Tongue & Ink: Everything You Want to Know

Friday, February 25, 2011

4PM – Seth Abramson Keynote - CNS* C102
5PM – Marc Smith Masterclass - CNS C102
8PM – Poetry Slam (featuring Marc Smith) - CNS C101
Saturday, February 26, 2011
9:30AM - Reading Art: Contemporary Artists' Books - CNS E103
9:30AM - Tom Quinn on Screenwriting - CNS E101
10:30AM - Mad City Poets - CNS E103
10:30AM - Graphic Novels (featuring Jeffrey Brown) - CNS E101
11:30AM – Lunch
1:00PM – "The MFA Revolution: How the Creative Writing MFA Has Changed and Is Changing the U.S. Literary Arts Community" with Seth Abramson - CNS C102
2:00PM – Laura Van den Berg Keynote - CNS C101
3:00PM – Laura Van den Berg Masterclass - CNS C102

*CNS refers to the Center for Natural Sciences
201 E. Beecher Street, Bloomington, IL on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus

Click inside for information on keynote speakers, workshop leaders, and a full schedule! This page will be continuously updated as more information becomes available.


Seth Abramson is the author of two collections of poetry, The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009), and Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, forthcoming April 2011), winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize. He is also a contributing author to the second edition of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook, published by Continuum, and the co-author, with Tom Kealey, of a forthcoming third edition. In 2008 he was awarded the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize by Poetry, and his poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry, American Poetry Review, New American Writing, Boston Review, and New York Quarterly. A regular contributor to Poets & Writers magazine and The Huffington Post, his essays on poetry, politics, and higher education have been cited online by The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Economist, The Los Angeles Times, Inside Higher Ed, The Poetry Foundation, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and after six years working as a public defender in New Hampshire he recently began a doctoral program in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Laura van den Berg’s first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009) was a selection for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” program. Her fiction has appeared in The Pushcart Prize XXIV and Best American Non-required Reading 2008. Van den Berg is currently Tickner Fellow in Creative Writing at the Gilman School and a fiction editor at West Branch.

Marc Smith is best known for bringing to the worldwide poetry community a new style of poetic presentation that has spawned one the most important social/literary arts movements of our time. As stated in the PBS television series, The United States of Poetry, a “strand of new poetry began at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern in 1987 when Marc Smith found a home for the Poetry Slam.” Since then, performance poetry has spread throughout the country and across the globe to hundreds of cities, universities, high schools, festivals, and cultural centers. Smith’s poetry has been featured in Hammer’s Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Poetry Slam, an anthology, Aloud! Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, which won the 1994 American Book Award, and The United States of Poetry, a publication that accompanied the PBS television series. His work has been cited by The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun Times. Selection of his work can also be heard on CDs: By Someone’s Good Grace, a recording of the first National Slam Team Champions (1990), Grand Slam: The 1995 National Slam, It’s About Time (1999), and Quarters in the Juke Box (2007).


Jeffrey Brown was born in 1975 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up reading comic books with dreams of someday drawing them, only to abandon them and focus on becoming a 'fine artist.' While earning his studio MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brown abandoned painting and began drawing comics with his first autobiographical book 'Clumsy' in 2001. Since then he's drawn a dozen books for publishers including TopShelf, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, McSweeney's and Chronicle Books. Simon & Schuster has published two of his graphic memoirs, 'Little Things' and 'Funny Misshapen Body.' In addition to directing an animated video for the band Death Cab For Cutie, Brown has had his work featured on NPR's 'This American Life' His art has been shown at galleries in New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Paris. Jeffrey's work has also appeared in the Best American Comics series and received the Ignatz Award in 2003 for 'Outstanding Minicomic.' He has received numerous Ignatz and Harvey Awards nominations as well. Brown began teaching comics at SAIC in 2010.
He currently lives in Chicago with his wife Jennifer and their son.

Mad City Poets
Matthew Guenette's book, American Busboy, a Finalist and Editor's Choice of the 2010 University of Akron Press Poetry Prize, will be published in 2011. He is also the author of Sudden Anthem, winner of the 2007 American Poetry Journal Book Prize from Dream Horse Press. He lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.

Meg Johnson's poems have appeared in Slipstream Magazine, Word Riot, U.S. 1 Worksheets, WTF PWM, Blood Lotus, and others. Her poem "Free Samples" was recently nominated for Best of the Net. She blogs at She has worked as a performer, choreographer, and dance teacher, and is currently on faculty at the Kanopy School for Contemporary Dance and Choreography in Madison, Wisconsin.

Rebecca Hazelton attended The University of Notre Dame for her MFA in poetry, and completed her PhD at Florida State University. She is currently the Jay C. and Ruth Hall Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Creative Writing Institute. She has been nominated for Best New Poets 2010, and has been a finalist in several book prizes. Her work is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, Phoebe, and The Journal.

Reading Art: Contemporary Artists' Books
Andrew Huot is a book artist, edition bookbinder and book conservator. His artist books deal with abstracting the events of our daily life into line and shape; looking at everyday situations and distilling them down to their essence then extending them outward to our collective experience. Andrew’s work is exhibited nationally and is included in several public collections, including the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Oregon, and Yale University. He has an MFA in Book Arts from the University of the Arts, is the Conservator for the Milner Library at Illinois State University, and teaches Bookbinding for the Library School at University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign.