@ Your Library

Recent library events, news and more.

Creative Writing Workshop

Writing effectively is a struggle for many of us, but in the end it can (and should) be an incredibly satisfying experience. On July 1st, Jo Wiley led a creative writing workshop at the Oshtemo Branch Library, exploring “a variety of creative writing genres.” Participants were invited to bring along their creative ideas and ask questions about the writing process and publishing.

With more than a dozen participants registered, the program was highly successful. Here are a few follow-up notes from the program facilitator that shed light on the scope of the workshop...

“After a general discussion about why we, in particular, write and then, in general, why writers write, I introduced the participants to the concept of poetry’s ‘abiding image,’” said Ms. Wiley, “and they did a multi-stepped exercise resulting in them establishing an ‘abiding image’ for themselves. Using their responses to the exercise, I then introduced development strategies for poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. I offered them the option of developing a poem at home and mailing it to me for feedback, if they’d like.”

A full-time instructor at Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business, Jo Wiley was the recipient of the 2009 Community Literary Award for Adult Poetry, an annual competition sponsored by the Kalamazoo GazetteKalamazoo Public Library and Portage District Library.

“With poetry,” she added, “we talked a lot about language and structure; fiction we reviewed the ‘seven basic plots,’ and then creative nonfiction we talked mostly about the differences between CNF and fiction and when and why writers chose one over the other. I ended the workshop with some information and discussion on ‘the writer's life’ and publishing.”

With a primary interest in creative nonfiction, the same group plans to meet later in the month to focus on essay writing.

Jo’s Recommendations:


Jo Wiley

Singer-Songwriter Joe Nolan packs the portico!

Nashville based, Michigan born singer-songwriter, Joe Nolan performed outside under Central's portico to a large crowd of music fans on June 5th. The event was part of the Art Hop and kicked off our huge slate of events to entertain everyone during the hot summer months. Many of the hundreds of people strolling around town stopped to listen to Joe's unique style which is a blend of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. In addition to his performing his own material, Nolan randomly read from some books he brought to the concert. The outdoor show was very successful and proved to be a most excellent start to the music being featured at KPL during the summer!


Joe Nolan


Kevin King

Crowd Pleasing Shout Sister Shout

A capacity crowd arrived early to see Shout Sister Shout on June 17. It’s easy to understand why. Rachael Davis’ silky and sultry voice combined with the rich arrangements and excellent musicianship of Steppin’ In It made for a concert no one wanted to end.

Shout Sister Shout was formed in 2006 by the band Steppin' In It and the singer Rachael Davis, all of whom are well known in the folk scene and who have played double-bills on many occasions. It was their mutual love for old instruments, old radio and old-time jazz that led to Shout Sister Shout (named for a song by Sister Rosetta Sharpe).

This marked the one-year anniversary of concerts at KPL. We kicked off the series in 2008 with Steppin’ In ItRachael (with Jesse Lee Mason) followed soon after in August, and we're glad to welcome all of them back. Take a look at recordings from previous concerts in our monthly series. You'll also find a great collection of photos from the KPL show on the official Shout Sister Shout website!  


Rachael Davis with Shout Sister Shout