• 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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readings & workshops
February 23

Poetry Reading: Anna Vitale & Roberto Harrison

readings & workshops
February 24

RESCHEDULED: Genre: Urban Arts No. 3 Release

readings & workshops
March 1

Wisconsin Reads The Round House

film & video
March 2

aCinema Screening

readings & workshops
March 7

Poetry Reading: Kwabena Antoine Nixon

readings & workshops
March 8

Poetry Reading: Ed Block & Jenny Benjamin

readings & workshops
March 14

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series: Suman Chhabra

performances
March 15

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
March 17

Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body with Nikki Wallschlaeger, Jose-Luis Moctezuma & Jay Besemer

readings & workshops
March 22

Community Conversation About The Round House 

readings & workshops
March 28

Poetry Reading: Sherwin Bitsui & Bojan Louis

film & video
April 6

aCinema Screening

readings & workshops
April 11

Poetry Reading: Luci Tapahonso

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

performances
April 19

Alash Ensemble

exhibitions
April 21

Woman: Frailty Thy Name, works by Renee Baker

performances
April 22

ACL presents Renee Baker Quartet, Visual Dark Scratch Suite

readings & workshops
May 2

Poetry Reading: Layli Long Soldier

performances
May 13

Alternating Currents Live presents The Bridge

readings & workshops
May 16

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series Noel Pabillo Mariano

performances
May 17

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
May 24

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

John Tipton

John Tipton has two books, a translation of Sophocles' Ajax and surfaces, a collection of his own verse, both published by Flood Editions. A translation of Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes and a new collection, Paramnesia, are forthcoming from Flood. He lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie and son Levi.

Selected Poems

The Underworld

Theseus finds himself detained in strange surroundings.
Seems there's some problem with his visa.
He sits alone in a drab room
with no idea where they've taken Pirithous.
Through filthy windows he can see Shenzhen—
preposterous architecture against a gray rinsed sky;
the haze today thickened by a hangover
from last night's Tsingtao plied with 'ganbei.'

Theseus studies water blots that cloud the ceiling
and reads them as rhinos on stampede.
How different the sign on the door
whose Hanzi characters squint inscrutably at him.
The artifice of his wakeful state distorts
these odd mnemonics he mistakes for thought.

 

 

Crossroads

Xerxes the King frowns through dark glasses
flanked on the viewing stand by admirals
and the bloated eunuchs of his staff.
Newsreel film crews crowd a nearby platform
documenting this day's events for all Persia.
In line along the beach before him
the piked heads of his former engineers—
Egyptians and Phoenicians whose bridge had failed.

But Xerxes would also punish these waters— he will not sacrifice to this stream.
At a subtle gesture of his hand
the countdown begins its descent toward detonation.
The device triggers on zero. Xerxes glares.
Over the atoll a small sun flares.

 

 

Bridgless


They stood dumb beneath the beetling jungle
in black Chuck Taylors and white t-shirts

come to preach across the bridge less waters
at a buckle in the brown Curaray.

These Americans call the place Palm Beach,
address its people with a Quechua slur.

Over the river on the opposite shore
Benjamin Whorf attempts to deliver a message.

Slowed by the air his words decompose,
break into original utterance and primitive sound.

They float like the yellow Piper aircraft
that descends through the Neolithic into Ecuador.

Reformed as the remote Aramaic of Jesus
they assemble into gospels of approximate myth.

The Huaorani men will kill these missionaries
then strip the Piper's wings of fabric.

They'll circle that artifact on the sand,
its frame laid bare in formal relief.

Together they will thicken syllables into song
into the hidden figures of their memories

into what sounds old whenever they sing
word for word what no radio transmits.