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First Friday Book Talk & Reading with Matt Mason


“Matt Mason’s poems have energy. Matt Mason’s poems have drive, and craft, and heart, and excitement, and funny lines like “I want to see two words rhyme / who never thought of each other that way before” —lines which harken back to other things Mason’s poems have, such as tenderness and wildness and celebrations of young and other kinds of love—love of music, family, laughter, and good poems, which, by the way, Matt Mason’s Rock Stars is full of.”

— Charles Harper Webb, author of Sidebend World and Ursula Lake

Matt Mason is the Nebraska State Poet and, through the US State Department, has run poetry programs in Botswana, Romania, Nepal and Belarus. Mason is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Nebraska Arts Council. His work can be found in The New York Times, on NPR’s Morning Edition, in American Life in Poetry and more. Mason’s 4th book, At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros, was released by The Old Mill Press in 2022.

First Friday Reading - July 2023

The Long March Home 
A World War II novel of the Pacific
New from NYT Bestselling authors 
Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee 

"Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire.Life in the Philippines seems like paradise–until the morning of December 8, 1941, when news comes from Manila: Imperial Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into war as enemy warplanes attack Luzon, beginning a battle for control of the Pacific Theater that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history."

First Friday Reading - June 2023

Praise for Allison L. Bitz's novel The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom:

“A funny, bold, and heartwarming ode to the thrill of performing, the beauty of friendships, the joy of falling in love, and the satisfaction of self-discovery. The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom is a beautiful reminder to be bold, love big, and take up space.”                                                                                                  — Crystal Maldonado, award-winning author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and No Filter and Other Lies

“Bold, bright, and with a dash of Midwest charm, The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom has a voice that sings. Bitz’s joyful debut is one to cheer for—Bridget herself wouldn’t have it any other way.” — Joan F. Smith, author of The Half-Orphan’s Handbook and The Other Side of Infinity

“Bridget Bloom is a fat positive heroine we’ve been waiting for! For everyone who has ever struggled to find their voice, every page of this story sings with a message about what it means to find love and learn to love yourself.” - Kelly deVos, author of Eat Your Heart Out

The Fruits of (Our) Writers Group

First Friday Reading - May 2023

Mary Helen Stefaniak’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many publications. Of her new novel, The World of Pondside, a mystery that takes place in a nursing home, Booklist said, “Stefaniak infuses an often forbidding environment with joy and dignity.” Her previous novel, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, was selected by Rita Dove and Henry Louis Gates Jr. to receive the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation for a diversity of cultures. Independent booksellers selected The Cailiffs as an Indie-Next “Great Read.” Her first novel, The Turk and My Mother, received the 2005 John Gardner Fiction Award and has been translated into seven languages. It was named a Favorite Book of 2004 by the Chicago Tribune. Both novels, along with her first book, Self Storage and Other Stories, were honored by the Wisconsin Library Association.

Book Launch Event - Lucy Adkins, Twyla Hansen, David Wyatt

Join poets Lucy Adkins, Twyla Hansen, and David Wyatt in celebrating the publication of their latest books! 

Book Launch Event - Katie Schmid, Katie Marya, and Kate Gaskin

Join authers and UNL graduate students Katie Schmid, Katie Marya, and Kate Gaskin in celebrating the publication of their new books!

Book Launch Event - Jamaica Baldwin, Jessica Poli, Kimberly Reyes

Join authors and UNL graduate students Jamaica Baldwin, Jessica Poli, and Kimberly Reyes in celebrating the publication of their new books. 

First Friday Reading - April 2023

Sherrie Flick is the author of a novel and two short story collections. Her collection Thank Your Lucky Stars (Autumn House Press) is now an audio book. Adina Verson performed her story “Heidi is Dead,” from her debut collection Whiskey, Etc.(Autumn House Press) for NPR’s December 2022 Selected Shorts. New work appears in PloughsharesNew England Review, and Booth. She is a senior editor at SmokeLong Quarterly, served as series editor for The Best Small Fictions 2018 (Braddock Avenue Books), and co-edited the anthology Flash Fiction America (February 2023, W. W. Norton). 

Book Launch Event - Keith Walton

Author and historian Keith Walton will share his new book, The Last Full Measure: From America's Heartland to the Battlefields of Vietnam - Remembering the Fallen from One Nebraska Town.

First Friday Reading - March 2023


Terese Svoboda has won the Guggenheim, the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Poetry Prize, an NEH translation grant, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, a Jerome Foundation video prize, the O. Henry Award for the short story, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay. Her opera WET premiered at L.A.'s Disney Hall.  Roxy and Coco, her 20th book, will be published in 2024.

Dog on Fire is the fourth book she's published in five years in four genres, the others being Theatrix: Poetry Plays (poetry, Anhinga Press) “A tour de force collection that explodes our notion of the fourth wall” – Virginia Konchan; Great American Desert (stories, Mad Creek Books) "Great  American  Desert is a devious and extraordinary new collection of stories from one of our best writers, Terese Svoboda." -- Karen Russell; and Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet (biography, Schaffner Press) “Magisterial” – Washington Post.

Book Launch Event - With Barbara Salvatore

Rescheduled Event! Third Thursday: February

For more information see On Site Events: Third Thursdays. 

First Friday Reading - February 2023

Lee Martin is the author of the novels, The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; River of HeavenQuakertown; Break the SkinLate One Night, and Yours, Jean. His memoirs are Gone the Hard RoadFrom Our House, Turning Bones, and Such a Life.  He is also the author of two short story collections, The Least You Need To Know, and The Mutual UFO Network, as well as a craft book. Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and the Writing Life. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Harper’s, Ms., Creative Nonfiction, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Glimmer TrainThe Best American Essays, and The Best American Mystery Stories. He is the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, where he is a College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor, and where he was also the winner of the 2006 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. 

Take Up Space: Youth Open Mic Series

TAKE UP SPACE is in Lincoln Thursday, February 2,  6-7:30 pm! This teen open mic night is designed for writers aged 13-19 to share their art and support each other. Plus, there will be FREE PIZZA! 🍕😚

Book Launch Reading with Christine Stewart-Nunez

"Accomplished poet Christing Stewart- Nunez's first book of essays lets us travel, decipher secrets, feel fabric through our fingers in Turkish markets, watch Holden through his young mother's eyes. . . The essays glow golden under our eyes as the writer conjures meaning from life to life. This book is a triumph -- for her and for readers."   -- Hilda Raz

Christine Stewart-Nuñez is the author and editor of several books of poetry, including The Poet & The Architect (2021), Untrussed (2016) and Bluewords Greening (2016), winner of the 2018 Whirling Prize. Chrysopoeia: Essays of Language, Love, and Place, new from Stephen F. Austin State University Press, is her first book of prose. Essays in Chrysopoeia appeared in North American Review, Shenandoah, and The Pinch among other magazines, and several earned notable listings and/or awards. Christine served as South Dakota’s poet laureate from 2019-2021, and her work has been the basis for international, cross-artistic collaborations with colleagues in music, dance, visual art, and architecture. With ties to Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, Christine now lives in Winnipeg where she teaches in women’s and gender studies at the University of Manitoba.   

Speed Writing & Reading Holiday Party

Let’s kick off the Holiday Season with some fast-paced writing and short but powerful reading sessions! The format is simple. We alternate five-minute readings with 15-minute mini writing workshops that start with a craft talk and end with a writing prompt. Five readings, four workshops, so you’ll not only leave the event inspired but you’ll have some new writing too!

William Trowbridge and Friends

William Trowbridge will read from his latest poetry collection Call Me Fool. He will be joined by a number of local poets who have worked with William over the years.  Like many of Bill's readings, this is sure to be a lively literary event. Come prepared to laugh, and maybe even cry a little. 

Call Me Fool, William Trowbridge’s ninth poetry collection, Call Me Fool, came out from Red Hen Press in September. Over 550 of his poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines and in more than 50 anthologies and textbooks. He is a faculty mentor in the University of Nebraska-Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program and was Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016. For more information, see his website at

First Friday Reading - December 2022

Hadara Bar-Nadav is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America, and other honors.  Her award-winning books include The Singing Pills (Four Way Books, forthcoming), awarded the Levis Prize; The New Nudity (Saturnalia Books, 2017); Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (Saturnalia Books, 2013), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012), Editor’s Selection/Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007), awarded the Margie Book Prize.  She is also the author of two chapbooks, Fountain and Furnace (Tupelo Press, 2015), awarded the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and Show Me Yours (Laurel Review/Green Tower Press 2010), awarded the Midwest Poets Series Prize.  In addition, she is co-author with Michelle Boisseau of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. (Pearson, 2011).  Her poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Believer, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and elsewhere.  She is a Professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Take Up Space: Youth Open Mic Series

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Larksong is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are committed to supporting both the writers who come to us for instruction and the writers who come to us to teach. We keep our class fees low, offer free programming, and pay our instructors. Please consider supporting our mission by making a tax-deductible donation.