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Welcome to the MWC!

Interested in becoming a member of MWC?  Need to renew your membership?  Now you can use this PayPal link to join or renew to enjoy discounts on our paid programs and workshops, receive a copy of our year-end Writer's Block E-Magazine & other member benefits.  Contact MWC if you have questions about membership. Student and Senior Memberships start at $25, Individual memberships start at $30. Thanks!

MWC Membership Fees



Midwest Writing Center Establishes New Endowment Fund for Youth Programming


         The Midwest Writing Center (MWC) has established a new endowment fund specifically to support its current and future youth programs: The Midwest Writing Center Endowment for Youth Programming.  The fund was established by using memorials honoring Tim Curry, beloved former Moline High School English teacher and developer of the Young Emerging Writers Summer Internship Program (YEW) at the Midwest Writing Center. 

         The endowment is established at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend (CFGRB). MWC’s goal is for the fund to provide annual support for youth writing programs such as YEW, the YEW Middle School Day Camp, and the David R. Collins Children’s Literature Festival, in addition to other youth programs MWC plans to develop in the future.  

         Contributions to the Fund may be made by sending a check, payable to the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, to:

Community Foundation of the Great River Bend
ATTN: MWC Endowment for Youth Writing Programs
852 Middle Road, Suite 100
Bettendorf, IA 52722 

         Online donations can be made on the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend’s website.  Gifts from Iowa taxpayers may be eligible for the Endow Iowa Tax Credit.

         For more information about this or about MWC’s general Endowment Fund, or including this endowment fund as a beneficiary in an estate plan, please contact Barb Melbourne, CFGRB Vice President of Development, at 563-326-2840 or barbaramelboune@cfgrb.org.



Applications for the Young Emerging Writers

Summer Internship Program are now being



Please follow this link to get complete information about the YEW program, including dates and downloadable application (you can also download the application here). If you have any questions about the program, please contact MWC. Applications will be accepted through May 17th.

Registrations for the 2014 David R. Collins Writers Conference are now OPEN!

Five workshops led by five award-winning faculty members! Pitch sessions with a publisher & an agent available, as are a limited number of manuscript critiques!




Please visit the David R. Collins Writers Conference page for details and registration information


Basic Poetry Publishing Workshop Offered at Midwest Writing Center

Poetry Publishing 101 with Ryan Collins
Saturday, April 19, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Midwest Writing Center, Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 E. 2nd St., Suite #303, Davenport, IA)


Have you been writing poems secretly for years, but are reluctant to show them to anyone? Do you write poems for special occasions or gifts, but have wanted to share them more widely? Have you always wanted to try to get some of your poems published but have no idea where to start? Then this is the workshop for you, fellow poets!


On Saturday, April 19th Poet & MWC Executive Director Ryan Collins will lead a workshop on basic poetry publishing. Topics will include researching markets, managing submissions, do's & don'ts, and self-publishing, among other things.


There's a growing interest in poetry in the Quad Cities, and a growing number of poets writing terrific poems. Whether you have a stockpile of work ready to go, or just have a notebook you've been drafting in for years, this workshop is intended to provide some basic information on readying your poems for publication, finding magazine and journals that would potentially be good homes for your work, and being a good citizen in the crowded but small world of poetry publishing.  


This workshop is open to poets of all experience levels, unpublished and published, and to poets working in any and all forms—and to people who don’t consider themselves poets.


Cost of the workshop is $10 for MWC members, $15 for non-members (Poetry Month discount—usually workshop rates are $20/$25). Advanced registration preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Register over the phone or via the PayPal link below or stop by the Center 


Ryan Collins is the author of four chapbooks, most recently Remote Viewing (DUSIE/Rock Town Press, 2014) and Dear Twin Falls (H_NGM_N, 2013). Poems from his current manuscript, A New American Field Guide & Song Book, have appeared or will appear in Another Chicago Magazine; Asymptote; Forklift, Ohio; Handsome; H_NGM_N; Ilk; PEN Poetry Series; Spork; Transom; and other places. He is an English Instructor at St. Ambrose University and the Executive Director of the Midwest Writing Center, both in Davenport, IA. He also curates the SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series in Rock Island, IL, where he lives.


Registration Type



Announcing the winner of the 2013 Susan K. Collins /

Mississippi Valley Chapbook Contest…

Our esteemed judge, Gale Thompson, has selected The Polychrome Clinic by Caroline Crew as the winner of the 2013 Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest.  Congratulations Caroline!

We had a terrific group of manuscripts to read and it was wonderfully difficult to select a group of finalists to send to our judge.  Here is the list of finalists: 

Rachel J. Bennett — Mural Quadrant

Erin M. Bertram — The Salvaging

Jaime Brunton – Opera on TV

Caroline Crew & Chris Emslie — Your Stupid Fortune Gives Me Stupid Hope

T. M. De Vos – Finishing

Iris Jamahl Dunkle — 500 Days

Diane LeBlanc — Sudden Geography

Lesley Ann Wheeler – Misery Diaries


We are hoping that The Polychrome Clinic will be available later this spring and we will be sending copies out as soon as we have them.

Thanks to everyone who participated, to all of our readers, to our finalists, to our terrific judge Gale Thompson, and congratulations to Caroline Crew!

Details on the 2014 Chapbook Contest coming soon!


The 2014 Great River Writers' Retreat Contest is accepting submissions Jan. 1-June 1, 2014
The winning Iowa or Illinois writer will receive a 7-day/6-night residency, from August 31 - September 6, 2014, at the Benet House Retreat Center in Rock Island, Illinois, a travel stipend, and an invitation to read to the literary community of the Quad Cities. The public reading of their original work will take place on September 4, 2014 at the Midwest Writing Center at 7 p.m. as part of the East-West Riverfest.

Click here for complete guidelines

SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series - Spring 2014 Season 



  SPECTRA - Spring 2014 - Schedule of Events:   


   Thurs. February 13 - Local Lovers Open Mic II - release of Aubrey Jane Ryan
                                              broadside, designed by Alexander Iaccarino 


   Thurs. March 13 - SPECTRA 010: Adam Fell, Caryl Pagel & Lisa Wells 


   Thurs. April 3 - SPECTRA 011: Hannah Gamble, Joshua Young, Shane McCrae


   Thurs. April 24 - SPECTRA 012: Nate Pritts, Jennifer H. Fortin & Zach Savich


       (all musical guests for all Spring 2014 events TBA)


More details coming soon--don't be a stranger!



SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series is looking for poets to open for featured readers at future events. Please send no more than 3 of your best poems (previously published poems are accepted) in a single file attachment (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .otd) to mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org with the phrase “SPECTRA Readers” in the subject line.

Click here for more information

SPECTRA was named one of the 2012 "Top 10 Reading Series in the Midwest"

See the complete list here.  Many thanks to the good people at LitBridge!

The Spring 2014 season of SPECTRA manifests thanks to the generous support of the Riverboat Development Authority.






The 6th Annual

QC Iron Pen Contest



The Fastest Writing Contest Around!




Here are the winners of the 2014 Iron Pen contest by category:


1st Place: Jonathon Knapton
2nd Place: Andy Pavey
3rd Place: Ashley Allen

Honorable Mention: Roger Pavey, Sr.
Honorable Mention: Barbara Harroun


1st Place: Michelle Ladwig
2nd Place: Karen Schwenker
3rd Place: Jennifer MacBain-Stephens


1st place: Shelia Kramer
2nd place: Steve Robinson
3rd place: Mark Davidsaver

Congrats to all of our winners! The judges had a lot of positive things to say about what they read, which we will share with everyone Saturday March 1, 2pm, here at the MWC. The winners, 2nd, 3rd Places and Honorable mentions will be our featured readers, but anyone who participated is welcome to come and read their entry to this year’s contest.

We hope you had fun with this year’s prompt—everyone certainly did a great job of going from zero to finished piece in a mere 24 hours! Thank you all so much again! Please let me know if you have any other questions about the contest or the Award Ceremony this Saturday (if you would like to RSVP that’s fine but it is not required). Thanks again for competing!



Copies of The Atlas Vol. 8 are now available!
Get your copy of the annual literary magazine produced by the YEW interns!





MWC reached our endowment goal!

MWC received a $5,000 match from the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend!


Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to the endowment challenge:


Anonymous Donor | Leah Christensen | Susan & Ryan Collins | Pat Crozier   

Mr. & Mrs. Mark Davidsaver | Craig Dahms | Shea Doyle & Hannah Morrell

Exotic Imports | Mary Foster | Carol Gloor | James & Carol Horstmann   

Mr. & Mrs. Steven Lackey | Mary Lewis | Mr. & Mrs. Thomas McKay   

Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Meehan | Steve & Barb Melbourne

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Miller | Max Molleston | Rochelle Murray | Dr. Trisha Nelson

Mr. & Mrs. Mark Petersen | Larry Riney | Thomas Spitzfaden | Jodie Toohey   

Jane VanVooren Rogers | Lindsey Wheeler | Jill & Dale Whiteside   

Announcing the Winners of the 40th Annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest!


 (Selected by Lisa Zimmerman)
1st Place: "The Widd'er Woman" – Jessica Glover
2nd Place: "For wrapping trees in cellophane" – Xan Roberti
3rd Place: "Novena for the Nameless" – Kelly Lynn

Honorable Mention:
"Phoenix" – James K. Zimmerman
"Doing the Dishes, 1966" – Julia Meylor Simpson

Finalists (all finalist poems will appear in Off Channel) 
“A Father’s Favor” – Leland James Whipple
“Pictured You Again” – E.P. Schultz
“From My Grandfather’s Journal: June” – Susan Brown Norris
“Poetic Alchemy” – Gayle Rein
“Spinster” – Constance Snyder
“Wild hearts” – Nancy Schaefer
“Last Present: for My Daughter, Alex” – Nan Trahan
“Nothing Sacred” – Jessica Glover
“The museum of truth to you” – Xan Roberti
“Vengeance” – Nancy Cook
“Relation” – Salvatore Marici
“shark’s teeth” – Kerry Rawlinson
“fear of falling” – Kerry Rawlinson

Selected by Laura Madeline Wiseman

1ST Place: “On Stieglit’s Gable and Apples” – Beth McDermott
2nd Place: “Will” – Beth McDermott
3rd Place: “Cow blessing” – Nancy Schaefer

Finalists (all finalist poems will appear in Off Channel)
“Gather at the river” – Betty Benner
“Colliding Spheres” – Gayle Rein
“Build a bridge” – Gayle Rein
“Everything is Burning at the Wayside Stop” – Tony Ledtje
“Winneshiek Homecoming” – Tony Ledtje
“Sea Wrack” – Timothy Walsh
“Threshing Day” – Ellen Kelley
“Garden Musings” – Ellen Kelley
“Connected with Her Own Skin” – Nan Trahan
“Bee Charmer” – Kelly Lynn
“Blood Memory” – Nancy Cook
“Why Some Things Never Hatch” – Nancy Cook
“Fate of a Sicilian Orange” – Salvatore Marici
“The Verdigris Wind Vane” – Salvatore Marici

Selected by Richard Stahl

Winner: “Fireworks” – Therese Guise

Finalists (all finalist poems will appear in Off Channel)
“Cedar Road” – Beth McDermott
“Reorienting” – Nancy Cook
“Foreclosure” – Nancy Schaefer
“Behind the museum at Sibley Park Zoo, Mankato, Minnesota” - Betty Benner
“Miracle at the Main Street Tap” – Jean Tucker
“Rutherford County” – Jean Tucker


Congrats to all of the winners, honorable mentions, and finalists!



Announcing the winner of the 2012 Chapbook Contest!


Our esteemed judge, Shane McCrae, has selected Apple Season by Cindy Hunter Morgan as the winner of the 2012 Chapbook Contest (see Cindy’s full bio below).

We had a terrific group of manuscripts to read and it was wonderfully difficult to select a group of finalists to send to our judge.  Here is the list of finalists: 

The Future is a Faint Song, Jaime Brunton and Russell Evatt

Opera on TV, Jaime Brunton

Sudden Geography, Diane LeBlanc

Scotch Tape World, Tom Hunley

Victory Tattoo, Richard Boada

The tentative release date for Apple Season is early April 2013.  Copies will be available for purchase at the MWC and on their website at that time.

The MWC will be renaming the contest starting in 2013 to the Susan K. Collins Chapbook Contest, in honor of the hard work and dedication of our long-time Board of Directors President here at the MWC.  Susan continues to devote much of her time and energy to the success of the MWC and its many programs, and we are deeply grateful for her many contributions over the last 10+ years. 


Cindy Hunter Morgan lives in East Lansing, Michigan and teaches creative writing at Michigan State University. She has another chapbook, The Sultan, The Skater, The Bicycle Maker, which won The Ledge Press 2011 Poetry Chapbook Award. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including A cappella Zoo, Bateau, The Christian Science Monitor, Sugar House Review, and West Branch. She graduated from Albion College and also studied at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

Purchase a copy of Apple Season using the PayPal link below:

Number of copies




Join us for Out Loud Open Mic Nights at their new location:

Downtown Central Perk (approx. 5 block from the MWC)




The new Out Loud Anthology VI is available now -- use the PayPal link below to order your copy today!


Number of Copies




Congratulations to Dr. Robin Throne--

winner of the 2013 David R. Collins Literary Achievement Award


Dr. Robin Throne has made many significant contributions to writers in the Quad Cities area and the Midwest Writing Center in addition to her talents as a writer,

an editor and an educator. In her nomination letter, Dr. Nancy Schaefer had this to say about Dr. Throne:

"Dr. Throne is a founding member of the LeClaire writing group in Iowa...She is a published author in her own right, producing a chapbook of poetry, two novels and an academic monograph, among other things...beyond her own work she generously mentors and supports local writers and poets; she started and operates her own small independent press, 918studio, publishing and showcasing the writing of others.

