Compose Creative Writing Conference

Explore the practices and professions of creative writing and publishing at Clackamas Community College's annual Compose Creative Writing Conference, hosted by CCC's English Department.

Compose 2021 — online and FREE

"We must maintain contact with the unconscious, the unseen world, the deep pool of intuition that is untouched by market forces and the shiny hope of a new pair of shoes."

—From “The Perfume of Resistance” in "These are Strange Times, My Dear" by keynote speaker Wendy Willis.


  • May 15

    Saturday, May 15, 10 a.m.-1:45 p.m.

    Cost: Free!

    Location: Online. Details on accessing the conference via Zoom will be provided to registered attendees. 

    Register for the conference

Calling all writers and lovers of the written word. The annual Compose Creative Writing Conference is back and is virtual again this year. Join us on Zoom on May 15 for this free conference.

Compose begins with the welcome address from Wendy Willis at 10 a.m. Workshops run 10:45 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. There will be a break for lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m.

While we are physically distanced, the English Department at CCC is thrilled to offer this opportunity to come together and share our creativity with each other as a community. We hope you will join us!

Keynote: 10-10:30 a.m.

Wendy Willis

Wendy Willis

Wendy Willis is a poet and essayist living in Portland. Her book of essays, "These Are Strange Times, My Dear," was published by Counterpoint Press in 2019. Her second book of poems, "A Long Late Pledge," won the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize and was released by Bear Star Press in 2017. Her first book of poems, "Blood Sisters of the Republic," was published by Press 53 in 2012.

Her last two books have been finalists for the Oregon Book Award. Wendy is a faculty member in poetry and creative nonfiction at the Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon. Wendy is also the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the founder and director of Oregon’s Kitchen Table in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.

Morning Sessions: 10:45 a.m.-Noon

When you register, you can choose one of the following morning sessions. See below for session descriptions, author bios and links to the authors' books available to purchase.

Morning sessions

Jennifer Perrine | Home Is Where the Art Is
John Sibley Williams | Making Art from Art: Writing Ekphrastic Poetry
Jenny Forrester | Autonomous, Intriguing, World-Changing Memoir-Writing
Trista Cornelius and Robin Vada | Opening the Creative Mind
Michelle Ruiz Kiel | The Unexpected Author: Publishing Outside the Lines

Lunch: Noon-12:30 p.m.

Afternoon Sessions: 12:30-1:45 p.m.

When you register, you can choose one of the following afternoon sessions. See below for session descriptions, author bios and links to the authors' books available to purchase.

Afternoon sessions

Kate Gray | 13 Ways of Looking at Your Poem
Tod Goldberg | The Rise of the Anti-Hero
Josie Seid | I Hear Character Voices
Kate Ristau | Publishing Primer
Tina Ontiveros | Curiosity and Character in Memoir

Donations welcome

The Compose Conference is offered free of charge. We welcome donations to the Craig Lesley Creative Writing Endowed Fund to support creative writing students or to the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help students during these trying times.

Explore More Creative Writing in Action at CCC with the Clackamas Literary Review

Contact Us

For more information, contact Rita Shaw at or 503-594-3254