Photo by Felix Arabia

Poetry, fiction, and memoir readings are scheduled throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region from July 6-9 as part of a week-long writers conference. The authors who will read their work are participants in the annual Rustbelt Roethke Professional Writers’ Workshop, which is celebrating its seventh year at Saginaw Valley State University.

Because this conference is geared toward mid-career writers with existing publication track records, readings of poetry, fiction, and memoir will showcase accomplished writings. 

Workshop participants John Palen of Midland, Patricia Harkins-Pierre of the Virgin Islands, and founder and director Judith Kerman of Bay City kick off the four nights of readings at 7 p.m. Monday, July 6, at the United Church of Christ, 4100 Chestnut Hill Drive, Midland.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, at Founders Hall on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University, the readers will be Don Cellini of Adrian, Betsy Johnson-Miller of Avon, Minnesota, Carol Morris of Ann Arbor, and Renny Golden of Chicago.

Amee Schmidt of Auburn, Katherine Brueck of Los Angeles, James Gibson of Northville, and Katherine Fishburn of Lansing and will read at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at Brewtopia, 810 Saginaw Street, in Bay City.

Diane Sautter of Marquette, Li Tien of Midland, Rhoda Starnell of Farmington Hills, and Joyce Kessel of Hamburg, New York will read at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the Saginaw Hoyt Library, 505 Janes Avenue, in Saginaw.

In addition to the formal evening readings, several afternoon presentations will be held at the Roberta Allen Reading Room on the fourth floor of the Zahnow Library at Saginaw Valley State University. Speakers of these presentations, which are free and open to the public, will discuss Caribbean literature; Earth’s Daughters, the oldest feminist arts magazine still published in the United States; and handmade books (a hands-on workshop).

John Palen is a journalism professor at Central Michigan University and has published five books of poetry. Patricia Harkins-Pierre teaches English at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, specializing in Caribbean literature, mythology, folklore, and children's literature. An SVSU English professor, Kerman has published eight books of poetry and in 1977 founded Mayapple Press.

Don Cellini teaches at Adrian College. His first collection of poetry, Approximations/Approximaciones was published by March Street Press in 2005. Betsy Johnson-Miller teaches at the College of St. Benedict’s and St. John’s University. Carol Morris has published three chapbooks of poetry, collaborates with musicians, and has released a CD. Renny Golden is the author of The Hour of the Furnaces, a collection of poetry published by Mid-List Press in 2000.

Amee Schmidt is the associate editor of Mayapple Press and an English instructor at Davenport University. Katherine Fishburn is a retired English professor from Michigan State University, who has an art studio in Old Town, Lansing, Michigan. Katherine Brueck teaches at Mount St. Mary’s College and has had work published in Blue Unicorn, The Lyric, Parnassus Literary Journal, and Troubadour: Best of Rhyme. James Gibson is the author of the five-novel Anasazi Princess series.

Diane Sautter is a professor of literature and creative writing at Northern Michigan University. Li Tien, a retired Dow Chemical Co. chemical engineer, has published both original poems in English and translations of classical Chinese poetry. Rhoda Stamell, author of the short-story collection Detroit Stories and the novel The Art of Ruin, taught high school in Detroit for many years.

Books by many of these authors will be available for sale. For further information, please contact Judith Kerman at (989) 892-1429 or