Moreover, Dr. Throne has been a steadfast supporter of the Center...Over the years, she has continued to contribute to the life of the Center in various ways, serving on the Program and Advancement Committees, and briefly on the Board. She started the Mississippi Valley Chapbook contest, the Great River Writers' Retreat, the Collins' Poetry Residency, and served as a past mentor for the residency. She started up online classes, formatted a poetry book and The Atlas, and for a time even blogged for MWC too. In September 2012, she served as the docent for the first day retreat.

Her influence and support extends beyond the Quad Cities as well. A working academic, she advises dissertations for North Central University in Arizona and also acts as the faculty advisor this semester for the Scott Community College student newspaper."

Follow the link to read more about Dr. Throne in the Moline Dispatch

Congratulations Dr. Throne!  The MWC & the QC writing community are grateful for all you do!


Thanks to all of our sponsors of the 2013 Literary Awards Banquet:


The Dispatch-Argus

Exotic Imports

Scott County Regional Authority





The 5th Annual

QC Iron Pen Contest



Award Ceremony: February 23, 2pm @ the MWC


Here are the winners of the 2013 Iron Pen Contest by category:

Adult Fiction                                          Adult Nonfiction                              Adult Poetry
1. Mary Davidsaver                               1. Frank Claudy                               1. Mike Bayles
2. Ashley Allen                                       2. Tom Miller                                   2. Bill Hudson
3. Daniel Horne                                    3. C. Bruce Moore                            3. Steve "Lanny" Biehler
Hon. Mention – Connie Wilson             Hon. Mention – Steve Robinson

                                                          Youth Poetry -- 1. Brooke Wiese                Youth Fiction -- 1. Andy Pavey

Congratulations to all of our winners & thanks to all who participated! 




Memorials for Timothy J. Curry, creator of the Young Emerging Writers Program


   Timothy J. Curry, master teacher and creator of the Young Emerging Writers Internship program, passed away at his home in Evanston, IL on October 10, 2012.  We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend, who inspired a love for literature and writing in so thousands of young people over nearly four decades.  We are honored to continue his legacy with the Young Emerging Writers program for many years to come. 


Read more about Mr. Curry's impact on his students in this wonderful tribute written by Felicia Schneiderhan.  Memorials for Timothy J. Curry can be made to the Young Emerging Writers Internship Program c/o the Midwest Writing Center.  Our dearest gratitude to his family for including Young Emerging Writers in his memorial.   





We now offer Creative Writing Basics Online Courses all year round!

Click here for more details





            New Releases from MWC Press: 

(click on the titles below for more information on how to buy one of the chapbooks)

The Canopy by Sandra Marchetti Regional Winner of the 2011 Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest.

Call it A Window by Monica Wendel National Winner of the 2011 Mississippi Valley Chapbook Contest.

Black as Caviar by Menno Wigman, translated from the Dutch by Dr. Stephen Frech.

Click on the titles for more information and to purchase.


MWC needs YOU!

Please consider volunteering! It only takes as much time as you can give; you choose your schedule and your job. Click here for more information!



Want to help but not sure how?

How about sponsoring a workshop? All it takes to put on a two hour workshop is $100. You can help decide what kind of workshop it will be and have  your name associated with it. It can be a free workshop or MWC can charge and keep the proceeds, potentially doubling (or more) the impact of your donation. Interested? Email us at mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org.



Bix Beiderbecke: Jazz Age Genius Now for Sale Online!

A brand new, republished edition of Bix Beiderbecke: Jazz Age Genius by David R. Collins is now for sale on the MWC bookstore!  Check it out!



Midwest Writing Center's Premise Statement

The Midwest Writing Center's goal is to help writers develop their craft, find audiences and establish a writing community where they can learn and grow in a supportive environment. Through public readings, workshops, critique groups, contests, publications and partnerships, the Center enriches the community with its emphasis on literary arts and education.


In the past two years we have worked with a consultant provided by the Iowa Cultural Trust Sustainability Grant to develop a new funding and marketing plans. In the course of this work we developed a premise statement which is the ultimate vision of the Midwest Writing Center.



**On September 8, 2011 the Midwest Writing Center Board of Directors adopted the

Iowa Principles and Practices for Charitable Non Profit Excellence.




The creation and design of this website was made possible by a grant from the Riverboat Development Authority.

All programs are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


Copyright 2001-2011 Midwest Writing Center