Join us for a reading featuring three Milwaukee poets: Ed Werstein, Thomas J. Erickson, and Mark Zimmermann, and to celebrate the publication of Mark Zimmermann's latest poetry collection, Impersonations (Pebblebrook Press, 2015).
Despite being a life-long consumer of poetry, Ed Werstein spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. His sympathies lie with poor and working people. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and The Hartford Avenue Poets, his poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Mobius: Journal of Social Change, Stoneboat, and a few other publications. His first chapbook, Who Are We Then?, was published in 2013 by Partisan Press. â€‹Find more of Ed Werstein's poetry on the Woodland Pattern blog.
â€‹Thomas J. Erickson grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin. He received a BA from Beloit College in English Composition and a law degree from Marquette University. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including The Loâ€‹s Angeles Review, Quiddity International Literary Review, Mad Poet’s Review, The New Poet, and Slant. His chapbook, “The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom” (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin Libraries) was awarded second place in the 2013 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Contest. He is an attorney in Milwaukee where he is a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets.
Mark Zimmermann is a Wisconsin native and has degrees in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Between 1990 and 2004, he lived in Japan, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Poland, where he worked as a university instructor and freelance journalist/editor. He attributes a good part of his attraction to the lipogram’s linguistic constraints to his previous familiarity with somewhat similar limitations that he experienced as a second and third language user during those years abroad. Since his return to the United States, he has taught humanities and writing courses at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where he received the Johnson Controls Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. He is also a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets and represents the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and in the anthology Masquerades and Misdemeanors (Pebblebrook Press, 2013). Zimmermann lives in Milwaukee with his wife and two cats.
“I wish I'd had Mark Zimmermann’s poems when I was putting together the last edition of The Book of Forms—I would certainly have used one and included the form. Zimmermann has wit, a great deal of talent as a writer, a fine ear for the language, and the discipline that a poet needs to go with these ingredients.” —Lewis Turco, author of The Book of Forms
Mildred Ratched, RN
A talented criminal, he came
in decline and riled the men, created
ill attachment in a card dealer act,
then cheated them all.
He’ll need critical care. He’ll need
medicine. Let him remain
here in treatment.
I’ll handle him.
I mean it. Earlier, medicine had calmed
all the men here; in time it’ll calm him.
Add the electrical treatment
and I am certain:
In the end he’ll relent
and attain mental health.
To be a poet is not my ambition, it’s my way of being alone. —Fernando Pesson
From the pier
of the horizon
balances an ore boat
in two dimensions
My brother wrote
“Joe and Cindy 1991”
in the drying concrete
years before my sons
and I jumped
into the cold water
of late Summer
Now the lone line,
the low cool wind
in the northern sky
Soon she will be
boasting of her beauty
while the empty boat
slowly falls away.
The Way Philanthropy Works
At concerts in Rockefeller Center
sensitive ears can still hear the cries and wails
of the Ludlow miners
and their wives and children
slaughtered on the picket line in Colorado, 1914.
Without opening a book,
keen eyes can read
the lost lives of unschooled steel workers
on the facades of thousands of libraries,
part of the Carnegie bequest.
And who remembers
the abandoned artistic ambitions
of the aluminum smelters, the oil riggers,
and the bank tellers who labored
so the Mellon family could endow
the National Gallery of Art?