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Dennis Etzel, Jr.

Literary Arts
Email:[email protected]


Dennis Etzel Jr. (he/they) is a poet and writer who lives with their spouse Carrie and their boys in Topeka, Kansas, where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has an MFA from The University of Kansas, and an MA and Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Kansas State University. He has two chapbooks, The Sum of Two Mothers (ELJ Publications 2013) and My Graphic Novel (Kattywompus Press 2015).

My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015) was selected by The Kansas City Star as a Best Poetry Book of 2015, and its sequel My Grunge of 1991 was recently published (BlazeVOX 2017). Fast-Food Sonnets (Coal City Review Press 2016) is a 2017 Kansas Notables Book selected by the State of Kansas Library. This Removed Utopia (Spartan Press 2017) was published as part of the Kaw Valley Poetry Series.

Their work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others. Etzel is the recipient of a 2017 Troy Scroggins Award and the 2017 Topeka ARTSConnect Arty Award in Literary Arts. They co-edited Ichabods Speak Out: Poems in the Age of Me, Too and Kansas Speaks Out: Poems in the Age of Me, Too with Dr. Jericho Hockett, which is a 2023 Kansas Notables Book. He is a TALK Scholar and part of the Speakers Bureau for Humanities Kansas, and leads open, inclusive, non-judgemental poetry workshops in various Kansas spaces.

Primary Program Description

Dennis Etzel, Jr. offers poetry, non-fiction, hybrid, and experimental writing workshops, master classes, or talks included, but not limited to: K-12 children: Age-appropriate love for words poetics workshop College or Community:

  • How to Continue Writing: Developing Projects, Prompts, and Rituals in the Midst of Everyday Life
  • Collaboration as Empowerment and Mental Health
  • Writing About Trauma by Anchoring Joy and Play
  • Documentary and Psychogeographic Drift Poetics
  • Rose Quartz Crystal Generative Poetry Practices
  • Music and Performance Generative Poetry Practices
  • Somatic Psychotherapeutic Generative Poetry Practices
  • Writing the Monster’s Journey: From Trauma to Healing
  • Labyrinth Generative Poetic Practices
  • Words of Place: Documentary Poetry Workshop or Master Class
  • Queer Nature Generative Poetics Workshop or Master Class
  • Where We Work Writing and/or Poetics Workshop Please email about any needs your organization, library, or school might have.
Program Fee

$300+, depending on travel expenses

Educational Activity Information

We will read literary work to accompany and set examples for the writing we will do, as well as I offer my experiences for over 25 years.

Community Activity Information

Over twenty-five years ago, I found my way into poetry writing through the love and support an open-mic poetry reading community offers. I love hosting open-mic poetry events in which workshop or master class participants can take part in. Poetry is about community, so after participants finish their poems, I deeply encourage a community reading.

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