Poetics of the Wild

Poetics of the Wild is seasonal series of workshops that teaches contemplative walking, art, and creative writing as a path to wildness. Our faculty includes scholars, writers, and artists who are actively engaged in the consilience of ecology and humanities in the Kickatuus, Nishnabotna, and Missouri River watersheds.


Day-long workshops invite writers, artists, naturalists, and anyone who wants to discover wild nature and the wildness within through creative and contemplative thought and expression. Contact Jack Phillips for more information and how to apply: thenaturalistschool@gmail.com.

saunterers-on-ice Poetics of the Wild workshops are designed for intensive and immersive creativity, contemplation, walking and conversation in wild places with small groups of companions. Each workshop also allows for quiet spaces for mediation, reading, writing, and for one-on-one sessions with our alphabetically-listed faculty mentors:


Chelsea Balzer, M.A., PLMHP, is a poet, psychotherapist, writer, musician, and educator. In her creative and therapeutic work, she studies the impact of culture on mental health and teaches embodied mindfulness to help bring people back into connection with nature, themselves, and each other.

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Laura Johnson Dahlke, MFA studied creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles and also has an MA in English from The University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Johnson Dahlke has a special interest in nature writing; she lives and dreams in Omaha with her husband and five children.

Matt Low

Matt Low, Ph.D teaches English at Creighton University. His research and writing interests include prairie restoration, sustainable agriculture, narrative theory, and the intersection of religion and the environment.


John T. Price is the author of the three nature memoirs Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a FatherMan Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships, and Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grassland. He is also the editor of The Tallgrass Prairie Reader. His nonfiction writing has also appeared in many prominent journals. He is an award-winning Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he directs the nonfiction writing program. He lives with his wife and three sons in western Iowa.

Todd Robinson teaches in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he invites one and all to Weber 309 for tea and games of chance.
He has published two books of poetry, most recently Mass for Shut-Ins (Backwaters Press, 2018). He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
and has conducted community writing work with Seven Doctors Project, Poets in the Schools, Nebraska Writers Collective, Black Squirrel Summer Arts Program,
and Nebraska Warrior Writers.


Joelle Wellansa is a poet, visual artist, and free range naturalist learning how to see the world. She holds a BA in Art from Nebraska Wesleyan University and teaches in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Genevieve N. Williams holds an MFA from University of Nebraska, where she received an Academy of American Poets Prize. She facilitates Omaha Writers Group, a weekly writing workshop open to the public, is a teaching artist for Nebraska Writers Collective, and works as a writing consultant for Metropolitan Community College. Genevieve believes an active engagement with the natural world both in our writing and also our lives is vital as we face threats as global as climate change and as local as the defunding of state parks.


To learn more about upcoming workshops and retreats, contact Jack Phillips at thenaturalistschool@gmail.com 

*Photos by Robert Smith, except for photos provided by faculty.