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March 29, 2022

SVSU and partners creating Saginaw Chapbook Project

Community invited to contribute to poetry collection

Saginaw Valley State University, in partnership with the Friends of Theodore Roethke and the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, is providing people in the Saginaw area an opportunity to contribute their poetry to a special collection through the Saginaw Chapbook Project. This initiative is made possible through a $13,750 Community Partners Grant awarded by the Michigan Arts and Culture Council (formerly the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs). Sherrin Frances, SVSU professor of English, applied for the grant and is spearheading the project. 

Frances explained that the project was conceived following a poetry slam at an open house at the Theodore Roethke Museum in August of 2021. 

“Several of us were struck by how much the poets were touching on themes of isolation and loneliness and very COVID-related things,” she said. “We decided that we could put a series together that gives people an outlet for that. 

“The Saginaw Chapbook Project is grounded in the idea that creative writing can positively impact mental health. The grant will help us provide a creative writing outlet for adults living in the Saginaw area – and possibly across the state – with the opportunity to document their mood, reflecting the mood of Saginaw, during the COVID pandemic.” 

The project consists of four major components: 

  • A virtual speaker series, hosted by the Friends of Theodore Roethke, featuring artists and writers from around the U.S. 
  • A series of virtual poetry writing workshops with professional facilitators 
  • Creation of a chapbook featuring poetry written by workshop participants 
  • A bookmaking workshop by the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center on the SVSU campus 

In addition to the bookmaking workshop at SVSU, participants will have the opportunity to visit the center in Kalamazoo to help make handmade paper and run the letterpress printer for pages that will be included in the final product. 

The chapbook project will culminate in mid-May with a celebration and book launch for participants, friends and family.   

All events are free and open to the public. 

Anyone who participates in the poetry writing workshops is invited to submit their poetry to the chapbook. For more information, visit https://friendsofroethke.org/chapbook