The Original Voice

The Original Voice includes feature artists, poetry and prose readings, music, etc., and open mike, and is open to the public and the event is now held at The Coloma Hotel in Coloma, WI after the Coffee Cabin closed in Wautoma. The event is held the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 7 – 9pm. (Note: Previously, the event was held on the first Thursday of each month, but due to conflicting schedules with other popular events we changed our meeting time to see if it would encourage greater attendance.) We hope you can come! Bring a friend! Contact Julie (920/787-7663 or the Coloma Hotel at 414-870-7329 or 715-228-2401.) The Coloma Hotel

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 Readings – 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
Julie C. Eger – Creator of The Original Voice
Julie’s work as a massage therapist has fed her belly and warmed her home. Her passion for writing feeds her soul. She lives in a state of wild divine in the heart of Wisconsin along with her husband, a brown dog and a black dog, all who insist on hogging the bed.

Six years ago, Julie sat down to write a short essay on the after effects of alcoholism on families, and finally stopped writing when she reached page 396. This essay turned into her first novel titled The Secrets of Arbishaw County. It is, as yet, unpublished, but it triggered a love for writing which includes poetry. In 2007 the first three chapters of the rough-draft of her fictional novel came out in a tradeback edition of a one-of-a-kind eclectic collection of works-in-progress titled Other Voices edited by Norbert Blei. Julie’s introductory chapters are surrounded by the wonderful work of 21 other authors.

In 2008, Julie took first place in the WRWA Jade Ring contest with an essay titled “The Lesson Of the Deep Song” and second with a memoir titled “Puberty 101.” In 2007, Julie’s poem, “Broken Promise” (a cinquain) won first place in the WRWA Jade Ring poetry category. In 2006 Julie took second place in the WRWA Jade Ring Essay contest with a piece titled “La Que Sabe’s Bag of Tricks,” and honorable mention in the Al P. Nelson Feature Article Contest with an article about her son titled “Carving Out a Dream”. In 2005 she won first place in the article category with a piece about her mother titled “Maxine,” third place in the essay category with a humorous piece about odd-shaped silverware titled “Between a Fork and a Hard Place,” and second place in the 2004 nostalgia category with a reminiscent piece titled “The Broken Bowl.” Her work has appeared in Country Today, Peninsula Pulse, Irish Stew, Free Verse, Siftings, Hummingbird, Slow Trains, Green Prints Magazine, Other Voices (edited by Norbert Blei), The Original Voice, Poetry Dispatch, Bar Code (anthology edited by Ralph Murre), Arbor Vitae, Write Away! (anthology of poems edited by Barb Cranford), ARGIA and WOW! Women On Writing.

Julie enjoys spending time with her family, grandchildren, friends, and singing Patsy Cline songs when no one is looking. She is responsible for having raised two sons, her spirit, and the spirit of others as well.

         Words and pictures and music and more!

Scroll down to see all of the feature artists we’ve had over the years…

Ken Tennessen (poet) – January 2007 Feature Artist

Tennessen is a contemplative poet whose intrigue with natural history and human behavior compels him to explore the ties between these seemingly different worlds. The Vietnam War reflects much of his work. His inspirations often come during travel, while conducting research, or perusing the work of others, although he admits to being awakened by beginnings of poems. Tennessen’s poem, “Crack of Dawn” appeared in the October 2006 issue of Free Verse. Tennessen is originally from Wisconsin but lived and worked most of his life in the Southeast. After retiring, he moved back to Wisconsin and now makes his home in Wautoma.

Barbara Fitz Vroman (author and poet) – February 2007 Feature Artist

Vroman started her career as a columnist and feature writer for The Waushara Argus, a central Wisconsin newspaper. Her first two novels, Tomorrow is a River, (co-authored with Peggy Hanson Dopp), and Sons of Thunder, both received The Milwaukee.Journal Leslie Cross Award for best full-length fiction by a Wisconsin author. Vroman’s most recent novel, The Experiment, explores whether ordinary people can help create peace. Vroman was also a weekly columnist for United Press International (UPI).

Vroman has hosted the 93.3 Wausau radio show; founded Pearlwin Publishing Company, and is included in the Marquis Who’s Who. It is no surprise to find Vroman teaching at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Arts, Rhinelander, and The Clearing in Ellison Bay, WI. You may also find her gathering wildflowers near her quiet country home in central Wisconsin. Learn more about Barbara Fitz Vroman at Note: Barbara Fitz Vroman passed away on May 7, 2012 after a brief battle with cancer.

Allen Stea (singer, songwriter, poet) – April 2007 Feature Artist

Stea is a local celebrity who lives in Wautoma. He has been writing songs and poetry for at least 40 years. He enjoys farming, but his greatest passions include playing guitar and singing. He is well known for his sense of humor and good clean fun. Stea is the “S” of a local singing team known as The Corner of G&S. Stea and his partner, David Gunderson, perform at various events throughout Wisconsin.

Barb Cranford (poet, former sculptor) – May 2007 Feature Artist

Cranford is a minimalist writer, editing her poems to the essence. Cranford was originally from Chicago, but relocated to Wisconsin in 1971 with her husband, Walt. Cranford was the assistant editor, and later art director, of Britannica Junior, the multi-volume children’s edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. She owned a Chicago gallery on Wells Street. You can find Cranford’s poems in many literary journals and anthologies. Cranford was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006. Cranford has published several chapbooks, Sweep The Spring, Scorpio’s Child, Some Quiet Place, Pentimento, From Life, and her most recent, No One There.

June 2007 event cancelled due to severe thunderstorm

Bruce Dethlefsen (poet) – July 2007 Feature Artist

Dethlefsen is the author of two chapbooks — A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor, which received the Honorable Mention Award in the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Posner contest in 2003. One of Dethlefsen’s poems, “The Side That Won”, received first place in the “Peace” portion of the 2006 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Triad contest. Dethlefsen recently retired as director of the Montello Public Library. He is currently working on his third book of poems.

Ralph Murre (poet, wanderer) – August 2007 Feature Artist

Ralph Murre began writing in 1999, with a eulogy for his father, and has been pursuing the art with increased urgency since then. His date of birth, during one of mankind’s great wars, has colored his thinking for life. Luckily, he is also influenced by the color of the sea, the smiles of strangers, the spirits in the woods, and the touch of a lover’s hand. He is a recovering farm boy. Many of his individual poems have been published around the U.S. and beyond, both in print and on-line. His first book of poetry – Crude Red Boat – was published by Cross + Roads Press in 2007.

Cathryn Cofell (poet, advocate for the arts) – September 2007 Feature Artist

Cofell’s work has been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, and has received over 30 awards including two Pushcart nominations, the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association Jade Ring Award, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, and the Arts and Letter’s Outstanding Poem distinction for two consecutive years. She is the author of four chapbooks — most recently Sweet Curdle from the Marsh River Press — with a fifth forthcoming chapbook from Parallel Press in early 2008. Cofell is also a passionate advocate for the arts; she has served as an advisor to the Wisconsin Governor for the creation of a state Poet Laureate, as founding chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, on the board of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and as a pro-arts, pro-poetry voice wherever she will be heard. She is a frequent keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, panel presenter and guest poet at venues throughout Wisconsin.

Jackie “Red Woman” Lindow (storyteller) – October 2007 Feature Artist

When she’s not teaching kids at after school programs, Lindow can be found wandering the parameters of her quiet country home gathering herbs, flowers, and stones. She stores these gifts from the earth in her basement, a perfect place to keep them safe because they often become the foundation for new stories. However, it is the old stories that spark the embers beneath Jackie Red Woman’s passion for storytelling.

Lindow’s creative leadership is mentioned in “The Untold Story of Resistance and Recovery.” Lindow has led groups locally, regionally, and nationally. Her work is featured on a CD called Passages” which is distributed worldwide. The CD is filled with voices of special people offering stories of hope. You can hear Lindow’s voice in conjunction with legendary artists such as Dolly Parton and Barbara Streisand.

Lindow tells her stories in a language that is easy for anyone to understand, whether you are a child seeing the world through new eyes or a child who has already seen many things. Jackie Red Woman tells stories that captivate as well as teach.

John Brown (poet) – November 2007 Feature Artist

When you dig deep you’ll find that poets sometimes do things like hunt, fish, travel, and meet new people. They may work at road construction, potato and dairy farming, or even a campground. Native to Hancock in Waushara County, John Brown is a poet who laces passion and life experience into the poems that flow from his pen. John writes ‘working poems’ about everyday life to convey insightful messages.
John’s work has appeared in, Noble House Publishing, and other published books. In 2005 John Brown, and his sister Betty, created Life’s Lines, a collection of family poems.

Pat Connolly and Guy Kaplan (singers/musicians) December 2007 Feature Artists

Pat Connolly, Wautoma, WI (banjo) and Guy Kaplan, Coloma, WI (guitar) have been long time members of The Blackhawk Folk Society and The Coloma Players. The Blackhawk Folk Society is a non-profit organization and holds a concert the 2nd Saturday of each month. Concerts are held in the Mount Morris Town Park in the summer, and in the Mount Morris Town Hall in the winter. Check out for more information on The Blackhawk Folk Society.

The Coloma Players is a small theater group loaded with talent. The group originated in 1977 and currently prefers comedy and mysteries based on comedy with the addition of improv which encourages audience participation. Check out for information on The Coloma Players.


Tom Montag (poet and essayist) – February 2008 Feature Artist

Montag is the author of more than twenty books and chapbooks of poetry, most recently The Idea of the Local (MWPH, 2007) and Peter’s Story (MWPH, 2007) co-authored with Peter Pizzino, as well as The Big Book of Ben Zen (MWPH, 2004) and The Sweet Bite of Morning (Juniper Press, 2003). In recent years he also published a memoir about growing up on an Iowa farm, Curlew: Home (Midday Moon, 2001) and a book of essays about writing and being a writer, Kissing Poetry’s Sister (Joint Venture, 2002). Selected earlier poems are still available in Montag’s Middle Ground (MWPH, 1982).

Montag was one of two runners-up for the Wisconsin Poet Laureate appointment in 2004. Along with the work of sixty other Wisconsin writers, Montag’s poem “Lecturing My Daughter in Her First Fall Rain” is permanently incorporated into the design of the Midwest Express Convention Center in Milwaukee.

Born and raised on an Iowa farm, Montag wrote of his early years in the memoir, Curlew:Home. Vivid prose about his farm childhood during the 1950s is interspersed in that book with the journal of a trip he made back to his hometown in October, 2000. While Curlew:Home tells his story and that of his family, Montag has said it also represents many other middlewestern farm people who have no one to speak for them. Several readers have told the author: “This could be the story of my life. Curlew:Home was read on Iowa Public Radio in January and February, 2002.

Montag’s current prose project, which he calls Vagabond In the Middle, is an exploration of what makes us middlewestern. Of this investigation Montag says: “Who are we and what are the middlewestern emblems common across our area, I want to ask. Landscape, environment, people, and history all factor into the definition of the middlewest, all shape what we’ve become. In coming to understanding, I expect to mix interview and personal experience, history and geology, essay and journal entry and meditation. I’ll walk, I’ll drive, I’ll listen, I’ll read, I’ll listen some more, I’ll watch. Always I will be looking for the true stories that tell us what is it that makes us who we are. I will burrow into the life of each community, to find the stuff it is made of; I will record that, then compare the communities to determine what they hold in common, what they keep as difference. There will necessarily be a peeling back of the surface sheen of the landscape to see what pulses beneath, to understand the land not in some generic, historical sense, but in terms of particular lives lived here. The truly local: these lives, in their times, in these places.”

In October 2002, Montag retired from a career in the printing industry to devote himself full time to his writing. He and Mary, his wife of more than 30 years, live in Fairwater, Wisconsin. The couple has two grown daughters, Jenifer and Jessica.

The Not Quite the Coloma Players – March 2008 Feature

The Not Quite The Coloma Players are an off shoot of The Coloma Players and one of their goals is to bring laughter and smiles to as many people as they can. They are known for their improv. Improv is unscripted comedy –nothing is written down in advance. Audience members are asked to suggest setting ideas, characters, and lines to be incorporated into scenes. Those who wish to do so will have ample opportunity to get up and take part in the exercises. No one knows what will happen, but it is always funny; laughter and surprises abound. It is also very Zen-like much akin to flower arranging only you laugh more.

Members of the troupe are subject to change but if you’re curious about the picture: Back row: Guy Kaplan, Becky Schumacher, Lauretta Kaplan, Jack Eyers. Front row: Carl Merola, Chris Langenfeld.

Parkside A+ Program Poetry Students – April 2008 Feature

When children write poetry, you never know what to expect. They see things differently than adults and it’s always refreshing, especially when it’s something they love. There are only a handful of kids in class from the Parkside School After-School A+ Program, but creativity soars as they explore the power of words. Ranging in age from 11 to 14 they meet from 4:00 to 5:00 once a week to discuss their ideas about poetry in Julie Eger’s Original Voice poetry program.

Angelina Sharp is 14 years old and in the 8th grade. Angelina likes to go snowboarding, play softball and sing. Angelina said she fell in love with poetry years ago. Her favorite song is Always, by Saliva.

Tyler Jannette is 11 years old and in the 5th grade. Tyler likes electronics, listening to CD’s, drawing and writing poems. Tyler started writing poems when he was 10 years old. Tyler excels at poems that don’t rhyme. Michael Gilibertois 11 years old and in 5th grade. Michael likes to draw, write, listen to music and hang out with his friends. Michael likes poems that rhyme and became interested in poetry in the 3rd grade.So far the students have learned how to discover a poem in ordinary things, written a pantoum about where their shoes have been, studied haiku, and practiced speaking into a microphone in front of an audience. Their energy is as exhilarating as their poetry.
Cathryn Cofell-Mutschler (poet and advocate for the arts): May 2008 Feature

Some poets read poetry, others perform it, but sometimes you find a poet who has such a unique presentation you can’t stop talking about it. Cathryn Cofell is one of the latter.

Cathryn is the author of five books of poetry, including Sweet Curdle, from Marsh River Editions and Kamikaze Commotion, her latest collection released in 2008 by Parallel Press. Cathryn’s poetry, essays and feature articles can be found in hundreds of journals and anthologies such as Prairie Schooner, MARGIE, Slipstream, and Nerve Cowboy, and have received over 30 awards for excellence including two Pushcart Prize nominations. Cathryn is a passionate advocate for the arts, having served as an advisor to the Wisconsin Governor for the creation of a state Poet Laureate, as founding Chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, on the board of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and as a pro-arts voice wherever she’ll be heard. She is a frequent keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and guest poet at venues throughout Wisconsin, but calls Appleton home.

“We are bodies in groove, a flood / of pure journey, we celebrate….” There is more than a go-cart run going on here. Cathryn Cofell writes poetry that is serious, witty, and smart. Confronting her alienation, she makes it clear just how many of us are standing around with her. She knows, too, that loss is not something that can be framed, put up on a wall, and viewed from a distance. Cofell is a brave poet, subtle, but sure, and doesn’t hesitate to “pull the weight of our small world / back up that breathless hill.” There is, after all, a lot to celebrate.

~ Louis McKee, author of Near Occasions of Sin and 11 other collections of poetry.

Lucy Rose Johns (one-of-a-kind) poet – June 2008 Feature

Lucy Rose lives in Nekoosa, but when you call her number you’ll get her answering machine saying she might be at the New Zoo with the giraffes, but she’ll call you back as soon as she can. When you ask her for a bio she responds by sending a cartoon picture of Aunt Ole, eyes closed, her cartoon mouth forming a huge round ‘O’ as she reads from a plain white brochure:

“Dear Requester of the Bio of Lucy Rose Johns,
She keeps telling us that no poet would define herself in prose. Every time we beg her for a “real bio” we get a poem in response, granted they differ in content and form and ARE biographical in nature. Like Aunt Ole says you have to use her up the way she comes.”

She also includes a haiku.
Lucy Haiku
traditional spiritual bookworm
fellowship member
shy girl loud mouth poet

She mentions in her catalog poem she is a, “Home Owner, Tax Payer, Registered Voter, Hoper, pray-er, magic-bean-buyer.” Within her list of chapbooks you will find, Buehler Avenue Blues, Consider The Lilies, People I Want To Keep, Lucy’s Law of Time, You Are Not The Boss Of Me, Living Off MY Y2K Supplies, and Stuff I’ve Written Since My Last Chapbook.
Lucy is the kind of poet who lets her poetry speak for itself, and in listening to or reading her work, you will discover a down to earth, straight to the point, full of surprises, very authentic Lucy Rose Johns.

Lou Roach (poet from Poynette, WI) July 2008 Feature

When a day breaks open, Lou Roach is ready to capture any gifts it might have to offer in regard to poetry. After a morning rain, it might be the gift of streets glistening in the sun, how a pear offers peace, or something as small as the bend of light through an ordinary day. You’ll stop and wonder as she ponders whether a dumpster stands for ‘ruin or renewal’. She’s retired now, but lessons learned through her work as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist bring an unmistakable sense of humanity to her poems.

Lou’s work has appeared in Main Street Rag, Free Verse, Rockford Review, Hummingbird, and the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendars since 2000. She has earned recognition in contests sponsored by Free Verse, and in several Jade Ring competitions sponsored by the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association. Lou is an active member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She continues to write poetry, and sometimes freelance articles for several newspapers. She has mentored high school poets and taught classes in poetry for middle school students. Her newest chapbook is titled For Now.

Barb Cranford (poet from Hancock, WI) August 2008 Feature

Barb Cranford lives in the suburb of Hancock, WI. Her house is tucked away in a stand of jack pines. Less than a mile down the road there are acres of trees, charred and black from a fire that swept through her community in 2005, but today you can see new growth springing from the forest floor. And when you pull in Barb’s driveway you’ll see sculptures, as though they too have sprung from the forest floor. Even though Barb doesn’t sculpt with clay anymore, she spends much of her time sculpting with words to create thought provoking poems.

When she lived in Chicago, Barb was the assistant editor, and later, art director of Britannica Junior, the multi-volume children’s edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. She opened her own gallery on Wells Street long before galleries were popular there. Barb published Sweep the Spring, her first paperback book of poetry in 2000, followed by Scorpio’s Child, Some Quiet Place, Pentimento and From Life.

Barb is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, teaches an occasional ‘by invitation only’ workshop for aspiring poets, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2006. Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies and literary journals.

Janie Jasin (Motivational Speaker) September 2008 Feature

Jasin is an author, lover of pines, silver water, and sandy soil and asks the question, “So what’s your story? She delivers her answer on the wings of words that include Stories With Stamina, Stories With Strength, and Stories With Smiles.
Jasin says, “For me it is always about words. No one has the same story as you do. So live it, write it, tell it and make a difference.”

Whether you are a writer of prose or poetry, a reader, a listener, or all of them, this night will be rewarding. Janie’s message contains the miracle of affirmation and stories of inspiration for life changing behavior.
Jasin’s awards include: Best Speaker Applied Association Therapeutic Humor 2007, Best Speaker Wisconsin Homes and Services for Aging 2008, Minnesota Speaker’s “Hall of Fame” 2005, Meeting Planner’s International Speaker Hall Of Fame 2006, 12 time keynoter National Speaker’s Association convention, Best Selling Author of The Littlest Christmas Tree – One Million sold – written in Wautoma, Wisconsin 1997, over 20 CD’s, videos and books produced.

October and November 2008

We were disappointed to learn that at the end of September 2008, The Coffee Cabin was closing its doors for good. Carol was tired and needed a break and it was a melancholy evening as we said our good-byes. We had no meeting in October or November due to the lack of a proper meeting place. We explored different venues in the Wautoma area and came upon many closed doors for many different reasons; bad timing, remodeling in progress, cost, etc. Finally in the middle of November, we explored outside the boundaries of Wautoma, and have been warmly accepted by The Coloma Hotel in Coloma. Our new hosts are Dennis and Sue Apps. We are excited about the change and hope that the folks from Wautoma will follow us there, and that we will acquire some new fans as we explore our new environment and continue to support and present different aspects of the arts! We hope you come join us at The Original Voice open mic event the first second Thursday – 7 PM – of each month.

Karen Ackerson (Actress) and the new poetry anthology Write Away! (edited by Barb Cranford) December 2008 Features

The Original Voice – An Advocate for the Arts – presents “The Yin and Yang of Poetry” – a back to back double feature starring Miss Faye McFaye of Mineola, Georgia, and readings from Write Away!, the new poetry anthology edited by Barb Cranford. As in yin and yang, for all the laughter there is a tear, for all the tears there comes a smile.

On one hand, we will feature Write Away!, an anthology of poems selected from over 1200 created in Barb Cranford’s poetry workshops where poets go to meet new friends and become better poets. The first poetry workshop was held in 2001 in Hancock, WI. Some of the poets featured in the anthology submit their work for publication; some do not. All cherish the vital, highly charged synergy generated by the quarterly sessions and some go to considerable lengths to be able to attend the workshops. Some of the poems presented in Write Away! have by now appeared or been accepted for publication elsewhere. Books will be available for purchase and signing by participating authors.

On the other hand, we have Miss Faye McFaye who was born and raised in Mineola, Georgia. Miss McFaye has come to poetry very recently. “It’s just so excitin’ when you discover you have a gift,” said Miss McFaye. Her experiences as a grocery checker at the local A&P have proved fertile ground as she writes verse about life, love and human nature. Recent personal difficulties have also provided a heartfelt basis for some of her most profound works. Miss McFaye is currently visiting family here in Waushara County.


photo by J. Eger / Article courtesy of Barbara Fitz Vroman

The Original Voice to feature Julie Eger – January 2009 Feature

The Original Voice has presented a wide range of visiting poets, musicians, authors and even comics, from numerous places, including Nekoosa, Appleton, Westfield, and Milwaukee. On Thursday evening, January 8th, one of our Waushara area poets, Julie Eger, will be featured at the group’s new home, The Coloma Hotel.

Eger, as the founder and coordinator of The Original Voice, has been reluctant to be the highlighted presenter, but has finally given in to the pressure from others to take the spotlight. Eger has lived in Waushara County all her life so much of her poetry and prose reflect the people and places in this area, which give it a special interest and poignancy to those of us who were also raised or reside here.

Eger’s intent in founding The Original Voice was to encourage the expression of others, who as she once did, created music, poetry, songs, or prose in secret because she feels ‘Art is meant to be shared.”

Mary Lou Judy (Poet and Artist) February 2009 Feature

sketch by Mary Lou Judy

It isn’t always known what will happen when Mary Lou Judy’s pencil hits the page, but whether it’s a drawing or a poem that appears, you can be sure the image will be clear. It might be a self portrait or include a touching memory of leaving behind small hand prints in wet cement. She is an artist who touches your heart.

Mary Lou Judy has been published in The Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Free Verse, Once Around the Kitchen Table, At the Heart of Riverwood, Write Away! An Anthology of Poems, and in several chapbooks of haikai-no-renga. She lives with her spouse, Richard, in Stevens Point, WI.

March 5th 2009 Features at The Original Voice

Poets Sharon Auberle and Ralph Murre

Sharon Auberle is a recent full-time resident of Door County, though she’s been a passionate lover of the woods and waters there for twenty-five years.

Her poetry and photography draw on a wide range of subjects including nature, Zen, spirituality and the breath-taking landscapes of Door and her former home in the Southwest.

Her most recent book is a memoir in poetry entitled Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball (Cross+Roads Press), as well as a collection of poems and photos entitled Crow Ink. Her work may be found in numerous anthologies including The Nature of Door, Literary Lunch, Trim, Common Ground and WomanPrayers, as well as on-line and in small press publications. Upcoming are a revised, expanded edition of Crow Ink (Little Eagle Press) and a children’s story. When not writing, you will find her hanging out at her website, Mimi’s Golightly Café.

Ralph Murre, a denizen of Door County’s woods and shores, has been, for a few of his 65 years, writing and presenting poetry to audiences in person, on-line, and in print, where he has gained the acceptance of the editors of such publications as After Hours, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Free Verse, Hummingbird, Clark Street Review, Knock, Haibun Today, The Cliffs, and many others. His work can also be found in several anthologies and in his own books, Crude Red Boat (Cross+Roads Press, 2007) and Psalms (Little Eagle Press, 2008). His shoot-from-the-hip, quick-sketch writing, photography, and art often appear on his blog, the Arem Arvinson Log. Murre’s work sometimes pays homage to writers as diverse as Robert Burns and Lawrence Ferlinghetti , but always speaks of his own experience and views, gained in his travels and in his 25 or 30 occupations over the years.

Auberle and Murre are currently engaged in presenting a series of joint readings of their work, in which they often address similar themes, but from differing perspectives of their life experiences.

April 2, 2009 Features at The Original Voice

Poets Jeffrey Johannes and Joan Wiese Johannes
Jeffrey Johannesis a poet, artist, and teacher who lives with his poet wife Joan, one attention-deficit golden retriever, and two emotionally-challenged cats. He has published poetry in the anthologies At the Heart of the Riverwood and Once Around the Table, and his poetry has appeared in Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar, Voice of the Wind, The Aurorean, Acorn, Modern Haiku, English Journal and Fox Cry Review. Two of his haiku were featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel haiku contest in 2001. Both his artwork and poetry have won awards in juried shows and contests including all three categories in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Triad contest. Jeffrey is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Riverwood Round Table, and Mid-State Poetry Towers, where he enjoys the camaraderie of imaginative and creative folks like him. He has read around the state as a solo reader, with his wife Joan, and with various poetry groups.
Joan Wiese Johannes has been publishing poetry for twenty years and writing music for Native American flute for seven. A poem of hers was displayed at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point during the Conference on Preventing All Forms of Violence Against Women March 2-5. She has won the Triad and Trophy Poem contests sponsored by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and received honorable mentions in the Trophy Poem, Triad, and Muse contests for WFOP, as well as from The Writer’s Place and English Journal. Her poetry, articles, and creative nonfiction have been published in numerous journals and magazines, including Cat Fancy, Rattle, The Wisconsin River Journal, Moving Out, Jam Today, Rhino, and Wisconsin Academy Review. Her poems have been anthologized in Poets Who Haven’t Moved to Minneapolis, Poets Who Haven’t Moved to St. Paul, At the Heart of Riverwood, and Wisconsin Poets’ Calendars.
Richard Behm  (poet) – May 2009 Feature Artist
Even though he was born in Ohio, Richard Behm considers himself a Wisconsinite, gradually making the transformation from Buckeye to Badger. He even wrote an article that was published in Wisconsin Trails (October 1997) listing the top ten ways to recognize that you’ve gone native. Number 10 had to do with shoveling tons of snow for the second time in one week. Number one was “You wonder how you’d look in a cheesehead.” He and his wife, Mary, currently have a cabin near Curtis Lake near Richford where he likes to fly fish on the Mecan River.

Dr. Richard H. Behm is a three-time winner of creative writing fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board, twice in poetry and once in fiction. He has written for a variety of popular magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Sports Afield, Field & Stream, and Sporting Classics.

A professor emeritus of English at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, he has had more than 200 poems published in some of the nation’s most prestigious literary journals including Poetry, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Kenyon Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. His work has appeared in several anthologies; most recently he has had two poems on baseball published in an anthology titled Line Drives: 162 Contemporary Poems on Baseball published by Southern Illinois University Press.

Behm’s writing is influenced by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Emerson. He often quotes Emerson’s “The Poet”: “The people fancy they hate poetry, and they are all poets and mystics!” Behm believes everyone is a poet. He also believes “poetry is more perspiration than inspiration.” He used to tell his students he wasn’t a good writer, but he was a heck of a re-writer. One of his favorite quotes comes from Carl Sandberg: “I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself.”

Erich Ebert (poet) – June 2009 Feature Artist

“Photography is what I remember, poetry is what I choose not to forget.”

Erich Ebert works and lives in Milwaukee. He received an MA in Creative Writing from UWM in 2002, and was also the recipient of self-employment in that same year. He shares his time writing while re-finishing hardwood floors.

He has also worked as a writing center tutor at Central Washington University and taught English 101 at Yakima Community College. His poems have appeared in Blue Canary Press, The Capilano Review, Rain City Review, The Shepperd Express, and on various bar napkins. Chapbooks include: From outside the museum of perception, Spring Thesis, The Saints of My Life, and The Future Sound of Love.

Forthcoming in Fall of ’09: Translations of German poet Kurt Baum, and Why we blow ourselves up: Poems on Something, Poems on Nothing.

Bruce Dethlefsen  (poet) – June 2009 Feature Artist

Dethlefsen was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He has three published poetry chapbooks, A Decent Reed (Tamafyhr Mountain Press) and Something Near the Dance Floor (Marsh River Editions) and Breather (Fireweed Press). Bruce lives in Westfield, Wisconsin. He has recently retired as director of the Montello Library.

Charles P. Ries says in a review of Dethlefsen’s current chapbook Breather, “Bruce Dethlefsen doesn’t write many books of poetry. It’s been six years since he came out with his second book, Something Near the Dance Floor by Marsh River Editions. And one doesn’t see much of his poetry in and around the small press, but my-oh-my, when he decides to show us his good stuff, he comes out swinging. In this, his third and largest collection of poetry, Dethlefsen does most everything right. He is a master of drawing word pictures that are at once narrative stories, melodies, and free association free-for-alls.”

On March 30, 2009 Dethlefsen had two poems (“When Somebody Calls After Ten P.M.” and “Suicide Aside”) featured on The Writer’s Almanac. The poems were read by Garrison Keillor.

Lincoln Hartford  (poet) – August 2009 Feature Artist

Lincoln Hartford lives on a lake in central Wisconsin, where he and his Welsh corgi watch the seasons move life on this precious earth. There he writes, sings, and records the days in photographs. Dr. Hartford served with the United Methodist Church for 35 years. His ministries included pastorates in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico and Wales. He especially enjoyed campus ministry work, university teaching, and chaplaincy at the Navajo Preparatory Academy in Farmington New Mexico. Lincoln and his wife Jan have toured much of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Mexico with a two person musical show called “Life ‘n Stuff”. In addition to writing poetry, Hartford has written several plays, and a musical, “Wisconsin Tapestry”. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, and a master’s and doctorate in Theology. He has written extensively on the subject of Welsh hymn singing. In retirement, he serves the Presbyterian Church in Mauston, Wisconsin as Minister of Music.

Hartford is the author of Choose Peaches, a collection of 36 poems accompanied by 25 photographs. His poems have appeared in publications such as Free Verse, WFOP Calendar, Museletter, Connection, Christian Century, Y Drych, and various newspapers. He has a second collection under construction, Recipes for Old Guys, a book of poetic wisdom and cooking recipes for the retired set. He also produces an annual celebration in poetry, song and story, Lincoln Reads Lincoln, featuring Lincoln Hartford’s poetry and Abraham Lincoln’s speeches. Hartford’s poetry reading at Coloma will include a bit of singing and piano playing.

Janie Jasin (motivational speaker) – September 2009 Feature Artist

Janie Jasin is an author, lover of pines, silver water, and sandy soil and will address the questions, “What will you do with what you’ve written? Who will it help? Who will it inspire? Who will it heal? Jasin is the author of 12 books and numerous CDs, and has been a motivational speaker for 33 years.

She will also talk about the idea for her newest book A Shell From The Silvery Lake and how it came to be a CD in which the sound editor from A Prairie Home Companion adds her special touch! The purpose of this CD is to “See the wonder, notice the beauty, hear the sounds, remember the feelings and pass on the goodness!”

A Shell From The Silvery Lake is making waves and its presence known and would make a perfect gift for guesting, cabin life, telling cottage stories around the camp fire.” Jasin says, “For me it is always about words. No one has the same story as you do. So live it, write it, tell it and make a difference.” Whether you are a writer of prose or poetry, a reader, a listener, or all of them, this night will be rewarding. Janie’s message contains the miracle of affirmation and stories of inspiration for life changing behavior.

Linda Lee (Konichek)  (poet) – October 2009 Feature Artist
Former teacher, textbook author, and entrepreneur, Linda Lee (Konichek) has loved poetry, horses, and Wisconsin’s lifestyle, since childhood. Twenty-four years ago, she moved to a 114 acre farm in Eagle, where she breeds Morab horses (a cross between the Morgan and Arabian horse) and enjoys the ever-changing seasons and everyday miracles of farm life.In 2000, she attended School of the Arts in Rhinelander, and began writing poetry of her own. Her first chapbook of horse poetry, published in 2003, Where Woman Ends, Horse Begins, is in its fourth printing. Her first full-length book of poetry, Celebrating the Heart-Land, was published in July of 2009. It is her tribute to the life and values in the Midwest. It also gives her a chance to showcase some of her friends, family, and the kindred spirits who enrich every moment of her day. It has already been favorably reviewed by poets, writers, and artists, as well as people, who share her connection with the seasons/circle of life, along with the ever-changing panorama of days lived in Wisconsin.

Barb Cranford (poet, former sculptor) – November 2009 Feature Artist 

Barb Cranford lives in Big Flats, Adams County. Although she spent 40 years doing clay sculpture and had a major retrospective last summer at Alexander House in Port Edwards, Barb more often wears her poet’s hat these days.
When she lived in Chicago, Barb was an assistant editor, and later, art director of Britannica Junior, the multi-volume children’s edition of  Encyclopedia Britannica.  She operated her own gallery on Wells Street long before galleries were popular there. Barb published Sweep the Spring, her first paperback book of poetry in 2000, followed by Scorpio’s Child, Some Quiet Place, Pentimento, From Life, and No One There.
Barb is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, conducts an occasional invitational poem-making workshop and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2006. Recently she brought out Write Away!, an anthology of poems selected from eight years’ work by members of her workshops. Her own poetry has appeared in many anthologies and literary journals. Barb will be reading from her newest chapbook, This Blind Journey.

January 2010: Jim Pollock – unfortunately Jim was upstaged by snowstorm Chloe and the reading was canceled but we were able to reschedule for the February reading.

2010 Feature Artists

Jim Pollock (author, poet) – February 2010 Feature Artist

Stevens Point author, Jim Pollock,  is the author of A Whole Different Animal, a whimsical story about the creator of the universe who becomes bored with his work and decides to take “the best features of his best creatures” in order to make a perfect one. The creating process becomes a bit more complicated for Creator when Man and Woman show up to add their human advice.

A Whole Different Animal is beautifully illustrated by the author’s wife, Mary Ellen Pollock, and should appeal to an audience age nine and up. The book also includes a delightful audio CD narrated by the author.

Jim has a master’s degreeinEnglishform Marquette University and has taught writing at various institutions in the upper Midwest, including Marquette, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Reformatory, Stephan Indian Mission, South Dakota, and high schools in central Minnesota. The artist, Mary Ellen, is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and is known for her imaginative line drawings of people and animals. The two met at Marquette in the 60’s, and after thirty years became reunited and have been happily married ever since. Jim has also been known to study the behavior of ants in the hopes that they will teach him how to better organize his life!

Lincoln Hartford (singer, poet) – March 2010 Feature Artist

 Lincoln Hartford, the author of CHOOSE PEACHES, a collection of 36 poems and 25 photographs, is now working on a new collection of poems and photographs and recipes, RECIPES FOR OLD GUYS.  Hartford has been writing poems most of his adult years, but since moving to Wisconsin  he has joined the fine community of Wisconsin poets, and  learned  from teachers such as Ellen Kort, Norbert Blei, Robin Chapman and  Laurel Yourke.  He has recently participated in the Key West Literary Seminar, under the leadership of Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins, Jane Hirshfield and Rita Dove.  This summer he will attend his second Iowa Poetry Workshop and also travel to Ireland for a second week at Anam Cara, an arts retreat on the Bourne Peninsula.  Hartford has poems in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Calendar, Museletter, ConnectionFree Verse, and various other publications. His poems tend to be narrative poems, shorter than 35 lines.  He was a singer before a poet, so his poems sound like songs, and in fact, he is as likely to sing as read a poem.  He is also a Master Gardener, tending poor sandy soil on Castle Rock Lake shores, so he knows how it is to dig at a poem until it flowers.  His roots are in Scotland, Ireland and especially Wales, the Celtic lands of poetry and song.

Jeanette Lindelof – The Petenwell Poet  (poet) – April 2010 Feature Artist

In her late sixties, Jeanette Lindelof went white water rafting for the first time. She enjoys tubing behind fast power boats, though when people see her gray hair they are afraid to go full throttle.  She never misses an opportunity to go swimming, and she excels at her crippled version of the dog paddle.

On most summer days you will find her in the garden tending her iris and lilies, or she will be out with her husband looking for wildlife to photograph. She smiles when she mentions they may need a sign on the back of the car reading, “stops suddenly for pictures.”  She and her husband have blocked the highway to help old turtles on their way or to stare with amazement at a circling eagle.  Much of her poetry comes from the garden or the world’s abundant wild critters. Also, she tends to draw on life experience for her material.  In that way she hopes it has the ring of authenticity…being able to express in words those emotions and thoughts that many seasoned citizens share.

She has loved to write all her life. Her first story, written at age eleven, was about her pretend horse, Smokey.  It was type written and 17 pages long. Her work is much shorter now, but she hopes it will resonate with her readers.  She shares it now, one poem at a time.  With a great deal of encouragement, she will be finishing her first book this fall.

Nancy Rafal  (poet) – May 2010 Feature Artist

Nancy Rafal has entered the SNAPDRAGON phase of her life—part of her has snapped and the rest of her is draggin’. She wrote her first poems when she was in seventh grade. The work she will read is, thankfully, more recent.

Living in the boreal forest of northern Door County has inspired her poems. The actions of family and friends provide fodder too. She is co-author, along with Judy Roy and June Nirschl, of the chapbook, Slightly Off Q. Numerous editions of the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, issues of the Peninsula Pulse, Sheepshead Review, and Free Verse have contained her work. She and Kathy Miner were co-editors of the 2009 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar.

Karla Huston  (poet) – June 2010 Feature Artist

Karla Huston writes in Appleton, Wisconsin, and is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, most recently An Inventory of Lost Things, Centennial Press, 2009.  Her book, Flight Patterns won the Main Street Rag chapbook contest in 2003. Winner of many writing awards, she has published poetry, reviews and interviews in many journals.  Finally retired from teaching high school English, she loves the way the pen presses forward and words trail behind like a snake shedding its skin.  She always dreams in color, but she’s never had an imaginary friend.

Michael Koehler  (poet) – August 2010 Feature Artist

Michael Koehler lives in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin. Over a bar, two blocks from the river. Poetry is a major force in his life, writing and reading it. His latest book, Red Boots, was the recipient of the R.M. Arvinson Manuscript of the Year Award for 2008. Koehler writes a lot, some days more than others. He has a few poems out there, not as many as he used to. For Koehler, the reward is making the poem as tight as he can, he constantly revises, and then shares the poem with his friends. So it is a surprise to him to say he has three chapbooks, three anthologies, and a broadsheet published. Koehler is working on a book of collected poems which he hopes to have completed by the end of this year.

Cathryn Cofell  (poet) – September 2010 Feature Artist 

Presentation canceled due to uncooperative weather!

Cathryn Cofell is the author of five chapbooks including Sweet Curdle (Marsh River Editions) and Kamikaze Commotion (Parallel Press).  In 2010 she produced a CD called Lip, setting new and selected poems to the music of Obvious Dog (aka Bruce Dethlefsen and Bill Orth).  Her poetry can be found in hundreds of other places like NY Quarterly, North American Review, Oranges & Sardines and Wisconsin People & Ideas, where she was selected for the 2008 John Lehman Poetry Award.  She’s the recipient of 40+ awards for poetry and essay, and is a frequent keynote speaker, radio guest and workshop facilitator.  Cathryn’s made most of her limited fortune in the non-profit sector and is a sucker for a good cause, including previous stints as advisor to the Wisconsin Governor for creation of a state poet laureate and as founding chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission.  She currently chairs the advisory board for Verse Wisconsin, is a member of the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective and a volunteer with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Fox Cities Bookfest.  For more, visit her website at

Ed P. Shultz  (poet) – October 2010 Feature Artist 

Award winning poet Ed P. Shultz lives among the hidden valleys of the Driftless area of northern Crawford County in Wisconsin. In 2008 he received second place in the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest, 2009 received second place in the Lucidity Poetry Contest, 2010 runner-up in the Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine Poetry Contest, recently, three poems have been accepted as finalists in the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest, and he is the recipient of 2010 Contributing Editor’s Pushcart Nomination.

His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Rosebud, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Willow Review, and dozens of others. His chapbooks include: Echoes from Silhouettes, Misprints and Legends, Desert Poems and Third Floor Window.

Edward is the founder of the Driftless Writing Center in Viroqua, WI and hosts a monthly poetry reading series, First Friday Poetry Reading. He conducts writing and reading workshops, has given inspirational poetic presentations at junior and senior high schools, and acted as a judge for the Poetry Out Loud national high school reading contest.

Richard Roe (poet) – November 2010 Feature Artist

Richard Roe, a retired Legislative Analyst and Editor from Middleton, Wisconsin, began writing poetry in his mid-30s and has kept at it ever since. A preacher’s kid who’s lived in Ohio and New Jersey, he has a background in history and economics. He has published three books of poems, most recently, Knots of Sweet Longing. His work has appeared in Wisconsin People and Ideas, Free Verse, Fox Cry Review, and Sow’s Ear Review and recently in three anthologies: Motif, Writing by Ear: An Anthology of Writing About Music, Jukebox Junction USA, and River Poems.

Kathleen McGwin and Daryl Christensen

 (authors) – December 2010 Feature Artists

“Oh that glorious Wisconsin wilderness! … Young hearts, leaves, flowers, animals, the winds and the streams and the sparkling lake all wildly, gladly, rejoicing together!” John Muir

Kathleen McGwin and Daryl Christensen each live in Marquette County, in a place they love. Their roots reach far back into the history of this special place in Wisconsin that helped to shape John Muir’s wilderness philosophy. Their love of the land and John Muir’s story prompted them to delve deeper into the history of the man and where he lived and write a book about what they discovered. Part travel guide, part chronicle of the past, part guide to self discovery, Muir is Still Here is a fascinating read for anyone who loves nature, admires John Muir, seeks renewal or enjoys local history.

Daryl is a retired professional Walleye fisherman, guide, naturalist, author, ecologist, and professional bird guide. He has written scores of published articles and has several books about fishing in publication.

Kathleen is a published author, has been an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities, spent over 25 years in administration of long term care, mostly for people with developmental disabilities, and now is a full time free lance writer.

Kathleen and Daryl will tell how they put the book together, their goals as writers, read excerpts from the book and answer questions about writing. The book will also be for sale.

2011 Feature Artists

F.J. Bergmann 
(poet) – January 2011 Feature Artist

Prize-winning poet F.J. Bergmann will read her poetry and a selection from one of her short stories at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 6 at the Coloma Hotel. Her publication credits, which include “Weird Tales” and “Strange Horizons,” hint at her writing style. “I write both poetry and speculative fiction, often simultaneously,” she says.

Her poems have appeared in Asimov’s, Dreams and Nightmares, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, and many literary journals. In this year’s Triad poetry contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Bergmann won both the theme and open categories as well as a 2010 International Publication Prize from Atlanta Review. Her poem “Eating Light” won the Science Fiction Poetry Association Rhysling award in 2008, and she won the Mary Shelley Imaginative Fiction contest in 2006.

Bergmann’s most recent chapbook is Constellation of the Dragonfly (Plan B Press, 2008). Another chapbook, Out of the Black Forest, will be published by Centennial Press.

The Poynette resident is the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and maintains, a public-service poetry site for the Madison area.

imagesLauretta Kaplan  (playwright) 
February 2011 Feature Artist

“I’ve been involved in community theater for many, many years,” said Lauretta Kaplan, a Coloma, WI resident, “and always wanted to write a play. When I retired from the Postal Service seven years ago, Guy (Lauretta’s husband) gave me a laptop and told me to go ahead.”

Lauretta’s first play, It’s the Plumber, was produced by the Coloma Players. Lauretta directed and Guy had a part in it. The Players also produced Will’s Will, and Sunset, two more of her comedies. “For The Original Voice I will be presenting readings of four short plays, one of which was produced in Chicago. There will also be a scene from a new play.”

Robin Chapman (poet)
March 2011 Feature Artist

Robin Chapman will be the lead-off guest poet at The Original Voice on March 3rd. From Madison, she is author of eleven poetry collections, including most recently The Dreamer Who Counted the Dead, Smoke and Strong Whiskey, and Abundance, which won the Cider Press Review’s editors’ book award. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and online; she received the 2010 Poetry Prize from Appalachia.

A poet of nature and science, Robin has also co-edited anthologies of poems, On Retirement and Love Over 60. She is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dept. of Communicative Disorders and the Waisman Center, where she carried out research on language learning in children and adolescents with Down syndrome. Her husband, Will Zarwell, has promised to bring his accordion to the open mic.

Karla Huston and Dave Scheler (poets)
April 2011 Feature Artists

Karla Huston is the author of several books of poetry, most recently An Inventory of Lost Things, and has published poetry and reviews in many national journals such as Cimarron Review, Eclectica Magazine 5 A.M., Margie, North American Review, One Trick Pony, Pearl, Poet Lore, Rattle, Smartish Pace and others. She has won a long list of awards, including honorable mention for the Council of Wisconsin Writers’ Lorine Niedecker Award and the Jade Ring from the Wisconsin Regional Writers’ Association. Karla lives, teaches and holds writing workshops in Appleton.

David Scheler, lives outside of Madison in the countryside near Cross Plains. He has published numerous poems in journals around the country as well as in the United Kingdom. He has also translated over 100 poems into French, some of which have been published in the U.S and Europe. He has several honorable mentions in national poetry contests and served last year on the governor’s Poet Laureate Commission. He also is a teacher/facilitator at the High School Creative Writing Festival at UW-Whitewater. David will read poems from his new chapbook, Casting for Meteors, as well as poems from his other works.

May 2011 Feature Artist – Jim Pollock (poet)

Jim and his artist wife Mary Ellen moved from San Diego, California, to central Wisconsin, seven years ago hoping to find affordable housing, kayaking rivers, wooded trails, a community of artists and writers, peace and quiet. They soon found all but the peace and quiet. Not long ago they teamed up to publish an illustrated parable, “A Whole Different Animal,” and are working on a second one.

Jim has a master’s degree in English from Marquette University. He has taught writing at various institutions in the upper Midwest, including Marquette, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Reformatory, Stephan Indian Mission, South Dakota and high schools in central Minnesota. Right now he is writing a memoir chronicling his journey as an elderly marathon runner. Jim’s poetry has been published in the “Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar” and “Free Verse.” Mary Ellen is currently president of Gallery Q in Stevens Point where the couple resides with their two pet microbes.


June 2011 Feature Artist – Cathryn Cofell (poet)

Poet Catherine Cofell will be the featured reader at the next meeting of Original Voice at the Coloma Hotel on June 2 at 7 p.m. Cathryn is the author of five chapbooks including Sweet Curdle (Marsh River Editions) and Kamikaze Commotion (Parallel Press).  In 2010 she produced a CD called Lip, setting new and selected poems to the music of Obvious Dog (aka Bruce Dethlefsen and Bill Orth).  Her poetry can be found in hundreds of other places like NY Quarterly, North American Review, and Wisconsin People & Ideas, where she was selected for the 2008 John Lehman Poetry Award.  She’s the recipient of close to 50 awards for poetry and essay, and is a frequent keynote speaker, radio guest and workshop facilitator.  Cathryn’s made most of her limited fortune in the non-profit sector and is a sucker for a good cause, including previous stints as advisor to the Wisconsin Governor for creation of a state poet laureate and as founding chair of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission.  She currently is on the advisory board for Verse Wisconsin, is a member of the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective and a volunteer with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Fox Cities Bookfest.  For more, visit her website at

Lou Roach (poet from Poynette, WI)
July 2011 Feature Artist

Poet Lou Roach will be the next featured reader on the Original Voice performance series at the Coloma Hotel at 7 pm on July 7. Lou is a retired clinical social worker and psychotherapist, who worked primarily with adolescents and women in transition. She continues to express her interest in people and their concerns of the mind and heart in poems. Now living in Poynette, she has compiled two books of poetry, A Different Muse and For Now, and is working on a third.

Lou’s work has appeared in Main Street Rag, Rockford Review, Free Verse and other small press publications. Most recently she has had poems published in Hummingbird, Clark Street Review, Verse Wisconsin, Pegasus and Empty Shoes, an anthology. Several new pieces will be published in the fall in Goose River Anthology for 2011. Lou also reviews poetry collections for Verse Wisconsin.

Another poet will also read on July 7. Sixth Grader Samantha Montney of Westfield, whose poem “Zoo Attack” won a contest sponsored by the Coloma Hotel and The Original Voice.

  Fran Rall (poet) August 2011 Feature Artist
Fran Rall is a long-time member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She works with Mind’s Eye Radio Collective, which airs on WORT the first Friday of the month. She has organized a poetry program at Olbrich Gardens for 19 years, also poetry readings for the Madison Art Center (now MMoCA), and a prose monthly program at Barnes & Noble. Her publications have appeared in Madison Magazine, Rosebud, WI Academy People and Ideas, and Lonesome Traveler Publishing Cooperative books. She co-authored Common Joy II, a book about outdoor sculpture in Madison. After a trip to Japan in 1988, she was informed (in Japanese) that she had won a prize in “Sightseeing Haiku Posts,” the yearly contest in Matsuyama, Japan, where all the winning poems are posted around the city Her poem was printed in English in the newspaper clipping which was good because otherwise she would not have known what the large, expensive Daruma Doll prize was for. These contests are in honor of Shiki, considered to be the father of modern haiku in Japan and who has a MUSEUM built for him in Matsuyama. Fran will bring the doll to the reading.

A special presentation before Fran reads will be 5th grader Cassandra Tomac of Coloma reading

her poem “Fossils,” which recently won a poetry contest sponsored by the Coloma Hotel and The Original Voice.
Richard Swanson (poet) September 2011 Feature Artist
Richard Swanson
, who lives in Madison, is a retired teacher of English, an avid gardener and a student of popular culture. He often uses humor in his work, insisting that poetry be something the average person on the street can relate to. He is the author of two full-length collections: “Men in the Nude in Socks,” winner of the Posner Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers for 2006, and “Not Quite Eden” (2010). Both books were published by Fireweed Press.
Kathryn Gahl (poet) October 2011 Feature Artist

Kathryn has degrees in English and nursing and worked in nursing management before becoming a full time writer. She has studied at Bread Loaf, The Iowa Writers’ Workshop Fiction Intensive, Sewanee, Stonecoast, Taos, and Vermont College. She loves dancing, cooking, yoga, fashion, chocolate, and sporting red lipstick.

Kathryn’s stories and poems appear in many journals, including Margie, The Notre Dame Review, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, and Salamander. Twice a Glimmer Train finalist, she is a performance poet who received honorable mention from The Council of Wisconsin Writers. Margie named her a finalist for the Marjorie J. Wilson award and she has been a finalist in many other prestigious prose and poetry competitions.  At this year’s October 21 Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, Gahl will read her winning story.
To learn more about the photos included in this post contact Kathryn at –
Jeanie Tomasko and Gillian Nevers 
(poets) November 2011 Feature Artists
Jeanie Tomasko is the author of Sharp as Want, a poetry/artwork collaboration with Sharon Auberle, and a chapbook, Tricks of Light. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals including Lilliput Review, Verse Wisconsin, The Midwest Quarterly, Wisconsin People and Ideas and the online venues Right Hand Pointing, Qarrtsiluni and Talking  Born and raised in Madison, Jeanie earned her BSN from UW-Madison. She works as a home health nurse in the Madison area.
 Gillian Nevers has  been writing poetry since 2002 when she  retired from a career working with victims of crime.  Her poems have appeared in many print and online literary magazines. She has a Pushcart Prize nomination and won second prize in the 2008 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters statewide poetry contest. Gillian is membership chair of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and writes the “Markets” column for the WFOP’s Museletter. Her degree in Art Education from UW-Madison may explain why many of her poems are influenced by works of art. Gillian has two grown sons and lives in Madison with her husband.
 Ed Schultz (poet) December 2011 Feature Artist

Poet Edward Schultz lives amongst the hidden valleys of the Driftless area of northern Crawford Co Ed’s work has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Rosebud, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Willow Review, and dozens more. He has won several prizes and honors and placed in others. He also has a Pushcart nomination.

Edward is President and founder of the Driftless Writing Center, Viroqua, WI and hosts a monthly poetry reading series, First Friday Poetry Reading. He conducts writing and reading workshops, gives inspirational poetic presentations at area junior and senior high schools, and acts as a judge for the Poetry Out Loud national high school reading contest. In 2011 he was invited to be a preliminary judge for the Wisconsin People’s & Ideas Magazine poetry contest.

His chapbooks include Misprints & Legends, and Echoes From Silhouettes.

2012 Feature Artists

Barb Cranford (poet) February 2012 Feature Artist

Barb Cranford’s work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. She has had three nominations for a Pushcart Prize. The invitational all-day workshops in poem-making she conducts in her home are now in their eleventh year. In 2008 Barb was chief editor of Write Away!, an anthology of the 98 best poems born during her workshops.

Barb was born in Chicago. After taking a degree in English from Roosevelt University she was for a time an editor, then art director of Britannica Junior, the multi-volume children’s edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. Later she had an art gallery and was also a clay sculptor whose work was shown in the Chicago area and in Central Wisconsin. About 15 years ago she turned back to words and began to write poems.

applause KenKen Tennessen (poet and entomologist)March 2012 Feature Artist

Northern Wisconsin’s fields, woods and wetlands fascinated Ken Tennessen from childhood. He always wanted to know how things work. He became an entomologist, with degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Florida, and his lifework became research in natural history.  With his how-does-it-work approach, Ken discovered much about insect life. He has named and described 15 new species of dragonflies from North and South America. Three species of these insects are named after him. He also served a year as an infantryman in the Vietnam War. A collection of poems resulted from that ordeal.

Tennessen sees words as toys, little building blocks. “Put them together in different ways and you create,” he says. Early on he found it “intriguing how other species adapt their bodies to the rigors of nature whereas humans mostly have adapted their surroundings to protect their bodies.”  This premise has led Ken to explore parallels between two seemingly different worlds. His poetry delves into life’s relationships, using simile and metaphor to create a view that others might not have seen. “Writing is a way to tie it all together,” Ken says.  His poems  have apppeared in Free Verse, Arbor Vita, Verse Wisconsin, WFOP’s Poets’ Calendar,  the anthology Perfect Dragonfly (Red Dragon Press) and various newletters and technical journals.

When he retired in 2004 Ken and his wife Sandi left Alabama to buy the house her parents owned back here in Wisconsin. He  travels extensively, most often to Ecuador where he still studies dragonflies. He says he hopes he will always keep trying to figure things out. And the poems, informed by his close observations of the natural world, keep coming.

Sandy Stark black and whiteSandy Stark (poet)

  April 2012 Feature Artist

Birds and landscapes are featured prominently in Sandy Stark’s poems, but so are locker rooms, farmers’ markets, family, and neighbors. She’s currently working on a series of poems about her collection of tools, tentatively called The Toolbox Poems. She promises to bring some new poems and an old hammer or two. to the reading.

Sandy was born in Florida into an Air Force family who moved every two to three years. Her earliest memory is of sailing to postwar Japan on a military transport ship. While her father’s career took them across the country more than once, at times it seemed another Texas town was the most frequent destination. She  has an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Texas  and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin..

For 27 years Sandy taught literature and communication in the UW System and the UW-Madison School of Business, as well as continuing education classes in an evening degree program for health professionals. She retired  seven years ago to pursue native plant restoration, birding and more poetry. She has four poetry chapbooks. Her  book-length collection of poems, Counting on Birds, was recently published by Fireweed Press. Sandy’s poems have appeared in the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, the Texas Poetry Calendar, the Wisconsin Academy Review, and Verse Wisconsin as well as various gallery events. She’s a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and many environmental groups.

Kay Sanders (poet) May 2012 Feature Artist

After earning her bachelor’s degree in history from Auburn University and completing graduate work there, Kay Sanders married her German professor, a Connecticut Yankee, and the two of them settled a potential civil war by moving to Wisconsin in 1965 and making it their home.  She has raised five children here, worked in a variety of positions, including substitute teaching which hones a person (in case five children didn’t) to pay attention.  She retired in 2007 after several years as Lay Ministry Coordinator for her church.

Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Fox Cry, Free Verse, Verse Wisconsin, Wisconsin People and Ideas and Your Daily Poem. She is the recipient of Wisconsin Writers’ Association jade rings, once for essay and twice for poetry. Parallel Press published her chapbook, That Red Dirt Road, which, in the words of reviewer Lou Roach, reveals “the deep current of family that flows through the lives of those fortunate enough to have grown up in the midst of parental love, also knowing the warm affection of extended family members.” A second poetry manuscript, entitled Traveling Light, is looking for a publisher.

Linda Aschbrenner (poet) June 2012 Feature Artist

Linda Aschbrenner‘s forthcoming memoir, Three Sisters from Wisconsin: Our Finnish American Girlhoods with Recollections of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is a book of poetry, prose and photographs she is compiling with her two sisters, Elda Lepak and Mavis Flegle

Linda has a Masters Degree in Library Science. She founded the poetry journal Free Verse in 1998 and edited/published the journal for eleven years.  In 2010 it became Verse Wisconsin with new editors, Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman. Linda is on the advisory board.

After editing/publishing 100 issues of Free Verse and 17 poetry books for fellow poets with her press, Marsh River Editions, Linda turned to another pursuit. She decided she should start assembling her family’s poetry and photographs. One thing leads to another, and now she is trying to figure out how to get digital photos from large 1920s negatives left by her father.

“As the baby of the family, I’m discovering what I missed the 15 years before I was born. Now, if I could only go back and watch my parents and grandparents grow up. I study old photographs. It’s not fair that we’re restricted to one life and cannot transport ourselves to the past. We sisters meet, read our poems to each other, argue, laugh, learn, ponder. We’re bumbling along, the best we can.”

DSC02928Jim Pollock (poet) July 2012 Feature Artist

Jim Pollock has taught English in more places than he can remember. Many of these were in Central Minnesota where he taught high school and coached football, basketball, track and softball. He also taught English at St. Cloud State University, the St. Cloud Reformatory, the Stephan Indian Mission in South Dakota and an adolescent chemical dependency treatment center in Blaine, Minnesota.

Jim writes both prose and poetry and has recently published a chap book, “Ashes and Sparks.” He and his artist wife Mary Ellen teamed up to publish an illustrated parable, “A Whole Different Animal.” He has also completed the first draft of a memoir – “26.2, My 30 Year Journey to Run in the Boston Marathon.” He’s had his poetry published in Free Verse, WFOP Poet’s Calendar, Verse & Vision and a variety of university creative writing magazines.

Jim and his wife Mary Ellen, moved to Stevens Point after deciding they couldn’t afford to live in San Diego, California where Mary Ellen was employed by the Camp Pendelton Marine Corps. They ended up in central Wisconsin because it was equidistant between St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Chicago where both have family. One of their favorite pastimes since arriving in Wisconsin is visiting local ant colonies with their two pet microbes, Bubba and Biff.

Joan Wiese Johannes

Joan Wiese Johannes (poet) August 2012 Feature Artist

Joan Wiese Johannes is a widely published poet, who taught English in Wisconsin Rapids for many years, has published three chapbooks  of poems and music/lyrics for the Native American flute. She has won many awards: the 2009 AL Poetry Society’s chapbook competition, the 2011 regional in the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest, WFOP trophy and Triad contests,  and placed in many others. She also has a Pushcart nomination.

Joan co-edited the 2012 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar with her husband Jeffrey, and they are currently co-chairmen of the WFOP Triad contest. Joan also composes/publishes music for the Native American-style flute and recorded a duet CD Heyoalinda with Wayne McCleskey. She has taught numerous workshops in poetry and Native American-style flute, in addition to teaching private writing and music lessons, and often includes some of her music in her readings. Joan lives in Port Edwards, with her artist/poet husband Jeffrey. For more information, go to and/or the WI Fellowship of Poets’ members’ pages on the WFOP site.

Joan Wiese Johannes’ first two chapbooks, Motherless Child and Myopic Nerve, were almost entirely free verse, autobiographical, and inspired by family and nature. Sensible Shoes, her third chapbook, includes pantoums and poems that take more poetic license.  She is considering now how to bring together her most recent poems into a coherent collection. Lately she has been writing in various forms as well as in free verse, but believes a chapbook of all formal poetry may be too much of a good thing. She also enjoys writing humorous poetry, but feels that funny poems don’t belong with poems of more serious themes.

Lincoln Hartford (poet and singer) September 2012 Feature Artist

Lincoln Hartford has one book of poems, “Choose Peaches”, a collection of 36 poems and 25 photographs.   He likes to perform his poems and poems of other poets, and currently is hitting the bookstores and coffeehouses with a program, “In Search of Beauty”.  Hartford has been writing poems most of his adult years.   Since moving to Wisconsin in1997 he has been enjoying the community of Wisconsin poets, and has learned from such teachers as Ellen Kort, Norbert Blei, Robin Chapman and Laurel Yourke.Lincoln has attended two Iowa Poetry Workshops and the Key West Literary Seminar, with Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins, Jane Hirshfield and Rita Dove.  A particular joy was participation in a poetry and photography week at the AnamCara arts center on the Bourne Peninsula in Ireland.  His poems have appeared in mostly Wisconsin publications such as WFOP Calendar, Museletter, Free Verse and the Master Gardeners Newsletter.  When not on a trip somewhere Hartford tends the sandy soil on the shore of Castle Rock Lake, digging for poems while admiring the life of the flowers.  He is a singer as well as a poet, and he thinks of his poems as songs.  His roots are in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, those Celtic lands of poetry and song.

patandguyGuy Kaplan and Pat Connolly (singers/musicians) October 2012 Feature Artists

With their years of sharing music in Waushara County and beyond, Guy Kaplan and Pat Connolly will bring songs that let you sing to the Coloma Hotel Original Voice series on Wednesday, October 10 at 7 pm. Guy will play guitar and Pat will play banjo while they share a variety of traditional and contemporary folk songs and a couple of originals. They will perform songs of the fall, Wisconsin, trains, love and passion. Guy is a retired teacher who lives in Coloma and is often seen on stage in the  Coloma Players’ productions or Improv evenings. Pat is from Mt. Morris (Wautoma). He  is a founding member of the Black Hawk Folk Society.

Gloria Zager and Lucy Rose Johns (poets)  November 2012 Feature Artists

DSC03089Gloria Zager lives on the Vesper farm where she grew up. She has traveled the world photographing birds along with an elephant here and there. She has ridden the train along the Silk Road in China, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, watched albatrosses on the Midway in the Pacific, strolled among penguins in Antarctica and has volunteered for Earthwatch trips on most continents studying everything from elephant damage to the Kittiwake population crash. Recently she walked again the islands of the Hebrides, and spent considerable time in a cabin in Virgini supposedly working on her poems.

She also works part time in a children’s bookstore in Whiting. Gloria’s poems reflect her travels describing matter of factly, but with compassion, the natural world and wild life, especially birds, she has observed along her way. When you hear these pomes, you are almost there with her.

lucyrosejohnsLucy Rose Johns, of Nekoosa, is a long-time member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She is grateful to the staffs of Rhinelander School of the Arts, Earth Wonders, and Home Brew Press for their poetic wisdom. She is also grateful for the many poet facilitators in Wisconsin’s lovely small town libraries, coffee houses, bookstores and other venues who work to keep alive the Wisconsin Idea, to bring the arts, especially poetry, to the people.

Throughout her life, Lucy Rose has tried to share her love of reading and to promote personal writing. Although she has a serious side too, her deadpan poetic humor has been the delight of Central Wisconsin audiences for many years.

2013 Feature Artists

imagesTom Farley (poet and sculptor) February 2013 Feature Artist

Tom Farley grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin. He has a BFA from the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he received his graduate degree in Sculpture. With permission from the Cranbrook Graduate Committee, his master’s thesis was the only thesis book to ever be presented in poetry form.

Tom worked as a restoration artist at three folk art sites in Wisconsin: The Painted Forest in Valton, The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto in Cataract, and assisted as sculptor at the Fred Smith Concrete Park in Phillips. In 25 years of teaching sculpture at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, he also served as Gallery Director and Chair of the Art Department.

His sculpture in cast bronze, fiberglass, taxidermy, and found objects have been exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally. He takes pleasure in holding up a mirror to our culture and satirizing and lampooning: folk tales, governments, prejudice, greed, censorship or any other sin that meets his crosshairs. Nuclear proliferation and trapping of wild animals are a couple of his subjects.

His poetry often relates to his sculpture not as sisters but rather as bastard cousins. Seasonally affected, he often narrates a repertory cast of characters as they stumble through life. The crows at his cabin seem to take on human attitudes and often act our fears and superstitions.

He maintains a studio in Spring Lake and has a writing room at his cabin in Mt. Morris.

Cathryn Cofell and Karla Huston (poets) March 2013 Feature Artists

Cathryn Cofell and Karla Huston, both from Appleton,  have been collaborators since 2000, with poems in Rhino, Indiana Review, and Quiddity, among others.  The duo has been anthologized in Saints of Hysteria and exercised in Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry and in many workshop settings.  Between them, they have published twelve chapbooks, two broadsides, one music/poetry cd, oodles of interviews and essays.  They’ve won many writing awards and received a boatload of Pushcart nominations including one win for Karla.

They will read from Split Personality, their first collaborative chapbook, and just to prove they are not perpetually connected at the hip, each will share a few of her own, including selections from Karla’s new collection, A Theory of Lipstick due soon from Main Street Rag, and from Cathryn’s collection, Sister Satellite, due late June from Cowfeather Press.

April 2013 – cancelled due to an ice storm

Bob Nordstrom and Julie Eger (poets) May 2013 Feature Artists

Bob NordstromEditor and poet Robert Nordstrom lives with his wife of 36 years in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. An editor of various scholarly journals and trade magazines for over 30 years, he stays busy these days with poetry, freelance writing, and school bus driving. A native of Ohio, Robert came to Wisconsin for graduate school in 1979 and was never tempted to return. He obtained his master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He  is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and has published fiction and poetry in various literary publications, including, among others, Verse Wisconsin, Rosebud, Miller’s Pond, Paris Voices, Glass Review, Xanadu, Echoes, Staccato Fiction, Pif Magazine, and Main Street Rag. Three of his poems received honorable mention in Peninsula Pulse’s Hal Grutzmacher Literary Contest.


After long urging The Original Voice’s founder and master of ceremonies, Julie Eger, will also be presenting her own poems on May 8. Julie is a lifelong resident of Waushara County. When she’s not massaging knots out of muscles at her home business she finds poems along the roadside, in old barns, open fields, under rocks, in the words of grandmothers and in the eyes of old men. She loves words. They are the light that shines from beneath the bushel basket; they are a catapult; they are her friends. They lift her up. And they tear her apart. She believes words do not come from her, but through her from a place called The Blue. And just so you know, she is very impressed with what comes out of The Blue.

Julie’s work has appeared in many publications. She is a three-time winner of the WRWA Jade Ring writing contest, placing first in the poetry, short story and essay categories and most recently a runner-up in the Jack W. London Novel Approach literary contest. And, in 2007 Julie conceived and established The Original Voice at a Wautoma coffee shop.

DSC03468F.J. Bergmann (poet and sci-fi writer) June 2013 Feature Artist

F.J Bergmann lives near Poynette. She writes poetry and science fiction, often simultaneously. She is the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (, and the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change ( Bergmann is the winner of the 2012 Rannu Speculative Literature Foundation award for poetry, and her latest chapbook is Out of the Black Forest (2012, Centennial Press). Her day jobs are book production and design for a couple of horror presses. She also  edits translations of German poetry for a Swiss publisher.

DSC03515Richard Swanson (poet) July 2013 Feature Artist

Richard is a retired teacher and Secretary of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, whose works are often topically humorous. His most recent publication is a chapbook of poems about popular culture: “Paparazzi Moments.” Its cast of characters includes The Pope, Ted Williams, Barbie (the doll), Hoffa, Che Guevara, and run-of-the mill common folk, as well as a few cats, dogs, and other animals. The Coloma Hotel is one of Richard’s favorite reading venues.

Barb Cranford (poet) August 2013 Feature Artist

Barb Cranford’s work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. She has had three nominations for a Pushcart Prize. The invitational all-day workshops in poem-making she conducts in her home are now in their eleventh year. In 2008 Barb was chief editor of Write Away!, an anthology of the 98 best poems born during her workshops.

Barb was born in Chicago. After taking a degree in English from Roosevelt University she was for a time an editor, then art director of Britannica Junior, the multi-volume children’s edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. Later she had an art gallery and was also a clay sculptor whose work was shown in the Chicago area and in Central Wisconsin. About 15 years ago she turned back to words and began to write poems.

Jim PoDSC03591llock (poet) September 2013 Feature Artist

Jim Pollock has taught English in more places than he can remember. Many of these were in Central Minnesota where he taught high school and coached football, basketball, track and softball. He also taught English at St. Cloud State University, the St. Cloud Reformatory, the Stephan Indian Mission in South Dakota and an adolescent chemical dependency treatment center in Blaine, Minnesota.

Jim writes both prose and poetry and has recently published a chap book “Ashes and Sparks.” He and his artist wife, Mary Ellen, teamed up to publish an illustrated parable, “A Whole Different Animal.” He has also completed the first draft of a memoir, “26.2, My 30 Year Journey to Run in the Boston Marathon.” He’s had his poetry published in Free Verse, WFOP Poet’s Calendar, Verse and Vision and a variety of university creative writing magazines.

DSC03636 Edward Schultz (poet) October 2013 Feature Artist

Edward Schultz is founding President of the Driftless Writing Center, Inc. in Viroqua. His writing has appeared in dozens of literary journals and anthologies, and he received a 2010 Contributing Editor’s Pushcart Nomination for his poetry. In 2011 Ed acted as a preliminary judge for the Wisconsin People and Ideas Magazine’s poetry contest, and he has been involved for a number of years with the national youth poetry program, Poetry Out Loud. Edward works as writing coach, mentor, and facilitates reading and writing workshops.

No readings in December or January

DSC03713Ralph Murre and Sharon Auberle (poets) November 2013 Feature Artists

Ralph Murre, who says he is a longtime Door County fixture and curmudgeon-in-training, is the author of four books of poetry. The latest, Wind Where Music Was, is a collaboration with Sharon Auberle.   Ralph’s poems have been published in journals too numerous to mention and readings of his work have been enjoyed by audiences around Wisconsin and in several states farther afield. In his spare time he runs a web site  to which poets can submit previously published poems so that good poems may appear in print a second time.

Sharon Auberle is an Ohio-born writer and photographer who lived 17 years in the Southwest before she found Door County.  Her poems and photos have appeared in many publications and on-line magazines, and in a number of anthologies.  She is the author of a memoir in poetry and two collections containing both her poems and artwork. Her most recent accomplishment is a collaboration with poet Ralph Murre.  She has a Pushcart Prize nomination, but is most proud of WomanPrayers, a collection in which her poem appears on the same page as Mother Theresa.  Sharon has had a blog, Mimi’s Golightly Café, for seven years, which contains a potpourri of her images and words.

DSC03905Julie Eger, Gena Pontow, and Dawn Debraal (from left to right)

(general entertainers) February 2014 Feature Artists

Julie, Gena and Dawn were members of a band named the Reflections back in the 1980s. They reconvened to entertain the audience at the Coloma Hotel for open mic night when the scheduled feature for the evening, Guy Kaplan, was called away unexpectedly. The ladies led a sing-along, with Gena playing guitar and Dawn and Julie providing harmonies that everyone found fun and entertaining.

DSC03897Lincoln Hartford (poet and singer) March 2014 Feature Artist

Dr. Hartford is a retired minister who comes to the Midwest from Western Pennsylvania and a family that loved the arts, the Methodist Church, nature and education, so he grew up with poetry, lived with it, writing, reading and performing. He likes to write narrative poems which he finds in the corner of his subconscious asking him if he wants to go for a ride.

Besides poetry he loves to do music, photography, travel and to be seen with pretty women. He has performed in various venues in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wales, Seattle, Arizona, New Mexico and Iowa. In addition to some of his poetry repertoire, he usually includes a song or two, using voice and piano. He’s grateful that humor still invades his territory, and that his muse yet visits. Though he says he is an entertainer, Lincoln work shows us that he is a talented artist in several media.

joanjohannesJoan Wiese Johannes (poet) April 2014 Feature Artist

Joan Wiese Johannes is a poet and musician who spent over fifty years in the Wisconsin Public Schools, (a decade earning degrees from UW Stevens Point and thirty-four years teaching high school English), Joan happily reflect on her career with the feeling that she accomplished something meaningful. She is even happier now that she spends her days, as Thoreau suggested, pursuing the art of living well by writing poetry, reading, playing Native American-style flute, composing for that instrument, practicing yogu and Tai Chi, traveling, cooking, and walking/snow shoeing in the woods with her poet/artist husband, Jeffery, and their golden retriever, Sophie. A lifelong resident of Wisconsin, Joan thinks the few frigid days are a small price to pay for the glorious changes of the seasons.

Richar20140514_191241d Merelman (poet) May 2014 Feature Artist

Richard Merelman is a native of Washington, D.C. Richard taught political science at the University of Wisconsin Madison, as well as at UCLA, Wesleyan University (Connecticut), University of Maryland, and the University of Essex (England). He retired from UW-Madison in 2001. Richard has published poems in Main Street Rag, Stoneboat, Common Ground Review, Loch Raven Review, and Measure, among other journals. His “Me at 93 in Assisted Living” won a certificate of Award in the Helen Schaible International Shakespearean/Petrarchan Sonnet Contest in 2011. His “Civil Inattention” won an Honorable Mention in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Triad Contest. The Imaginary Baritone, his first volume of poems, appeared in 2012 (Fireweed Press.)


20140611_191731Bruce Dethlefsen (poet) June 2014 Feature Artist

Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate in 2011-2012, and a former educator, Bruce retired a few years ago from his post as Montello’s Public Library Director, where he initiated a long-running poetry-reading night. He has been active in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets for many years and served as its secretary for six years. Another of his talents is music; he provides percussion for two local music groups, Prairie Sands Band and the Big Talkers blues band out of Reedsburg. Dethlefsen lives in Westfield.

Bruce has two chapbooks of poems, A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor, and two full-length books, Breather, published by Fireweed Press, and Unexpected Shiny Things, published by Cowfeather Press. His newest book, published by Little Eagle Press in April, 2014 is Small Talk.

20140709_190924Debra Johnston (poet) July 2014 Feature Artist

Debra is a newly retired teacher and school administrator. She has been published in the Wisconsin Poets Calendar, Design Magazine, Mailbox Magazine, Poetica Grandma-tica, and various chapbooks. Debra believes in the importance of continuous learning and is a novice at sketching Wisconsin Wildflower (keeping sketchbook stashed in the trunk of her car). In her spare time, she enjoys canoeing, hiking, and staying at a cabin on Lake Superior. She is a wife and mother, lives in Marshfield and is currently gathering some of her poems for a chapbook.

 Marilyn IIIMarilyn Taylor (poet) August 2014 Feature Artist

Marilyn L. Taylor, PhD, former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin (2009–10) and Milwaukee (2004–05) is the author of six collections of poetry. Her award-winning poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, The American Scholar, Able Muse, Measure, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and the recent Random House anthology titled Villanelles. She taught poetry and poetics for fifteen years at UW-Milwaukee, and served for five years as a Contributing Editor and regular poetry columnist for The Writer. She is a member of the Council for Wisconsin Writers Board of Directors and a former member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. Marilyn recently moved from Milwaukee to Madison, where she continues to write and teach.

20140910_192055Jeffrey Johannes (poet and artist) September 2014 Feature Artist

Jeffrey Johannes is an artist and poet whose work has appeared in numerous journals, including Rosebud, Graphic Classics, Modern Haiku, Nimrod, and English Journal. His poems have frequently placed in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poet’s Triad contest and he won the 2012 Hal Grutzmacher poetry award, sponsored by Peninsula Pulse. His first collection of poetry, Ritual for Beginning Again, was published last year. His latest creations are cartoons of his poems, which he calls ‘pometoons”.

Jeffrey also recently finished illustrating a crown of sonnets his wife Joan wrote called, “Happily Ever After”. His watercolors have been displayed throughout the Midwest and have also won awards. A member of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Jeffry co-edited the 2012 WI Poet’s Calendar with his wife, and currently is serving as co-chairman of the WFOP Triad Contest. His is also a member of the Riverwood Round Table, Mid-State Poetry Towers, and the Entendres writing groups. Jeffrey taught art at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids for many years and was chair of the Art Department when he retired. Jeffrey has received a Pushcart nomination.

20141008_192027Karla Huston (poet) October 2014 Feature Artist
Karla Huston is the author of seven chapbooks of poetry and a full collection called A Theory of Lipstick, which won a 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association (Main Street Rag Publications: 2013). She is a Pushcart Prize winner (2012) and taught poetry writing in the Fox Valley and around the state. Huston is a current and former board member of the Council for Wisconsin Writers, The Mill: A Place for Writers, Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Fox Valley Writing Project. Her poems, reviews and interviews have been published widely.

Kris and SylviaKris Rued-Clark (author, poet, hiker) and Sylvia Oberle (author and hiker) November 2014 Feature Artists

(Photo by Sue Bauer (Kris Rued-Clark on the left, Sylvia Oberle on the right)

Sylvia Oberle and Kris Rued-Clark read from their book, Adventures on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, Day Hikes, Weekend Jaunts, and Family Vacations.  The program at the Coloma Hotel will begin at 7 pm.

The book grew from their experiences walking Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail over several years.  Sylvia Oberle is a Thorp, Wisconsin teacher active in environmental studies with students.  Nature and landscapes are her favorite photo subjects, and she enjoys taking pictures in all seasons.  Sylvia has taken many photos while hiking the Ice Age Trail, finishing as a “Thousand Miler” in October 2011.  The hike provided a good opportunity to learn about plants and wildlife as well as the unique geology of our state.  “Hiking along the Ice Age Trail means adventure and enjoyment when you walk alone.  But it’s even better when you walk with family and friends,” says Sylvia.

A freelance writer and editor, Kris Rued-Clark was also an assistant editor with Free Verse when it was published by Linda Aschbrenner.  Kris has walked about 400 miles of the Ice Age Trail, and plans to walk the entire trail, section by section, in the coming years.  Kris lives near Arpin with her husband and five spoiled cats.  When not walking the Ice Age Trail, she loves to explore the trails closer to home, including the parks in Wood County.

Guy KaplanGuy Kaplan (musician) February 2015 Feature Artist

Guy is a retired teacher who lives in Coloma and is often seen on stage in the  Coloma Players’ productions or Improv evenings. Guy loves playing guitar and sharing some of his favorite songs as he has been doing since he was sixteen years old. Guy especially likes performing songs that his audience can sing along with; he has been a member of the Blackhawk Folk Society for over twenty years.  He retired from teaching five years ago, after having taught at the Coloma Elementary School for 34 years. An avid camper, hiker, and canoeist, Guy is active in the Ice Age Trail organization.



images[3]Karl Garson (poet) March 2015 Feature Artist

Karl Garson has two poetry collections and three Pushcart Prize nominations. His poetry has appeared in Apalachee Review, Cimarron Review, Cottonwood, Cream City Review, The Kansas Quarterly, North American Review and South Dakota Review, among others. A gardener, carpenter, cabinetmaker and builder of drystone walls, Karl a farm in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. When not writing poetry he works on a novel about his experience tor in Vietnam.


sarah gilbert ISarah Gilbert (poet) April 2015 Feature Artist

Sarah Gilbert returned to writing poetry in the midst of two decades of Lynch Syndrome cancers. She serves as a regional VP for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and hosts a reading series at Copper Rock Café in Appleton. In February 2015 Finishing Line Press released a chapbook of some of her cancer poems, Tendril: Living With Lynch Syndrome. Her work has appeared in Fox Cry Review, Wisconsin Poets Calendar, The Healing Muse, Your Daily Poem, and Sharing Widely Living Deeply. A retired La Leche League Leader and home schooling mom, Sarah enjoys helping out in her community and church, spending time with family and in nature, weaving, and gardening. She lives in Appleton with her husband and two daughters, three cats and an old dog.

20150513_191812James P. Roberts (poet) May 2015 Feature Artist

James P. Roberts is the author of 14 books ranging from science fiction and fantasy to poetry and literary biography. His best known book is FAMOUS WISCONSIN AUTHORS, published by Badger Books in 2002. He has also published four poetry collections, the most recent being A DEMON IN MY VIEW, published in 2014 by Pickle Barrel Press, located in Janesville, Wisconsin. It is also the first of his books to be available as an e-book, downloadable on any mobile device. Currently, the South-Central Region Vice-President for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, James has for the last four years organized and hosted the annual Winter Festival of Poetry, an eight-week long series of poetry readings held every Sunday afternoon from mid-January to mid-March in Madison. He is also a board member f the Sterling North Society and has been involved in the Edgerton Sterling North Book & Film Festival for the past three years. James is an avid reader (he is at work on a book detailing all the Little Free Libraries in the Madison area), hiker and aficionado of the Mad Rollin’ Dolls women’s flat track roller derby league in Madison.


Other Voices
Edited by Norbert Blei
  Bar Code
Edited by Ralph Murre
Write Away!
Edited by Barb Cranford

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  1. […] And the original Original Voice here. […]

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