• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
special events
March 24

Anne Kingsbury passes the torch to our new directors!

readings & workshops
March 28

Poetry Reading: Sherwin Bitsui & Bojan Louis

readings & workshops
March 29

Urban Echo Poets

readings & workshops
April 4

Creative Open Mic “Show Your Love of the River” Sharing & Member Meeting

film & video
April 6

aCinema Screening

readings & workshops
April 11

Poetry Reading: Luci Tapahonso and Margaret Noodin

readings & workshops
April 14

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series: Lo Kwa Mei-en

readings & workshops
April 17

Poetry Reading and Conversation with Roberto Harrison @ Brown Deer Public Library

April 19

Alash Ensemble

April 22

ACL presents Renee Baker Quartet, Visual Dark Scratch Suite

April 22

Woman: Frailty Thy Name, works by Renee Baker

readings & workshops
May 2

Poetry Reading: Rena Priest

May 13

Alternating Currents Live presents The Bridge

readings & workshops
May 16

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series Noel Pabillo Mariano

May 17

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
May 24

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

Archived readings & workshops
Oct 8 Saturday, October 8
7:00pm, Pay What You Can

Join us for a poetry reading with Craig Santos Perez and Garrett Caples, guest curated by Brenda Cárdenas


Dr. Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the co-editor of two anthologies of Pacific literature, co-founder of Ala Press, and the author of three books of poetry, most recently from unincorporated territory [guma’], which received the American Book Award in 2015. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of San Francisco, and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the U of California, Berkeley. He is an associate professor in the English department and affiliate faculty with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program at the U of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, where he teaches courses in Pacific Literature, Food Writing, and Eco-Poetry.  





Garrett Caples is the author of three full-length poetry collections, including the brand-new Power Ballads (Wave Books, 2016). He has also written a book of essays, Retrievals (Wave, 2014), and a pamphlet, Quintessence of the Minor: Symbolist Poetry in English (Wave, 2010). He co-edited Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems by Frank Lima (City Lights, 2016), Particulars of Place by Richard O. Moore (Omnidawn, 2015), and Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia (California, 2013). A freelance writer, he is also an editor at City Lights, where he curates the Spotlight poetry series. He lives in San Francisco.




Those registered for Craig Santos Perez's workshop, The Poetics of Food, Culture, and the Environment, will receive free admission to this reading. 


Join us on Thursday, October 6 at 6 PM for an informal discussion of Craig Santos Perez's poetry led by UWM Professor, and 2010-2012 Milwaukee Poet Laureate, Brenda Cárdenas. This discussion is FREE and open to the public. No prior knowledge of Craig Santos Perez's writing is necessary. 


Thanksgiving in the Anthropocene, 2015


Thank you, instant mashed potatoes, your bland taste

makes me feel like an average American. Thank you,


incarcerated Americans, for filling the labor shortage

and packing potatoes in Idaho. Thank you, canned


cranberry sauce, for your gelatinous curves. Thank you,

Ojibwe tribe in Wisconsin, your lake is now polluted


with phosphate-laden discharge from nearby cranberry

bogs. Thank you, crisp green beans, you are my excuse


for eating dessert later. Thank you, indigenous migrant

workers, for picking the beans in Mexico’s farm belt,


may your children survive the journey. Thank you, NAFTA,

for making life so cheap. Thank you, Butterball Turkey,


for the word, butterball, which I repeat all day butterball,

butterball, butterball because it helps me swallow the bones


of genocide. Thank you, dark meat for being so juicy

(no offense, dry and fragile white meat, you matter too).


Thank you, 90 million factory farmed turkeys, for giving

your lives this holiday season. Thank you, factory farm


workers, for clipping turkey toes and beaks so they don’t scratch

and peck each other in overcrowded, dark sheds. Thank you,


genetic engineering and antibiotics, for accelerating

their growth. Thank you, stunning tank, for immobilizing


most of the turkeys hanging upside down by crippled legs.

Thank you, stainless steel knives, for your sharpened


edge and thirst for throat. Thank you, de-feathering

tank, for your scalding-hot water, for finally killing the last


still conscious turkeys. Thank you, turkey tails, for feeding

Pacific Islanders all year round. Thank you, empire of


slaughter, for never wasting your fatty leftovers. Thank you,

tryptophan, for the promise of an afternoon nap—

I really need it. Thank you, store bought stuffing,

for your ambiguously ethnic flavor, you remind me


that I’m not an average American. Thank you, gravy,

for being hot-off-the-boat and the most beautiful


brown. Thank you, dear readers, for joining me at the table

of this poem. Please hold hands, bow your heads, and repeat


after me: “Let us bless the hands that harvest and butcher

our food, bless the hands that drive delivery trucks


and stock grocery shelves, bless the hands that cooked

and paid for this meal, bless the hands that bind


our hands and force feed our endless mouth.

May we forgive each other and be forgiven.


—Craig Santos Perez






avid diva, visit me

dispense divine advice

o radiant deviant


evidence of violence

rivets my vivid dive

addictive desire violates me


drives my rivers

in reverse, revives

my velvet revolution


revs my vacuum cleaner

that died, veils my veins

with unbelievable sleeves


divides evening into

eternities laced with

invisible sleep


my valves go viral

my values on vacation

my vultures counterclockwise


they prey on my vices

the liver rippers! the wind

invents voices on the wing


to whisper livid

prayers above my

vibrating window


listen, avid diva

i have a hive nearby

i invite you to


a hovel i’ve chosen

close to the oval of love

run up my vacant stairs


invade my ventilation

shaft and fill my vats

with quivering liquid


video my elvis selves

in silver levis swiveling

vote in my next erection


save me, avid diva

in advance of the broken

arm, advocate for the victim


who avoids your eyes

to envision the void

devour his heart


provoke my vital signs

i survived just in time

for your give it to me


leaving me heaving in

tears of repulsive beauty

i’m not vegas or jesus


i’m recovering

belief in the everyday

rave against time


days i want to live, days

i want to die, days i’m

the luckiest man alive


—Garrett Caples


Made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts.