Sunday, April 1, 2012


April is National Poetry Month and the Midwest Writing Center is celebrating with two featured authors who have poetry chapbooks published by 918 Studio in LeClaire, Iowa.

 Ellen Tsagaris
In addition to her teaching and other responsibilities as a professor for Kaplan University, Ellen finds the time to write in several venues. She is a poet, blogger and non-fiction writer, among other things. Ellen started writing in journals and scrapbooks in first grade; her poetry career began when she was ten years old. Ellen’s recent titles include Sappho, I should have Listened, a poetry chapbook published by 918 Studio in LeClaire in April of 2011. Her A Bibliography of Dolls and Toy Sources was published in March, 2011. Her first book, The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym was published by The Popular Press/ The University of Wisconsin Press in 1998. 
Ellen is also busy working on a book on automatons coming out in 2012; chapters in three books about Anne Rice, Virginia Woolf and the Harlem Renaissance; an article in a book about creative writing and a textbook. Her past publishing credits also include poems and short stories in magazines and anthologies as well as two student texts for Black Hawk College’s Legal Studies Program. Ellen is excited to be working with 918 Studio on an anthology of ghost stories about LeClaire entitled The Legend of Tugfest to be released this May. She contributed to and is editing the book which plays to her interest in researching ghosts and vampires as well as her future dream to own a small museum. The book will aid the Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire; she says “helping a sister museum is right up my alley”.
Ellen is a prolific writer and researcher. She offers this advice to writers: “Write each day, or do research”. She also passes on this advice from David Collins: “Never stop reading, and keep files of what you are researching for you stories. Join a writers’ group, and don’t give up. Keep submitting, no matter what the rejection letters say.”
Jane VanVooren Rogers
Jane’s writing career began in second grade with her first short story entitled The Genie at my Door. It continued with the publication of many articles and her poetry chapbook, How to Avoid Being and Other Paths to Triumph, published by 918 Studio in LeClaire in September, 2011. Many of the poems appearing in How to Avoid Being and Other Paths to Triumph were written while Jane was a student at Augustana College and were inspired by her minor in women’s studies. The book has attracted enthusiastic praise including by Diane Wakoski, Celebrated Poet and Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University, who said “I am touched by Jane’s poems. Their imaginative romanticism made me smile. I feel a kinship with her awe of beauty and willingness to change her world to admit it. Her poems have admirable grace and sincerity.” Robbie Steinbach, Art and Women’s Studies Professor and author of Lifework: Portraits of Iowa Women Artists and A Precarious Balance: Creative Women in Taos, New Mexico, said “Jane VanVooren Rogers’ poetry is fierce, loving, yearnful, sometimes hilarious and often heartbreaking. She paints incisive portraits of women in all their complexity and richness, and shines a light on the perilousness of the world contemporary women live in.”
When Jane is not writing poetry, she is busy mothering her two young children and working as a freelance writer and editor. She also enjoys hiking, photography, cooking and baking. Jane’s advice for aspiring authors in simple but profound: “Get going!”
Jane and Ellen will be reading selections from their poetry chapbooks on Saturday, April 14th at 1 p.m. at the Midwest Writing Center on the 3rd floor of the Bucktown Center for the Arts at 225 E. 2nd Street in downtown Davenport as part of Midwest Writing Center's and Bettendorf Public Library's Read Local Series
This event is free and open to the public.

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