Our 2023 workshop selection covers a wide range of focused generative subjects. Please use the list below to select first and second choices for your each time slot you wish to attend for your registration.

Friday, November 10: 2:30-3:45 pm

A1. Persona Poem Workshop with Meagan Chandler

This workshop will discuss the art of crafting the persona poem. Persona poems center around characters but still differ from fiction in that they focus less on the character themself and more on the moment in which the character lives. We will study and discuss well-known examples before generating ideas about our own potential persona poems!

A2. Keep Your F$%^ing Love Poems Out of My Mouth: Three Seasons of Love Poems with Tyler Michael Jacobs

Together, we will examine the different stages of love poems from the intensity of a new relationship, the selflessness of an established relationship, and the rawness of an ended relationship to understand how this devotional practice evolves as relationships change. Then we will write a love poem of any stage.

A3. Genre on Genre: Generating Story Through Genre Play with Dan Marcantuono

In the unlimited space of fiction, we crave cues. Part of the satisfaction in reading is developing expectations from those cues and measuring our surprise at their payoffs. Reading a work without any genre signposts denies us that satisfaction but opens new pockets of creative possibility. In this workshop, participants will experiment with cues and see how placing them beside opposing genre cues diverts their stories into unexplored domains.

A4. The Docu-lyric: Writing Poems about History with Barbara Sabol and Marion Starling Boyer

In this session, resources for research and strategies for meeting the challenges of writing historically themed poems that are both authentic and imaginative will be presented. Contemporary poetry collections and the presenter’s own experiences writing about the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 and the Johnstown flood of 1889 will serve as examples for creating the docu-lyric poem and poetry collection.

A5. Lit Youngstown Writing Intensives: One Workshop Model with Karen Schubert, Rikki Santer, Rebe Huntman, and Debbie Allen

This session is for literary arts organizers looking to create a sustained, inclusive workshop. Lit Youngstown intensive participants share insights on ways to invite productive and engaging discussion for both beginner and experienced writers in the same forum.


A7. Anthology Odyssey: Should You Join The Bandwagon? with Rod Martinez

New writers are hungry to get their name out there but trying to get that 1st masterpiece in the hands of an editor can prove taxing. This class gives insight and credibility to the anthology submission process as a precursor to submitting a full novel manuscript.

A8. Media and Writing with Jane Wageman

This workshop will focus on how writers engage with modern media as language and form. We will examine novels that incorporate website comment sections, PowerPoint templates, email exchanges, and internet speech into the fabric of their stories, before generating our own media-based writing.

Friday, November 10: 4:00-5:15 pm

B1. Slice and Dice, Baby: How to Trim Your Novel’s Excess with Megan Green

If you printed your work in progress and tossed it on the table, would its mass create a blast wave knocking all innocent bystanders asunder? Let’s spare their lives. In this workshop, we will explore several methods that may help you trim your unruly story’s excess. Take out the shears. Things are going to get hairy.

B2. The Craft of Handmade Books with Stephanie Marker

We all love the tactile experience of a physical book. Something about the heft of it in our hand, the feel of the paper, the beautiful cover art. Why not learn to turn your poetry collections and short stories into a gorgeous art object, even if only to share with friends and family? In this workshop, we will create a basic handmade blank book, and maybe we can each fill ours with stories and poems in our other Winter Wheat workshops.

B3. The Urban Pastoral: Finding Inspiration Amid Conflict with Christopher McCormick

The pastoral in literature is often associated with idealism and a deep appreciation of nature. The cycles of nature are depicted as unceasing and reliable. The pastoral is all about harmony, with everything and everyone in their proper place. But what if a writer finds themselves in a place that is less ideal? Should they make it up? Should they imagine an idealized life that would allow them to escape from their own? In this workshop, we will examine contemporary poets who write about the city and the inherent conflict it produces (human vs nature, human vs human, human vs entropy). We will use their poetry as an example to find ways that we can use our complicated feelings about our own environments to produce great poetry.  

B4. If You Like Pina Coladas, What Are You Going to Do About It? with Debrah Miszak and Meg Spring

So, you have decided to cheat! Just kidding! In this workshop, we will take our cues from the dramatic narrative crafted in Rupert Holmes’ 1979 hit “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” in which desire is the impetus for every action the characters take. If you like crafting narrative tension, utilizing characters’ wants as the jumping off point for what will happen in a story, and getting caught in the rain, this is the workshop for you!

B5. Impressionistic Writing: How to Meaningfully Meet Big Page Count Goals with Caitlyn Mlodzik

One of the hardest parts of novel writing is telling the story to ourselves before determining the novel’s primary themes. This workshop will demonstrate how to realistically write hundreds of meaningful pages in a few months to get to your first draft. We will also discuss healthy writing routines.

B6. If Eye Damage Leads to ReVision: Making Art with Our Impairments/Changing Abilities with Brad Aaron Modlin

When an eye surgery diminished the workshop leader’s vision, his poems became about light. His descriptions changed. The page offered gifts. This encouraging workshop asks how our bodies have different/changing lessons to teach as we grow, age, and gain/lose abilities. Everyone is invited to grab a pen and ask–what does my body know that it didn’t before?

B7. Fantastic Creatures: A Generative Poetry Workshop with Elly Salah

This poetry workshop will focus on a variety of pieces about animals.  We will discuss how writers find inspiration to generate new work, even during times of writer’s block.  We will read examples of animal poetry and spend time drafting poems through various writing prompts.


B8. Grappling Graphic Novels‚ For Writers, with Rod Martinez
Graphic novels are the rage, and prose writers should jump in (I did). But the change from prose writing to script writing for a comic book is a serious one. In this workshop we will look at the transition, learn how to work with artists and make it fun.

Saturday, November 11: 9:30-10:45 am

C1. Dishing and Dealing: Giving and Receiving Criticism in Workshop with Bowling Green Writer’s Workshop

Receiving and providing criticism in workshops can be daunting. Join us this session to learn about providing good criticism and handling the bad with grace.

C2. State of the Poetry Book: A Conversation about Publishing Poetry Collections with Mary Biddinger

This workshop examines trends in contemporary poetry book publishing, as well as offering advice for writers in various stages of creating, revising, and polishing a chapbook or book-length collection. We will talk about themes and structure and discuss the publication and book promotion process. Ample Q&A time included.

C3. Your Story Deserves Telling with Kathryn Haueisen

How to write, preserve, and perhaps sell your story. Your life experiences can inform and inspire your family, friends, and total strangers. Come learn how to organize the high points of your life experiences and what to do with them after you do.

C4. The Power of Persona with Samantha Imperi

An exploration of how poets utilize voices other than their own to explore the complexities of emotion and existence. This workshop will include time for analyzing new and old persona poetry, as well as creating and sharing our own experimental work.

C5. Seeing Like a Blind Fakir, Walking Like a Flaneuse: Sources and Strategies of Worldbuilding with Muhammad Sheeraz

We all have different perceptions of the places we see or imagine. While a fakir checks a charitable household as a must-stop on their map, a flaneuse/flaneur observes their urban subjects leisurely. How do writers see the world they write?

C6. Verses, Chorus, and the Bridge: How the Conventions of Song Writing Can Inform the Structure of Stories with Haley Souders

With verses that introduce the song’s situation and provide context, choruses that add an emotional throughline, and a bridge that amps up the stakes, songs have a specific structure for storytelling that can be applied to the writing of short stories and novels. I will explore how songs and stories use this format for an impactful piece of writing.


C7. Should I Get a Creative Writing PhD? Application Advice and Tips from the Trenches with Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger

Do you really need 4-5 more years of grad school? What if you really want it? Hear from former MFA grads who have gone on to put the “Dr.” in front of their names, moderated by recent MFA in fiction grad and current PhD candidate, Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger.

C8. All the Legal-Smeagle Stuff Writers Need to Know with Thea Rademacher

Learn about complex legal issues all authors need to know: intellectual property law including AI; business and licensing issues; estate planning; defamation; understanding publishing contracts. All participants receive a free PDF of Authors Beware! Arm Yourself with Knowledge to Help Avoid Legal Pitfalls!

Saturday, November 11: 11:00 am-12:15 pm

D1. Stories In Unexpected Packages: Mining The Mundane for Innovative Inspiration with Hannah Cajandig-Taylor

From grocery lists to menus, flow charts, maps, and everything in between, we’ll challenge traditional forms and channel our imaginations in this generative workshop! After examining various methods for bringing unusual formats into our writing lives and finding story ingredients that are often “hidden in plain sight,” we’ll practice this ingenuity for ourselves with some hands-on activities and expand on our own definitions of storytelling.

D2. Borrow and Steal: Creative Writing Pedagogy in the Composition Classroom with Melanie Dusseau

Poetry inspires undergraduates to investigate their linguistic biographies, intuitive language abilities, and explore and honor their biggest influence: home. Learn strategies for incorporating poetry prompts and craft exercises as scaffolded steps towards scholarly writing that borrows and encourages theft from the best of poetry: beauty, brevity, and a singular voice.

D3. Grantwriting for Artists and Writers with Faylita Hicks

D4. Romance Writing and Small Press Publishing with Libby Kay 

Presentation covers ins and outs of romance novels – including genres, tropes, and must-haves. I also cover working with a small publisher, from general logistics to marketing, networking, and building your brand. This is geared toward aspiring romance authors or writers wanting to expand the romance element in their stories.


D5. The Shapes of Our Stories with Joe Celizic

From Freytag’s Triangle to Harmon’s Story Circle to the Snowflake Method, and even Kishotenketsu, we will explore various approaches to story structure. We will review how a story’s form can complement its other narrative devices and contribute to its meaning, with a chance to outline a story using one of the discussed structures.

D6. Talking to Ghosts: Using Grief in Poetry to Commune with the Dead with Lannie Stabile

A generative poetry workshop steeped in grief and hope. Three unique prompts provided to get you chatting with your own personal ghosts.

Saturday, November 11: 2:30-3:45 pm

E1. Political Power: Creating Compelling and Believable Governments in Stories with Caleb Danielak

World-building is a difficult task for many writers and creating a realistic government is an even harder challenge. The aim of this presentation is to alleviate the difficulty of both and provide suggestions and resources to aspiring creators.

E2. This Poetry Workshop was AI Generated with Caleb Edmondson

See how well ChatGPT can put together a poetry workshop! Join Caleb for an interactive exploration of technology and sci-fi poetry.

E3. Submitting to Literary Journals: The Important Role of Rejection with Jessica Klimesh

Based on what I have learned over three years of practice, accruing hundreds of rejections, this workshop offers guidance on submitting to literary journals: choosing appropriate journals, following guidelines, and, most importantly, embracing rejection and understanding its role in improving as a writer. Workshop includes tips for cover letters and bios.

E4. Snapshots, Puzzle Pieces, Glass Shards, Magic Beads, and Other True Things: On Writing the Fragmented Memoir  with Lori Jakiela

Memoirists work with some sketchy material–our own lives and memories, which are not tidy and often not made from whole cloth. What do we do with the crazy-quilt parts of our stories? What do we do about what we can’t remember? What do we do when something in our lives–trauma, silence, static–prevents us from connecting the dots in a way that feels meaningful? How do we embrace our messy–what Buddhists call “monkey-brain” selves on the page? In this workshop, we’ll discuss ways to map memories, engage in some stream-of-consciousness work, and discover how to catch the glimmers that can shine new light on our writing practice.

E5. Making Mountains out of Molehills: Poetry about the (Seemingly) Mundane with Jamie Manias

Sometimes, the best way to approach the biggest, most intimidating subjects—love, death, war, etc.—is to find their smallest entry point. In this workshop, we’ll practice elevating the mundane in order to say something fresh about an array of frustrating topics that tend to gravitate towards abstraction and cliché.

E6. DON’T READ—PERFORM! with Susann Moeller & Jeremy Jusek

A 2-person dog-and-pony or rather power point show and hand-outs about performing poetry with samples, the history of recitation, beat, slam and eco-poetry as well as various physical audience exercises.

Performance poetry is a discipline that merges theatrical physicality with the craft of poetry. The benefit of writing for yourself is that you know how to play to your own strengths, and what you like to read. Some writers like alliteration and flow, while others may focus more heavily on percussive strength, aloof fluidity, or being loud and forceful.

E7. Joining Words and Images: A Visual Poetry Workshop with Jessica Dawn Zinz

Participants will consider changes happening in the creative writing field with the merging of text and images and will learn more about visual poetry, intertextual poetry, palimpsest, erasure, and other word and image poetry combinations. They will view, read, and discuss successful hybrid, intertextual, and visual poems. We will also create (all materials provided).


E8. Forms of Grief Writing: Structures and Features with Whitney Jacobson

Ask a group of writers for sample pieces about grief and someone is likely to quip, “isn’t all writing about grief?” While there’s a grain of truth there, this workshop will consider how forms of grief due to death shape the form of the writing. We’ll look at examples that span from straightforward features to experimental structures and consider what form(s) can create opportunities for our own writing.

E9. Are You Calling Me a Liar? with Lannie Stabile

Are you a liar? Are your pants on fire? Either way, if you like your flash fiction offbeat with a touch of humanity, come join us for a quirky generative workshop where we will read fabulist micro-fiction and engage in short, related prompts to create our own fabulist stories. 

Saturday, November 11: 4:00-5:15 pm

F1. Micro-Fiction: Writing Windows Into Place and Time with Amanda Ellard

This workshop explores techniques for writing micro-fiction (under 300 word stories), focusing on micro as a contained window in time through which to peer into the larger life of a character. Using a prompt, we will each write a micro-fiction focused on the significance of a place.

F3. Exploring Phantom Power(s) with Jeff Gundy

Condenser microphones need phantom power to operate, but phantom powers, weak and strong, are all around us. What powers operate in and on the world, in and on us, that deserve more (or different) attention, naming, or narrating than we have yet given them? With poems, prompts, and time to write.

F4. Epic! On Writing (and Reading) the Long Poem with Paula Lambert and Juan Rojas

In this session, we will discuss the thrill of the long-form poem, reviewing examples across history (including contemporary works) and across cultures. We will note how a single narrative might contain several smaller stories woven together or might be told in a series of collected poems, all serving as helpful strategies for your own work.

F5. The Chile, the Aztec, the Black Shoe, and the Crow: Exploring Symbolism in Family Trauma Poetry with Mary Robles

Family trauma imbues poetry with frighteningly intense vision and can manifest as poetic symbols that give grief a workable form. We will examine work by poets who use object-symbols as powerful transformation touchstones for family traumas, including “When My Brother Was an Aztec” by Natalie Diaz and “Crow” by Ted Hughes.

F6. Flash Fiction Battle to the Death with Meg Spring and Debrah Miszak

Win death (not really, though) or glory in 1,000 words or less. We’ll give you a prompt, you’ll write some flash, and your work will fight head to head until the competition has been crushed and only two literary warriors remain. Finalists will share their work at the open mic, and the champion will be decided by the audience. The winning piece will have the opportunity to appear on the Mid-American Review blog.

F7. DIY Publishing in the Age of AI with Philip Sterwerf

This workshop will offer discussions regarding the problems of AI in the writing world, with a focus on self publishing, and it will provide pointers on standing out in the vast field and knowing when you’re ready to self-publish. There will also be time for open discussion.


F8. Autofiction and the Sincere Lie: Truth-Telling in Narratives of Chronic Illness, Disability, and Abuse with L. Favicchia

What happens when lying, uncertainty, and inconsistency genuinely depict real events? Many with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and experiences of abuse have had to lie for self-preservation, were accused of lying when telling the truth, or struggle with memory. In this workshop we will practice writing our most honest lies.

F2. Setting as Character: Diving Into Your Surroundings with Bryana Fern

This workshop will center around a discussion of how to use all the available details of setting to our advantage. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or even creative nonfiction, setting is far more than just a narrator’s surroundings, and it can play a powerful role in your writing.