January 9 - February 27, 2024 Grant Wood Country Forum - See graphic at left (or on the Home or Grant Wood Country pages of this site) for session details. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024 • Dinner by Moonlight

Dinner by Moonlight is a dinner entertainment package which includes a variety show, charcuterie and dessert. Enjoy carefully curated and created songs, sketches, music, visuals, food and drink at The Thunderdome in Newton. Ticket information coming soon! See poster below, and tell your friends. This will be an evening to remember!

Washer City Agitators, live music, featuring a conversation-friendly blend of originals and alluring interpretations of songs from many eras and genres. John Mattingly (keys, vocals), Jim Robinson (drums, vocals, harmonica), Elaine Mattingly (vocals). Stay tuned for upcoming dates. Also see Washer City Agitators on Facebook.


Mondays, beginning January 24, 2022, 6:30 p.m. - 2022 Grant Wood Country Forum kicks off its 10-week online series, in partnership with Cedar Rapids Library, Anamosa Library & Learning Center, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and Iowa Poetry Association. Enjoy an inspirational blending of art/history/cultural insights by great presenters as well as plenty of time for connecting and conversing. For anyone interested in art, history, culture, and creative writing related to the life and legacy of the iconic artist Grant Wood, as well as the life and times of Iowa before and after his life. For observers and writers (emerging and experienced). Reading sessions for participants to share their creative writing inspirations (short fiction, poetry, short essay) are built into the Forum. A culminating publication, Grant Wood Country Chronicle (digital and print editions), is offered in conjunction with a celebration event open to the public (held on the Living Learning Rooftop of the Cedar Rapids Public Library).  This series is for Free and open to the public.

Sunday, September 26, 2021 - American Gothic Garden Party - in support of Birds & Bees Urban Farm, in historic Sherman Hill neighborhood of Des Moines. Tours, music, readings.

August 21 - October 2, 2021: Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames presents, Image & Text: Visual Art and Creative Writing in Partnership. Elaine's poem Consumed, in partnership with artwork by Marilyn Terlouw, is selected for inclusion in this upcoming exhibit. More details to come! Note: Consumed will also be included in Elaine's upcoming recording project, Limestone Elixir, coming fall 2021.

Wednesday, April 28, 7-9 p.m. IPA LIVE! presents a special extended reading session for National Poetry Month. A variety of Iowa Poetry Society readers, including yourself truly, will offer poems, especially related to the subgenre ars poetica. To attend, email and put "Register to Attend IPA Live! 4/28/21" in the subject line. POEM & WINE PAIRING suggestions: A full-bodied red Zinfandel for poems "Please Say When" (in response to Grant Wood's painting Sultry Night) and "Singing" (a golden shovel poem based on a line of poetry by Emily Dickinson) and a crisp oaky Chardonnay for "If Poems Were Birds" and "She Flies."

Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 7 p.m. - Virtual Reading with Iowa Poetry Association -Enjoy yours truly and other Iowa poets reading their work centered around the themes of spring/nature. See Iowa Poetry Association Facebook page for details.

December 1, 2020 through February 2, 2021, 7:00 p.m. - Grant Wood Country Writer's Forum, 10-Part Weekly Series, timed to lead up to Grant Wood's 130th birthday in February 2021. Elaine  will lead participants, in association with other Grant Wood presenters, through a series of activities which provide context to select artworks by Grant Wood. Participants will write (poetry, lyrics, short fiction and/or short non-fiction). Participants will share their writing with each other (optional) and also do group-writing poems. The series is intended to capture authentic responses to Grant Wood's work, especially by those who have some sort of connection to the art of Grant Wood, and the area known as "Grant Wood Country." Because of the global ongoing impact of American Gothic and other Grant Wood artworks, this series is open to anyone with an interest in writing creatively in response to his legacy. The series is held in conjunction with Anamosa Library & Learning Center, Grant Wood's childhood community. Details to follow. Free and open to the public. Registration through the library then Zoom link provided. Participant writings will be considered for inclusion on as well as other projects to be determined. Culminating project, Grant Wood Country Chronicle now available.

Saturday, October 24, 2020, 10:00 a.m. - Unlocking Your Inner Poet Grant-Wood-Country Style, A Grant Wood Through Local Eyes Presentation, virtual event series, each CST, Sept. 26 through October 24, 2020. Held in conjunction with Anamosa Public Library. Session presenters include myself as well as Dorothy Bunting Montgomery (with her historical novel Stone Fruit), Barbara Feller (with her new Grant Wood book, The Creation of an Artist: Grant Wood's Boyhood Story), and historian Paul Juhl, author of  Grant Wood: Abandoned Plans and Grant Wood's Clear Lake Summer. Facebook invitations ready through Anamosa Library's Facebook page or by checking their website,

• POETRY IN THE PARK, downtown Grinnell, hosted and sponsored by Solera Wine Bar, Reading and Signing event with music. Kickoff event for the release of Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems. Select musical accompaniments by composer/pianist John Mattingly.

• POETRY ON THE LAWN, with Newton Public Library, Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems release event. Select musical accompaniments by composer/pianist John Mattingly.

• POETRY ON THE PLAZA, with Gezellig Brewing Company, followed by Bob Dorr & the Limestoners. A Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems release event. Select musical accompaniments by composer/pianist John Mattingly.


NOW OPEN: Some American Gothic Girls at Iowa's Telepoem Booth— LISTEN NOW (See this site's Poems page)

I am pleased to report that this audio poem, Some American Gothic Girls is included in the Telebooth Poem Iowa project in Council Bluffs. This is a multi-state project designed to engage the public with poets and their poems. Anyone can enter a Telepoem booth, peruse the poetry directory, and dial up a poem. Some of the poems will have music under, others may be poet's voice only. I produced this selection with a power ballad feel for the music under to correspond to my take on having grown up in the hills upon which Grant Wood painted many of his now-iconic paintings. There are also booths in other states. Here's the news directly from Telepoem Booth: "Telepoem Booth Iowa has been installed! It is housed on the 3rd floor at the beautiful Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment building, newly opened at 1001 South 6th Street in Council Bluffs. The booth will stay there until January, when it will move to the public library in Council Bluffs. As of this writing, PACE is open to the public, and you should be able to dial a poem in the Telepoem Booth if you go to visit. Please follow social distancing guidelines and use the provided disinfectant wipes and spray before and after you use the phone. You can call the organization to confirm hours and visiting times at (712) 890-5600 or visit their website at It’s a strange time to be installing an interactive and touchable art piece, and frankly, not ideal. But I know that the poetry from all of you will have a strong impact on the people that hear it. I firmly believe that the power of poetry is more important than ever in today’s turbulent times and that thoughtful portrayal of the human condition will play a role in healing and connecting us back together."

New Poetry Collection—

Grant Wood Country Poems: Loose Leaf Edition

Relying on my personal experiences as a Grant Wood Country native daughter, with two generations before me, and two behind me, I have worked to craft authentic poems that resonate to the nature of the people and places that are embedded in my very DNA. With a wide variety of poetic approaches, I have written these poems to appeal to poetry enthusiasts as well as the poetry-shy. The collection captures the allure, as well as the all-too-human responses to lives lived, across generations, in Grant Wood Country (east central Iowa, encompassing Anamosa, Stone City, Cedar Rapids and the landscapes of Linn and Jones counties). This collection, decades in the making, will first become available in a loose leaf format. The format is intended to entice readers to pull out individual poems from the folio for their own enjoyment, for sharing with friends, as gifts, and for starting conversations about the special people and places of Grant Wood Country. Perhaps some will be inspired to post some on the family fridge or scatter them on coffee tables. Perhaps some will nod in recognition and others discover something they didn't realize about the character of the people and places of this most special of places. Scholars far and wide have sought to demystify the person and iconic artworks of Grant Wood. Rest assured; his influence is alive well.