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The Imaginary Gardens Reading Series 


Michael Skau, inspired by this quote about poetry from Marianne Moore "...imaginary gardens with real toads in them...", created the monthly Imaginary Gardens Reading Series in the fall of 2014. The readings are held at Mister Toad (1002 Howard St., Omaha) in the Old Market on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm.  Our events are well-attended and our audiences love poetry.  Please join us! 


















Stay in touch with the reading series by liking us on Facebook--go here for our Facebook page


If you are a poet with a published chapbook or full collection,  please contact us to be a part of this reading series by clicking here.



Past guests: 



September 2014 -- Michael Skau
October 2014 -- Greg Kosmicki and Cat Dixon
November 2014 -- Barbara Schmitz and Todd Robinson
December 2014 -- Natasha Kessler and Matt Mason
January 2015 -- Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Miles Waggener
February 2015 -- Laura Madeline Wiseman and Paul Dickey
March 2015 -- Marilyn Coffey and Chad Christensen
April 2015 -- Brenda Sieczkowski and Rodger Gerberding
May 2015 -- Lee Ann Roripaugh and Steve Langan
June 2015 -- P. Ivan Young and Britny Cordera Doane
July 2015 -- Unbound Reading: Rich Wyatt, Genevieve Williams, Heidi Hermanson
August 2015 -- Susan Aizenberg and JV Brummels
September 2015 -- Cat Dixon and Michael Catherwood 
October 2015 --Twyla Hansen and William Trowbridge 

November 2015 -- Amy Plettner and Art Homer

December 2015 -- Mary K. Stillwell and Clif Mason

January 2016 -- canceled due to weather

February 2016 -- Laura Madeline Wiseman and Robert Klein Engler 

March 2016 -- Erik Campbell and Marilyn June Coffey 

April 2016 -- Marjorie Saiser and Al Ortolani

May 2016 -- Bill Trowbridge and Sara Amelia Snelling 

June 2016 --Michelle Lyles, Michelle Troxclair and Darian Stout

July 2016 -- Trent Walters and Teri Youmans Grimm 

August 2016 -- Miles Waggener and Cat Dixon

September 2016 -- Michael Catherwood and Marjorie Saiser 

October 2016 -- Laura Madeline Wiseman and Dennis Etzel Jr.

November 2016 -- Karen Shoemaker and Erik Campbell 

December 2016 -- Greg Kuzma and Maria Nazos 

January 2017 -- Lisa Fay Coutley and John Price

February 2017 -- Rich Wyatt and Lisa Sandlin 

March 2017 -- Laura Madeline Wiseman and Greg Kosmicki

April 2017 -- Katie Berger and Ted Wheeler 

May 2017 -- Lisa Knopp and Mj Taylor

June 2017 -- Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of The Backwaters Press 

July 2017 -- Kelli Allen and Michael Skau 

August 2017 -- Jeanne Emmons and William Trowbridge 

September 2017 -- Laura Madeline Wiseman and Timothy Schaffert

October 2017 -- Cat Dixon and Ted Wheeler 

November 2017 -- Leah Sewell and Michael Catherwood 

December 2017 -- Rebecca Rotert  and Bud Shaw

January 2018 -- The Flat Waters Stirs: An Anthology of Emerging Nebraska Poets Anthology (WSC Press, 2017) Reading Event.

Featuring: Robert Klein Engler, Maritza N. Estrada, Kellie Hayden, Heidi Hermanson, Jim Plath, Nathan Sousek, Trent Walters, and Aubree Woelber

February 2018 -- Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2008) Reading Event.

Featuring: Michael Catherwood, Marilyn Coffey, Paul Dickey, Shelly Clark Geiser, Steve Langan, Clif Mason, Sally Molini, J.J. McKenna, Sarah Voss, and David (Rich) Wyatt 

March 2018 -- Misbehaving Nebraskans: An Eclectic Collection of Poetry, Stories, and Art (2017) Reading Event. 

Featuring: Marilyn Coffey, Maritza Estrada, Deirdre Evans, Heidi Hermanson, Greg Kosmicki, Clif Mason, Charlene Pierce, Michael Skau, and Connie Spittler

April 2018 -- Candace Black and Richard Robbins

May 2018 -- Barbara Schmitz and Pete Miller 

June 2018 -- Lisa Dordal and JV Brummels

July 2018 -- Traci Brimhall and Neil Harrison

August 2018 -- Marjorie Saiser and Miles Waggener

September 2018 -- Laura Madeline Wiseman and Dennis Etzel Jr.

October 2018 -- Michael Skau 

November 2018 -- Todd Robinson and Heidi Hermanson

December 2018 -- Liz Kay and Kevin Clouther

January 2019 -- Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2008) Reading Event.

Featuring: Michael Catherwood, Marilyn Coffey, Lorraine Duggin, Steve Langan, Matt Mason, Mike Skau, James Solheim, Sarah Voss, and David (Rich) Wyatt

February 2019 -- canceled due to weather

March 2019 -- Marianne Kunkel and Trey Moody

April 2019 -- canceled due to illness

May 2019 -- Drucilla Wall and Eamonn Wall

June 2019 -- Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Matt Mason 

July 2019 -- Jamie Wendt and James Solheim

August 2019 -- Amy Plettner

September 2019 -- Ruth Williams and Bradford Tice 

October 2019 -- Sarah Voss and Barbara Schmitz

November 2019 -- Bill Trowbridge and Twyla Hansen

December 2019 -- Cat Dixon and Nathanael Tagg

The reading series was on hiatus from January 2020 - April 2023

May 2023 -- Bill Trowbridge and Twyla Hansen

No reading in June

July 2023 -- Cat Dixon and Michael Catherwood 

August 2023 -- Marjorie Saiser and Rich Wyatt

September 2023 -- Sarah Voss and Clif Mason

October 2023 -- Lucy Adkins and Duane Anderson 

November 2023 -- Trey Moody and David Mullins

December 2023 -- Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Matt Mason

January 2024 - canceled due to weather

February 2024 -- Heidi Hermanson and Kevin Clouther

March 2024 -- Carolina Hotchandani and Theodore Wheeler 

April 2024 Bonnie Johnson-Bartee and Neil Harrison

May 2024Barbara Schmitz and Bill Trowbridge

No reading in June


Michael Skau is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He studied under Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso at Naropa Institute and has published books of literary criticism on Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Skau has published poems in Carolina Quarterly, Northwest Review, Kansas Quarterly, Laurel Review, and Texas Review, among many others. He was named Winner of the 2013 William Kloefkorn Award for Excellence in Poetry, and his collection of poems, Me & God, was published by Wayne State College Press in 2014. His chapbook, After the Bomb, was published by WordTech Editions in 2017.





Organizer and creator: Michael Skau

Social media manager: Cat Dixon

Manager of Mister Toad and sound system engineer: Joe Mullin



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