• 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
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exhibitions
September 12 - Oct 3

Exhibition: Diana Barrie and Pamela Barrie

readings & workshops
September 26

Poetry Reading: Peter Gizzi

readings & workshops
October 3

Poetry Reading: Joshua Beckman

readings & workshops
October 6

Ugly Duckling Presse: 25th Anniversary Celebration

exhibitions
October 6 - Sep 28

Exhibition - Ugly Duckling Presse: 25th Anniversary Celebration

performances
October 7

Alternating Currents Live: Tandem Trio

readings & workshops
October 7

Writing in the Fold: A Bookmaking & Writing Workshop with Matvei Yankelevich

readings & workshops
October 10

Community Reading: An Evening with the Wednesday Writers

readings & workshops
October 11

Poetry Reading: Tom Pickard and Mike Hauser

readings & workshops
October 12

Alms for the Bored Book Release + Cheap Wine Potluck

readings & workshops
October 14

Poetry Reading: Ken Taylor and J. Peter Moore

performances
October 18

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
October 20

Poetry Reading: Soham Patel and Lauren Russell 

readings & workshops
October 25

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

readings & workshops
October 28

Poetry Reading: Kathleen A. Dale, Louisa Loveridge Gallas, Judith Harway, and Bill Murtaugh

readings & workshops
November 30

Poetry Reading: Anna Vitale and Daniel Owen

film & video
December 14

Film Screening: Riverwest Film & Video by Emir Cakaroz

Archived readings & workshops
Apr 26 Wednesday, April 26
7:00pm, Give What You Can

Join us as we welcome poet and scholar Ed Pavlić to discuss his latest book, Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listener!


More than a quarter-century after his death, James Baldwin remains an unparalleled figure in American literature and African American cultural politics. In Who Can Afford to Improvise? Ed Pavlić offers an unconventional, lyrical, and accessible meditation on the life, writings, and legacy of James Baldwin and their relationship to the lyric tradition in black music, from gospel and blues to jazz and R&B. Based on unprecedented access to private correspondence, unpublished manuscripts and attuned to a musically inclined poet’s skill in close listening, Who Can Afford to Improvise? frames a new narrative of James Baldwin’s work and life. The route retraces the full arc of Baldwin’s passage across the pages and stages of his career according to his constant interactions with black musical styles, recordings, and musicians.

 

"Ed Pavlić is f*cking fearless about how he goes about it, as fearless as any contemporary musician I can think of, as fearless as some of the greats. It's definitely a book, but music is where its soul is, if you ask me." — Dave Marsh, Counterpunch

 

"Ed Pavlić's words have always heard the music and with Who Can Afford to Improvise?, he shows the exquisite ways that James Baldwin's words both heard the music and was the music itself." —Mark Anthony Neal, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities

 

"Who Can Afford to Improvise is a tour de force from one of our premier Baldwin scholars. Ed Pavlić's brilliantly insightful meditation on black music and culture and Baldwin's centrality to that tradition is a must-read." —Peniel E. Joseph, author of Dark Days, Bright Nights


Ed Pavlić is author of seven collections of poems and two critical books. His most recent works are Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listener, Let’s Let That Are Not Yet: Inferno, and Visiting Hours at the Color Line. His next books are a collection of poems, Live at the Bitter End, and Another Kind of Madness, a novel set on the South Side of Chicago / Coastal Kenya and tuned to the sound of Chaka Khan. He lives in Athens, GA and teaches in the PhD Program in Creative Writing/English at the University of Georgia.