Praise for Writing Workshops


Selected Personal Testimonies
“The Decorah Public Library has had the pleasure of partnering with Robert Wolf in story writing workshops for over 10 years. Most recently through the “Story Within You” program whereby persons 60 years or older in NE Iowa were willing to write and tell a story. The participants of the workshop were from three counties with no previous writing experience. The success of the event was illustrated by the request to expand one public performance to each of the other two counties. . .. Robert Wolf is a pleasure to work with . . . I am pleased to support Robert in any endeavor he so desires to explore for I know the value it will be for the participant.” — Lorraine Borowski, Director, Decorah Pubic Library

Story Within You croppedThank you for an inspiring, energizing, and intellectually stimulating three day workshop. For myself, someone who loves fruits and vegetables, it was like having access to all my favorites over a three day period. I felt nurtured and stimulated, and the exercises you assigned really helped to move and shape my writing at a time when I’m ready to write on a more consistent basis . . .  — Regina Arnold, Ph.D., Associate Academic Dean, Sarah Lawrence College

This project could’ve gone awry in so many ways (as experiments often do). Your flexibility and steady hand kept us on track. It was wonderful, also, to watch a master at work at his craft. I’m in awe, actually, so much impressed with the experience and skill it takes to do a good job at running a workshop of this kind. You’ve made many friends here, so we hope that you’ll consider us a home-away-from-home whenever you’re in the neighborhood and in need of a bed or at least a watering hole.  — Georgette Frazier Organizer, Marshfield Wisconsin Writing WorkshopBobYoungWritersTableSMw

He’s given hope to people where there wasn’t any. And he knows his stuff. He’s got guys who never thought they could write writing their life’s history.”Homeless poet El Gilbert.

Select Newspaper and Journal Comments

“For the last decade Wolf has been getting people to tell him stories, and the harvest is a rich and satisfying ‘An American Mosaic: Prose and Poetry by Everyday Folk.’ Those ‘everyday folk’ are the homeless and day laborers, farmers and teachers, college students and commercial fishermen. They met Wolf during the many writing workshops he conducts. He gets people to attend by telling them ‘that anyone who can tell a story can write one.’ That’s a bold theory. But the book is filled with wonderful stories. Almost all are interesting and some of them are poetic. . .They offer insights into the lives of people and of places that many of us, caught up in the frenetic pace of city life, forget exist.” — Rick Kogan, “of quiet lives,” Chicago Tribune

OldtableTalkSMwOne unique publishing house is documenting 20th century American life as it is written by the homeless, farmers, jazz musicians, Vietnam vets, waitresses, truckers, bankers—men and women from all walks of life—in the Free River Press Folk Literature Series . . . It is a most innovative publishing venture, but Free River Press is much more than a publishing house. Founded by Robert Wolf of Lansing, Iowa, it is an organization actively seeking public discussion on the nature of community and those values that make for a fully human existence.”
Rebecca Meyers, “Empowering the Human Spirit through Reading and Writing,” A.B. Bookman’s Weekly, September 1993

“As with any number of small publishers, Bob Wolf’s publishing house, Free River Press, works out of his home. The similarities, however, stop there. Free River Press’s “acquisitions” come directly from Wolf’s community writing workshops. And its books are written by people “without literary ambition,” as Wolf puts it, folks with a profound sense of place and an unshakable commitment to their way of life. A natural outgrowth of Wolf’s restless youth experimenting with jobs that brought him face-to-face with a variety of people—he was a ranch hand in New Mexico, a journalist in Chicago, a teacher in inner-city Brooklyn schools and at a penitentiary, as well as a doctoral candidate in philosophy, a dabbler in art, a hitchhiker and hobo—the press has as its mission the preservation and amplification of America’s unheard voices.”
Greta Anderson, “Free River Press: Giving Voice to the Forgotten,” Poets & Writers, Nov/Dec 1999Clermont, Iowa Workshopjpeg



Stax Record Museum Writing Workshop, Memphis