From 1968 until July 31, 2022, I had one librarian.

At the start, when I was five, racing into the Davenport Public Library weekly, the overdue fines piled up fast. But Miss. Murray never refused to check out a book to me. She kept a quiet tally, trusting someday I would settle up.

More than fifty years later, she was still on the job, aiding research involved in writing projects, sending me notes like this:

“The Special Collections Department had the enclosed information I thought you would like to have.”

Rochelle played an important role in the local writing community that offered me a safe and inspiring haven when I had no other hopeful place to go as a troubled teenager in Urban Iowa. She was a staunch advocate of literacy, a gentle warrior the world is weaker without.

To read more about her remarkable life, follow the link below.


On June 27that 7 pm I delivered an address–“The Mission of Writing”–in conjunction with the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference in Davenport, Iowa.

The venue was the Figge Art Museum at 225 West 2nd Street.


Here I am with my generous hosts Ryan Collins (Midwest Writing Center Executive Director) and Susan Collins (Midwest Writing Center Board Member)


Here I’m blessed with the company of Jodie Toohey (standing: Midwest Writing Center President), Rochelle Murray (seated: the resilient librarian who fulfilled my odd request for Aaron Copland’s home address when I was ten years old) and Dick Stahl (seated: a poet who attended Writers’ Studio when I did in the late 1970s and early 1980s)

To learn more above the lead-up to the event, follow the link below: