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:


Live and In Person! Reading and Workshop with Alison Swan May 23…

On Sunday, May 23, in person, outside, and distanced, Saugatuck Center for the Arts is hosting Alison Swan and me for a  poetry reading and conversation about poetry, life, and work at 1pm that is open to the public. Alison and I love working together, and I know the conversation will be great for us, and we hope for you too!

Then at 2:30pm, Alison will conduct a creative writing workshop for the lucky folks who register for it.

This is all in celebration of Alison’s wonderful new book, A Fine Canopy, from Wayne State University Press! You’ll want this one, I promise, and can pick up a copy at the event, or click that link and order it now!

The center is asking people to RSVP for the reading, where seats are limited, and there is a registration fee for the workshop. Here is the link to sign up for both!

Recommended: The Greatest Indoor Reading Series

Looking for something that is warm, inspiring, fun, and intelligent to do on a Pandemic imprisoned Friday night?

The wife/husband duo of Treena and Ridge from Queens wanted to do something to help the pandemic disappear a bit before the weekend. So each Friday at 8:30 they present four writers and/or artists who present their artworks, be it visual or nonfiction, poetry or fiction, memoir or essay.

Each reads or presents for fifteen minutes followed by an insightful response by Ridge. It’s never stuffy, more like hanging out with warm-hearted friends. After an hour, everyone’s mic is unmuted, and off we go on a conversation that leads from here to there and somewhere. No critique. All observation and response. Never pretentious, yet always smart and often funny.

Here’s the link. You, of course, can stay as long as you want. Julie and I sit back with our sips and snacks, dive in when it feels right, and have come to know folks we never would have gotten to meet. Everyone feels welcomed and liked and appreciated.

The works presented express  inclusiveness, include new and well-seasoned writers, Usually something for everyone. After about an hour of conversation, Treena confesses her exhaustion. She teaches 7th and 8th grade Chinese students and after a full Friday of inspiration admits her exhaustion, Ridge is a burnt-out social worker so he knows the feeling.

Give it two viewings before you decide this is or isn’t for you. We’re really glad that it’s for us.

Here’s how to join the performance:

You stay safe, ya hear!!!!


PS. One evening I even brought out one of our puppets.

PPS. Soon to appear are a couple poets many of you know: Laura Donnelly and Katie Bode-Lang!

Poetry Month Readings!

Hi there.I sure hope you are safe, and either have your vaccine or are soon to have it.
And now I try to type, sheepishly, some information about me, which I do, I hope, in order to best serve the sponsors.

1.  On April 2, I will be reading for 10-15 minutes for The Greatest Indoor Reading Series out of Queens, New York. There are four of us reading: Catherine Doty, Jack Ridl, Dinty W. Moore and Elizabeth A.I. Powell. Each reads and then the writer responds to a question from the host. The reading begins at 8:30 with ‘virtual doors’ opening at 8. Follow this link to learn how to join in.  

2.  On April 8 I will join Terry Blackhawk as we celebrate the launch of the new collection by Dennis Hinrichsen, This is Where I Live, I Have Nowhere Else to Go, from Off the Grid Press. The evening is sponsored by the Oakland Library. Follow this link to register and for more information.

3.  Throughout April seven poets will have their work on display throughout the city of South Lyons, Michigan. Each poem has been enlarged and framed. The poem they chose of mine is titled “After Spending the Morning Baking Bread” from Practicing to Walk Like a Heron, and you will find it right outside the bakery! Be sure to pick up some baked goods while you are there.

4.   Alison Swan has invited me to join her for a conversation and reading for the launch of her wonderful new collection, A Fine Canopy, from Wayne State University Press. Order the book in advance of the reading, or pick up your copy there! The evening is sponsored by the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Just go to their website to sign up. Alison will also be giving a workshop that will focus on ways to write about the natural world. Look for details here.

Whew. I do hope you receive this as an invitation and NOT at all as an obligation.

Thanks for caring.

Be well.


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Where are the Thursday videos?

You can find them here, Thursdays at 9am live, or any time after that!

Where are the books? 

Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Jack on And Then Suddenly podcast by Angela Santillo.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection