laptop, tablet, good old pen and paper. We will write and share.

We will also set up an ongoing rotation for critiques of longer works and topics for future writing prompts or activities. It’s going to be an exciting shakeup of the usual, and I can’t wait to see what rattles free. See you there!

WOTA wants your poems!

Writers on the Avenue is holding a poetry contest for residents of Muscatine and adjacent counties, with prizes available in three categories: adult, teen (13-17), and youth (12 and under). The first prize in the adult category is $25. The deadline for submission is March 30, 2018.

Send 5 poems or up to 5 pages of unpublished work along with a cover sheet listing your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, category, and titles or first line(s) of poems to this email address, or mail to WOTA Poetry Contest, 2614 Imperial Oaks Drive, Muscatine, IA 52761. There is no entry fee.

All entries will be considered for publication in a winners’ anthology tentatively titled  From River to River. Complete contest rules are listed below.

If you are not a resident eligible for the contest, but would still like to submit your work for consideration for the anthology, or if you have further questions, please contact us. We look forward to reading your work!

Rules for 2018 Poetry Contest:

  1. The contest will be open to persons living in Muscatine County and the adjacent counties of Cedar, Scott, Louisa, Johnson in Iowa and Rock Island in Illinois.
  2. Entrants need not be a member of Writers on the Avenue. There is no entry fee.
  3. Poems may be entered in one of three categories: Adult (18 and older), Teen (13-17), and Youth (12 and under).
  4. A maximum of five pages of poetry will be accepted, with standard page formatting (1″ margins, 12 pt font).
  5. Each entry should include a separate cover page listing the name of author, category entering, mailing address, phone number, email, and titles or first lines of poems being entered. Poems should not contain any identifying information.
  6. Poems containing profanity or vulgarity will not be considered.
  7. Manuscripts will not be returned.
  8. Judges’ decisions are final.
  9. Prizes will be awarded in the adult division in the amounts of $25/$15/$10 for first, second and third place. Honorable mentions will be awarded. Teen and youth categories will be recognized with $15/$10 cash prizes and honorable mention. Winners will receive publication in an anthology tentatively titled From River to River.
  10. All entries will be considered by an editorial committee for inclusion in From River to River.

A WOTA New Year

Join Writers on the Avenue for our first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, January 9 starting at 6:00 p.m. in the Student Center at Muscatine Community College, 152 Colorado St. The college will be open during the break, or at least, the lounge will. Feel free to bring whatever you like to share with the group, but if you’re feeling up for the monthly word challenge, compose something using January’s words: stupefied, commence, handy, resolution, bouquet, vindicate, claustrophobic, beginning, happiness, nightmare, splendiferous, and gout. See you then!

And if you’re still looking for holiday gifts, remember, WOTA anthologies are a one-of-a-kind present for all the readers in your life! Happy holidays, all.