Creative Writing Club for Kids and Teens

Morris area kids and teens, save the date!

First meeting of this year’s Creative Writing Club at the Morris Public Library, next Saturday, May 12: 2 p.m. for kids, 3 p.m. for teens. (Participants are welcome to join whichever group they prefer.)

Wondering what we do there? Check out some of the highlights from last year:

This year’s meeting dates:
Saturday, May 12
Saturday May 19
Saturday June 2
Saturday June 9
Saturday June 16
Saturday June 23
See you at the Morris Public Library!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Lake Region Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.




Some Exciting News!

Some exciting news to share: this fall, I’ll be joining the creative writing faculty at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. As some of you know, this type of teaching and mentoring position has been a long-time dream for me, and I’m especially excited to be part of such a growing and dynamic graduate and undergraduate program.
As a family, we’re sad to be leaving Morris, a place where we learned so many good lessons about community, where we’ve made many lifelong friends, and which has been an incredible place to raise our sons.
We’ll miss Minnesota, a state where I’ve felt supported as a writer beyond my wildest dreams.
We will not miss Minnesota winters.

Looking forward to learning more about Florida and Orlando’s literary communities!


Gratitude for “Old” Students

Feeling some serious gratitude for “old” students!

Woke up to a message a few days ago from the incredible, unstoppable Joshua P. Preston: “I’ll be participating in the University of Minnesota Libraries Poetry Live! Series, reading Robert Bly’s “Gratitude to Old Teachers” — followed by the work of, well, two of my teachers, Chrissy Kolaya and James Lenfestey. Tune in!”

And now you can! With thanks and admiration to Josh, Jennifer Shaw-Spence, Kate Hujda, Cecily Marcus, and the whole Poetry Live project! 


You can watch more episodes of Poetry Live!, their awesome Read This Book! series, and lots more cool stuff here:

Writer in the Schools

Belatedly sharing some pics of the fantastic poetry students I’ve gotten to work with this year as a Writer in the School at Morris Area High School.

Thanks so much to the  Morris Area Arts Boosters for making this possible, to Ms. Moulton for welcoming me into her classroom, and to these incredible students, who rolled with every crazy activity I brought into class, from Frank O’Hara-inspired Mad Libs to Centos and Exquisite Corpses!

One heck of a welcome! Thanks, Ms. Moulton!

FIERCELY sharing their Frank O’Hara-inspired Mad Lib poem!

Mad Lib poet chefs!

Cento building materials

Hunting through literary journals, anthologies, and poetry collections for some Cento building blocks

Hunting through literary journals, anthologies, and poetry collections for some Cento building blocks

Kardashian Khristmas Kard-inspired Poetry Family Photo!







Here’s to Paying it Forward!

Generous mentorship has so often kept me afloat as I navigated making a life as a writer, so here’s to paying it forward!

Excited to be serving as a mentor for the Dzanc Books Creative Writing Mentorship Program, along with a whole bunch of talented folks.

The program launches today: check it out!

All mentors donate our time: proceeds from the mentorship fee support the Dzanc Writer in Residence Program, committed to increasing literacy and the literary arts in public schools.


Curbside Books & Records Reading with Christine Sneed

Chicago-area friends, join me on Tuesday, January 2, 6:30 p.m. to kick off the  new year at Curbside Books & Records! I’ll be reading with the wildly talented Christine Sneed.

Don’t know about Curbside Books & Records yet? Check out how great they are: “We seek to facilitate the discovery of independent literature and challenge the traditional understanding of literature’s function in our world. As lovers of music, we seek to support the local musicians and labels that we listen to and love. We also aim to enhance the literary community in Chicago’s South Loop by hosting discussions, readings, and pop-up events. We invite you to browse our store, sit down with a book, and read on.”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 6:30 p.m.  at Curbside Books & Records in the Revival Food Hall, 125 S Clark St, Chicago.

More info here!




Join Me for Writers Night!

Writers Night at the Morris Public Library

Monday, December 11, 7-10 p.m.

102 E. 6th St., Morris

Open Mic, Work in Progress Reading, and Q&A with novelist and poet Chrissy Kolaya

She’ll be reading work in progress from her novel The Second Voyage of Audley Worthington, a project supported by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Come early for the open mic and share your own creative work in progress!

Open Mic: 7-7:30 ~ All Ages Welcome!

Reading and Q&A: 7:30 p.m.

Chrissy Kolaya is a fiscal year 2017 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Facebook event page:



Creative Writing Club!

Third Meeting: Writers, Writers Everywhere!

This week, we wrote about doppelgängers, disco dancing in the 1980s, eating apples, some “Flash” fan fiction, and space cats! Check out pieces below by Sawyer, Oliver, Mija, and Parker!

Second Meeting

Our Second Meeting of the Creative Writing Club for Kids and Teens was super fun! We wrote about the future, prophecies, giant kittens, and Louis wow-ed us, as always, with his spectacular fashion choices (check out that blazer and fur hat!). Pieces below by Oliver and Roberto:

First Meeting!

This summer, I’m hosting a free creative writing club for kids and teens at the Morris Public Library. We had our first fantastic, fun, and silly meeting today! Thanks to Anne Hennen Barber and the Morris Public Library for hosting us! I’ll be updating this site after each meeting with some photos and pieces the club members are excited to share with the world!

We imagined our dream summers, shared the epic tales of the “not-to-smart man” and some farting cats, and learned that some of our club members do NOT like spicy burritos! Check out work by Rowan, Ellis, and Parker!