Vox Ferus

Workshops • Salons • Fierce Voice writing prompts • Gathering Voices

Vox Ferus workshops are designed to build a community of writers and performers interested in improving their own craft by investing in and exploring others' poetry as well as their own. 

Workshops take place on Friday or Saturday evenings roughly once a month, in Logan Square at a private home (address sent with RSVP confirmation.) Sign up for the mailing list to find out when the next one is happening! 

The workshop is pay-what-you-can; we pass a hat during a break in the workshop to accept donations. Usual donation is $10, and no one is turned away for lack of funds. Folks generally bring drinks and/or snacks to partake of and share.

Workshops involve discussion of a poem by an established poet from outside the community, as well as group critique of three poems from participants drawn randomly from a hat, and the opportunity to do a guided freewrite using a prompt based on the poem.

Each workshop section is limited to 10-15 people. Arrival begins around 7, we start promptly at 7:30, and end by 10 p.m. All are welcome to come and observe before actively participating.

We also hold a variety of other occasional workshops focused on topics such as performance and publishing; information about those is shared through the Vox Ferus mailing list. 

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Fierce Voice exploratory writing prompts are distributed for FREE every other week by email.

Fill out the contact form to subscribe!

Here's an example to get you started. Answer these questions without overthinking them, and in any order. 

What is something it is currently impossible for you to do? (example: fly)
What would have to change about you in order to do that thing? (example: grow wings)
What would you do if you could do that thing? (example: fly to London)
How would your life change?
Would you want the change to be temporary or permanent? 
What would your mother think? 
Would you lose your job? 
Would you become the only creature like you in the world?
How would it feel to be this new creature? 
Would you change your name? 
Would you tell anyone what happened?
In the end, would you be grateful or resentful of the change?

What would you give to change back?


JOY: in the work, and in the community

RECEPTIVITY: to ideas, to art, to each other

CURIOSITY: vs. criticism, vs. competition, and about new perspectives, approaches, and possibilities

RIGOR: commitment to growth, both our own and other people’s; interest in expanding perspectives rather than imposing limits


We value the potential, the experience, and the perspective each person brings. This is reflected in our words, actions, and attitudes.

We approach poems not as broken things in need of fixing, nor as objects of like or dislike, but as subjects of study and analysis, artworks whose possibilities we get to unpack.

We come ready to work. Eager to engage. Committed to creating a positive, challenging environment for everyone.

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Gathering Voices, forthcoming in May 2018 on YesYes Books and available now for pre-order, draws on Marty's decade of leading Vox Ferus community-based writing workshops. The book includes:

  • Poetry from some of the most exciting poets writing today including Ada Limón, Patricia Smith, Jamaal May, Keetje Kuipers, Ocean Vuong, Rachel McKibbens, and many more! 

  • Tailored discussion questions for each poem.

  • Innovative and interactive writing prompts for twenty-four complete three-hour workshops.

  • Guidelines for leading discussions of participants' work.

  • Strategies for marketing your workshop, creating a schedule, maintaining boundaries and more.