May 5, “My Mother’s Ceramic Hippopotamus”

Good morning folks. Here’s Jack’s latest post on the YouTube. Hit the thumbs’ up, subscribe, click on the little bell to be notified when his videos go up, or subscribe here to receive it in your inbox every Thursday. In around 80 days, YouTube will let us record live again, at 9 am on Thursdays. We’ll let you know when that happens.

Changing Things Up!

As many of you know, after the last administration ended, and the new one began, Jack ended his blog post project and began a live stream on Facebook. Well, Facebook livestreams suddenly developed strange audio mishaps that we couldn’t fix, so we are switching things up in a way we think will work better for everyone by carrying his Thursday morning posts to YouTube.

You’ll find this morning’s post here… And we would love it, if you are a YouTube user, if you would subscribe to his channel, then hit the bell icon for notifications. But don’t worry! We’ll post these little bitty shows every Thursday right here.

Reminder, Poetry “Concert” Tonight, 7pm

Tonight is my favorite night of the year, when our “Landscapes of Poetry,” workshop of gifted writers, which has been running for years and years, meeting monthly to work on our work, gives their Holiday Reading. It’s free and open to the public. Just use the “Contact” links above to contact either me or Julie to ask for the link.

If you can make it, you’ll hear from:

Annie Valkema, Kathleen Markland, GF Korreck, Sharon Arendshorst, Beth McBride, Ruth Zwald, Jeff Munroe, Robbi Hartt, Marianna Maver,  Mary McSchmidt, and Peg Padnos, and me. Just a couple of poems per poet, so it will move briskly along.

Such a good way to meet the holidays in the most humane and focused way!


Landscapes of Poetry Holiday Reading, December 9, 7pm, Online


Use the contact link above to write to Jack for the link, and we’ll get you in.

Annie Valkema, Kathleen Markland, GF Korreck, Sharon Arendshorst, Beth McBride, Ruth Zwald, Jeff Munroe, Robbi Hartt, Marianna Maver,  Mary McSchmidt, Peg Padnos, and hosted by Jack Ridl, Directed by Julie Ridl, with special guest:

Events and More Events!

Warning: Sorta self-promotion here; however others involved are quite worthy of your interest.

And of course, I’m sending this to you even if it’s geographically or otherwise impossible to take in some of the following.

Here Are four events that this friend of yours is part of–
1. A conversation with Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo. You can take this in anytime by following this link:
Joy and I had a really good time talking about everything from why she said yes to being the Poet Laureate of a country that stole her own country to if she still collects rollercoaster rides. This conversion was part of The Big Read Lakeshore, a program where there are events for a month for everyone in the area based on Harjo’s An American Sunrise.

2. On Monday November 1, as part of the Big Read program, I will present “Another Way of Looking at a Poem.” The event will be held in Hope College’s Maas Auditorium, 7-8 pm. Free to the public. 

3. On Tuesday November 2, The Creation Justice Team at Douglas United Church of Christ from 6-9pm will hold small group discussions of this year’s Community Read, The End of Night by Paul Bogard. (There are still copies available at the wonderful Reader’s World Bookstore!) This book, and I trust the discussions, will arouse your awareness of something we likely seldom notice. For example, did you know that many kids have never seen the stars? I will be leading one of the discussion groups. You can register for that event here: HTTP://

4. On Thursday, November 11 The Bookman Bookstore in Grand Haven is having a reading starting at 7pm. I am invited to read along with Alison Swan, Greg Rappleye, and Theresa Scollon. 

5. Also if you are interested, watch for notices of a class I’ll be teaching at Ox-Bow. The date has not yet been decided.

6. And if you are interested in working One-on-One with me either here at our home or via Zoom, just check out details at and get in touch.

PS. To watch Jack on RattleCast with editor of Rattle Tim Green, here that is:
I hope during these difficult days that you have been able to savor the slow arrival of autumn’s color.
I am ever grateful for your abiding friendship.Jack

Tonight’s Reading: We’re On!

WHOOPS!!! UPDATE!!! We’re moving this event indoors at Isabel’s Market & Eatery. Hope to see you there! No need for woolens or folding chairs!

We’ll be dodging raindrops between one shower and another tonight, but we’re on for the Last Red Dock Poetry Reading. Come and wish Tony and Dona well. Bring a jacket or a sweater with your folding chair. Beer and Wine and snacks for sale from Isabel’s Market & Eatery, who are kindly hosting this event with Tony. All the details here.

The Last Red Dock Poetry Reading

Here’s the scoop on this wonderful reading series as it comes to an ignoble close… Hope to see you there!


The Last Red Dock Poetry Reading — Isabel’s Market & Eatery, September 22, 6pm

There have been a lot of “lasts” in this last season for the much-celebrated “last hippie bar,” the Red Dock in Douglas Michigan. 

The last of the Red Dock’s events wrap up with The Last Red Dock Poetry Reading, sponsored by Tony and Dona Amato and Isabel’s Market and Eatery, where the reading will be held, at 310 Blue Star Highway, in Douglas, on September 22, at 6pm.

The featured poets will be Jack Ridl, Douglas’ Poet Laureate, the instigator — along with the Amatos, of the Red Dock Poetry Series. Jack and Tony welcome Kathleen McGookey to the stage this year.

Kathleen McGookey is author of four books of poetry, including Instructions for My Imposter and Stay. She also has three chapbooks, a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems called We’ll See. McGoogkey’s poems and translations have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best Microfiction 2019, Best Small Fictions 2019, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Quiddity, and The Southern Review. She has received grants from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. McGookey has taught creative writing at Hope College, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Western Michigan University. 

Jack Ridl is the author of several national award-winning collections, as well as poetry textbooks and anthologies. His most recent collection, St. Peter and the Goldfinch, Wayne State University Press, was released in 2019. His poems have appeared in more than 300 journals, and his work has been featured in numerous literary anthologies. He has given readings of his work and led workshops at colleges, universities, art colonies, elementary and high schools, and other venues around the country. More than 90 of his students’ work has been published.

The reading will be held outdoors, and the organizers recommend bringing a lawn chair to ensure enough seating. An outdoor bar will offer beer and wine for purchase, and food may be purchased from the market.

This program is free and open to the public.

CropWalking on my new knee!

I know some of you have seen this already. Sorry for hitting your in-box twice!

Firstof all–no pressure.

I know all of us are asked to contribute to way more valuable causes than we possibly can.

Last year, I “Crop Hobbled” with a knee in need of surgery. This year, thanks to former student surgeon Dr. Jon Hop, I have a brand new knee and am ready to roll. Well, walk slowly and for only so far.

I won’t get down on my new knee and beg, but if you have a Five that you were gonna spend on Triple Peanut Butter ice cream, it’d be a joy to see it land in my beggar’s bowl.

I hope you are staying healthy, avoiding the plague and having days at least dappled with delight.
On we go, and thanks no matter what.

Here’s the link for donating online: