Feb 132017

Before each Waterline Writers event we conduct a short interview with each of our featured writers. This month Frank Rutledge shares information with us about his background, method and inspiration.

How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

From first grade on I was in love with the alphabet. Interesting fact: I was able to recite the alphabet backwards. Reading vicariously came next. Magazines, books and cereal boxes were the sources but if you stood still long enough I would read your mind. To this very day I love reading. Writers are first readers. Also, from a young age I easily grew bored. Nothing seemed to interest me. Until Sophomore year HS and I discovered The Illustrated Man and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. The world exploded with wonder and awe for me, all was alive and connected. Even now, curiosity and wonder, delight and awe are my best attributes. I had an English teacher in HS that forced his students to purchase his little book of poems. Challenging him, I said I could do better. He said do it and I did. There is little I am more passionate about in life than poetry. Its reading and writing is my life blood. At my life’s end, park me at a window with a view of a willow tree and river in the Rest Home of Metaphor & Simile and off I’ll go into the great beyond of imagery.  (Poets love sex and deathI got that death thing covered.)

Describe your writing process.

I am staunchly a morning person. I will never be accused of wasting a sunrise. I want to write when my head is still steeped in that soup of dreamy mists from the night before. Revision is a night activity for me. After a long day of my mind’s heavy lifting my creativity craves rest. Nighttime is for lovemaking and movie watching and damn I’ve seen a lot of movies.  I can write anywhere, quiet or a room filled with the chatter of undecipherable nonsense of everyday details. A coffeehouses is my Avalon of choice. Shout out to Limestone Coffee and Tea in Batavia. I prefer to write on a laptop but the slow crawl of handwriting will do if need be. I usually start with a title or a line. That first line of any writing is your introduction and calling card for the piece and for the author. I don’t plan out a poem like say a novelist. I desire the hunt and treasure the surprise destination of the journey. If as a poet, I’m not surprised, then why would you the reader be? I don’t write daily but would like to (this is where my dream of a patron comes in). Writer’s block is for beginners and the lazy. Your life has ideas swirling around its orbit. Not only your life but this ever renewing world of fascination is rich in material. Trick is: all you have to do is show up and pay close attention. There is a miraculous path under each of your footsteps. Tread gentle, delight lives here.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

Fairy dust and Muse spittle. In this group of poems I will share my way of discovering the meanings in my life events. Understanding through questions and awareness. Some of my poems question reality. The poems wonder out loud about the fiction we tell ourselves, the story in our heads that shape our identities. Our fantasies and desires tell us so much about our inner life. Just like dreams when you’re asleep, poems can be deeply revealing. Poems can speak the unsayable that lives within us all. And then that leaves us poets with humor, sex and death. It’s all starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

What are you working on now?

Like the expanding universe I want my orbits and gravity, skills and experience to continue to enlarge. I want growth in my being and art. Life is about growth, Stagnation is death. (Says the poet.) I am a project person. I think in poetry collections. Creating books is my joy. Reissuing a couple of chapbooks. The hope is to have a brand new collection out soon. I will constantly be writing and sending out my work for publication. Spend more time learning from my extremely talented poet friends in Open Sky Poets. Looking forward to hosting Harmonious Howl at Graham’s 318 this summer season. Meet more of you attendees and authors at Waterline Writers, where I volunteer. Anticipating all the fresh voices submitting to Fewerthan500.com. (Flash Fiction, yo!!!)  I will be absolutely enjoying Jen May’s “Armchair Locomotion” and “Battle Cry” debut collections of poetry. I may even do a few Poetry Workshops/Idea Harvesting this summer and autumn. So stay tuned, yo!!! (Sorry, my inner Nelly again.)

Feb 052017

Waterline Writers is celebrating its 5th anniversary by hosting its 50th literary event on Sunday, Feb. 19th at 7 pm, with 5 featured writers. Barbara Barrows still cites Mary Oliver as an influence, but these days her M.O. is also informed by Andrea Gibson and Adam Gottlieb. The title of Donald J. Bingle’s novel is Forced Conversion, but there is nothing forced about his tight prose and his characters’ dire situation. In D.C. Brod’s Getting Taken, heroine Robyn Guthrie is in a fix when she finds a fat bag of pot stashed away in her new flat. Frank “Francois” Rutledge’s poems tackle life’s tough stuff, but also catch those slippery moments of everyday bliss. And, as happens every morning, Dawn Williams rises to face the new day and find whatever humor it has in store for her — right after some serious coffee, of course! Other writers can join the 5-minute-limit Open Mic at 8:30. Admission is $5/$3 students. Join us in the art gallery at Water Street Studios 160 S. Water Street, Batavia, and enjoy the evening with wine and beer from Solemn Oath Brewery and Bright Angel ($5), non-alcoholic Windmill Ginger Brew, and artisanal meats and cheeses from The Market at Gaetano’s!

Jan 032017

Waterline Writers will feature Teen Writers and Artists Project (TEE-wop) poets on Sunday, January 15th at 7 PM, just days before the first competitive event of their slam poetry season. If you don’t know what that means, come find out as they hone their craft, revealing hopes, fears and heartaches with enthusiasm and insight.  In addition to poets from area high schools, Director Diana Zwinak and Teaching Artists Adam GottliebCorey Dillard and Shayne Morgan Phillips will perform. Don’t miss hearing them! This unique event is being held at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., Batavia, IL. Admission is $5 ($3 for students), with fantastic food from Gaetano’s Market and Solemn Oath craft beer or Bright Angel wine for $5! No Open Mic on Jan 15th.

Want to know more? T-WAAP hosts three free Wordplay writing workshops, open mics, and featured performers monthly. On January 21st, they’ll hold their annual spoken word poetry competition, Slammin’ The Sun Down, a preliminary event for poets preparing for Chicago’s Louder Than A Bomb competitions in February. T-WAAP is poised to make its programs available to many more teens in the next few years. Watch the T-WAAP video to learn more! To donate and help bring quality writing programs to area teens, visit Guidestar or come to Waterline Writers on Sunday, Jan. 15th at 7 pm!




Dec 142016

Due to the extremely cold weather forecast, Waterline Writers is cancelled for Dec. 18th. We’ll reschedule Teen Writers and Artists Project, but regret that Kimberly Gotches will return to New Mexico and we won’t have the chance to host her in person until next December. Since we know that you’re disappointed about that, you can purchase her new book of stories, Under the Branches, right now on Amazon! It is a great little collection, full of Kimberly’s warmth–just what we need at this time of year. Stay tuned for our January plans!

Dec 072016

Waterline will feature storyteller Kimberly Gotches and showcase many of Teen Writers and Artists Project‘s teen poets, plus Director Diana Zwinak and Teaching Artists Adam GottliebCorey Dillard and Shayne Morgan Phillips at our next event on Sunday, December 18th, at 7 PM. As always, the event is held at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., Batavia, IL.

T-WAAP (TEE-wop) is hard at work right here in the western suburbs. In addition to 3 Wordplay writing workshops, open mics, and featured performers monthly, they offer school assemblies, mentor poetry teams, and host the annual spoken word poetry competition, Slammin’ the Sun Down, a preliminary event for poets preparing for Chicago’s famous Louder Than A Bomb competitions in February and March. Watch the T-WAAP video for a look at what they are up to!


T-WAAP is poised to make its programs available to many more teens in the next few years. We are offering you a front-row-seat experience and a look behind-the-scenes as young poets hone their craft, reveal their fears and heartaches, and share their insights, energy and enthusiasm.
Admission is $5 ($3 for students).
No Open Mic on Dec. 18th.
We’ll have craft beer from Solemn Oath Breweries for $5, wine from Bright Angel Wines for $5 and fantastic food from Gaetano’s Market!


Nov 132016

Head to Water Street Studios to hear our featured readers on Sunday, November 20th at 7 PM! William Hazelgrove reveals the untold story of Madam President, The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson; Sandra Marchetti weaves words and images into poems of seamless beauty; Dave Abatangelo shifts the slam poetry scene a bit with his sage (read only slightly gray) perspectives; Lynne Handy folds life’s most difficult hands into her heart and mind with the grace of poetry; and Patrick Shannon gives us survival tips on “How To Pick Out a Good Pub in Dublin”!

Books will be available for signing and purchase! Beer and wine available for $5. Our Open Mic follows. Anyone may bring a 5-minute piece to share!