The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, in partnership with the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, holds literary events on the second Tuesday of the Month, September through May at 7 pm, as well as other occasional events throughout the year. For more information contact THELMA at 920-921-5410.

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday October 8, 2013
Marilyn Taylor & Susan Elbe

Marilyn Taylor, former Wisconsin poet Laureate, and widely published Madison poet Susan Elbe share the stage at the October Foot of the Lake Collective reading.

Reading at 7 p.m. THELMA Center for the Arts

Tuesday November 12, 2013
David Scheler and Richard Roe

Two Southwest Wisconsin poets, David Scheler and Richard Roe, will be feature at the November Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective reading.

Reading at 7 p.m. THELMA Center for the Arts

Tuesday December 10th, 2013
Holiday Haikus

Details to come on the “‘Holiday Haikus” program, led by poet John Walser.

Tuesday January 14, 2014
To Be Announced

Tuesday February 11, 2014
To Be Announced

Tuesday March 11th, 2014
To Be Announced

Tuesday April 8, 2014
Annual Student Invitational

Tuesday May 13, 2014
Moises Villavicencio Barras

Madison poet Moises Villavicencio Barras headlines at the May 2014 Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective reading.

7 p.m. THELMA Center for the Arts

Check back soon for announcements of upcoming readings!

Recent Events:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Two Voices in the House

Poet David Graham and painter Lee Shippey are presenters in the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective’s annual “Two Voices in the House” series, which showcases a couple with varied artistic endeavors. The reception for the artists will begin at 7 p.m. at THELMA Center for the Arts. A reading by David Graham will follow with a brief open-mic period. Free admission, cash bar and snacks available.

Thursday, August 22, 2013
Collective Reading at Gift-n-Gab

Members of the Foot of the Lake Collective read at Gift-n-Gab, in conjunction with a wine tasting event. Wine tasting at 6:30 pm, reading at 7pm. Open Mic to follow featured readers.

Readings by Paula SergiJohn Walser and Mary Wehner.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Adam Fell & Brent Goodman

Poets Adam Fell and Brent Goodman will read at 7 pm, followed by an open mic. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available.

Monday, April 8, 2013
Max Garland

Newly appointed Poet Laureate, Max Garland read at Marian University’s Stayer Center.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Annual Student Invitational

Eighth Annual Student Invitational, featuring some of the most talented poets from regional colleges and universities.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Abby Frucht

Fiction writer Abby Frucht read from her recent fiction at Riverwalk Gallery, 33 West Second Street, Fond du Lac.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Area Poets Night

Reading by a group of area poets.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Mike Magnuson

Fiction writer Mike Magnuson.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Tom Boswell

Poet Tom Boswell.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Triplets of Villanelle-ville

The Foot of the Lake’s eighth season opened with “The Triplets of Villanelle-ville” a reading by three prominent Wisconsin poets: Kate SontagLisa Vihos, and former Wisconsin Poet Laureate Marilyn Taylor. They read from the new anthology Villanelles, in which they are featured, as well as from other recent work.

Friday, June 15, 2012
Ann Peters

Ann Peters, a New Yorker and native of Fond du Lac, read from her forthcoming book House Hold: A Memoir of American Place and Property.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Paula Sergi

Paula Sergi, one of the founders of the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, read and signed books on June 12th. Of her new book, Black Forest Love Songs, poet David Graham says: “Love in all its moods and seasons stands at the center of Paula Sergi’s Black Forest Love Songs, her strongest collection yet.  This sumptuous suite ranges from small town Wisconsin to the German forest of the title poem, with stops in California, Alaska, Oregon, and elsewhere, including the fields of dream.  The voice here is wise and wistful, the emotional clarity notable, and the lines rich with music and dramatic detail. Sergi displays an especially sharp eye for gray areas of both thought and feeling. “I want it all,” the speaker of one poem admits; and of course wanting is at the core of life’s sweetness as well as its losses.  In fact, this book does have it all:  music, honesty, and unforgettable turns of phrase and thought in every poem. A highly readable and haunting chapbook.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Derrick Harriel

Milwaukee poet Derrick Harriell read from his collection of poems, “Cotton,” published by Aquarius Press-Willow Books, as well as from his recent work. Followed by open mic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
William Stobb

Poet William Stobb read from his recent work and discussed his new book Absentia. Followed by open mic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
7th Annual Student Invitational

The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective in partnership with the Windhover Center for the Arts presents its seventh annual Student Invitational. This is always a popular event, at which students from various colleges and universities around the area are invited to read poetry or fiction.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Karla Huston and Chuck Rybak

Wisconsin poets Karla Huston and Chuck Rybak were featured readers at the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective reading on Tuesday February 14th.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Poetry Collective Members Reading

The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective in partnership with The Windhover Center for the Arts presents a reading by the Poetry Collective members: Cathryn CofellJudy BarisonziPaula SergiJohn Walser and  Mary Wehner. Founding member Sandra Ahrens will be absent. They read poetry and short fiction from their current work.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Favorite Poem Project

The seventh annual Foot of the Lake Favorite Poem Project, a reading of favorite poems by area poetry lovers. The Foot of the Lake Favorite Poem Project is based on one begun in 1997 by Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States. Since its launch, the Favorite Poem Project has been dedicated to celebrating, documenting and promoting poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.

Some of this years featured readers were Tom Herre, Fond du Lac City Manager; Terri Emanuel; Dr. Michael Sergi; John St. Peter, attorney; Craig Molitor, Director of the Fond du Lac Area Visitors Bureau; Jim Hubbard, President of the Arts Council; Mary Lou Soffa, Vice President of National Exchange Bank; Amy Hanson, Director of the Downtown Fond du Lac partnership; Kevin Miller, Director of the Windhover Center for the Arts and Allen Buechel, Fond du Lac County Executive.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Robert (Rusty) Russell

Robert (Rusty) Russell, economist and host/producer of the program Radio Literature on WORT-FM, Madison.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Dr. Phyllis Langton

The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, in partnership with Agnesian HealthCare and the Fond du Lac Public Library, has scheduled a special presentation with author Phyllis Langton on Tuesday, October 11. The free event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Journeys: a health resource center, inside St. Agnes Hospital, 430 E. Division Street, Fond du Lac.

Dr. Phyllis Langton will discuss her book, Last Flight Out: Living, Loving and Leaving, a true account of her journey with her husband as he faced the final outcome of his struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Last Flight Out is a book about living and dying well with a life-limited illness. Dr. Kumar and members of the Agnesian HealthCare Palliative Care Services team will also be on site to answer questions and contribute to the open forum conversation.

For more information, contact Journeys: a health resource center by calling (920) 926-4960. To order: or

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Two Voices in the House

The 2011 reading series begins!

Four well established Wisconsin poets will be featured in a return venue of “Two Voices in The House.”  Ralph Murre and Sharon Auberle live in Door County, making art and poetry together and each has a distinct voice and style in both their art and poetry. Steveand Jeanie Tomasko live in Middleton, WI, and also write distinctly different styles of poetry. Again, two voices in the same house.

Ralph Murre also edits and publishes books of poetry (Little Eagle Press) His press recently published a book of Jeanie Tomasko’s poems, Sharp as Want, with Sharon Auberle providing the art work for the edition. The making of the book will be discussed and will be available for sale at the reading.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman

Co-editors Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman will talk about their experiences editing Verse Wisconsin. They’ll read their own work and selected poems from both the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf - Verse Wisconsin Jawbreaker partnership as well as poems from the Wisconsin Protests, and talk about poetry in the community. There will be time for questions and answers, an open mic, and a chance for poets who have poems in the Jawbreaker project to share their work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Bruce Dethlefsen and CX Dillhunt

UW-Oshkosh grad, author and former librarian Bruce Dethlefsen was named the 2011 Poet Laureate of Wisconsin. Dethlefsen will be featured at a poetry reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, at the Windhover Center for the Arts along with Commended Poet CX Dillhunt.

Public Library Director Ken Hall will introduce Dethlefsen, a friend and former library colleague. Dethlefsen, of Westfield, is the author of two chapbooks, A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor, and a full-length book, Breather, published by Fireweed Press. He is secretary of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and his work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac” and “Your Daily Poem.”

As poet laureate, a position appointed by the governor, Dethlefsen is required to lead one large-scale project that contributes to the growth of poetry in Wisconsin. He also attends civic, educational and literary events throughout the state.

CX Dillhunt is the author of two books, and many of his prairie and travel haiku have been published in the international journal Hummingbird: Magazine of the Short Poem. His work has been featured in many literary magazines and journals. Dillhunt volunteers as a tutor and a poet in the Madison Public Schools, works with the Literacy Network and teaches writing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Student Invitational

Sixth Annual Student Invitational

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Susan Firer & Jim Hazard: “Two Voices in the House”

Poems by UWM professor and former Poet Laureate of Milwaukee Susan Firer, and fiction and poetry by Jim Hazard, Professor Emertus of English at UWM. Both are widely published writers and highly respected educators. Jim writes for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, Milwaukee Magazine and The Onion. Susan edits theShepherd Express online poetry column. From 2008-2010 she was Poet Laureate of the City of Milwaukee.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 7 pm
Favorite Poem Project

The sixth annual Favorite Poem Project, a reading of favorite poems by area poet lovers. Feature readers will include Tom Herre, Fond du Lac City Manager; John St. Peter, attorney; Judy Goldsmith, County Board member and former dean of the UW-Fond du Lac; Allyson Zierdt, writer and retired attorney; John Short, UW-Fond du Lac Dean and Craig Molitor, President of the Fond du Lac Area Convention Bureau. An open mic portion of the program will be available for those in the audience who wish to read a best-loved poem.

The Foot of the Lake Favorite Poem Project is based on one begun in 1997 by Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States. Since its launch, the Favorite Poem Project has been dedicated to celebrating, documenting and promoting poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. During the one-year open call for submissions, 18,000 Americans wrote to the project volunteering to share their favorite poem. They have been published and recorded for all Americans to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Kevin Miller

Holiday reading: Kevin Miller, Executive Director of the Windhover

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Angela Sorby

Award-winning poet and Marquette University professor Angela Sorby

Monday, October 10, 2010

Fiction writer:Kerry Langan

Saturday, October 3, 2010
Poetry at the Market

A reading of the “Poetry at the Market” selected poems will take place at Sunday Oct. 10, at Park Ridge Organics, N8410 Abler Road, Fond du Lac at 3 p.m. as part of their Autumn Harvest Celebration.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Cathryn Cofell & Obvious Dog

An evening of poetry as music and music as poetry as we celebrate the release of the CD Lip – new and selected poems from Cathryn Cofell set to the music of Obvious Dog.

Cathryn Cofell was raised with music in her home and in her heart, which is apparent in her work both on the page and off. After publishing five chapbooks of poetry (most recently Kamikaze Commotion, from Parallel Press) and garnering over 40 awards for her work, she found it was time to shift directions and experiment more formally with the performance of this work. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Obvious Dog that experiment has taken off as Lip.

Bill Orth and Bruce Dethlefsen perform as Obvious Dog. They took their name from Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Marilyn Taylor’s description of “a poem beyond resuscitation.” Bill, from Sauk City, plays guitar, bass and sings. Bruce, from Westfield, who sings and plays bass and percussion, is also an accomplished poet. The blues and jazz are big influences on the music of Obvious Dog.

Saturday, September 11, 2010
Marilyn Taylor

Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Marilyn Taylor read her poetry at the Windhover Center for the Arts at 3 p.m. as part of the “Poetry at the Market” program. Kate Sontag, Cathryn CofellKarla Huston and Bruce Dethlefsen joined her with their winning poems and more.

Summer Fun
Poetry at the Market

Paula Sergi, a founding member of the Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective was awarded a $500 grant provided by Woodrow Hall Editions and the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf Initiative for a summer 2010 project organized by members of the Collective.  “Poetry at the Market” will treat Farmers Market shoppers to a selection of 15 poems inspired by and about market staples. The poems will be on display with a collection of bookmarks that match each poem with a recipe. All recipes are from the Fond du Lac Public Library’s cookbook collection.  “Poetry at the Market” is a partnership project of Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, Fond du Lac Public Library, Windhover Center for the Arts and Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership.

The Collective and the Windhover Center for the Arts hosted Poet Laureate Marilyn Taylor at a reading during the downtown Fondue Fest Saturday, Sept. 11. Several of the winning poets also read their poetry along with the “Poetry at the Market” chosen poem. A corresponding Art exhibit “Art at the Market” runs from August 18th through September 30. From August 2 to September 13 the library will feature a display of the poems along with cookbooks used for the bookmark recipe collection and books about  poetry and Wisconsin poets. The bookmarks will be available and the books, too, will be free for lending.

Poetry at the Market” will also host a poetry reading at 3 p.m. Sunday Oct. 10, at Park Ridge Organics, N8410 Abler Road, Fond du Lac.

Tuesday May 11th, 2010, 7 pm
Poetry Collective Reunion

The five poets who formed The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective gathered to read their poems and prose. Sandra AhrensJudy BarisonziPaula SergiJohn Walser and Mary Wehner celebrated five years together at our last reading of the season. Be certain to check their bios and sample poems on the Founder’s page.

Tuesday April 13th, 2010, 7 pm
Hobo Signs: In The Poet’s Eye

Patrick Moran read from his recent manuscript on Hobo Signs, “Tell a Pitiful Story” and gave a talk on Hobo signs and how they evolved over time.

D.A. Powell of the Boston Review says: The collection Moran has been writing for the past three years, “Tell a Pitiful Story,” originates in the language of outsiders, the subculture of itinerants known as “hobos.” Reading the lines and shapes of hobo graffiti, Moran does more than merely translate them—he gives us a glimpse into a world where telling a story can get you a meal and a place to sleep, where “what you trust / gets in the way / of what you feel,” and where the worst fate is complacency, marriage, the house out of a fairy tale. Better to move on, to outdistance one’s own diminishing, to court danger but never to wed it. This is a world where motion supplants emotion, where we continue forward and avoid our own reflection, where one succeeds in life by appearing destitute. It is, in fact, a pitiful story in so many ways. Be certain to check the poets pages for Patrick Moran’s bio and sample poems.

Tuesday March 9th, 2010, 7 pm
Poetry to Song – Writing Lyrics

How do words make it from poetry to song lyrics? Poet Bruce Dethlefsen read from his recent poetry and along with musician Bill Orth entertained and informed the audience about methods of song writing. They call themselves Obvious Dog, taken from Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Marilyn Taylor‘s description of ” a poem beyond resuscitation.” Bill plays guitar and bass and Bruce percussion, bass and harmonica. They make music and sing original songs. Be certain to check the poets pages for poet Bruce Dethlefsen’s bio and sample poem.