An event for poetry lovers coming this February

We’re thrilled to announce a new Jot Writers Conference event! On Tuesday, February 16th, 2016, in partnership with Schuler Books & Music, we’ll be hosting Poetry and Conversation, a free event on the power and beauty of poetry. Here’s the official write-up:


Poetry and Conversation is a free event for lovers of the written word. Three poets from West Michigan—Matthew Landrum, Kelsey May, Z.G. Tomaszewski—will share their insights on writing and publishing, and will read from their published works.  Attendees will be encouraged to share original poetry at an open mike following the presentations.

Matthew LandrumMatthew Landrum is poetry editor of Structo Magazine. His work has recently appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, RHINO, and The Baltimore Review. His chapbook The Lonesome Savior — translations from the Faroese of Agnar Artúvertin — was published with Cold Hub Press in 2015. He lives in Detroit.



Kelsey mayKelsey May is a writer and performance poet from Grand Rapids, MI. She has performed poetry in Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. and has been published in Voices and The Maine Review. She also worked and lived in Washington, D.C., volunteering with over twenty non-profits and running weeklong service trips for students. She is currently an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University. Read more at and follow her on social media @kelsey_may_day.



tomaszewski picAfter a series of ramblings in Vermont, Ireland, and hitch-hiking out west which culminated in a job at Glacier National Park, Montana, Z.G. Tomaszewski is back in Grand Rapids where he works maintenance at the Masonic Temple and is a founding member and events coordinator of Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters and co-director of Lamp Light Music Festival. Tomaszewski will be reading from his new book of poems All Things Dusk (winner of the Hong Kong University International Poetry Prize of 2014, selected by Li-Young Lee).



This event will be held (as you have probably guessed) at Schuler Books and Music located at 2660 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512. The event is completely free and begins at 7pm. Our hopes for this event are to gather poetry lovers and writers in West Michigan for an evening of learning about the craft of writing, drinking excellent coffee from the Chapbook Cafe, and sharing a mutual love for the written word.

This event is in addition to our annual spring Jot Writers Conference, which is usually held in March. More details on that event are coming soon. We hope to see you at Poetry and Conversation!

Andy (for the Jot team)

Poetry Workshop with Matthew Landrum

Whether you’re an established or beginning writer, this workshop is a chance to engage in critical discussion of individual pieces and larger issues of poetry. Participants will be asked to share a poem or two and will receive a deep reading and constructive advise on how to take the piece to the next level. Space in this workshop will be limited to eight people in order to assure that everyone gets adequate time. Sign up by filling out this Google form. The workshop is free, and it will be led by the poetry editor for Structo Magazine, Matthew Landrum. Sign up today as space is limited.

coffee cup

Poetry Workshop Information – Bring your work with you!

Moleskine diaryPoets and wannabe-poets have something to look forward to at the next Jot conference. After the presentations Matthew Landrum will be hosting a free poetry workshop. I asked him to describe it for me and here’s what he said:

Love and Cliches — Writing Originally About Life’s Most Important Subjects

In this workshop we’ll discuss the work of fellow Jot attendees and ponder a problem that perpetually plagues poets (and prose writers too) — that the most important subjects in life (love, death, religion, etc) have been written about so thoroughly (and at times so poorly) that they’re hard to write about without sounding trite or unoriginal. Poets and non-poets alike are welcome. Those who wish to bring work to workshop should bring 15 copies of a poem. 

If you decide to attend, please bring your writing. You’ll have time in this workshop to read your poetry (if you wish) and/or edit your work while the discussion is going. We’re hopeful that the Jot Conference is not just a place where you learn new things about the craft of writing, but that it is also an event at which you’ll actually get some writing done.

Bring your Moleskines and your favorite pen. It’s time to write.


A Follow Up To Matthew Landrum’s Poetry Workshop – Reading Recommendations


Thank you all for coming out to Jot III. We had a great lineup of speakers. I enjoyed running into old friends and making new ones. A special thanks to those who attended my poetry workshop.

I was asked by one of the authors in attendance to give some book recommendations. As this question invariably makes me draw a blank, here is a more thorough list than the one I gave that night. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it represents a few books I love and can recommend to any reader whether they be neck deep in verse’s pool or testing the waters with a tentative toe.

I look forward to seeing you all at the next Jot in September.

Writing Every DayLi-Young Lee – The City in Which I Love You
Louise Glück – The Wild Iris
Franz Wright – Walking to Martha’s Vineyard
Claudia Emerson – Late Wife
Seamus Heaney – The Spirit Level
Alicia Stallings – Olives
Michael Longley – Gorse Fires
Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill – The Pharaoh’s Daughter
Paul Muldoon – Horse Latitudes
Rebecca Lindberg – Love, an Index

– ML