Photo of Author Patricia Engel


Infinite Country Book Cover


Author Presentations

Fox Cities Reads author Patricia Engel event on Friday, April 5, 2024 at 6:30 pm Fox Cities PAC Kimberly-Clark Theater

 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read and the Fox Cities Book Festival present an event with the 2024 NEA Big Reads author, Patricia Engel. We encourage you to read the book with your community and join us for this special presentation!

Join us for the NEA Big Read keynote event with the author on Friday, April 5, 2024

6:30 PM: Enjoy opening stories from Latin American Storyteller, Carolina Quiroga

7:00 PM: NEA Big Read Keynote Event with Patricia Engel

View a community art display created with the Trout Museum of Art, and more at this free event!

Book Discussions

Libraries in the Fox Cities will be holding book discussions focusing on the themes of family, home, Colombian Culture and Immigration.


LOTERIA: a game of community created through our own stories.

Art Workshop with Artist Irineo Medina

To get ready for the NEA Big Read author visit, we invite you to this FREE Loteria-inspired art workshop with artist, Irineo Medina at the Trout Museum of Art. All skill levels welcome. Completed works will be displayed as a community art piece at the FoxCities Performing Arts Center on April 5, 2024 during the NEA author event with Patricia Engel.

  • February 15, 2024 from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • February 17, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Both workshops are at the Trout Museum of Art 111 W. College Ave. Appleton, WI 54911

RSVP Required. Please visit the Trout Museum of Art online to register. 

Poetry After Dark Featuring Brenda Cárdenas ~ An Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop using artwork created by Latino Artists March 21, 2024, 7:00pm - 8:45pm

Poetry After Dark Featuring Brenda Cárdenas 

An Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop 

March 21, 2024 at 7:00 pm- 8:45 pm

Elisha D. Smith Public Library

440 First Street Menasha, WI 54952

Registration is required to attend. Please register online or contact the Elisha D. Smith Public Library

About the Workshop

  • Ekphrastic poetry is simply poetry that is inspired by and in conversation with visual art. Scholar Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux in her book Twentieth-Century Poetry and the Visual Arts speaks of the communitarian sense of collaboration that ekphrasis can be when a poet puts “the ekphrastic power of the word…to the service of connection that here and there, now and then, self and other not be isolated.” With such in mind, we will first discuss various approaches one may take to writing an ekphrastic poem, using examples of poems written by Latinx authors in response to Latinx visual art. Then from images supplied by the workshop facilitator, we will each choose a work of Latinx visual art that inspires, intrigues, puzzles, or moves us. Rather than simply describing the art, we will attempt to write poems that converse with, correspond with, or “riff off” of the art, using various prompts the facilitator has prepared to help us do so. We will work toward creating a third space where the dyad (the poem and art together) is something more or different than its parts—something, perhaps, unexpected!

About Brenda Cárdenas

  • Brenda Cárdenas is the author of Trace (Red Hen Press, 2023); Boomerang (Bilingual Press, 2009); and the chapbooks Bread of the Earth / The Last Colors with Roberto Harrison, Achiote Seeds/Semillas de Achiote with Cristina García, Emmy Pérez, and Gabriela Erandi Rico; and From the Tongues of Brick and Stone. She also co-edited Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2017) and Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest (MARCH/Abrazo Press, 2001), which won the Chicago Women in Publishing first place award for excellence in editing. Her poems and essays have appeared in an array of anthologies and journals, including Braving the Body; Latinx Poetics: The Art of Poetry; POETRY; TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics; Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations; Grabbed: Poets and Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment, and Healing; Court Green; Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Anthology, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems, and many others.
  • Brenda Cardenas served as faculty for the 2021 CantoMundo writers’ retreat and as the 2010-2012 Milwaukee Poet Laureate. In 2014, she co-designed and co-taught the inaugural master workshop for Pintura:Palabra: A Project in Ekphrasis sponsored by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Letras Latinas (Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame). She currently teaches Creative Writing and U.S. Latinx Literatures at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she has won a University of Wisconsin System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award and the English Department’s Faculty Graduate Teaching Award. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband, the poet Roberto Harrison and their dog Maya.

Past Fox Cities Reads Authors


Josh Malerman, Bird Box


Tommy Orange, There There

Dawn Quigley, Apple in the Middle


Alex Gino, George


Kao Kalia Yang, The Latehomecomer

Dr. Matthew Desmond, Evicted

Ruta Sepetys, Salt To The Sea

Sharon Draper, Stella By Starlight

David Sheff, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

Christina Baker Kline, Orphan Train

R. J. Palacio, Wonder

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder and The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder

Bill Strickland, Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary

Luis Alberto Urrea, Into the Beautiful North and The Devil’s Highway

Lesley Kagen, Whistling in the Dark

Michael Perry, Off Main Street, Population: 485, and Truck

Alice Hoffman, Blackbird House and Green Angel

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed