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Experience Summertime at PorchLight

Hello, hello!

I see PorchLight as a place for retreat and contemplation, for sparking the wild writing mind, and for facilitating thoughtful conversation.

Check out the following events and opportunities this summer.


Artist India Johnson writes, "DEMAND/PRAYER documents the first year of COVID-19. This textile has one square per day of that year. The number of times the phrase “FROM PLAGUE DELIVER US” is stamped on a square corresponds to the number of new cases that day in Johnson County, Iowa." Inspired by the Book of Common Prayer and Saint Julian of Norwich, "This is a piece about anger, repetition, and waiting."

The quilt will serve as one prompt in this free workshop led by Johnson and Jennifer Colville on creating and writing from our pandemic experiences. All levels of experience are welcome. Participants can work with words, images or both.

July 8th, 6:30-8:00 The Writer Next Door Reading Series

Iowa is unique in its high concentration of writers of every stripe: investigative journalists, poets and novelists, spoken word artists, playwrights and children's book authors. This limited seating reading series offers a chance to say "hello" to your neighbor writers, and to hear them read from and talk about their newest work. Join us throughout the year as each member of the Porch Light team hosts their favorite "writer next door."

This summer we have a twofer with Lynne Nugent and Lauren Haldeman!

Lynne Nugent is Editor of The Iowa Review. Her chapbook of essays on motherhood and domesticity, Nest, won the 2019 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award and was published by The Florida Review in 2020. Her writing has appeared in the North American Review, Brevity, the New York Times, Full Grown People, Mutha Magazine, and elsewhere. Her essay “The Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card” was named a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016, and her essay “My Grief Is a Student of the Humanities” was runner-up for Mid-American Review‘s Fineline prize. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing and a PhD in English from the University of Iowa. In 2020, she won the Jean Jew Award for Women’s Rights, presented by the UI’s Council on the Status of Women.

LAUREN HALDEMAN is the author of the poetry collection Calenday (Rescue Press, 2014, finalist for the 2014 Julie Suk Award) and the artist book The Eccentricity is Zero (Digraph Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Fence, jubilat, Fourteen Hills and The Rumpus. A comic book artist, illustrator, puppeteer and poet, she has taught in the U.S. as well as internationally, including a reading and lecture tour of South Africa sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she was a recipient of the 2015 Sustainable Arts Foundation Award. You can find her on Twitter @laurenhaldeman, or online at

July 15th, 1:00 - 2:30 Prompt for the Planet: A Writing and Planting Workshop for Kids

Kids from eight to twelve are invited to a free art and writing workshop led by Tricia Windschitl of The Lena Project. Kids will work with a prompt from Amanda Gorman that asks them to create from the perspective of an element of nature. We will also do some planting and tending in Porch Light's new vegetable garden to help inspire our writing. All creative responses will be archived on and represented in our Englert Event, Prompt for the Planet: Community Creates, on Sept 11th.

Community Salon Hours on Saturdays from 11:00-3:00

Looking for an hour or two of peaceful reading or writing? Grab your lunch at the farmer's market lunch and head up to our place for community hours. Our garden, porch and salon will be open to anyone who wants to sit or brows the Free Little Library, or our Writer's Resource Library. Community hours are 11:00-3:00 every Saturday.

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